'Predator' just got better: the cheapest heat-seeking rugged smartphone has an upgrade

One of the best rugged smartphones we've seen, the Blackview BV9800 Pro, now has a successor – the unimaginatively titled BV9900 Pro. 

Although it costs just a little more than the handset it replaces and is more of an iterative upgrade than a wholesale transformation, that doesn't mean it's not special.

If there’s one smartphone feature that captures everyone’s imagination, it's a thermal camera. Already available in the likes of the Cat S60 and Cat S61, thermal cameras allow you to generate color-coded images based on heat sources in the vicinity.

Until recently, thermal cameras were only available either as standalone products (usually courtesy of FLIR) or in smartphones that were neither cutting edge nor cheap.

Blackview has changed all that with the BV9800 Pro (winner of our coveted Editor's Choice award back in December 2019), which combines a FLIR Lepton thermal sensor with an extremely reasonable price tag.

The BV9900Pro is currently on sale for $456.49 (£371.54/AU$730.80) at Blackview's official store on AliExpress, with free delivery worldwide.

The camera uses Sony's IMX586 48-megapixel sensor – the same sensor used in the Honor 20 Pro and the OnePlus 7T.

It has a smaller 5.84-inch FHD+ display (with Corning Gorilla Glass 5), a large 4.38Ah battery, 8GB RAM, 128GB onboard memory, an upgraded Mediatek P90 8-core SOC and a 16-megapixel front-facing camera.

There’s still no VOC sensor, but it does feature Android 9 Pie, IP69/Mil-STD-810G certification, wireless charging, NFC, air pressure detection and face/fingerprint unlock.

If you're in the market for a new rugged device, the BV9800 Pro could be a great choice.

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