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Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • The Blackview BL9000 Pro is regularly priced at $800, but right now it’s $640 on Amazon with a coupon.
  • It’s a rugged, feature-rich phone that’s ready for anything you can throw at it, and has a very long battery life.
  • Its thick, chunky form factor definitely isn’t for everyone.

I’ve been a fan of Blackview smartphones ever since I first laid hands on the BV9000 Pro back in 2018. It’s big, it’s chunky, and it’s super robust. It’s so robust that you could use it as an improvised hammer, and I did just that on one occasion (the smartphone thought nothing of it). 

I love that handset, and I continue to use it today as a when I want a device with extreme reliability. So, imagine my surprise and excitement when an updated version landed on my doorstep in the form of the BL9000 Pro.

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The BL9000 Pro is made to be durable. It’s the perfect Android smartphone for engineers, mechanics, or technicians who demand a sturdy, tough smartphone that can be dropped, kicked, and take a few punches. 

View at Amazon

Blackview BL9000 Pro tech specs

  • Display: 6.78-inch, 1,080 x 2,460, 20:9 ratio, 396 pixels-per-inch, 120Hz refresh rate
  • CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 8020
  • RAM/ROM: 12GB with 512GB storage
  • Front camera: 50-megapixel SK Hynix 5022Q with f2.45 aperture lens
  • Rear cameras:
    – 50-megapixel main camera Samsung ISOCELL GN5, f1.88 aperture lens
    – FLIR Lepton 3.5, 160×120 LWIR micro thermal camera module
    – 13-megapixel 120° Ultra-wide & up to 2cm ultra-macro Hi-1336 camera, f2.2 aperture lens
  • OS: DokeOS4.0, based on Android 14
  • Battery: 8,800mAh, 120W/6A super-fast charge
  • Speaker: Dual Harman Kardon Smart-PA speaker, Sound by Harman AudioEFX
  • Color: Black and Gold
  • Weight: 412g

First of all, if you prefer sleek and lightweight smartphones, this isn’t the phone for you. The BL9000 Pro is a brick, but it’s a brick that can survive being dropped from 1.2 meters onto hard ground, or submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes. Whether it’s freezing at -20°C/-4°F or scorching at 60°C/140°F, the BL9000 Pro won’t miss a beat.

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In addition, the screen is remarkably resistant to scratches and scuffs, and the handset can endure far more abuse than any typical smartphone should expect to face.

I have no concerns about this smartphone’s ability to survive experiences that I wouldn’t. It’s built to withstand extreme conditions, making it the perfect companion for your adventures in any environment you can think of.

The performance of this handset is impressive, with its powerful processor ensuring a smooth, stutter-free user experience that exceeded my expectations. The battery life is equally good, lasting a full day under heavy use and stretching to a couple of days with moderate usage. If left alone in a bag or pocket, it can last almost a month on standby.

Since I know some people love benchmark results, I ran Geekbench 6 on the handset and got a single-core and multi-core CPU score of 1,117 and 2,859 respectively, and a GPU score of 4,458 which puts its performance somewhere around that of a Samsung Galaxy S21 or a Google Pixel 7.

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I’ve had problems with some ruggedized smartphones overheating when pushed to their limits, but none yet with the BL9000 Pro. This is attributed to the use of 3D copper pipe liquid cooling technology and graphite/copper foil to carry the heat away from the processor and dissipate it into the environment.

When it’s time to recharge, the handset supports 120W fast charging, which can take the massive 8,800mAh battery from flat to 50% in just 20 minutes and from flat to full in under an hour. This combination of performance and battery efficiency makes it a standout choice for anyone seeking reliability and power in a smartphone.

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The display of the BL9000 Pro is both clear and bright, excelling in various lighting conditions, from dim environments to direct sunlight. Additionally, its speakers are quite good for a phone, making it perfect for speakerphone calls, movie watching, and music playback.

Equipped with three visible-light cameras — one on the front and two on the rear — the BL9000 Pro delivers satisfactory results. While it may not match the detail and vibrancy of photos taken with an Apple iPhone or Google Pixel, these cameras are more than adequate for social media enthusiasts, engineers, and mechanics needing to document repairs or create detailed reports.

Thermal image of a car tire and brake disc.

Thermal image of a car tire and brake disc.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The BL9000 Pro is a great smartphone, but what truly sets it apart is its thermal camera. This feature is the crown jewel of the device, offering capabilities that go beyond the ordinary. Whether you’re using it for professional applications or just exploring its unique functionality, the thermal camera is the standout feature that makes the BL9000 Pro a compelling choice.

The FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal sensor offers a wide 57° field of view, a resolution of 160 x 120 pixels, and a temperature range of -10 to 400°C (14 to 752°F). It’s perfect for a variety of applications, from locating your cat hiding in your bedroom to identifying a failing component on a circuit board. I’m not exaggerating when I say that a thermal camera is essential for diagnostics and repairs, on par with tools like the multimeter and soldering iron.

3D printer in action captured by the Blackview BL9000 Pro’s FLIR thermal camera.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I turn to my thermal cameras so regularly and habitually now that I forget how much I rely on them. Being able to see heat is a superpower that I find incredibly useful. The other day, I found a blockage in a car radiator and traced an electrical problem to an overheating socket using nothing more than a thermal camera.

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Sure, you can get separate thermal cameras for smartphones, but the drawback is in the name — they are separate — and that means they are easily left behind. Integrate it into the smartphone, and you always have it on hand when you need it. 

ZDNET’s buying advice

Whether or not the Blackview BL9000 Pro is the phone for you ultimately depends on how bad you need a rugged smartphone that can shrug off being dropped on concrete, submerged in water, or left baking on a car dashboard. 

Given its features and the quality of the thermal camera, the price is hard to argue with. However, if you seek the cutting-edge in smartphones — or if you are an iPhone user — you might be better off with a separate thermal camera that you can attach to your existing device.

If you’ve been considering getting a Cat S62 Pro, then the BL9000 Pro could be worth a look. While the thermal cameras on both are the same, the BL9000 Pro offers a bigger screen, faster processor, more RAM, more storage, and a better camera.

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