The best heat-seeking rugged smartphone is now much cheaper than ever

Blackview BV9900 Pro - $399.99 at AliExpress

Blackview BV9900 Pro - $399.99 at AliExpress
Its predecessor won our coveted Editor's Choice award back in December 2019 - and for good reason. The BV9900 Pro is even better, combining a FLIR Lepton thermal sensor with a bargain price tag.

As the successor to one of the best rugged smartphones we've ever seen, the Blackview BV9900 had big shoes to fill. However, we tested the device a few months ago and it absolutely blew us away. 

Although it's a little more expensive than the BV9800 Pro, and more of an iterative upgrade than a wholesale transformation, that doesn't mean the BV9900 Pro isn't special.

If there’s one smartphone feature that captures everyone’s imagination, it's a thermal camera. Already available in the likes of the Cat S62, Cat S60 and Cat S61, thermal cameras allow you to generate color-coded images based on heat sources in the vicinity.

Until recently, thermal cameras were only available as standalone products (usually courtesy of FLIR) or in smartphones that were neither cutting edge nor cheap.

Blackview changed all that, with rugged phones that combine a FLIR Lepton thermal sensor with an extremely reasonable price tag.

The BV9900 Pro uses Sony's IMX586 48-megapixel sensor - also found in the Honor 20 Pro and the OnePlus 7T - and has a 5.84-inch FHD+ display (with Corning Gorilla Glass 5), large 4.38Ah battery, 8GB RAM, 128GB onboard memory, an upgraded Mediatek P90 8-core SOC and a 16-megapixel front-facing camera.

There’s still no VOC sensor, but it does feature Android 9 Pie (soon to be upgraded to Android 10), IP69/Mil-STD-810G certification, wireless charging, NFC, air pressure detection and face/fingerprint unlock.

If you're in the market for a new rugged device, the BV9900 Pro could be a great choice.

Bear in mind

  • If this product comes from mainland China, it will take a month to arrive in either the UK or US (and potentially more). You may be levied a tax either directly or through the courier
  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.