It’s pricier than a lot of the rugged Android smartphones coming from China, but the Blackview BV9500 Pro possesses all of the key features in an almost indestructible design which makes it the most useful of the lot.
Long 10Ah battery life
Fast and wireless recharging
Walkie-talkie style comms
Rock hard build quality
Very heavy and bulky
Calls sound robotic
Blackview has a range of rugged IP68 certified Android phones available and they tend to be both tough and affordable, if a little light on features. This latest model, however, comes in at a considerably higher price point and it has all the bells and whistles including PTT (push-to-talk) for walkie-talkie style communication.
It’s also the largest rugged handset we have yet tested because it’s packing a huge 10,000mAh battery. With it’s solid aluminium sidebars and chunky polycarbonate casing, this brute of a smartphone looks hard enough to hammer in nails. Blackview calls it tri-proof because it is resistant to water, dust and knocks and claims it is the ‘most indestructible smartphone on the market’.
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The Blackview BV9500 Pro is a seriously looking handset. From its solid aluminium side cheeks to the fourteen visible screws that bolt its rugged shell together, this looks and feels like a phone that won’t fail if you drop it in a puddle. The IP68 certificate confirms that it will survive for two hours in 1.8-meters of water and Blackview says it is drop-proof to 1.8-meters too.
The 5.7-inch screen is made from Gorilla glass and it is protected by rubber bumpers at the four corners and more rubberised polycarbonate at the back. Unusually, for a rugger phone, there are five fairly buttons buttons on its left and right sides, two for volume, one for power, an assignable function button and one marked PTT (push-to-talk). The fingerprint reader is at the side too, but there are none of your usual rubber seals concealing the ports and SIM card slot.
The USB-C port is open, but nonetheless impervious to water and dust and the dual nano SIM slots are hidden behind a screw-down hatch on the back panel. You can slide a microSD card in there too.
Apart from its obvious size (this phone is almost 2cm think) the other physical thing that literally sticks out about the Blackview BV9500 Pro is its antenna. This bundled accessory screws into a sealed port at the top so that you can use the phone like a walkie-talkie to communicate with anyone else on the same frequency, while the button is held down. Our sample has yellow plastic detailing, but black and green are also available.
Specifications and features
The Blackview BV9500 Pro has specifications in line with the other budget rugged handsets with a Helio P23 octa-core processor backed up by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM. This combination scored well against the rest of the rugged set in our bench tests, but it didn’t run rings around them.
Despite the higher cost, it isn’t much more powerful than the BV5800 Pro. The screen is a better size though at 5.7-inches and it manages Full HD quality with 500NIT brightness. Where this smartphone really justifies its higher price, is in the features department. It matches all of its competitors and raises the stakes with functionality that is geared toward delivering a phone that will serve as a tough tool in adverse conditions.
There’s the enormous battery of course. With 10,000mAh, you can be fairly sure that the Blackview BV9500 Pro will work for five days of average use without a charge. And when it comes to charging, you can either use the USB-C port to fast-charge, or buy a QI wireless charger and forget the cable. This is a real asset when you have a wet phone and don’t want to mess around with electric cables.
The PTT button is perfect for teams working outdoors too. Even with gloves on you can press the big yellow button and Digital Intercom app and simply hold the button down to talk to anyone else with a similar device on the same frequency. The assignable function button is another big bonus because you can, for instance, instruct it to open the torch app with one press.
The fingerprint reader, face unlock, NFC etc are all welcome features, but expected on an Android at this price. The package also includes in-ear headphones and a tiny screwdriver for unscrewing the rear panel that has to be removed to insert your nano Sim card.
At 376g, the Blackview BV9500 Pro is without doubt the heaviest smartphone we have lifted onto the test bench and its bulk takes some getting used to. It’s probably not going to fit into your pocket, so the inbuilt lanyard clip at the bottom of the phone is an asset. It means you can have the phone swinging from your belt when you’re climbing a ladder, for example.
The PTT button is a great feature in an outdoor smartphone, even though the only other phone we could find with a compatible frequency channel in Blackview's portfolio was the BV5800 Pro.
But don't fear, any walkie-talkie that operates in the UHF 400-470MHz range should be compatible with it, even low costs ones.
If a whole team, or workforce are equipped with a phone like this, however, it is easy to see how time and call costs can be saved by communicating via PTT.
We linked the other physical function button to the torch app, which is another feature that you tend to need when you don’t have time to negotiate a touchscreen interface. The camera app also comes on immediately with a double press of the power button, making this a great phone for gloves-on usage.
The Blackview BV9500 Pro runs Android 8.1 Oreo smoothly and every app we tried worked without incident. Only the more graphics-heavy games caused the system to slow down noticeably. The camera app is very basic and the bokeh effect is rubbish, but regular pictures and 1080p video taken in natural light look very crisp.
Call quality sounded a little robotic, but fine and the external speaker is not as loud as you might expect from such a large device. In all other respects, the Blackview BV9500 Pro is very easy to use and the battery just goes on and on, however hard you try to drain it.
Final verdictThe Blackview BV9500 Pro might have all the elegance of a house brick, but that build quality is reassuring and the big battery will make sure you are never caught out when you really need a working phone. The Full HD display in 18:9 ratio is bright enough to be visible in full sunshine, while the Helio P23 CPU is enough to make Android Oreo look great on this generous 5.7-inch screen.
What makes the Blackview BV9500 Pro stand out above the rest of the rugged set is its comprehensive list of features that make it ideal for outdoor use. In short, this is one of the toughest and certainly the most flexible multi tool that you can sling into your toolbox.
How do I resolve when Poor Sound Quality is experienced following immersion in water?
If the handset has been subject to immersion in water then the microphone and speaker will need to dry out for them to resume to normal functionality.
Place the device in an area where the microphone and speaker can dry out.
What does Non-incendive: Class 1 Division 2, Grade A-D, T4 mean?
1. Zone 2 (or Div 2) is a place in which an explosive atmosphere is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only (< 10hours/year).
2. T4 references the maximum temperature the phone will reach. This phone is rated T4 meaning the phone temperature will not exceed 135° C.
3. Group A-D refers to hazardous gas types.
4. TAMB refers to the upper and lower ambient temperatures the phone is approved for use in and remain non-incendive rated. For Blackview Rugged Phone, that range is -10°C to +55°C
What is the IP and MIL SPEC rating for Blackview Rugged Phone?
IP stands for "Ingress Protection". Blackview Rugged Phone is rated as IP68. The "6" in this rating refers to the dust rating. This phone is rated as "Dust Tight" meaning complete protection against dust intrusion as long as all port covers are properly closed.
The "8" in the rating refers to the phone’s ability to be submerged in water. The Blackview Phone can be submerged in up to 1.5m of water for 30 minutes as long as all port covers are properly closed.
The MIL-SPEC rating for Blackview Rugged Phone is MIL SPEC 810G making the Blackview Rugged Phone drop proof to "6" , dust proof (when all port covers are properly closed), and vibration proof (Category 4 – Truck/Trailer – Secured Cargo ).
What is the hazardous area classification for the Blackview Phone?
Non-Incendive: Class 1 Division 2, Grade A-D, T4.
(Do not charge or connect or remove anything to the phone while in a hazardous areas.)
How do I resolve when Poor Sound Quality is experienced?
There are a number of contributing factors which can affect the audio performance of your device:
The most common cause of poor sound quality is water in the microphone or speaker.
If the handset has been subject to immersion in water then the microphone and speaker may need to dry out to resume normal functionality.
You, or the other person you are speaking with, may be in an area of poor signal. Try moving to a different area.
You may have dirt / debris covering the microphone or speaker. If so, clean your device.
What should I do when experiencing reception / signal issues?
Poor quality of calls:
Please check if the volume of the device is adjusted to an acceptable comfortable level.
When the device is used in areas with poor signal, e.g. near high buildings or in basements, the call quality may be adversely affected.
When this device is used in a high call intensity period, like rush hour, call failure / poor call quality may be caused by network congestion.
If you are in an area of poor reception/signal, you may experience shorter standby time than usual. This is because your device is regularly searching for a better signal and therefore consuming battery.
What do I need to do if “Enter PUK code” is displayed?
Following three consecutive failures to input the correct SIM card PIN code, the PIN code will be blocked and the request for the PUK code will be displayed.
Before attempting to input the PUK code ensure that you have the correct code provided by Network provider.
After ten unsuccessful attempts to input the PUK code, the SIM card will be permanently disabled.
Once the SIM card is permanently disabled you will need to contact relevant body to purchase a New SIM card.
What do I do if “Emergency Call only” is displayed on your Home screen?
This will be displayed if there are issues with the SIM card or problem with your cellular account.
Additionally if you are in an area not covered by your Network Provider.
What should I do if the device displays message "No Service"?
This may be displayed if you are in an area that is not covered by your Network provider, or if you are in an area of poor reception for example an enclosed area.
No service will be displayed on your screen until the situation is resolved by relocating to an area of service.
If this problem persists when in a known good service location, contact your Network provider to ensure there are no restrictions on service or your SIM services.
What does the Message "Insert SIM card" indicate?
This message may appear if your device does not recognize the SIM card.
Make sure that you have correctly inserted the SIM card.
Clean the metal side of the SIM card with a dry cloth.
If the SIM card still not being recognized, please contact your Network provider to ensure the SIM card has been enabled or to check if they have any further instructions.
How can I back up data to an external storage device?
To transfer files from your phone to PC / Mac:
Connect your Blackview Phone to your PC / Mac via USB cable.
On the Blackview Phone notification tray, tap the "Use USB to" notification and select "Transfer files".
The Blackview Phone will now be visible on the PC / Mac.
Open the Blackview Phone via the PC / Mac to explore files.
Copy over anything to the PC / Mac that you wish to back-up.
Note: Alternatively, backup to a MicroSD™ card by inserting one into the Blackview Phone. Copy files to it using your chosen file explorer app.
How do I Clear the cache and browser History?
Launch the Chrome app.
Click the menu icon in the top right (three vertical dots).
Scroll down and tap "Clear browsing data".
Select the time range you wish to clear.
Select what data (Browsing history, Cookies and site data, and Cached images and files) you wish to clear.
Under "Advanced" you have further options to clear saved passwords, form data, and more.
Click "Clear data".
How can I transfer data to another device via Bluetooth (for example an image)?
Locate the file that you wish to share on your device.
If you only want to send one item, for example a photograph, tap on it and then tap the share icon.
Select the Bluetooth sharing option.
Choose which Bluetooth enabled device to send the file to.
Accept the incoming file on the target device.
How do I customize the Notifications, sound and vibration for incoming messages?
Launch the Messaging app.
Within the app bring up the Settings menu
Scroll down to "Notifications" section.
Select the "Sound" menu to select the desired sound.
Next to "Vibrate" tick to enable/disable vibration for incoming messages.
How do I know there is a device update available, how do I check I have the latest SW?
NOTE: When a new Firmware/Software is available, notifications are sent out to all Blackview Phone devices.
On the home screen an Icon will show in the notification panel. When the icon appears you can drag down the notification panel and select.
To manually update:
Go to settings menu.
Scroll to the bottom of this screen, and select "System".
Select the "System update" option.
Select the "Check for update" option and follow the prompts.
Note: The device should be fully charged prior to updating the system.
How do I perform a reset, when my screen is blank?
To reset the device, keep the power button pressed for about 10 seconds / until vibration is felt.
Device will now power on, perform and charge as expected.
How do I improve battery life?
Applications (such as Skype™) that frequently utilize VOIP (Voice over IP) and other data via Wi-Fi or 3G/4G can significantly reduce battery life. Disable any such applications when maximum battery life is desired.
Set the display sleep to a start after 15 seconds of inactivity. To change the display timeout settings: from the home screen tap > Settings > Display >Advanced > Sleep > select a shorter delay time.
Reduce the intensity of the display. To change the display’s brightness, Settings > Display > Brightness level > drag the control bar to the left for a dimmer display or right for a brighter display.
Disable Wi-Fi when not using it. To disable Wi-Fi: Settings > Network and Internet > tap the on/off button so it is no longer green.
Make sure your phone has the latest software updates. To check for the latest updates: Settings > System > System update > Check for update.
Stop any unnecessary programs you installed from running in the background by: Settings > Apps and notifications > See all apps > select and disable any apps that you do not need.
Note! Only stop applications that you have installed. Stopping other pre-installed applications may result in poor phone performance or errors.
How do I find my IMEI Number?
This can be found on the outside of the box that you received your phone in and makes up part of the Approval’s label.
If the box is not available, type into the device via the keyboard "*#06#" a pop up box will show the device IMEI.
Select Settings and then About phone and then Status, you will now have the option to select IMEI information.
What do the different colours of the LED indicate?
Flashing Red – Low Battery warning less than 15% Battery level.
Solid Red – Battery level is between 1% and 99% and currently being charged.
Solid Green – Battery is fully charged.
Flashing Blue – Indicates a notification has been received (Message unread, missed call, email etc).
Saw the Blackview BV7000 PRO from my colleague. It was nice but I wanted a phone with a bigger screen. Found out they have this 4G which is 5.7” so I purchased one. It came out to be much better quality.