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Blackview A9 Pro Smartphone Review

Florian Schaar, 👁 Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Martin Jungowski), 07/19/2017

Petite. Classy. Slow. Timeless and clean design is one of Chinese manufacturer Blackview's trademarks. Next to Blackview's outdoor smartphones, the petite A9 Pro seems almost out of place. The smartphone's hardware cannot keep up with Blackview's other offerings. Still, the A9 had a few tricks up its sleeves.

For the original German review, see here.

Thanks to its 5-inch 1280x720 resolution display, the Blackview A9 Pro fits right in with all the other entry-level mid-range smartphones. However, when compared with Blackview’s other devices, the A9 Pro’s hardware seems rather poor: 2 GB of RAM, an MT6737 MediaTek quad-core SoC, and 16 GB of storage. In addition, instead of the usual 13 MP camera, the A9 features only an 8 MP shooter. On the flip side is its price of just $100. Yet, even considering the A9 Pro’s excellent overall build quality, it still somehow does not make any sense, and the discrepancy between the poor interior on the one side, and the excellent exterior on the other, becomes annoyingly obvious. Let us find out whether or not Blackview has done this on purpose, shall we?

The competition consists of other comparable smartphones from China (Oukitel U7 PlusGretel A9) as well as models made by well-known manufacturers, such as the Alcatel Shine Lite and the Asus ZenFone 3 Max. Every single one of those smartphones is equipped with the exact same MediaTek MT6737 SoC.

Blackview A9 Pro (A Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel 294 PPI, 10-point touch, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 11 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: headset, Card Reader: MicroSD, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0, 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz 3G: WCDMA 900/2100MHz 4G: FDD-LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600MHz , Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.2 x 143.6 x 72.4 ( = 0.36 x 5.65 x 2.85 in)
Battery
3000 mAh Lithium-Ion, removeable
Operating System
Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera
Webcam: dual camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix 0.3 MP + 8 MP dual camera
Secondary Camera: 2 MPix front-facing camera
Additional features
Speakers: 1, Keyboard: on-screen, Keyboard Light: yes, Keine Garantie oder Gewährleistung Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
170 g ( = 6 oz / 0.37 pounds), Power Supply: 61 g ( = 2.15 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
90 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

We have to compliment Blackview for the elegant high-quality case. While its front has been clearly designed with the iPhone in mind, its rear is made of plastic for a reason: in addition to feeling very pleasant it is removable and offers access to the user-replaceable battery, the two SIM card slots (one Nano and one Micro SIM), and the microSD card slot. We found no faults with the overall design, although beauty obviously lies in the eye of the beholder. Only its weight of 170 g (~6 oz) was a little too high for our personal taste.

Size Comparison

157.6 mm / 6.2 inch 78.4 mm / 3.09 inch 9.15 mm / 0.3602 inch 195 g0.4299 lbs154.3 mm / 6.07 inch 78 mm / 3.07 inch 8.9 mm / 0.3504 inch 177 g0.3902 lbs149.5 mm / 5.89 inch 73.7 mm / 2.9 inch 8.55 mm / 0.3366 inch 148 g0.3263 lbs146.6 mm / 5.77 inch 72.8 mm / 2.87 inch 8.7 mm / 0.3425 inch 166 g0.366 lbs143.6 mm / 5.65 inch 72.4 mm / 2.85 inch 9.2 mm / 0.3622 inch 170 g0.3748 lbs141.5 mm / 5.57 inch 71.2 mm / 2.8 inch 7.45 mm / 0.2933 inch 156 g0.3439 lbs

Connectivity

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The MediaTek MT6737 quad-core SoC is accompanied by an ARM Mali T720 GPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of eMMC storage. At the top, the phone features a 3.5 mm headphone/headset jack, and a USB-C charging while data transfer port can be found at the bottom. An appropriate USB-OTG cable is included. To the left of the USB-C port is the single speaker with the speaker grille nicely milled into the case, while to the right of it is a microphone slit. The high-quality power button and volume rocker can be found on the right-hand side. Both buttons have very clear and precise feedback and actuation points, and as is very common for Blackview smartphones, the volume rocker is slightly corrugated for easier differentiation from the power button. Unlike other Android smartphones, the A9 does not have the usual set of buttons (back, home, multitasking) instead, a single button underneath the display that acts as both back (single tap) and home (tap and hold) button. Despite its design, it cannot be pressed and contains the fingerprint reader. While unusual at first, it is pretty intuitive and easy to get used to. We have missed the multitasking view button occasionally though. If you prefer the default Android button layout, it can be enabled in the A9’s settings via on-screen buttons. And while we admit that the single-button solution is not going to be perfect for everybody, we do expect it to find at least some fans.

Software

The A9 comes with Android 7.0 and the usual set of Google apps pre-installed and is thus up-to-date. As is quite common in Blackview smartphones, their custom UI of Android lacks an app drawer, and as with the iPhone all apps can be found on the various screens. Bloatware is non-existent on this smartphone, and whatever preloaded software you do not fancy can be easily uninstalled. Running an anti-virus scan returned nothing, and the device was neither rooted nor did it have development options enabled by default. This is often the case with Chinese smartphones, and can lead to them being unable to run banking apps due to security restrictions.

A9 Pro home screen
A9 Pro home screen
The software lacks the usual Android app drawer.
The software lacks the usual Android app drawer.
All apps are located on the various screens.
All apps are located on the various screens.

Communication and GPS

There is no official information as to what Wi-Fi chip the A9 features, but based on the speeds we were able to measure (50 Mbps) we suspect it to be an 802.11n chip. Furthermore, it only supports the 2.4 GHz band. That said, it fits right in with its competitors. Unfortunately, its LTE support is restricted to bands not commonly used in the U.S.: 800, 900, 1800, 2100, and 2600 MHz.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Blackview A9 Pro
Mali-T720, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
47.9 MBit/s ∼100%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 32 GB eMMC Flash
47.4 MBit/s ∼99% -1%
Alcatel Shine Lite
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
46.5 MBit/s ∼97% -3%
Gretel A9
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
42.3 MBit/s ∼88% -12%
Blackview A8 Max
Mali-T720, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
34.3 MBit/s ∼72% -28%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Gretel A9
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
51.4 MBit/s ∼100% +10%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 32 GB eMMC Flash
49.7 MBit/s ∼97% +6%
Blackview A8 Max
Mali-T720, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
47.5 MBit/s ∼92% +1%
Blackview A9 Pro
Mali-T720, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
46.9 MBit/s ∼91%
Alcatel Shine Lite
Mali-T720 MP2, MT6737, 16 GB eMMC Flash
42.3 MBit/s ∼82% -10%
GPS signal outdoors
GPS signal outdoors
GPS signal indoors
GPS signal indoors

The A9 supports location services only via GPS, and GLONASS or other satellite systems are not supported at all. A decent GPS signal presupposed, accuracy was around 4m (13 ft) outdoors. Compared to the Garmin Edge 500, the user’s current location is obtained much less frequently and therefore, recorded tracks are not as detailed. On our test track, we have noticed this particularly around the bridge area. Overall, GPS navigation should work as expected.

GPS test track Blackview A9 Pro
GPS test track Blackview A9 Pro
GPS test track Blackview A9 Pro
GPS test track Blackview A9 Pro
GPS test track Blackview A9 Pro
GPS test track Blackview A9 Pro
GPS test track Garmin Edge 500
GPS test track Garmin Edge 500
GPS test track Garmin Edge 500
GPS test track Garmin Edge 500
GPS test track Garmin Edge 500
GPS test track Garmin Edge 500

Telephony and Call Quality

The phone uses Google’s default phone app for making and receiving phone calls, as is the case with all Blackview smartphones. As we have come to expect from Blackview, call quality was very good. The included headset was okay, even though the headphones lack bass.

Cameras

According to the manufacturer, the A9 Pro’s cameras come from Samsung.

The rear-facing dual-camera in particular takes very high-quality photos – something that is quite rare in cheap Chinese smartphones. What the photos lack in saturation they make up for in sharpness and the second camera is used for a depth of field technique simulating a DSLR. Blackview seems to have finally gotten our message, and has opted for a high-quality 8 MP camera instead of the high-quantity megapixel beasts of the past.

Once you get the comparatively slow autofocus to do its job, the photos turn out quite nicely. Due to its slow speed, quick spur-of-the-moment snapshots will almost always end up being blurry and out of focus.

The front-facing camera’s photos are overall similar, but unable to keep up with the main camera when it comes to sharpness. Instead, they look very mushy.

The last three photos were all taken with the A9 Pro.

front-facing camera
front-facing camera
rear-facing camera
rear-facing camera
front-facing camera
front-facing camera
rear-facing camera
rear-facing camera
rear-facing camera
... or ...
... A9 Pro?

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

Color accuracy was noticeably off, although we only noticed that when directly comparing it to other smartphones. When enlarged, the test chart was blurry, and due to the camera's low resolution details are completely lost.

test chart enlarged
test chart enlarged
test chart
test chart
ColorChecker comparison
ColorChecker comparison

Accessories and Warranty

Included in Blackview’s standard box are a translucent protective case made of silicone, a USB-C OTG cable, a charger, a headset, and a screen protector. Additional accessories are not available, and neither is a warranty. Blackview kindly asks its users to contact them in case of problems.

Some sellers offer extra warranty for the products they sell – if the warranty is important for you, you might want to look into that before you purchase the phone.

Input Devices and Handling

Using the A9 Pro was very comfortable. The fast and snappy 10-point multi-touch display worked like a charm and passed our piano app test with flying colors. The aforementioned lack of the standard set of Android buttons is overcome with the single button underneath the display that acts in three ways: fingerprint reader, back, and home button. The fingerprint reader was not the fastest – sometimes a short tap was enough to unlock the phone, other times we needed three attempts to finally get it unlocked. We assume that its slim design is at least partly at fault for this behavior. The back function is achieved by a single tap, the home function by a tap and hold. Overall, we liked this approach and using only one button instead of three is a pretty elegant solution. However, we do understand that some users will miss the multitasking button and that it certainly is not ideal for all use cases. If you are not happy with the single button, the three standard Android buttons can be activated as on-screen buttons in the A9 Pro’s settings.

Display

With its very high brightness of 466 nits on average, the display is certainly one of the better screens we have seen. The rather low display resolution of 1280x720 is acceptable considering the smartphone’s low price. The display’s individual pixels are visible from a close distance. Overall, the display is one of the A9 Pro’s strong points.

442
cd/m²
468
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
458
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
484
cd/m²
449
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
481
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 484 cd/m² Average: 466.1 cd/m² Minimum: 20.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 473 cd/m²
Contrast: 1351:1 (Black: 0.35 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.4 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 4.7 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
Gamma: 2.33
Blackview A9 Pro
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Oukitel U7 Plus
IPS, 1280x720, 5.5
Blackview A8 Max
IPS, 1280x720, 5.5
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
IPS, 1280x720, 5.2
Alcatel Shine Lite
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Gretel A9
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Screen
-36%
-47%
-7%
-31%
-34%
Brightness middle
473
462
-2%
435
-8%
507
7%
425
-10%
380
-20%
Brightness
466
437
-6%
407
-13%
474
2%
406
-13%
370
-21%
Brightness Distribution
91
91
0%
86
-5%
85
-7%
90
-1%
90
-1%
Black Level *
0.35
0.58
-66%
1.08
-209%
0.53
-51%
0.45
-29%
0.39
-11%
Contrast
1351
797
-41%
403
-70%
957
-29%
944
-30%
974
-28%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.4
7.5
-70%
5.7
-30%
4.7
-7%
7.6
-73%
8
-82%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
10.5
12.8
-22%
12.3
-17%
7.2
31%
15.6
-49%
13.6
-30%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.7
8.5
-81%
5.9
-26%
4.8
-2%
6.6
-40%
8.5
-81%
Gamma
2.33 94%
2.54 87%
2.18 101%
2.25 98%
2.44 90%
2.8 79%
CCT
7343 89%
8914 73%
8164 80%
6441 101%
7853 83%
8337 78%

* ... 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 not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9868 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Too bad this cannot be said about its color accuracy. The average DeltaE deviation is at an acceptable 4.4 but its maximum is too high, particularly when it comes to gray scales: they show a blueish tint. If there is nothing to compare the display to, the tint is not noticeable though. Compared to its rivals, the display still fares comparatively well. Most notable are its low black level and resulting high contrast ratio of 1131:1.

ColorChecker sRGB
ColorChecker sRGB
ColorSpace sRGB
ColorSpace sRGB
GrayScale sRGB
GrayScale sRGB
Saturation sRGB
Saturation sRGB

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
23.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 9.2 ms rise
↘ 14 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 31 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.8 ms rise
↘ 19.6 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. » 38 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (40.8 ms).

Outdoor usability is somewhat decent, thanks to its high brightness and despite its fairly reflective display. Obviously, Blackview has decided not to skimp on the display. In everyday use, we found no limitations worth noting.

in direct sunlight
in direct sunlight
in the shade
in the shade

Viewing angles are very good, and distorted colors were not an issue with this display at all. Around the edges, blacks can seem like grays on closer inspection, which once again confirm the device’s high contrast and low black level.

viewing angles
viewing angles

Performance

The A9 Pro’s MediaTek MT6737 SoC and ARM Mali-T720 GPU are probably the lowest of the low-end components that can be found in a new 2017 smartphone. Obviously, the “Pro” in the device’s name is not referring to its level of performance. Quite the contrary: the A9 Pro’s performance is its biggest weakness. While in the benchmarks it fits right in with its equally equipped competitors, subjective usage is rather slow and laggy. Launching apps feels particularly slow on the A9 Pro - it takes around 40 seconds to launch “Real Racing 3”. For a smartphone released in 2017, that is definitely too slow.

Considering the price and the equally slow competition, we should not expect more than the A9 Pro has to offer.

The microSD card reader performed quite poorly as well when benchmarked with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDX 64 GB UHS-II reference card. Neither write nor read speeds are particularly convincing.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
28488 Points ∼10%
Oukitel U7 Plus
28683 Points ∼10% +1%
Blackview A8 Max
30916 Points ∼11% +9%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
30365 Points ∼11% +7%
Alcatel Shine Lite
28724 Points ∼10% +1%
Gretel A9
29237 Points ∼11% +3%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
747 Points ∼18%
Oukitel U7 Plus
705 Points ∼17% -6%
Blackview A8 Max
728 Points ∼17% -3%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
699 Points ∼17% -6%
Alcatel Shine Lite
795 Points ∼19% +6%
Gretel A9
763 Points ∼18% +2%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
79 Points ∼1%
Oukitel U7 Plus
82 Points ∼2% +4%
Blackview A8 Max
82 Points ∼2% +4%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
83 Points ∼2% +5%
Alcatel Shine Lite
81 Points ∼2% +3%
Gretel A9
82 Points ∼2% +4%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
99 Points ∼2%
Oukitel U7 Plus
102 Points ∼2% +3%
Blackview A8 Max
102 Points ∼2% +3%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
103 Points ∼2% +4%
Alcatel Shine Lite
101 Points ∼2% +2%
Gretel A9
102 Points ∼2% +3%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
750 Points ∼18%
Oukitel U7 Plus
749 Points ∼18% 0%
Blackview A8 Max
727 Points ∼17% -3%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
741 Points ∼18% -1%
Alcatel Shine Lite
781 Points ∼19% +4%
Gretel A9
759 Points ∼18% +1%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
134 Points ∼2%
Oukitel U7 Plus
126 Points ∼2% -6%
Blackview A8 Max
129 Points ∼2% -4%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
128 Points ∼2% -4%
Alcatel Shine Lite
126 Points ∼2% -6%
Gretel A9
124 Points ∼1% -7%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
164 Points ∼3%
Oukitel U7 Plus
155 Points ∼2% -5%
Blackview A8 Max
158 Points ∼2% -4%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
157 Points ∼2% -4%
Alcatel Shine Lite
155 Points ∼2% -5%
Gretel A9
152 Points ∼2% -7%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
8528 Points ∼10%
Oukitel U7 Plus
8660 Points ∼10% +2%
Blackview A8 Max
8646 Points ∼10% +1%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
7298 Points ∼8% -14%
Alcatel Shine Lite
8547 Points ∼10% 0%
Gretel A9
8339 Points ∼10% -2%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
3199 Points ∼1%
Oukitel U7 Plus
3137 Points ∼1% -2%
Blackview A8 Max
3284 Points ∼1% +3%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
3369 Points ∼1% +5%
Alcatel Shine Lite
3116 Points ∼1% -3%
Gretel A9
3235 Points ∼1% +1%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
3715 Points ∼2%
Oukitel U7 Plus
3656 Points ∼2% -2%
Blackview A8 Max
3809 Points ∼2% +3%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
3827 Points ∼2% +3%
Alcatel Shine Lite
3628 Points ∼2% -2%
Gretel A9
3744 Points ∼2% +1%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
6 fps ∼0%
Oukitel U7 Plus
5.9 fps ∼0% -2%
Blackview A8 Max
6 fps ∼0% 0%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
5.9 fps ∼0% -2%
Alcatel Shine Lite
5.9 fps ∼0% -2%
Gretel A9
6 fps ∼0% 0%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
9.9 fps ∼0%
Oukitel U7 Plus
9.8 fps ∼0% -1%
Blackview A8 Max
10 fps ∼0% +1%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
10 fps ∼0% +1%
Alcatel Shine Lite
9.8 fps ∼0% -1%
Gretel A9
10 fps ∼0% +1%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
2.2 fps ∼0%
Oukitel U7 Plus
4.4 fps ∼0% +100%
Blackview A8 Max
2.2 fps ∼0% 0%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
2.2 fps ∼0% 0%
Alcatel Shine Lite
2.1 fps ∼0% -5%
Gretel A9
2.2 fps ∼0% 0%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
4.5 fps ∼0%
Oukitel U7 Plus
2.1 fps ∼0% -53%
Blackview A8 Max
4.5 fps ∼0% 0%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
4.7 fps ∼0% +4%
Alcatel Shine Lite
4 fps ∼0% -11%
Gretel A9
4.5 fps ∼0% 0%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
1.4 fps ∼0%
Oukitel U7 Plus
1.4 fps ∼0% 0%
Blackview A8 Max
1.4 fps ∼0% 0%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
1.4 fps ∼0% 0%
Alcatel Shine Lite
1.4 fps ∼0% 0%
Gretel A9
1.4 fps ∼0% 0%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
3.2 fps ∼0%
Oukitel U7 Plus
3.2 fps ∼0% 0%
Blackview A8 Max
3.2 fps ∼0% 0%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
3.4 fps ∼0% +6%
Alcatel Shine Lite
2.9 fps ∼0% -9%
Gretel A9
3.2 fps ∼0% 0%
PCMark for Android
Computer Vision score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
1499 Points ∼18%
Blackview A8 Max
1433 Points ∼17% -4%
Storage score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
1531 Points ∼5%
Blackview A8 Max
2013 Points ∼6% +31%
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
2608 Points ∼25%
Blackview A8 Max
2474 Points ∼24% -5%
Gretel A9
2436 Points ∼24% -7%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
3300 Points ∼24%
Oukitel U7 Plus
3105 Points ∼23% -6%
Blackview A8 Max
3427 Points ∼25% +4%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
2517 Points ∼19% -24%
Alcatel Shine Lite
2415 Points ∼18% -27%
Gretel A9
3293 Points ∼24% 0%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
553 Points ∼27%
Oukitel U7 Plus
573 Points ∼28% +4%
Blackview A8 Max
9 Points ∼0% -98%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
703 Points ∼35% +27%
Alcatel Shine Lite
10 Points ∼0% -98%
Gretel A9
10 Points ∼0% -98%
Graphics (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
213 Points ∼1%
Oukitel U7 Plus
211 Points ∼1% -1%
Blackview A8 Max
211 Points ∼1% -1%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
210 Points ∼1% -1%
Alcatel Shine Lite
206 Points ∼1% -3%
Gretel A9
209 Points ∼1% -2%
Memory (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
685 Points ∼11%
Oukitel U7 Plus
770 Points ∼12% +12%
Blackview A8 Max
733 Points ∼12% +7%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
780 Points ∼12% +14%
Alcatel Shine Lite
479 Points ∼8% -30%
Gretel A9
468 Points ∼7% -32%
System (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
1101 Points ∼7%
Oukitel U7 Plus
1120 Points ∼7% +2%
Blackview A8 Max
1125 Points ∼7% +2%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
1041 Points ∼6% -5%
Alcatel Shine Lite
1057 Points ∼6% -4%
Gretel A9
1030 Points ∼6% -6%
Overall (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
546 Points ∼6%
Oukitel U7 Plus
568 Points ∼7% +4%
Blackview A8 Max
201 Points ∼2% -63%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
588 Points ∼7% +8%
Alcatel Shine Lite
178 Points ∼2% -67%
Gretel A9
176 Points ∼2% -68%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
2311 Points ∼5%
Oukitel U7 Plus
2554 Points ∼5% +11%
Blackview A8 Max
2607 Points ∼5% +13%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
2534 Points ∼5% +10%
Alcatel Shine Lite
2430 Points ∼5% +5%
Gretel A9
2392 Points ∼5% +4%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
15.167 Points ∼5%
Oukitel U7 Plus
17.257 Points ∼5% +14%
Blackview A8 Max
17.188 Points ∼5% +13%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
16.471 Points ∼5% +9%
Alcatel Shine Lite
15.6 Points ∼5% +3%
Gretel A9
16.2 Points ∼5% +7%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
18355.2 ms * ∼31%
Oukitel U7 Plus
14931.4 ms * ∼25% +19%
Blackview A8 Max
13642.6 ms * ∼23% +26%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
14983 ms * ∼25% +18%
Alcatel Shine Lite
15622 ms * ∼26% +15%
Gretel A9
15146 ms * ∼25% +17%
AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
16.47 MB/s ∼19%
Oukitel U7 Plus
22.6 MB/s ∼26% +37%
Blackview A8 Max
18.5 MB/s ∼21% +12%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
29.59 MB/s ∼34% +80%
Alcatel Shine Lite
15.01 MB/s ∼17% -9%
Gretel A9
14.81 MB/s ∼17% -10%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
33.07 MB/s ∼34%
Oukitel U7 Plus
46.63 MB/s ∼48% +41%
Blackview A8 Max
35.94 MB/s ∼37% +9%
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
47.67 MB/s ∼49% +44%
Alcatel Shine Lite
24.14 MB/s ∼25% -27%
Gretel A9
23.83 MB/s ∼25% -28%
Geekbench 4.3
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
1065 Points ∼2%
Gretel A9
938 Points ∼2% -12%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
1486 Points ∼4%
Gretel A9
1468 Points ∼4% -1%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Blackview A9 Pro
562 Points ∼9%
Gretel A9
537 Points ∼8% -4%

Legend

 
Blackview A9 Pro Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Oukitel U7 Plus Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Blackview A8 Max Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Alcatel Shine Lite Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Gretel A9 Mediatek MT6737, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Gaming

As mentioned before, the A9 Pro’s ARM Mali-T720 GPU is not really made for gaming. And long before you even start playing any game, the long application launch times will spoil the gaming experience before you start. Once loaded, games such as “Real Racing 3 were smooth and playable with reduced details. The phone’s sensors worked fast and reliably.

Surprisingly enough, Asphalt 8 ...
Surprisingly enough, Asphalt 8 ...
... turned out to be playable!
... turned out to be playable!

Emissions

Temperature

Apart from the smartphone’s rather poor performance, another weakness was the A9 Pro’s comparatively high surface temperature of up to 45 °C (~113 °F) under load. When idle, it stayed cooler, but was still warm to the touch, yet even the simplest tasks can heat it up noticeably.

front
front
rear
rear
Max. Load
 42.4 °C
108 F
39.9 °C
104 F
35.5 °C
96 F
 
 44.6 °C
112 F
41.7 °C
107 F
37.2 °C
99 F
 
 44.3 °C
112 F
42.4 °C
108 F
36.4 °C
98 F
 
Maximum: 44.6 °C = 112 F
Average: 40.5 °C = 105 F
33.1 °C
92 F
37.3 °C
99 F
41.3 °C
106 F
34.9 °C
95 F
37.4 °C
99 F
44.1 °C
111 F
34.2 °C
94 F
35.7 °C
96 F
41.5 °C
107 F
Maximum: 44.1 °C = 111 F
Average: 37.7 °C = 100 F
Power Supply (max.)  33.8 °C = 93 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 40.5 °C / 105 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 44.6 °C / 112 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 44.1 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 35.2 °C / 95 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

As expected, the single speaker’s performance was pretty poor. No worse than on the average smartphone, just… well, bad. Blackview is not even trying to trick us into thinking there is more than one speaker installed. The only visible speaker grille is located left of the USB port, while a single slit on its right side houses the microphone. As is quite common for smartphones, the speaker entirely lacks bass. Overall volume was okay, but we dare say the speaker performed below average.

The included headphones do not really help, and they lack bass as well.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.632.32525.432.33125.3394032.932.35033.637.56331.646.38028.440.91002738.912520.829.11602228.720021.325.625020.828.531521.240.540019.448.550019.554.363017.758.980017.966.9100017.869.6125017.368.6160017.471200016.772.1250017.274315018.277.3400017.980.9500017.672.9630017.760.3800017.859.21000017.957.81250018.158.41600018.256.2SPL3084.4N1.353.6median 17.9median 58.9Delta1.31531.641.525.435.725.336.532.936.433.636.831.637.128.428272820.826.9222321.324.320.830.421.236.519.445.419.551.917.75517.959.717.863.517.364.217.466.816.766.717.263.718.268.617.975.117.676.617.767.417.865.817.965.718.157.218.245.53081.61.343.6median 17.9median 59.71.313.7hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseBlackview A9 ProOukitel U7 Plus
Blackview A9 Pro audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (84.4 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 27% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 8.6% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (10.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.4% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (11.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (32.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 90% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 6% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 92% of all tested devices were better, 3% similar, 4% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Oukitel U7 Plus audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81.59 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 31.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 6.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 9.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (9.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(-) | overall sound is not linear (33.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 91% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 5% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 94% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 4% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram (checkboxes selectable/desectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Traditionally, Chinese smartphones have not been the most energy efficient, to say the least, and the Blackview A9 Pro is mediocre at best as well. With only 1.49 watts idle power consumption, the Alcatel Shine is almost a full watt below the A9 Pro’s 2.31 watts, and around 2.5 watts below the A9 Pro’s 7 watts power consumption under load. The included 1 A charger is not the fastest, and charging the phone from 0 to 100% takes around 3 hours.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.07 / 0.25 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.06 / 2.31 / 2.43 Watt
Load midlight 6.51 / 6.96 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Blackview A9 Pro
3000 mAh
Oukitel U7 Plus
2500 mAh
Blackview A8 Max
3000 mAh
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
4100 mAh
Alcatel Shine Lite
2460 mAh
Gretel A9
2300 mAh
Power Consumption
3%
22%
14%
37%
20%
Idle Minimum *
1.06
0.86
19%
0.74
30%
0.74
30%
0.6
43%
0.77
27%
Idle Average *
2.31
2.68
-16%
1.97
15%
2.04
12%
1.49
35%
1.99
14%
Idle Maximum *
2.43
2.78
-14%
2.09
14%
2.22
9%
1.66
32%
2.2
9%
Load Average *
6.51
5.33
18%
4.89
25%
5.57
14%
3.75
42%
4.99
23%
Load Maximum *
6.96
6.49
7%
5.09
27%
6.59
5%
4.57
34%
5.14
26%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Battery life is decent overall. However, given that all devices except for the Alcatel Shine had a rather high power consumption, the competition was not too fierce. And while the A9 Pro’s battery life is nothing to write home about it did well enough to last the average user for a full day. It might even survive two full days of light usage, but power users will most probably avoid this device for other reasons anyway.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
19h 17min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
11h 51min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 53min
Blackview A9 Pro
3000 mAh
Oukitel U7 Plus
2500 mAh
Blackview A8 Max
3000 mAh
Asus Zenfone 3 Max ZC520TL
4100 mAh
Alcatel Shine Lite
2460 mAh
Gretel A9
2300 mAh
Battery Runtime
-49%
-29%
14%
-11%
-39%
Reader / Idle
1157
1462
26%
WiFi v1.3
711
366
-49%
506
-29%
814
14%
645
-9%
458
-36%
Load
293
301
3%
255
-13%
174
-41%
H.264
845

Pros

+ dual-camera with depth of field
+ timeless, classy design
+ dual SIM and MicroSD
+ user-replaceable battery
+ fingerprint reader
+ LTE
+ bright display
+ Android 7
+ excellent price-performance ratio

Cons

- slow processor
- slow storage
- high weight
- mediocre battery life

Verdict

In review: Blackview A9 Pro, courtesy of Blackview.
In review: Blackview A9 Pro, courtesy of Blackview.

The Blackview A9 Pro is well made, nice to look at, and has a decent camera to boot. Unfortunately, it becomes very slow as soon as it has more to do than using WhatsApp or browsing the web. Application launch times are noticeably longer than on other smartphones, but if your overall expectations are low you will not be disappointed.

On the plus side are its timeless and solid design, its 10-point multi-touch touchscreen, and a very good rear-facing camera.

Its downsides are its poor performance and mediocre battery life.

As far as entry-level smartphones go, this is most certainly an insider tip with a price tag that will be hard to beat.

Considering its price, the A9 Pro is a very good entry-level smartphone avoiding most of the entry-level pitfalls without adding new ones.

We can recommend this device for those users who actually emphasize the “phone” part of the smartphone and cannot do without a good camera. If, on the other hand, you are running plenty of background applications and services or demanding games, then we advise you to steer clear of the A9 Pro. And never mind the “Pro” in the smartphone’s name – it probably stands for procrastination.

Blackview A9 Pro - 07/11/2017 v6
Florian Schaar

Chassis
81%
Keyboard
67 / 75 → 89%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
40 / 60 → 67%
Weight
91%
Battery
95%
Display
83%
Games Performance
6 / 63 → 10%
Application Performance
29 / 70 → 41%
Temperature
84%
Noise
100%
Audio
55 / 91 → 60%
Camera
57%
Average
67%
78%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Blackview A9 Pro Smartphone Review
Florian Schaar, 2017-07-19 (Update: 2017-07-21)