My new Android smartphone can do something an iPhone can't

Some Android handsets can do things that an iPhone can't. The Blackview BV9800 Pro is one such handset.

My daily driver smartphone is an iPhone. It has been now for, oh, almost a decade. The iPhone fits in quite well with my workflow, but there are times when I feel like I'd be happier with an Android.

So, I generally have a secondary Android handset hanging about. And my latest Android handset is the Blackview BV9800 Pro.

Regular readers will know that I'm quite a fan of ruggedized Android smartphones, and Blackview make some seriously ruggedized gear. I used the Blackview BV9000 Pro for some time and was very pleased with it. It was the perfect combination of performance and robustness.

The BV9800 Pro takes all that was good with the BV9000 Pro, and adds some awesome upgrades and new features.

Central to the BV9800 Pro is a FLIR lepton 80 x 60 active pixels thermal camera, assisted by a 5MP wide angle camera. The thermal camera does what you expect of a FLIR unit, and does it well, an is super handy for a multitude of diagnostic and repair functions. I've been using thermal cameras for years to do simple things like detect draughts, bound brakes on cars and radiators that aren't working right, to more complex stuff like finding electrical components that are playing up.

Yes, I know that you can add FLIR capability to other phones using an add-on camera, but in my experience that's kludgy and I never had the camera with me when I needed it.

Next to the FLIR camera is a 48-megapixel Sony camera, and a 16-megapixel front camera. The cameras are very good, but don't enjoy all the behind-the-scenes AI processing that iPhone shots do. I've been particularly impressed by the camera's low-light function.

Dominating the front of the handset is a 6.3-inch FHD+ 1080 x 2340 pixel waterdrop display with 375 pixels-per-inch.

Powering the BV9800 Pro is a Helio P70 octa-core processor with 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB of storage. While I wish it used the faster Helio P90 silicon, I can't say that I have at any point thought the BV9800 Pro was being slow and sluggish.

On the security front, the BV9800 Pro can be unlocked using fingerprints or facial recognition, and both methods are super-fast, with Blackview claiming a 0.1 second unlock time.

And the handset runs Android 9 Pie.

The BV9800 Pro is kitted with a monster 6580 mAh battery, which is more than enough for a day's use, and the handset supports both wired (using a USB-C port) and wireless charging (wireless charger not included).

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From a ruggedness perspective, the Blackview BV9800 Pro is tested to IP68 & IP69K & MIL-STD-810G, which means that it is totally dustproof, waterproof to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes, and drop-proof to 1.5 meters.

There are a whole bunch of other features too. An FM radio (as long as you have the headphones, which are needed because they are also the antenna), and an infrared remote control function, so you can download an app and take control of your TV without having to find the remote.

The Blackview BV9800 Pro will set you back around $470 to $520, and for that you're getting a phone that will not only survive a lot of contact with Mother Nature, but is also packed with features, and the built-in thermal camera will be something that the technically-minded will turn to again and again.