Blackview is a smartphone manufacturer established in 2013 and already has agents on all continents and official representatives across the world. It is not the best known brand, but for such a short time it has managed to create a recognizable brand, especially among people interested in rugged smartphones. Yes, Blackview makes not only standard smartphones, but rugged ones as well, and some of them have turned out quite successful for the company as it offers very competitive pricing as well. The subject of this review is Blackview R7. This smartphone is not rugged, but sports a number of mid-range specifications that sound promising. It is offered with a very attractive price, too - less than $200, so we've decided to put it to the test and see whether the product and its pricing are in harmony.Blackview R7 has a classic layout. On its left frame the hybrid, dual-SIM tray is positioned. Because of dual chamfering the rear edge of the SIM tray is slightly chamfered as well in order to streamline the left frame. This does not affect opening and closing it smoothly. On the frame to the right side of the display there are two buttons - the single up/down volume one and the power on/off button below it. They actually need a bit of time to use to as they are slightly wobbly and clattering, but with time this feeling goes away. On the top frame the 3.5 mm jack is placed along with visible antenna bands, while the bottom one features a micro USB 2.0 port with two grilles on its sides and another pair of antenna bands. The left one is for the microphone and the right one is for the speaker. On the front above the display there are the light/proximity sensor, earpiece, and selfie camera. Below the screen is the capacitive navigation bar with the menu button being to the left of the home one and the back button - to its right. In the top left corner on the back of the smartphone you'll see a microphone hole, the camera module to its right and the LED flash to the right of the camera. The fingerprint sensor is centered along the vertical and above the lower plastic cap on the back the Blackview logo is imprinted.
The CIE diagram of our review unit reveals an almost exact 100% coverage of the sRGB color space, which is a rare sight. There are only very slight deviations in the red color area and in the blue and green ones they are disparagingly little. The display panel of Blackview R7 has a traditional striped sub-pixel geometry. The viewing angles are good as long as it concerns color preservation. Typical for a display of such quality, there is a certain loss in brightness, when you look at it from aside.
The Settings menu is traditional with only minor tweaks such as larger icons in color for each of the options inside. As usual, the first group of settings is the Wireless & networks one and it has all the typical settings you'd expect including the Turbo Download one for files larger than 20MB. The second group is the Device one and it starts with the Display settings. As mentioned earlier, they contain MiraVision via which you can tweak the color saturation and dynamic contrast. From this section you can also deactivate the Daydream function or choose another of its profiles. A set of wallpapers is also included for you to change when needed. The second sub-group is called Smart Gesture and includes a plethora of options for faster and more intuitive interaction with the device. They include classic options such as three-finger screenshots, flip to mute, drawing a letter on a dead screen to open a specific app, and so on.The Sound & notification sub-group is third under Device and offers nothing new to those already familiar with Android M. You get four predefined sound profiles, options for app notifications, DND mode management, and sound enhancement. The following group is the App management one. For each app in Android 6.0 you have specific permissions and modify their settings, including disable, force stop and in some cases uninstall features. These are followed by Storage, Battery, and memory monitoring and management features. The third major group of settings is called Personal. It starts off with Location and continues with Security, which is a large group on its own right. It contains screen lock options, fingerprint management, phone encryption settings and many others. Once you activate a screen lock different from Swipe you will activate the Smart Lock function. It allows your device to remain unlocked when it is near trusted devices, places, voices or your body.The fingerprint management includes not only saving, deleting, and renaming a fingerprint ID, but also assigning various tasks to the IDs you have already saved. The Security settings are followed by the Accounts and Google ones. The latter contains a complete list of options for an optimized experience taking into account security, privacy, and convenience. Language & input along with Back & reset close this major group of settings, which is followed by the fourth and last one - System. It does not offer any surprises and allows you to adjust the Date & time, activate Scheduled power on & off times, choose Accessibility options, setup a Printing service. The About phone provides all the standard data that are usually included in this section along with a shortcut to a system updater. The System UI Tuner is the last menu and allows you to change the Quick Settings toggles along with the Status Bar icons. The "Show embedded battery percentage" feature did not work.As it has already been mentioned above, the apps are installed and accessed directly from the home screen on successive ones. You are free to re-arrange them the way you find most convenient. Removing an app uninstalls it, but you do get a confirmation dialog for this action in order to avoid uninstalling an app by mistake. You get all the standard apps on board - Dialer, Contacts, Messenger, default Browser, Calendar, Clock, Calculator, Sound Recorder, Radio, Music, Email, Camera, Gallery, Downloads, File Manager. There are some Google services pre-installed such as Play Store, Gmail, Maps, Google Now and Voice Search. There's a separate Search app, which can be set to work only within the device, or on the internet, or both. Blackview R7 also arrives with Facebook and Twitter apps pre-installed along with a Xender - an app for sharing any type of files in any place at any time.The picture is getting even more interesting, when you check out the 3DMark Ice Storm results, according to which, our review unit is largely outperformed by UMi Plus, Ulefone Future, and Gionee S8. The PCMark test of Blackview R7 showed a result above 3000, while the one of the other three models showed results of above 4000 points. The conclusion is that in terms of pure CPU power the device tops other smartphone based on the same chipset, but it is the GPU that is not put to good use and does not provide the performance it is capable to provide. The model packs 4GB of single-channel LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 933MHz and 32GB of eMMC internal memory. 4GB of RAM, despite being of the older generation, is still generous enough as to provide you with the multitasking power you need. As long as it concerns the internal memory, it does provide the reading and writing speeds expected from it. The Androbench test reveals results that are almost on par with those of the other smartphones sporting the same time of storage. Blackview R7 is equipped with several sensors - accelerometer, magnetometer, orientation, proximity, and light one. There's a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor as well. It can store up to five fingerprint IDs and provides 360-degree recognition. Setting up an ID is fast and easy, and once you save it, you can assign various functions to each ID, besides unlocking the smartphone one.We do our audio test by using the TASCAM US-2x2 audio interface and the RightMark Audio Analyzer software and it is a rare thing to see a smartphone that scores excellent in three of eight parameters. These are frequency response, THD and IMD + Noise. Even THD + Noise is rated as being Good, when most other devices score in this Average. The other four parameters are Very good, so is the overall result. Definitely in terms of audio, Blackview R7 is a surprise - a nice one. However, when it comes to the speaker, it could be easily said that this is an average single speaker with the familiar tinny sound you know from most smartphones.
The graph below shows the time period, for which the battery charges in full from 0% to 100% (yellow line) and the battery temperature during charging (red line). It is clearly visible that right from the start charging begins with a fast speed that very, very gradually declines. The first 50% of the charge were reached in 45 minutes and the additional 30% to 80% of the charge needed another 28 minutes. Then the charging rate started slowing down even more - 13 minutes more to increase with 10% till 90%. The last 10% needed 35 minutes! The red line in this case is flat because the smartphone's software did not provide information about the battery's temperature. The result from the PCMark Work 2.0 battery test showed 3 hours and 55 minutes. This is the lowest result we have received from all devices we have tested. It points at a very poor battery life, especially when you have in mind that this model has a 3000 mAh accumulator.
The review unit has been provided by GearBest.com.
SpecificationsBlackview R7 sports a CNC-crafted metal body with nice curves and ergonomic design. It is graced by a 5.5-inch display that includes an IPS panel with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. The screen is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with a 2.5D curved top glass layer. The screen-to-body ratio is specified as being 78.3% and the bezels are mentioned as being 1.6mm thin. The metal back plate is non-removable and under it ticks a 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 system-on-chip. It includes four Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at 2GHz and another quadruplet of those, but clocked at 1GHz. A 700MHz dual-core Mali-T860 MP2 GPU is on board as well and is responsible for handling the graphics. The device operates with 4GB of single-channel LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 933MHz and employs 32GB of eMMC internal memory. The fingerprint sensor with a 360-degree recognition is accompanied by a 13-megapixel primary camera on the back of the device. The shooter combines an OmniVision OV13853 PureCel sensor with an f/2.0 lens and a LED flash. The front-facing camera is equipped with an 8-megapixel OmniVision OV8858 CMOS BSI 2 sensor. The lights are kept on by a 3000 mAh Li-Pol battery. It arrives with a 9V/2A fast charger. The specifications state that 5 minutes of charging provide 90 minutes of talk time. The smartphone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with customized Blackview UI and supports 4G LTE+ Cat. 4 networks along with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 802.11n 5GHz, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, and USB OTG. From all possible satellite services, the model works only with GPS. A complete list of the specifications of Blackview R7 can be found here.
What's in the boxBlackview R7 arrives in a large rectangular (almost square box) in white color. It has the company's logo on the top of its lid and basic information about the model on the bottom. If you fancy generous smartphone accessories, then you will definitely appreciate what Blackview has prepared inside the box. Next to the smartphone there are several other compartments. One for a pair of basic earphones, a second for the charger and the USB cable, a third for the USB OTG cable. In addition, you get a transparent silicone case, which actually matches the device perfectly and is comfortable to use, and a screen protector. Not bad at all, isn't it? Of course, the box includes a basic user manual and a pin for the SIM tray.
Design and buildBlackview R7 looks rather classic and elegant. It has a very solid chassis and frame made of CNC-crafted quality metal. The back plate is non-removable and made of metal as well. It is coupled with plastic caps for the antenna areas, which have a distinctive finish with a pattern in relief. The back literally "flows" into dual chamfered edges. This means that there are two chamfered sides that form the rear edges of the frame. The front ones are dual as well - a thinner chamfer is merged with a thicker one, which seamlessly blends with the display module and its 2.5D curved glass. The device does look solid and its weight adds a lot to this feeling. Due to the lots of metal inside and out, the smartphone weighs 198 grams. This makes it probably the heaviest smartphone with a 5.5-inch display and a 3000 mAh on the market at present. With a waistline of 8.9 mm it is also one of the thickest devices when you combine the size class of the screen and battery. It is the same with the width of the model. It measures 78 mm and is at the top mark for a device of that size class. The only exception is the height. The 152 mm of the smartphone are well below average in terms of height. Despite all that, the smartphone is not that bulky when you interact with it. Yes, it is a bit on the heavier side, but you won't get tired while talking on the phone for longer than usual. The dual chamfers of the edges also help for it to look slimmer than it actually is. All in all, Blackview has done a good job in terms of design so far. The model is available in gray, silver and gold colors. Our review unit is in gray and we must stay that the color is very stylish.
DisplayBlackview R7 is equipped with a 5.5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. Its protection is ensured by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 coupled with a 2.5D curved top glass layer. The screen-to-body ratio, which is actually the percentage of the front surface taken by the display is specified as being 78.5%, but it is actually around 75%. In addition, the bezels are specified as being 1.6 mm thin. This is the case with the right and bottom bezel. The left and top one are thicker - around 2 mm. As long as it concerns touch sensitivity, the screen has proved to be fast and very responsive, so there are no issues in this regard. The unit we have received for review showed a very high peak brightness - something you will rarely see in a budget smartphone. At the brightness level set at 100% the white value is 610 cd/sq.m. The high white values are preserved at the other corresponding brightness levels - 434 cd/sq.m. at 75% and so on. However, the black values are very high as well. Ultimately, this leads to a relatively low contrast ratio, which gravitates around the 1000:1 mark. The real deal-breaker here is the temperature of the white point. It exceeds 12000 K and cannot be measured exactly. This means that colors look much colder than usual. The Display settings do offer several options for adjusting the screen via MiraVision, but they include color saturation and dynamic contrast only.
|Brightness||White luminance||Black luminance||Contrast||Color temperature|
|100 %||610.649 cd/m2||0.582 cd/m2||1042 : 1||>12000 K|
|75 %||434.529 cd/m2||0.401 cd/m2||1084 : 1||>12000 K|
|50 %||278.892 cd/m2||0.289 cd/m2||965 : 1||>12000 K|
|25 %||167.09 cd/m2||0.155 cd/m2||1078 : 1||>12000 K|
|0 %||24.612 cd/m2||0.025 cd/m2||984 : 1||>12000 K|
OS, UI and softwareBlackview R7 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a customized Blackview UI. Customizations are not heavy and the impression is of an almost stock Android experience. The lock screen contains a large icon with the Blackview sign, which suggests that swiping up from the bottom of the display will unlock the device. The usual shortcuts to the Dialer and/or Camera app are missing. After unlocking you land on the home screen, which contains a row of docked apps at its bottom - Dialer, Contacts, Messenger, and default Browser. Above it there are two rows of apps and at the top of the display is the Clock widget. You can move the icons and widget on the display the way you like simply by tapping and holding on them. There is no app tray. In order to access the rest of the apps, you simply go to the next screen. Unlike the typical Android 6.0 layout, all apps in Blackview's UI are listed in successive screens and are not in alphabetical order. Tapping and holding on the home button opens the Task Manager, which contains a Clear All function. The Widgets menu is accessed from the menu button and contains options for wallpapers for the home screen, others for the lock screen, list of widgets and settings. The latter is a toggle for activating the auto-rotate function. A single swipe down from the top of the display opens the Notifications and second one - the Quick Settings. When you press and hold the Settings icon in it, you'll activate the System UI Tuner. The Volume shade contains the three typical types of volume that can be collapsed and expanded. The Power off shade is classic as well.
Networks, calls and connectivityBlackview R7 features a hybrid, dual-SIM card slot. Both slots can house micro-SIM cards. In case you need more storage, you can sacrifice one of the slots for placing a microSD card instead. The device supports quad-band 2G GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), dual-band 3G WCDMA (900, 2100 MHz), penta-band 4G LTE-FDD (800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz) and tri-band LTE-TDD (1900, 2300, 2600 MHz) networks. The 4G ones are Cat. 4 for down- and uplink speeds. According to MTK Engineering Mode, the supported WCDMA bands include two more - 850 and 1900 MHz, while the LTE bands are double to what is specified. In terms of call quality and reception we did not have any issues with our review unit. However, when it comes to Wi-Fi connectivity, we have noticed on several occasions that the device struggles to maintain a Wi-Fi connection in areas with low reception and entirely disconnects. This can be quite a nuisance, so do have it in mind. According to the specifications, R7 supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 802.11n 5GHz, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display, and Bluetooth 4.0. The device is equipped with a micro-USB 2.0 port with OTG support (an additional cable is provided) and works only with the GPS/A-GPS satellite navigation system. Detecting satellites was slow at first, but once it got the knack of it, the device managed to load the satellites fairly quickly and with a very good accuracy.
PerformanceBlackview R7's hardware is based on the 64-bit MediaTek Helio P10 MT6755 chipset. This is one of the most widely used system-on-chips for mid-range smartphone emerging from China. This is most probably due to the fact that it is one of the most balanced MediaTek chipsets in terms of performance and power efficiency. It consists of 4x 2GHz Cortex-A53 CPU cores, 4x 1GHz Cortex-A53 CPU cores and a 700MHz dual-core Mali-T860 MP2 GPU. We have reviewed many smartphones based on this system-on-chip, so we can make useful comparisons at least in regard to benchmark results. With an AnTuTu result of 52235 points, this model might not me the most powerful one around, but it is indeed the fastest device based on Helio P10 we have tested. It is followed by Ulefone Future with 50939 points, Gionee S8 with 50616, and UMi Plus with 50603 points. All other models score below 50000. However, Geekbench results are almost on par between these four models. The Vellamo ones, too, except for the Browser results - in these Blackview R7 has a significantly lower result than the other three smartphones.
CamerasThe camera app in Blackview R7 is the default Android 6.0 one with no additional features. The home screen includes the main shutter button, shortcut to video, photos, settings, HDR, flash, and gesture shot, camera switch and three modes. From the settings for both cameras you can choose the photo resolution, exposure, ISO, beauty level, video quality, EIS for shooting video, and so on. After you take a photo you can also edit it with some basic tools - filters, cropping, rotating, changing the contrast, saturation, etc.
Primary cameraThe primary camera of Blackview R7 is equipped with a 13-megapixel OmniVision OV13853 PureCel. The lens has an f/2.0 aperture and a single-LED flash helps the shooter in low light conditions. The photos are with a resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels and the camera can shoot FHD videos at 30 fps. If you check Blackview's website for this model, you'll see that the specifications state dual-tone LED flash and even some official renders of the phone show that. However, in reality the LED is single. Another smartphone that we have reviewed and has the same sensor for its primary camera is the Meizu m3 Note, so you can compare both shooters. The only comment we'd make in the case of R7 is that the camera applies a green tint on the photos making the colors look colder. This could very easily be fixed with a software update.
Secondary cameraThe secondary camera is equipped with an 8-megapixel OmniVision OV8858 CMOS BSI 2 sensor and can make photos with a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. It is also capable of shooting HD videos at 30 fps. Other smartphones, which we have reviewed and have opted for the same sensor to power their front cameras, are the Elephone P9000 and Gionee S8.
AudioBlackview has left the Music app intact and you get a standard Android M one. It sorts your songs in several ways - artist, album, song names and playlists. Once you open the main screen of the app for a specific song you're playing you can access the equalizer, which offers effects for improving your audio experience - this is a standard feature of the app as well.
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB||+0.05, -0.09||Excellent|
|Noise level, dB (A)||-94||Very Good|
|Dynamic range, dB (A)||94||Very Good|
|THD + Noise, dB (A)||-86.4||Good|
|IMD + Noise, %||0.060||Excellent|
|Stereo crosstalk, dB||-79.3||Very good|
|IMD at 10 kHz, %||0.013||Very good|
|General performance||Very good|
THD + Noise (at -3 dB FS)