An affordable design that delivers ruggedness and functionality. The cost reduction manifests itself in the camera sensors and RAM capacity. Not many would pick this as their main phone, but useful for camping.
Only 1080p video capture
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Blackview has produced some excellent rugged designs, and the BV7100 is a notch up in terms of the quality of construction.
The chassis of this phone appears to have been machined from a solid block of alloy that gives it significant solidity but also makes it weigh a hefty 430g.
But the construction isn’t the whole story on the weight because the other factor in that equation is the enormous battery Blackview put inside it.
There may be a bigger battery out there, but 13,000mAH in the BV7100 is beyond all the recent rugged phone designs we’ve encountered.
To get a battery of that capacity charged isn’t easy, though Blackview did enable 33W fast charging on this device, and the USB-C port on it can transfer power to other devices using an OTG cable if required. Total charging time is around 200 minutes using the included charger, but because the battery is segmented into two cells, a half-charge can be achieved in a little over an hour.
When fully charged, the BV7100 has a standby specification of an incredible 1152 hours or 48 days.
Obviously, more active use reduces the running time, but Blackview is still claiming 70 hours of music, 50 hours of calling and 15 hours of video playback.
Like many Chinese phone makers, Blackview uses the Helio G85 MediaTek SoC alongside 6GB of DDR4 RAM combined with up to 4GB of eMMC 5.1. The G85 CPU is the same that we saw in the AGM H5 Pro and Ulefone Armor 14 Pro, and it combines two performance cores with six efficiency designs with a maximum clock speed of 2GHz.
The SIM tray is a dual type that allows either two Nano SIMs to be used or one with up to a 1TB MicroSD card. But the slightly disappointing aspect of the mobile comms on this phone is that it is only capable of 4G and LTE, and not 5G.
The BV7100 isn’t a bad phone, though the relatively low pricing has an impact on what you can realistically expect from this device in terms of features.
Blackview BV7100 price and availability
- How much does it cost? $240/ £210/ AU$370
- When is it out? It is available now
- Where can you get it? You can get it in most regions direct from Blackview or on Amazon
In our research, we noted that from online retailers, like Amazon.com, the prices are very slightly higher, but these include shipping and tax that the baseline prices direct from Blackview only add at the checkout.
Therefore, using an online retailer might ultimately save you money.
- Value score: 5/5
Blackview BV7100 design
- Available in black, orange or green
- Thumb fingerprint reader
- Camera cluster on left side
We might argue that the design of rugged phones is stagnating somewhat, as all the brands appear to be heading in roughly the same direction.
The BV7100 is a prime example, with its angled corners, heavy-metal construction and large and easily locatable side-mounted buttons.
Our review machine had a green accent, but it also comes with an orange one or entirely in black.
We’ve seen these layouts with a thumb-activated power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader and a user-customisable button on the left.
The USB-C port is centralised on the bottom edge and covered with a rubber plug to make waterproofing effective, and there is no audio jack or USB-C to audio adapter included.
You do get a Euro-style charger and cable, and this, in theory, is capable of delivering the 33W of power that fast-charge demands on this device.
The underside of the phone is relatively flat and has the camera cluster on the left, like the current iPhone, and it includes three sensors and an LED flash.
A big selling point of this design is the giant screen, and this IPS TFT is sharp and well-saturated even when the brightness isn’t set to maximum. It’s covered in Corning Glass, so it should be able to take a few knocks.
Probably the most notable thing about the BV7100 is that, unlike some competitor designs, is that it avoids any features that blatant gimmicks. This is a highly functional and predictable design that delivers the features that most customers need at a highly competitive price.
That said, the operating system on this device has a few unwelcome aspects, even if it is based on Android 12.
According to Blackview, the OS is called Doke OS 3.0, and it’s built around Android 12. Why Chinese phone makers do these things rather than delivering what customers want, namely vanilla Android, is a mystery.
For the most part, this looks and works just like any Android 12 phone, although Blackview decided to pre-load it with a collection of low-quality games that are mostly gambling portals.
The only saving grace is that you can delete them and claw back the storage space they occupy.
Not sure why phone makers think doing these things is a good idea because bloatware is never something we talk about in glowing terms here.
Design score: 4/5
Blackview BV7100 hardware
- 128GB of storage
- 6GB + 4GB memory
- Huge battery
The Blackview BV7100 that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:
CPU: MediaTek Helio G85
GPU: Mali-G52 MC2
RAM: 6GB LPDDR4X
Screen: 6.583-inch IPS TFT
Resolution: 2408 x 1080
SIM: Dual Nano SIM (+MicroSD)
Weight: 460g quoted, 430g weighed|
Dimensions: 174 x 81.4 x 18.9mm
Rugged Spec: IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810H
Rear cameras: 12.2MP Sony IMX362 f/2.0, 8MP Wide-Angle GC08A3-WA1XA, 2MP Depth of Field GC030A sensor
Front camera: 8MP Samsung S5K4H7 sensor
Networking: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
OS: Doke OS 3.0 (Android 12)
As this phone was built to a price, that it only includes 128GB of storage isn’t a huge surprise. However, that’s still a decent amount of space unless you take a silly amount of pictures or record long videos.
One curiosity about this design is that it comes with 6GB of LPRDDR4 RAM, but with the option to expand this by up to an extra 4GB.
To be clear, this expansion is a software switch where nothing physical is added. It appears to utilise existing eMMC 5.1storage that is patched into the memory map as if it was RAM.
By default. 3.5GB of this is added to the memory model, allowing more apps to remain in memory without issue, though you can disable it in the phone settings if it proves an issue.
Not entirely sure what to think of this feature, but it does appear to make the phone think it has more RAM than it does in reality, and there may be benefits to that in performance terms.
But being clinical, eMMC will never operate at the speed of real RAM, and it might be detrimental to the overall speed under some circumstances.
We’ve tested phones with the MediaTek G85 SoC in them before, and it turns out to be a reliable and effective platform if unspectacular.
The Mali-G52 MC2 isn’t the quickest GPU around, but it's good enough for the majority of owners, delivering a snappy interface and smooth application launching.
And, critically here, it optimises power consumption to allow the BV7100 to run for even longer using that incredibly big battery.
If this design has a major weakness, it is the cameras, although it is possible to get good results from them depending on what you are attempting to capture.
We’ll talk in more detail specifically about them below, but having only a 12MP main sensor is unusual these days, and there are other limitations regarding the resolution of video it can capture and stream.
- Hardware score: 3/5
Blackview BV7100 cameras
- Four cameras
- 12MP main rear sensor
- Only 1080p video recording
The Blackview BV7100 has four cameras:
- 12MP Sony IMX362 f/2.0
- 8MP Wide-Angle GC08A3-WA1XA
- 2MP Depth of Field GC030A
- 8MP Samsung S5K4H7 sensor (front facing)
The sensor selection reflects the smaller budget that Blackview was working on, although it did at least provide three rear sensors to enable wide-angle and macro shooting along with depth-of-field control.
The maximum resolution of the rear sensor images is 4032 x 3024 in a 4:3 ratio, and it also supports shooting in 18:9, 16:9 and 1:1 at lower resolutions.
With such a sensor, it is easy to imagine that this camera should be capable of 2K or even 4K video, but it isn’t. The maximum video capture resolution is 1080p with stabilisation, which is curiously less than the 2408 x 1080 resolution of the display.
Those imagining that while it can’t capture higher resolutions, at least it can play 1080p streamed content may also be in for a disappointment. Like so many Chinese phones, the DRM control Widevine security level is only L3, restricting most streaming services to 480p resolution. You can watch a 1080p video on YouTube, thankfully.
In terms of image quality, the 12MP Sony IMX362 with f/2.0 optics are serviceable but not anything special. Considering the size of the sensor, it can produce grainy results on occasion, mostly when the aperture doesn’t allow enough light in.
It isn’t awful, and it is possible to take some good pictures with the BV7100, but it doesn’t compare well with the 48MP and 64MP sensors that more expensive phones are rocking.
On the positive aspects of the camera, the colour balance is generally good, and using HDR doesn’t result in massively oversaturated hues.
As appears to be the norm these days, the camera application is almost entirely devoid of special shooting modes, with not even panorama mode offered here.
- Camera score: 4/5
Blackview BV7100 performance
- Reasonably strong CPU
- Good value for the money
This is how the Blackview BV7100 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Geekbench: 344 (single-core); 1282 (multi-core); 1171(OpenCL)
PCMark (Work 3.0): 6863
Passmark CPU: 3300
3DMark Slingshot: 1988 (OGL)
3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 1409 (OGL); 1413 (Vulkan)
3DMark Wild Life: 729
HWBot Prime: 4894
This phone uses the same MediaTek G85 SoC with the same GPU, resulting in almost exactly the same numbers. When you factor testing deviation, they are the same.
Looking at the recent rugged phones we’ve covered, these results place the BV7100 above Unihertz Titan Slim, Ulefone Armor 15 and DOOGEE S89 Pro, but behind the Snapdragon-powered AGM Glory G1S and the G95 embued DOOGEE S96GT.
It occupies an increasingly crowded middle ground, with most of its direct competitors choosing the same MediaTek SoC.
The positive aspect of this choice is that the Mali-G52 MC2 GPU, while not amazing for gaming it is at least consistent, is a known quantity for game developers and does properly support Vulkan in addition to OpenGL on this platform.
It probably goes without saying that with this much capacity, the battery life is excellent.
- Performance score: 4/5
Blackview BV7100 battery
- Massive capacity
- No wireless charging
- Reverse charging
We’ve seen phones with 10,000 or greater capacities before, but 13,000 mAH is effectively triple what a normal smartphone comes with these days.
The downside of that massive capacity is that, using normal charging, it will take a long time to charge up, maybe longer than you get for sleep.
Blackview did include a fast charger for it, but it is small, considering the amount of power that will flow through it. If it breaks or is misplaced, then an ordinary phone charger won’t deliver enough power for this phone to charge quickly.
The other caveat is that even though the underside of the BV7100 is relatively flat, Blackview didn’t provide it with wireless charging. That may be because the engineers realised how it might take to charge using wireless, but it means that the rubber plug over the USB-C port will need to be removed each time it is charged. Over time that will impact the waterproofing of the phone and make it less likely to survive submersion.
One very useful feature that the battery has is that it is reverse charging capable, enabling this phone to give power to other USB-C devices. The ability to use the BV7100 as a power bank could be a highly useful feature if you ever need another device, like a laptop, to work rather than a phone.
- Battery score: 5/5
It’s easy with phone designs to look at what other designs and brands are offering and become mildly envious, and the marketing of these companies encourages that sort of thinking.
For only a bit more money, you could have a better camera, more storage and a superior processor.
The BV7100 doesn’t try to be anything more than a lost-cost rugged phone, and it's reasonably successful at achieving that objective.
Unless you must have 5G, a 64MP camera or night vision, then there isn’t that much wrong with it. For those leaving civilisation, it's surely more important that it can survive the knocks and submersion in water.
The features here are about right for the asking price, and that symmetry is a rare occurrence in this age.
Blackview BV7100 score card
|Value||For the quality of build and features the cost is low.||5/5|
|Design||Cookie-cutter design that offers few surprises||4/5|
|Hardware||Lacks 5G and wireless charging, but perfectly serivicable in most respects.||3/5|
|Performance||If you consider the battery life and benchmark results, this device is better than the price might suggest||4/5|
|Camera||Disappointing sensor collection that can’t capture better than 1080p video. The cameras aren’t the best.Disappointing sensor collection that can’t capture better than 1080p video. The cameras aren’t the best.||3/5|
|Battery||13,000mAh battery that can fast charge and reverse charge||5/5|
|Overall||For what Blackview is asking, the BV7100 is a useful phone.ses this is a useful device.||4/5|
Should I buy the Blackview BV7100 Pro?
Buy it if...
You are on a tight budget
In terms of bang for the bucks, the BV7100 is hard to beat. If you have an outdoor adventure planned and don’t fancy taking your premium phone into the wilderness, this could be the perfect purchase.
Battery life is critical
If you need a phone that will keep on working when you don’t have easy access to charging, this is the one you should consider.
You are clumsy
This design is IP68/IP69K dust/water resistant up to 1.5m for 30 mins, and they’ve sent it through some MIL-STD-810H compliant tests that suggest it can be dropped onto hard surfaces without sustaining fatal damage.
Don't buy it if...
You intend to watch streamed content
The lack of Widevine L1 reduces most streamed service content to only 480p.
Need better than 1080p video
The main camera sensor doesn’t allow for greater than 1080p video resolution, although the 12MP still images are decent enough.
You have normal-sized pockets
The weight and size of this phone don’t make it suitable for placing in trouser pockets unless they’re massive. Equally, never place it inside a jacket pocket, as the weight and smooth nature of the surface will result in it flying out at some point in the day.
AGM H5 Pro
A phone that uses the same SoC, but comes with 8GB of RAM but a smaller 7000mAh battery. The smaller battery makes this option lighter to carry but reduces its powered life away from charging.
Read our AGM H5 Pro review for more
UleFone Power Armor 14 Pro
Another MediaTek G85-powered phone, this one is almost as cheap as the BV7100 but has marginally better cameras and 10,000mAh of battery life. It’s a good bit lighter than the BV7100, making it easier to work for those with smaller hands.
Read our Ulefone Armor 14 Pro review for more information.
Mark is an expert on 3D printers, drones and phones. He also covers storage, including SSDs, NAS drives and portable hard drives. He started writing in 1986 and has contributed to MicroMart, PC Format, 3D World, among others.