We at iGeekphone are proud to present you with the Silent Circle Blackphone 2 full review, this price is spectacular as Silent Circle still sells this directly & on Amazon for over $500USD right now. So is this phone any good? Keep on reading to find out.
The Blackphone 2 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa-core processor with 3 Gigabytes of Ram & 32 Gigabytes of internal storage. It has an internal non-removable 3060mAh battery. The body is a full metal unibody , it has a 13 megapixel camera on the back and a 5mp front facing camera. The 5.5 inch FHD Screen is protected by a piece of Corning Gorilla glass 3 on the front and also on the back of the device.
The non-removable 3060mAh battery does a good job at powering the unit, you can expect about 9 hours of total battery life on a full charge with mixed/moderate usage. Charging speeds of the phone will vary depending on your power source, but expect about 2 hours and 40 minutes with a standard 1.5A charger & about 2 hours and 25 minutes using the included Quickcharge 2.0 certified charger.
The Blackphone 2 supports 3G/HSPA+ 850 / 900 / 1900 mHz Bands as well as LTE B1/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B19/B20 bands. More importantly the Blackphone 2 also supports the 1700 / 2100mHz AWS HSPA+ 3G bands which are required if you want to use this phone for T-Mobile of the United States as well as other various worldwide carriers. In terms of actual data speeds you can expect down speeds of between 25-40mbps and up speeds of between 15-30mpbs.
So The Blackphone 2 runs on a modified version of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow called Silent OS. This means that all OTA updates and security patches are controlled by Silent Circle. While we have been testing this phone since December we have received quite a few updates, so it is good to see that Silent Circle is still actively supporting this phone. Using this phone for every day needs everything feels familiar with regular android, with the exception of app permissions and security. All permissions are controlled through the Security Center App that Silent Circle has installed, you will NOT be able to modify the permissions through the traditional way through the settings Instead you need to go into the security center and then Owner and then choosing the specific apps you want to modify the permissions for. Furthermore they allow a deeper level of customization of app permissions by allowing you to specifically choose read and write permissions as a sub-category of existing permission categories. Continuing with the usage we were slightly disappointed to find out that the end-to-end encrypted phone and text conversations feature of the phone is NOT free. Silent Circle requires users that want to use this feature to pay a monthly access fees, inorder to use those services. You are also required to use their own proprietary dialer / messaging program that go through their servers and the receiver must have those apps installed on their phones as well. The phone itself does hang occasionally when it gets overwhelmed by excessive screen inputs and it also will become non-responsive if it is allowed to get very warm.
When looking at the multimedia aspects of the phone the rear facing 13mp camera preforms well, despite some other blogger comments that it is not good. Here are some pictures I took with it, and you can see that the picture quality excellent & the colours are deep. Looking at the Camera app itself there barely any customization options, asides from a bunch of filters and scene settings. You will need to buy an app like Camera FV-5 if you want to control aspects like autofocus, the quality of the picture, the ISO etc. In terms of audio performance of the phone the sound quality is very vibrant and it can handle trebles and bass pretty well. Our only real with the Blackphone 2 is the choice of placing the speaker on the back of the phone rather than on the bottom frame, meaning the phone must be either face down, or slightly hanging over a ledge or propped up so that the speaker isn’t covered or muffled
Lastly we tested the performance of how the phone utilizes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU & the internal 3 Gigabytes of RAM. Using our benchmarking Antutu we receive a score of about 30000. So this is a pretty low score when compared to higher end phones but overall it is still enough computing power to handle nearly any program / app we could throw at it. We tested resource heavy games such as Modern Combat as well as Asphalt offroad and these result in a CPU load of about 49% overall utilization, so there is definitely enough overhead computing power for the phone to handle more processes or tasks.
Overall the Blackphone 2 is a sturdy and well rounded phone which does really well in the mid-ranged smartphone category. It has a wide range of LTE & 3G/HSPA+ bands that it supports so there’s a good chance it will work with any carrier, however do make sure you do your research to ensure frequency compatibility. The Internal 3060mAh battery gives you enough power to last you through your standard workday while Qualcomm Quickcharge 2.0 compatibility is a great bonus for times when you really need to quickly charge it. The CPU & 3 Gigabytes of RAM will be more than enough to handle the average smartphone user’s needs while also being able to handle casual gaming as well. Lastly the multimedia aspects of the phone will be more than adequate to handle your everyday needs in terms of listening to music, taking pictures and making videos. We highly recommend this phone for anyone that wants decent specs and a low low price.