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This rugged Blackview phone truly has it all

Are you looking for an Android 13 phone that offers thermal imaging, night vision, and won't break the bank?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Blackview BV8900

Blackview BV8900

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Blackview has been making a name for itself in the rugged smartphone market for some years now, releasing Android devices that stand up to the sort of use and abuse that would destroy your high-end Samsung or Google handset. 

Also: This tiny smartphone accessory gives you a fantastic superpower

If you need a handset that can withstand drops onto concrete or dips into water, Blackview is definitely a company to take a look at.

And Blackview has a new handset out -- the BV8900. 

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Blackview BV8900 tech specs

  • CPU: MTK Helio P90, Octa core processor with, 2 x A75 2.2GHz core and 6 x A55 2.0GHz cores
  • OS: Android 13.0
  • Display: 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS 1080 x 2400 resolution with Corning Gorilla Glass 7
  • RAM: 8GB+ 8GB RAM Expansion
  • ROM: 256GB + 1TB expansion
  • Rear Camera: 64 megapixel + 5 megapixel + thermal imaging by FLIR
  • Front Camera: 16 megapixel
  • Battery: 10380mAh with 33W fast charging
  • SIM: Dual SIM Card or 1x SIM Card & 1x TF/SD Card
  • Navigation: GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo
  • Biometrics: Fingerprint and Face ID
  • Other Features: OTG, FM, NFC, Google Play
  • Ruggedness Certification: MIL-STD-810H + IP68/IP69K. 

Externally, the BV8900 looks like a lot of other rugged smartphones (which, in turn, look like most other smartphones, only a little more chunky).

It's a big, chunky slab of glass and rubber. And that rubber is there for a reason.

Very chunky design

Very chunky design

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The BV8900 is rated to IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD-810H, which means that it can withstand drops from heights up to 6 feet, can survive submersion in 4 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, and is completely protected from dust and sand ingress.

Everything is protected from detritus, even the SIM tray -- which features a really nice silicone seal. 

Nice silicone seal on the SIM tray

Nice silicone seal on the SIM tray

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

But these are common features on these kinds of smartphones.

What is it that sets the Blackview BV8900 apart from the myriad of other rugged smartphones out there?

Also: Why you need an Android smartphone with a thermal and IR camera

First off, this one runs Android 13. This is refreshing, as so many seem to run Android 12, or even 11. For example, the massive Doogee S100 Pro -- an absolute brick of a smartphone with a ginormous 22000mAh battery -- runs Android 12.

From a future-proofing standpoint, it's good for a smartphone to be running the latest release of Android.

Also: The best rugged phones

Then there's the no-compromise design. This phone has it all -- it's rugged, and has a built-in thermal camera and night vision. Regular readers will know that I absolutely love thermal cameras and keep on finding all sorts of uses for the superpower of being able to see heat.

Once you start to look at the world using thermal vision, you'll be turning to this superpower all the time.

The BV8900 has an impressive camera array that includes a FLIR Lepton thermal camera

The BV8900 has an impressive camera array that includes a FLIR Lepton thermal camera

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This phone also comes with a passive night vision camera -- there are no infrared LEDs on the handset to provide a flood of invisible light -- but it still works great for things like peering into dark cellars or attics.

I'm not a huge fan of night vision. The fact that the phone also has a flashlight makes the night vision feature feel like a bit of a gimmick. That said, with the BV8900, you don't have to choose between one or the other.

But everything else -- the overall performance, the quality of the cameras and display -- is more than acceptable for the price.

The BV8900 is chunky in the hand, but not too chunky.

The BV8900 is chunky in the hand, but not too chunky.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

This brings us to the price -- the BV8900 has a retail price tag of $450.

Also: This rugged Android phone is so enormous you can use it as a power bank, too

At that price, this is one of the cheapest thermal imaging smartphones you can buy. In fact, an add-on InfiRay P2 Pro thermal camera for Android smartphones will alone set you back $300!

If you're looking for an Android phone with thermal capability built in, this phone deserves a second look.

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