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BQ Aquaris C Smartphone Review

Florian Schmitt, 👁 Florian Schmitt (translated by Stanislav Kokhanyuk), 12/15/2018

Well-equipped. BQ aims to pack a lot of features in its low-priced smartphone: Solid hardware, fast-charging and a good camera. It sounds like a pretty good deal, but you should read our review to find out whether it really is one.

BQ Aquaris C

The Spanish smartphone maker BQ has made its name with solid, low-priced devices. Many of its devices stand out not only in terms of design, but also in terms of hardware that you get for the price. The Aquaris C, another low-priced smartphone from BQ, is no exception. It would appear as though BQ’s engineers thought something like this while designing the Aquaris C: “How many features can we cram while keeping the price as reasonable as possible?”. The answer: They put a USB Type-C port, NFC, 5 GHz Wi-Fi and Quick Charge 3.0 into the smartphone. All of the above are just technical terms to the uninitiated, but they come in really handy during day-to-day use.

We also examine how well the BQ Aquaris C does against other similarly priced smartphones. Competing devices include: The Nokia 5.1, the Gigaset GS100, the Honor 7S and the Xiaomi Redmi 6.

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BQ Aquaris C (Aquaris Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.45 inch 18:9, 1440 x 720 pixel 295 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 9.8 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm audio jack, Card Reader: microSD card up to 256 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: motion sensor, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, USB-C, USB OTG
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, 2G (850/​900/​1800/​1900), 3G (B1/​B2/​B5/​B8), 4G (B1/​B3/​B7/​B20), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.3 x 144.5 x 71 ( = 0.33 x 5.69 x 2.8 in)
Battery
11.4 Wh, 3000 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Android 8.1 Oreo
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix f/​2.0, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, video up to 1080p/​30
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix f/​2.0, LED flash, video up to 1080p/​30
Additional features
Speakers: mono-speaker on the bottom, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, fast charger, USB cable, SIM card removal tool, 24 Months Warranty, LTE Cat.4 (150 MBit/s Download, 50 MBit/s Upload); SAR-value: 1,492 W/kg (head), 1,482 W/kg (body), fanless
Weight
150 g ( = 5.29 oz / 0.33 pounds), Power Supply: 56 g ( = 1.98 oz / 0.12 pounds)
Price
169 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case - Rigid, but not spectacular

When it comes to the case, the BQ Aquaris C shows some restraint: Muted colors such as black and white, a matte somewhat shiny back and unobtrusive chrome accents around the fingerprint sensor. Thanks to its outward look, the BQ Aquaris C will not stand out in the crowd, which can be of advantage in certain situations. The smartphone looks like an actual worry stone due to its rounded edges.

The bezels around the screen are really noticeable on all sides, especially so if you choose the white variant. Applying pressure to either the front or the back does nothing, and the smartphone does not bend at all. However, we heard slight creaking noises during our bend test. The weight is quite average.

BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C
BQ Aquaris C

Size Comparison

Connectivity - Only what is useful

At the time of our review, the smartphone sells for about 100 Euros ($113) on the Internet. However, the MSRP is 70 Euros ($79) higher. For this price, you will get 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It is not a lot, but it is typical for a device with such a price tag. 

The smartphone can use two SIM cards at the same time. Alternatively, you can use one SIM card and one microSD card. The microSD card can actually be formatted as internal storage. However, apps cannot be stored or installed on the SD card.

Two unusual features in this price range are NFC for short-distance communication and a USB Type-C port. The Type-C port actually supports USB OTG. That being said, it only operates at USB 2.0 speeds.

Software - Android 9 will come to the BQ C

The smartphone comes with stock Android 8.1. The security patches were last updated in October 2018. The manufacturer promises that the smartphone will be updated to Android 9.

There is not a lot of preinstalled software, which is a good thing, because the Aquaris C does not come with a lot of storage space. You can buy additional storage through BQ On, if you feel like you need it.

BQ Aquaris C: Software
BQ Aquaris C: Software
Software BQ Aquaris C

Communication and GPS - Aquaris C with Wireless-AC

5 GHz Wi-Fi and support for Wireless-AC are not a given in the price range of the Aquaris C. In fact, this is rather rare. It is not surprising then, that the Aquaris C takes first place in our Wi-Fi benchmarks. Of course, it cannot touch high-end devices, but it is on the same level as many mid-range smartphones.

In terms of 4G, BQ goes for the bare minimum: Our European version supports only LTE bands that are frequently used in Central Europe, so if you travel to another continent or go to an exotic country, the BQ smartphone will not be able to operate in local 4G networks. Having said that, the reception in the German D2 network is quite good, we get three bars as the minimum even inside the buildings.

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Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
BQ Aquaris C
Adreno 308, 425, 16 GB eMMC Flash
268 (min: 247, max: 276) MBit/s ∼100%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=323)
216 MBit/s ∼81% -19%
Nokia 5.1
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
111 (min: 98, max: 119) MBit/s ∼41% -59%
Gigaset GS100
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 8 GB eMMC Flash
97.9 MBit/s ∼37% -63%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
PowerVR GE8320, Helio P22 MT6762, 32 GB eMMC Flash
62.1 (min: 30, max: 62) MBit/s ∼23% -77%
Honor 7S
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 16 GB eMMC Flash
58.2 MBit/s ∼22% -78%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
BQ Aquaris C
Adreno 308, 425, 16 GB eMMC Flash
216 (min: 189, max: 218) MBit/s ∼100%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=323)
210 MBit/s ∼97% -3%
Nokia 5.1
Mali-T860 MP2, Helio P10 MT6755, 16 GB eMMC Flash
111 (min: 87, max: 129) MBit/s ∼51% -49%
Gigaset GS100
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 8 GB eMMC Flash
99.6 MBit/s ∼46% -54%
Honor 7S
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 16 GB eMMC Flash
59.9 MBit/s ∼28% -72%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
PowerVR GE8320, Helio P22 MT6762, 32 GB eMMC Flash
55.5 (min: 47, max: 59) MBit/s ∼26% -74%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø267 (247-276)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø205 (189-218)
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors

When it comes to geolocation, the Aquaris C exhibits a margin of error of 10 meters (~33 ft) indoors. Things do not get any better outdoors.

In order to determine how accurate our review device is when it comes to geolocation, we take it with us on a bike ride. During this ride, we are also accompanied by the professional navigator Garmin Edge 520. All in all, the low-priced smartphone does not do too poorly. Of course, it cuts some corners here and there, but overall it has no trouble mapping the route that the user takes. In fact, the Aquaris C did quite well in the bridge-crossing section where many other smartphones struggle. Those who do not need a very accurate GPS navigator and just need a device that will take them from place A to place B will not be disappointed with the BQ smartphone.

GPS BQ Aquaris C - overview
GPS BQ Aquaris C - overview
GPS BQ Aquaris C - copse
GPS BQ Aquaris C - copse
GPS BQ Aquaris C - bridge
GPS BQ Aquaris C - bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 520 - overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 - overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 - copse
GPS Garmin Edge 520 - copse
GPS Garmin Edge 520 - bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 520 - bridge

Telephony and Call Quality - Tinny ear-speaker

The Aquaris C comes with the standard Android phone app, which is very simple and therefore easy to use. According to the manufacturer, the smartphone supports VoLTE, as long as it is enabled by the network operator.

The ear-speaker can get very loud. However, the sound becomes distorted and noisy at high volume. The microphone also fails to reproduce our voice very clearly. The smartphone sounds quite good in speaker mode though. Our voice is reproduced faithfully and there is no noise to speak of. All in all, the call quality is quite good, considering the price. 

Cameras - Good enough during daylight

Shot with the front camera
Shot with the front camera

The Aquaris C has a 5 MP camera on the front, which is usual for a smartphone with such a price tag. The dynamic range is mediocre, but the sharpness is passable and the color reproduction is okay as well.

The 13 MP rear camera is also not uncommon in smartphones in this price range: Only the Xiaomi Redmi 6 features a dual-camera setup, here the second lens serves as a depth sensor to create the Bokeh effect in portrait mode. The BQ Aquaris C cannot do that. What it can do, though, is take nicely-detailed, color-accurate pictures. There is some black crush in the dark areas of the image and the smartphone is not fit for night photography: The images look noisy and blurry.

The main camera can record 1080p video at 30 FPS. The sharpness and the color reproduction are okay, and the sensor reacts quickly and smoothly to changes in lighting.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

In our lab, we photograph our test chart and the ColorChecker color chart with the main camera. This test shows that the images taken with the rear camera are quite dim. However, they are still very well-detailed.

Test chart
Test chart
Test chart: detail
Test chart: detail
ColorChecker color chart
ColorChecker color chart

Accessories and Warranty - BQ smartphone with a standard warranty

The BQ Aquaris C comes with a 24-month warranty. The box contains a charger, a USB cable and a SIM card removal tool. You can also buy a case specifically designed for the Aquaris C from BQ’s online store.

Input Devices and Handling - Precise controls

The touchscreen puts up some resistance. Other than that, it works pretty well, even at the edges and in the corners. The software keys at the bottom of the screen are used to navigate through the menus. The power button and the volume rocker can be found on the right side of the device. They respond to inputs accurately, but with a slight delay.

The fingerprint sensor on the back also responds to inputs accurately, but again with a slight delay.

Keyboard in landscape mode
Keyboard in landscape mode
Keyboard in portait mode
Keyboard in portait mode

Display - BQ Aquaris C with a bright screen

Pixel arrangement
Pixel arrangement

Our review device comes with a very bright IPS display. It has an average brightness of 608 cd/m², which is much higher than what other competing devices offer. The brightness distribution of 91% is also very good. 

In terms of resolution, the Nokia 5.1 takes the lead with its Full HD display. All other devices, including the Aquaris C, have a resolution of 1440x720. Due to the 2:1 aspect ratio, 16:9 content is marred by black sidebars on either side of the screen in landscape mode.

578
cd/m²
616
cd/m²
620
cd/m²
576
cd/m²
623
cd/m²
625
cd/m²
579
cd/m²
634
cd/m²
621
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 634 cd/m² Average: 608 cd/m² Minimum: 11.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 623 cd/m²
Contrast: 1021:1 (Black: 0.61 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.5 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 4.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
96.7% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.596
BQ Aquaris C
IPS, 1440x720, 5.45
Nokia 5.1
IPS, 2160x1080, 5.5
Gigaset GS100
IPS, 1440x720, 5.5
Honor 7S
IPS, 1440x720, 5.45
Xiaomi Redmi 6
IPS, 1440x720, 5.45
Screen
24%
-38%
-2%
-12%
Brightness middle
623
447
-28%
442
-29%
422
-32%
373
-40%
Brightness
608
451
-26%
446
-27%
417
-31%
361
-41%
Brightness Distribution
91
88
-3%
86
-5%
96
5%
94
3%
Black Level *
0.61
0.16
74%
0.35
43%
0.58
5%
0.53
13%
Contrast
1021
2794
174%
1263
24%
728
-29%
704
-31%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.5
4.5
-0%
8.03
-78%
3.29
27%
4.22
6%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.33
7.9
-8%
15.81
-116%
6.91
6%
10.14
-38%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.8
4.5
6%
10.4
-117%
3.1
35%
3.3
31%
Gamma
2.596 85%
2.31 95%
2.02 109%
2.219 99%
2.321 95%
CCT
7557 86%
7517 86%
10070 65%
6873 95%
6862 95%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 793.7 Hz ≤ 15 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 793.7 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 15 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 793.7 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9152 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The screen has a mediocre black value of 0.61 cd/m², hence the mediocre contrast ratio of 1021:1. The colors are also not as vivid as we would have liked them to be. PWM crops up when the brightness is set to a low level. However, it has a very high frequency, which means that even susceptible individuals should not experience any problems because of it.    

We use a spectrophotometer running SpectraCal's CalMAN software to examine color accuracy more closely. Here, we observed significant color deviations from the sRGB color space. Moreover, the screen suffers from a visible bluish cast.

CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color space coverage
CalMAN color space coverage
CalMAN grayscale
CalMAN grayscale
CalMAN saturation
CalMAN saturation

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
34 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 17 ms rise
↘ 17 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 87 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
79 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 43 ms rise
↘ 36 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 98 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Thanks to the high brightness, the Aquaris C is usable outdoors. However, users should avoid direct sunlight. The IPS panel offers very wide viewing angles.

Outdoor use - maximum brightness
Outdoor use - maximum brightness
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance - Old SoC, but good performance

Three years in the smartphone market may feel like an eternity, but that is how long the Snapdragon 425 has been on the market. It is the SoC that the Aquaris C features. Nevertheless, the Snapdragon 425 still offers a lot of performance for a smartphone in this price range. The Aquaris C cannot keep up with the Redmi 6 or the Nokia 5.1, but it still takes a spot in the middle of our comparison chart. In practice, users can navigate through the menus quite smoothly.

The graphics unit also takes a spot in the middle of our comparison chart. The Adreno 308 can run some modern titles. However, it does not support many current APIs, which is why it cannot run all of the modern games.

Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
1218 Points ∼27%
Nokia 5.1
2396 Points ∼53% +97%
Honor 7S
1172 Points ∼26% -4%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
2799 Points ∼62% +130%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (1113 - 1460, n=12)
1340 Points ∼30% +10%
Average of class Smartphone (2461 - 21070, n=214)
4510 Points ∼100% +270%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
1769 Points ∼41%
Nokia 5.1
3225 Points ∼74% +82%
Gigaset GS100
1418 Points ∼33% -20%
Honor 7S
1748 Points ∼40% -1%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
3660 Points ∼84% +107%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (883 - 1939, n=14)
1766 Points ∼41% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (2542 - 11598, n=264)
4338 Points ∼100% +145%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
647 Points ∼51%
Nokia 5.1
825 Points ∼65% +28%
Gigaset GS100
579 Points ∼45% -11%
Honor 7S
644 Points ∼51% 0%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
824 Points ∼65% +27%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (541 - 692, n=14)
656 Points ∼51% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (674 - 4824, n=265)
1274 Points ∼100% +97%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
3281 Points ∼68%
Nokia 5.1
3350 Points ∼70% +2%
Gigaset GS100
2630 Points ∼55% -20%
Honor 7S
2467 Points ∼51% -25%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
4801 Points ∼100% +46%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2829 - 3629, n=14)
3279 Points ∼68% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (3146 - 9868, n=273)
4628 Points ∼96% +41%
Work performance score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
4058 Points ∼65%
Nokia 5.1
4234 Points ∼68% +4%
Honor 7S
Points ∼0% -100%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
6200 Points ∼100% +53%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (4009 - 4813, n=14)
4077 Points ∼66% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (4009 - 13531, n=441)
5043 Points ∼81% +24%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
861 Points ∼50%
Nokia 5.1
1248 Points ∼73% +45%
Gigaset GS100
611 Points ∼36% -29%
Honor 7S
629 Points ∼37% -27%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
971 Points ∼57% +13%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (375 - 911, n=13)
831 Points ∼49% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (375 - 4493, n=309)
1707 Points ∼100% +98%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
247 Points ∼12%
Nokia 5.1
572 Points ∼28% +132%
Gigaset GS100
131 Points ∼6% -47%
Honor 7S
162 Points ∼8% -34%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
647 Points ∼31% +162%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (118 - 250, n=13)
238 Points ∼12% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (131 - 14951, n=309)
2056 Points ∼100% +732%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
294 Points ∼17%
Nokia 5.1
650 Points ∼38% +121%
Gigaset GS100
159 Points ∼9% -46%
Honor 7S
194 Points ∼11% -34%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
699 Points ∼40% +138%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (145 - 298, n=13)
282 Points ∼16% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (159 - 7856, n=310)
1731 Points ∼100% +489%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
845 Points ∼54%
Nokia 5.1
1348 Points ∼86% +60%
Gigaset GS100
532 Points ∼34% -37%
Honor 7S
620 Points ∼40% -27%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
1050 Points ∼67% +24%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (622 - 907, n=14)
864 Points ∼55% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 4215, n=401)
1565 Points ∼100% +85%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
55 Points ∼3%
Nokia 5.1
131 Points ∼8% +138%
Gigaset GS100
104 Points ∼6% +89%
Honor 7S
125 Points ∼8% +127%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
523 Points ∼32% +851%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (31 - 55, n=14)
47.2 Points ∼3% -14%
Average of class Smartphone (46 - 8312, n=401)
1637 Points ∼100% +2876%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
69 Points ∼5%
Nokia 5.1
164 Points ∼12% +138%
Gigaset GS100
127 Points ∼9% +84%
Honor 7S
152 Points ∼11% +120%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
589 Points ∼42% +754%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (39 - 70, n=14)
59.7 Points ∼4% -13%
Average of class Smartphone (58 - 6454, n=409)
1397 Points ∼100% +1925%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
10105 Points ∼78%
Nokia 5.1
12452 Points ∼96% +23%
Gigaset GS100
9159 Points ∼70% -9%
Honor 7S
8269 Points ∼64% -18%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
11048 Points ∼85% +9%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (3958 - 10714, n=14)
9677 Points ∼74% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (3958 - 37475, n=557)
13000 Points ∼100% +29%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
5434 Points ∼30%
Nokia 5.1
11324 Points ∼62% +108%
Gigaset GS100
2878 Points ∼16% -47%
Honor 7S
4346 Points ∼24% -20%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
9536 Points ∼52% +75%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2546 - 5547, n=14)
5258 Points ∼29% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (1152 - 162695, n=557)
18177 Points ∼100% +235%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
6056 Points ∼40%
Nokia 5.1
11557 Points ∼76% +91%
Gigaset GS100
3395 Points ∼22% -44%
Honor 7S
4203 Points ∼27% -31%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
9835 Points ∼64% +62%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2951 - 6186, n=14)
5809 Points ∼38% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=558)
15305 Points ∼100% +153%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
7.6 fps ∼24%
Nokia 5.1
19 fps ∼60% +150%
Gigaset GS100
5 fps ∼16% -34%
Honor 7S
6.1 fps ∼19% -20%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
19 fps ∼60% +150%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (3.4 - 7.8, n=14)
7.36 fps ∼23% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=582)
31.8 fps ∼100% +318%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
13 fps ∼50%
Nokia 5.1
17 fps ∼65% +31%
Gigaset GS100
8.2 fps ∼32% -37%
Honor 7S
10 fps ∼38% -23%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
26 fps ∼100% +100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (6.4 - 14, n=14)
13 fps ∼50% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=585)
25.3 fps ∼97% +95%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
2.8 fps ∼16%
Nokia 5.1
8.22 fps ∼48% +194%
Honor 7S
2.8 fps ∼16% 0%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
9.4 fps ∼55% +236%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (1.3 - 2.8, n=14)
2.68 fps ∼16% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 132, n=504)
17.1 fps ∼100% +511%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
5.6 fps ∼33%
Nokia 5.1
7.7 fps ∼45% +38%
Gigaset GS100
4.4 fps ∼26% -21%
Honor 7S
5.7 fps ∼34% +2%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
17 fps ∼100% +204%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (3.7 - 6.4, n=14)
5.64 fps ∼33% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=507)
16.3 fps ∼96% +191%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
43307 Points ∼36%
Honor 7S
39468 Points ∼33% -9%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
75706 Points ∼63% +75%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (32557 - 46710, n=9)
43145 Points ∼36% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (17073 - 348178, n=188)
119589 Points ∼100% +176%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
36719 Points ∼47%
Nokia 5.1
56750 Points ∼73% +55%
Gigaset GS100
30702 Points ∼40% -16%
Xiaomi Redmi 6
57169 Points ∼74% +56%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (30924 - 39106, n=14)
36785 Points ∼47% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 254229, n=405)
77630 Points ∼100% +111%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
10 Points ∼1%
Nokia 5.1
10 Points ∼1% 0%
Gigaset GS100
10 Points ∼1% 0%
Honor 7S
10 Points ∼1% 0%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (10 - 802, n=14)
641 Points ∼91% +6310%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=516)
701 Points ∼100% +6910%
Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
434 Points ∼25%
Nokia 5.1
762 Points ∼43% +76%
Gigaset GS100
149 Points ∼8% -66%
Honor 7S
187 Points ∼11% -57%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (428 - 447, n=14)
438 Points ∼25% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=516)
1755 Points ∼100% +304%
Memory (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
457 Points ∼36%
Nokia 5.1
144 Points ∼11% -68%
Gigaset GS100
431 Points ∼34% -6%
Honor 7S
920 Points ∼72% +101%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (367 - 1372, n=14)
717 Points ∼56% +57%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 6283, n=516)
1276 Points ∼100% +179%
System (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
1187 Points ∼46%
Nokia 5.1
2589 Points ∼100% +118%
Gigaset GS100
1115 Points ∼43% -6%
Honor 7S
1341 Points ∼52% +13%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (1043 - 1477, n=14)
1283 Points ∼50% +8%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=516)
2565 Points ∼99% +116%
Overall (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris C
219 Points ∼17%
Nokia 5.1
230 Points ∼18% +5%
Gigaset GS100
162 Points ∼13% -26%
Honor 7S
217 Points ∼17% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (219 - 891, n=14)
667 Points ∼52% +205%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=520)
1274 Points ∼100% +482%

Legend

 
BQ Aquaris C Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Qualcomm Adreno 308, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Nokia 5.1 Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Gigaset GS100 Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 7S Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Xiaomi Redmi 6 Mediatek Helio P22 MT6762, PowerVR GE8320, 32 GB eMMC Flash

In this price range, the smartphone offers average performance when it comes to browsing the web.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=440)
37 Points ∼100% +107%
Xiaomi Redmi 6 (Chrome 70)
22.736 Points ∼61% +27%
Nokia 5.1 (Chrome 70)
22.522 Points ∼61% +26%
BQ Aquaris C (Chrome 70)
17.914 Points ∼48%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (15.9 - 18.7, n=13)
17.7 Points ∼48% -1%
Honor 7S (Chrome 67)
17.542 Points ∼47% -2%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
13.378 Points ∼36% -25%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=576)
5658 Points ∼100% +79%
Xiaomi Redmi 6 (Chrome 70)
4257 Points ∼75% +35%
Nokia 5.1 (Chrome 70)
4042 Points ∼71% +28%
BQ Aquaris C (Chrome 70)
3160 Points ∼56%
Honor 7S (Chrome 67)
3132 Points ∼55% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2503 - 3289, n=14)
2999 Points ∼53% -5%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
2093 Points ∼37% -34%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Honor 7S (Chrome 67)
17851.5 ms * ∼100% -35%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
15962 ms * ∼89% -20%
BQ Aquaris C (Chrome 70)
13253 ms * ∼74%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (10742 - 16192, n=14)
13014 ms * ∼73% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=596)
11366 ms * ∼64% +14%
Nokia 5.1 (Chrome 70)
11043 ms * ∼62% +17%
Xiaomi Redmi 6 (Chrome 70)
10846 ms * ∼61% +18%

* ... smaller is better

The internal storage is relatively fast. The SD card reader also offers good transfer rates. The loading times are acceptable, but longer than on devices with faster storage.

BQ Aquaris CNokia 5.1Gigaset GS100Honor 7SXiaomi Redmi 6Average 16 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
-17%
-34%
12%
79%
-32%
16%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
59.18 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
55.53 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-6%
61 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
3%
61.9 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
5%
64.4 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
9%
37.6 (6.38 - 65.4, n=113)
-36%
46.4 (3.4 - 87.1, n=333)
-22%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
83.02 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
72.58 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401)
-13%
79.5 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-4%
80.1 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-4%
82.9 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
0%
56.4 (10.8 - 87.7, n=113)
-32%
64.6 (8.2 - 96.5, n=333)
-22%
Random Write 4KB
9.8
4.93
-50%
6.2
-37%
13.24
35%
36.3
270%
7.48 (0.49 - 38.6, n=227)
-24%
17 (0.14 - 250, n=624)
73%
Random Read 4KB
39.1
44.24
13%
17.6
-55%
39.69
2%
52.5
34%
20.1 (2.49 - 61.7, n=227)
-49%
39.5 (1.59 - 173, n=624)
1%
Sequential Write 256KB
45.7
25.96
-43%
24
-47%
67.07
47%
118.4
159%
41.5 (8.74 - 97.6, n=227)
-9%
82.3 (2.99 - 253, n=624)
80%
Sequential Read 256KB
275.9
264.47
-4%
97.2
-65%
237.57
-14%
287
4%
159 (9.66 - 294, n=227)
-42%
235 (12.1 - 912, n=624)
-15%

Games - Not compatible with the latest titles

We benchmark a few games on the Aquaris C to examine whether or not it is fit for gaming. Simple titles such as "Angry Birds 2" run smoothly and without any problems. The loading times in such games are also quite good. In demanding titles such as "Arena of Valor", there were a few stutters in the game menu and then the game crashed during our benchmark. Other than that, the game runs smoothly, but only on low settings.

The touchscreen and the motion sensor work well even in fast-paced titles such as "Temple Run 2". Because the graphics unit does not support the latest APIs, certain games are missing from the Google Play Store, but these titles are not playable on the Aquaris C anyway. The demanding portions of gaming benchmarks cannot be selected as well.

Temple Run 2
Temple Run 2
Angry Birds 2
Angry Birds 2
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor

Emissions - The BQ smartphone does not get hot

Temperature

The BQ Aquaris C does not get hot. Under load, the temperatures peak at 35.2 °C (~95.36 °F). The case never gets really warm. When idle, the smartphone does not get warm at all.

Max. Load
 33.5 °C
92 F
31.7 °C
89 F
31.1 °C
88 F
 
 33.3 °C
92 F
31.4 °C
89 F
32.1 °C
90 F
 
 32.9 °C
91 F
31.5 °C
89 F
31.6 °C
89 F
 
Maximum: 33.5 °C = 92 F
Average: 32.1 °C = 90 F
32.1 °C
90 F
33.1 °C
92 F
35.2 °C
95 F
31.8 °C
89 F
32.6 °C
91 F
34 °C
93 F
31.2 °C
88 F
32.2 °C
90 F
33.6 °C
92 F
Maximum: 35.2 °C = 95 F
Average: 32.9 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  34.9 °C = 95 F | Room Temperature 21.8 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 32.1 °C / 90 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 33.5 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 35.6 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 35.2 °C / 95 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.8 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Heat distribution at the back
Heat distribution at the back
Heat distribution at the front
Heat distribution at the front

Speakers

Pink Noise
Pink Noise

The small mono-speaker on the bottom of the smartphone gets really loud: It can fill a quiet mid-size room with sound. The smartphone produces a rather high-pitched sound that can get uncomfortable, especially in the highs. There is no distortion at high volume and the speaker does not sound warm. All in all, the Aquaris C offers an average sound quality, which is not unusual for a device in this price range.

You can connect external speakers or headphones via either the 3.5-mm audio jack or Bluetooth. You can get a much better listening experience this way. 

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.536.32534.936.53139.538.24038.639.5503945.3632833.88029.728.610028.526.612524.72816023.734.520022.546.52502150.631520.857.240019.965.550020.1676301966.480018.570.1100019.270.412501975.9160018.176.320001875.1250017.477.1315017.677.8400017.879.150001881.563001876.180001874.6100001875.9125001873160001858.6SPL73.164.469.464.130.688.5N31.416.525.917.21.573.6median 18.5median 70.4Delta210.930.738.4252526.820.626.326.429.833.327.425.42124.919.524.118.821.919.220.417.625.816.936.115.844.11550.71558.714.76414.868.914.671.714.372.113.471.814.473.614.473.114.872.11574.414.878.114.773.91569.414.967.215.267.915.757.626.884.80.957.3median 15median 67.91.214.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseBQ Aquaris CNokia 5.1
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
BQ Aquaris C audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (88.5 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 29.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 31% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 58% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 58% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 34% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Nokia 5.1 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.8 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 39.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 6.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (27% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 66% of all tested devices in this class were better, 9% similar, 25% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 79% of all tested devices were better, 5% similar, 16% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life - The Aquaris C lasts for a long time

Energy Management

Our review device draws very little power. In our comparison chart, it is only beaten by the Xiaomi Redmi 6. Regardless of the load, the energy consumption of the BQ Aquaris C always remains within reasonable bounds.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.7 / 1.9 / 2.5 Watt
Load midlight 4.1 / 5.2 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
BQ Aquaris C
3000 mAh
Nokia 5.1
2970 mAh
Gigaset GS100
3000 mAh
Honor 7S
3020 mAh
Xiaomi Redmi 6
3000 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
-26%
-24%
-82%
21%
-20%
-1%
Idle Minimum *
0.7
1.38
-97%
1.3
-86%
2.5
-257%
0.6
14%
1.134 (0.54 - 4.02, n=14)
-62%
0.878 (0.2 - 3.4, n=656)
-25%
Idle Average *
1.9
2.14
-13%
2.1
-11%
3
-58%
1.3
32%
2.28 (1.2 - 6, n=14)
-20%
1.725 (0.6 - 6.2, n=655)
9%
Idle Maximum *
2.5
2.2
12%
2.9
-16%
3.8
-52%
2.1
16%
2.64 (1.62 - 6.64, n=14)
-6%
2 (0.74 - 6.6, n=656)
20%
Load Average *
4.1
4.21
-3%
4.4
-7%
5.4
-32%
3
27%
4.31 (2.9 - 9.6, n=14)
-5%
4.04 (0.8 - 10.8, n=650)
1%
Load Maximum *
5.2
6.81
-31%
5.3
-2%
5.7
-10%
4.4
15%
5.51 (4.3 - 7.34, n=14)
-6%
5.78 (1.2 - 14.2, n=650)
-11%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The BQ Aquaris C lasts nine hours and forty three minutes in our Wi-Fi test. Nevertheless, it still takes a spot in the middle of our comparison chart, mostly because the Honor 7S performed very well in our battery test. The BQ smartphone does not offer exceptional battery life, but it should last all day and, with moderate use, two days.

The charger supports Quick Charge 3.0. The battery takes less than two hours to fully charge. However, you can get a few hours of battery life in power-saving mode even after a few minutes on the charger.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
9h 43min
BQ Aquaris C
3000 mAh
Nokia 5.1
2970 mAh
Gigaset GS100
3000 mAh
Honor 7S
3020 mAh
Xiaomi Redmi 6
3000 mAh
Battery Runtime
-10%
-9%
44%
19%
Reader / Idle
1021
1425
WiFi v1.3
583
523
-10%
532
-9%
840
44%
695
19%
Load
175
238
H.264
631
752

Pros

+ rigid case
+ all-day battery life
+ great hardware for this price range
+ fast Wi-Fi
+ bright screen
+ okay GPS

Cons

- few LTE bands are supported
- mediocre speaker
- modern games are not playable

Verdict - A lot for a low price

In review: BQ Aquaris C. Review device provided courtesy of: notebooksbilliger.de
In review: BQ Aquaris C. Review device provided courtesy of: notebooksbilliger.de

The BQ Aquaris C benefits greatly from the price drop that occurred since its release in August. It can be had for as little as 100 Euros ($113), but it is still quite a bargain at 140 Euros ($158): Stable and fast Wi-Fi, good performance, all-day battery life and a bright display. Moreover, NFC and USB-C are very rare features in this price range, and fast charging is also just as rare.

The BQ Aquaris C brings a lot of features for a very low price.

With the BQ Aquaris C, you will get stock Android, okay GPS, a camera that takes passable images in daylight and a rigid case. The storage and the number of supported LTE bands are limited by the price of the smartphone. All in all, the Aquaris C represents a good package, which you can get for a very good price.

BQ Aquaris C - 12/15/2018 v6
Florian Schmitt

Chassis
79%
Keyboard
0 / 75 → 
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 74%
Weight
92%
Battery
92%
Display
85%
Games Performance
7 / 63 → 10%
Application Performance
32 / 70 → 45%
Temperature
93%
Noise
100%
Audio
55 / 91 → 60%
Camera
67%
Average
69%
80%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > BQ Aquaris C Smartphone Review
Florian Schmitt, 2018-12-15 (Update: 2018-12-18)