i want a little more

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BQ is very stable in its approach to creating smartphones — certainly budget-friendly, sure to have a set of benefits that are clear to the end user, and certainly not changing their name. Each generation forces you to delve into the jungle of code numbers and letters in the name. BQ Strike Power Max, the main character of the review, could already meet you in the store, but now we are talking about its new, already third version, BQ-6035L. BQ Strike Power Plus, a minor hero, appears in this story for the first time, and his «code» is no longer so important, but let’s say his — BQ-5535L.


  BQ Strike Power Max

It is almost impossible to single out the main update of the new Max, it is simply a different smartphone: with a six-inch Full HD display, a fresh UNISOC SC9863A platform, 2 + 32 GB of memory and a 6000 mAh battery. BQ Strike Power Plus is simpler, although the general philosophy is the same: a large battery (5000 mAh), NFC, the same platform, the same amount of RAM (but a smaller drive — 16 GB), and a 5.5-inch HD display . The design is almost identical — with a discount on the dimensions and the presence of a dual rear camera in Max.

BQ Strike Power Max (left) and BQ Strike Power Plus (right)

Both smartphones are positioned extremely simply and logically — these are universal «state employees» created for those who, first of all, it is important that the battery last longer, but not to the detriment of the screen diagonal.

⇡#Specifications

BQ Strike Power Max (BQ-6035L) BQ Strike Power Plus (BQ-5535L) BQ Strike Power 4G (BQ-5514L) BQ Strike Power (BQ-5514G)
Display 6 inches, IPS, 2246 × 1080 pixels, 416 ppi; capacitive, multi-touch 5.45 inches, IPS, 1440 × 720 pixels, 295 ppi; capacitive, multi-touch 5.45 inches, IPS, 1440 × 720 pixels, 295 ppi; capacitive, multi-touch 5.45 inches, IPS, 1440 × 720 pixels, 295 ppi; capacitive, multi-touch
Protective glass No information No information No information No information
CPU UNISOC SC9863A: eight ARM Cortex-A55 cores (4×1.6GHz + 4×1.2GHz) UNISOC SC9863A: eight ARM Cortex-A55 cores (4×1.6GHz + 4×1.2GHz) MediaTek MT6739ww: four ARM Cortex-A53 cores (4×1.5GHz) MediaTek MT6580: four ARM Cortex-A7 cores (4×1.3GHz)
Graphics controller PowerVR IMG8322 (GE8322) PowerVR IMG8322 (GE8322) IMG PowerVR GE8100, 570 MHz ARM Mali-400 MP, 416 MHz
RAM 2 GB 2 GB 1 GB 1 GB
Flash memory 32 GB 16 GB 8 GB 8 GB
Connectors Micro USB, 3.5 mm Micro USB, 3.5 mm Micro USB, 3.5 mm Micro USB, 3.5 mm
Memory card slot There is There is There is There is
SIM cards 2 × nano-SIM + microSD (hybrid) 2 × nano-SIM + microSD (hybrid) 2 × nano-SIM + microSD (separate) 2 × nano-SIM + microSD (separate)
Cellular 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900 GSM 850/900/1800/1900 GSM 850/900/1800/1900 GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Cellular 3G WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100 WCDMA 900/2100 WCDMA 900/2100
Cellular 4G LTE: bands 1, 3, 7, 20, 38 LTE: bands 1, 3, 7, 20, 38 LTE Cat. 4 (150 Mbps, 50 Mbps), bands 1, 3, 7, 20 Not
WiFi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4/5 GHz 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
Bluetooth 4.2 4.2 4.0 4.0
NFC There is There is Not Not
Navigation GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Sensors Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass) Illumination, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass)
The fingerprint scanner There is There is There is There is
Main camera 13 MP, ƒ/2.2 + 2 MP, autofocus, LED flash 13 MP, ƒ/2.2, autofocus, LED flash 13 MP, ƒ/2.0, autofocus, LED flash 13 MP, ƒ/2.0, autofocus, LED flash
Front-camera 8 MP, no autofocus, with flash 5 MP, no autofocus, with flash 8 MP, no autofocus, with flash 8 MP, no autofocus, with flash
Nutrition Non-removable battery: 22.8 Wh (6000 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 19 Wh (5000 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 19 Wh (5000 mAh, 3.8 V) Non-removable battery: 19 Wh (5000 mAh, 3.8 V)
The size 147×71×8.3mm 144.2×70.2×10.9mm 146.5×71×10.4mm 146.5×71×10.4mm
Weight 197 g 180 g 175 g 175 g
Water and dust protection Not Not Not Not
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 9.0 Pie Android 8.1 Oreo (Android Go) Android 8.1 Oreo (Android Go)
Current price 20$ 20$ 20$ 20$

BQ Strike Power Max — (not entirely accurate) information about the filling according to the CPU-Z application

⇡#Design, software and ergonomics

Despite the fact that the BQ-6035L, compared to the previous Strike Power Max (BQ-5594L), looks like a smartphone of almost another decade, let alone a year, it cannot boast of any special design tricks. This is a smartphone of a very simple, one might even say, utilitarian appearance: large frames around an elongated display, classic ports, solid materials.

The front panel, of course, is entirely hidden behind tempered glass, but most of the back is covered with a metal plate — with rough plastic inserts at the top and bottom. The sides of the case are also made of plastic.

  BQ Strike Power Max, front panel: above the screen - front camera, light sensor and speaker - both conversational and main

BQ Strike Power Max, front panel: front camera above the screen, light sensor and speaker — both conversational and main

  BQ Strike Power Max, back panel: in the corner - a dual camera and LED flash, in the center - a fingerprint scanner

BQ Strike Power Max, back panel: in the corner — a dual camera and LED flash, in the center — a fingerprint scanner

Dimensions BQ Strike Power Max — 147 × 71 × 8.3 mm. Weight — 197 grams. The smartphone is not too thick, but rather heavy due to the capacious battery. Nevertheless, the device fits into any pocket without problems and is not perceived by some kind of mastodon, everything is more than acceptable and humane.

  BQ Strike Power Max, left side: nano-SIM and microSD card slot

BQ Strike Power Max, left side: nano-SIM and microSD card slot

  BQ Strike Power Max, right side: volume/shutter key and power/lock button

BQ Strike Power Max, right side: volume/shutter key and power/lock button

Classic color variations (black, gray, gold) are diluted with blue, which is unusual in this price segment.

  BQ Strike Power Max, top: mini-jack (3.5 mm) for headphones / headset and microUSB port

BQ Strike Power Max, top: mini-jack (3.5 mm) for headphones / headset and microUSB port

BQ Strike Power, bottom: microphone

The BQ Strike Power Max is arranged with all its outward traditionalism in a very unusual way. If there are no questions on the right and left sides — a slot for different cards and physical keys in their places, then the top and bottom are amazing. Above we see a mini-jack and a microUSB port, the lower location of which is usually considered the law. And below — two decorative grilles, not even equipped with holes, except for one single one — for a microphone. There is no main speaker as such, it is combined with the speaker and is located above the upper edge of the display.

The fingerprint scanner is still in the classic place here — in the center of the back panel, shifted to the top edge. That is, right where the index finger of the owner of the smartphone is usually located. That’s where the scanner is. A traditional capacitive sensor is used, it works very well, the percentage of failures is minimal. If desired, you can diversify the user identification methods not only with a PIN code, password or pattern, but also with face recognition using the front camera. This is not the most reliable way, and it does not work that fast in Strike Power Max (and the initial recognition takes a very long time), but there is such an option.

BQ alternates smartphones with “pure” Android (lightweight Android Go) and with its shell for the “robot”. In this case, we are dealing with the usual Google Android 9.0 Pie without any features. Accordingly, the system, to the best of the hardware capabilities of the gadget, is fast and completely devoid of lotions. But, as usual with BQ, there is a large set of pre-installed software: games, applications from various organizations, integration with Mail.Ru and Yandex. However, all this is not tightly sewn into the system, so unnecessary applications can be deleted at any time.

⇡#Display and sound

BQ Strike Power Max received a six-inch display with an IPS-matrix with a resolution of 2246 × 1080 pixels (the declared format is 18: 9, but in reality the screen is slightly narrower and elongated). As a result, we have a display with a very decent, even without regard to the price category of a smartphone, pixel density — 416 ppi.

Full HD on a budget device is no longer a rarity, but every time it’s nice to encounter it. Moreover, the matrix is ​​​​very good not only in terms of its resolution, but also in terms of physical characteristics — good viewing angles, all the necessary components are in place: both the polarization layer and a very worthy oleophobic coating. The touch coverage supports multi-touch gestures, but only five touches at a time.

The next nice thing about the BQ Strike Power Max display is its brightness. The maximum measured level is 593 cd/m2. This is indeed a very solid indicator — you can count on a smartphone not only indoors or on a cloudy day, but also in bright sunshine. Glare should not prevent you from reading information from the screen. Although the subjective sensations are slightly different from the instrumental ones — yes, the screen does not go blind, but still there is no such comfort as in the dark.

The contrast ratio is slightly less impressive at 1479:1. For an LCD screen, especially a budget one, this is very worthy.

In the settings, you can change not only the standard display options such as font size, adaptive brightness (which works, by the way, quite softly and efficiently) and screen themes, but also color reproduction. By default, the so-called automatic contrast mode is set — not contrast, in fact, but color reproduction, in which the smartphone itself adjusts colors to ambient lighting (a kind of True Tone from Apple). There are also enhanced and standard contrast modes. This is the stock Android 9.0 Pie set that some manufacturers are throwing out of their build, but BQ has kept. I tested the smartphone in the closest standard contrast mode to the truth. All measurements were carried out at maximum screen brightness under dim artificial lighting.

  BQ Strike Power Max Gamma.  Yellow line - Strike Power Max indicators, dotted line - reference gamma

BQ Strike Power Max Gamma. Yellow line — Strike Power Max indicators, dotted line — reference gamma

  BQ Strike Power Max, color temperature.  Blue line - Strike Power Max, dotted line - reference temperature

BQ Strike Power Max, color temperature. Blue line — Strike Power Max, dotted line — reference temperature

  BQ Strike Power Max, color gamut.  Gray triangle - sRGB coverage, white triangle - Strike Power Max coverage

BQ Strike Power Max, color gamut. Gray triangle — sRGB coverage, white triangle — Strike Power Max coverage

The average grayscale gamut is 2.65 with a huge spread of extreme values ​​depending on the tones — this is a very high figure. At the same time, the color temperature is close to the standard — it fluctuates between 6,300 and 7,800 K with a median around 7,000 K. The color space is slightly shifted to the side relative to the sRGB standard. The average DeltaE deviation for the extended Color Checker palette (greyscale + wide range of color shades) is 5.29. It’s not too far off the mark (3.00), and the display setting of the BQ Strike Power Max is decent by mobile standards.

The only speaker — combining the functions of both conversational and musical — copes with all its duties quite well. Decent volume allows you to hear the call even in the next room or in transport. You can also watch videos on Youtube without claims for sound quality. The sound through wired headphones is normal — without any features, but there is a margin of volume. Without wires — the same story: Bluetooth 4.2 allows you to connect any headset, but there is no support for aptX or LDAC protocols — do not count on a serious level.

⇡#Hardware and performance


BQ Strike Power Max, as well as Strike Power Plus, received a fairly fresh and good platform for this class from an unusual manufacturer — UNISOC SC9863A. UNISOC was previously known to the relatively general public as Spreadtrum, a rare alternative to the familiar MediaTek or Qualcomm chips. We have previously seen this platform in the BQ Magic smartphone.

System-on-a-chip UNISOC SC9863A consists of four ARM Cortex-A55 cores with a clock speed of 1.6 GHz and four of the same, but with a frequency of 1.2 GHz. GPU — PowerVR IMG8322. The technological process by which the platform is produced is 28 nm. The platform also includes an LTE modem and supports Full HD screens.

Count on flagship-level performance — although, what is there, even middle-class smartphones — it’s not worth it: both the time that BQ Strike Power Max spends on opening applications and the general feeling of slowness in work are not delightful. But most importantly, the smartphone regularly performs all the basic tasks that are required of it, and even allows you to run most of the simple games. Quite an adequate return on a budget gadget.

The cooling system in the BQ Strike Power Max is normal — especially since the platform is not very productive (and does not emit a lot of heat) and does not set very difficult tasks for it. In the CPU Throttling Test benchmark, the average performance was 80 GIPS with the operating frequency dropping to 74% of the maximum. A very decent result.

The BQ Strike Power Max comes with 2 GB of RAM, which can be said to be pretty close, especially when you consider that there is still a Full HD display here, and no less demanding HD panel. This, among other things, affects the speed of the device. The storage is 32 GB, which is also quite a bit, but there is the possibility of expanding the amount of memory using a microSD card up to 64 GB. Unfortunately, a separate slot is not provided for it — for the sake of additional memory, you will have to remove the second SIM card.

⇡#Communications and wireless communications

The card tray in the BQ Strike Power Max is classic, hybrid: either two nano-SIMs, or one nano-SIM and one microSD memory card. There is only one radio module, but both SIM cards can work with LTE networks, you can set priorities in the settings. The speed of the LTE connection is not specified, but it is hardly necessary to talk about records. But you can talk quite freely about stability. The smartphone was created specifically for the Russian market, and all the necessary bands are on the list.

  BQ Strike Power Max, hybrid SIM and memory card slot

BQ Strike Power Max, hybrid SIM and memory card slot

The most important difference between the new generation Strike Power and the past is the presence of an NFC port with Google Pay support. So with this smartphone you can pay contactless without carrying a payment card. Another surprise, according to the list of characteristics, should have been a dual-band Wi-Fi modem rare in the budget segment, but in fact the smartphone does not see 5 GHz networks, that is, the application for 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac in practice remains unrealized. The remaining wireless modules correspond to those stated in the specifications: Bluetooth 4.2, navigation with GPS (A-GPS) and GLONASS support.

⇡#Camera

BQ Strike Power Max received a dual camera, consisting of a main module of 13 megapixels with optics with a relative aperture ƒ/2.2, and an additional, two-megapixel, which helps with artificial blurring of the background.

The Strike Power Max camera does not shine with any outstanding characteristics: the autofocus here is contrasty — apparently, this is the same system as in the «spring» Strike Power, which works unstably not only in low light, but also in normal sunlight. It is worth checking the frames after shooting: the percentage of defective shots taken in the “lifted the smartphone and pressed the shutter” mode is very high — the device needs quite a lot of time to focus. But even with proper focus, the sharpness at the edges of the frame leaves much to be desired. Closer to the center, there are no problems with detailing. Color reproduction is not always stable — it depends on whether the HDR function is enabled or not, but in this regard, there are fewer complaints about the smartphone.

By default, HDR is disabled in the smartphone, by the way, but I recommend setting the switch to Auto — despite the fact that it takes extra seconds to shoot in this BQ Strike Power Max format, the noticeable increase in dynamic range is worth it. In the standard mode, the gadget does not cope very well with contrasting scenes.

There is a portrait mode, in which the BQ Strike Power Max tries to blur the background — when shooting close-ups, it works quite well. On full-length portraits, the situation is worse.

BQ Strike Power Max camera app interface

The camera app is familiar from other BQ smartphones. Easy navigation, decent descriptions of settings, not too many options you can change. There is no manual mode with self-correction of settings.

Of the additional functions, I note the possibility of automatic gluing of panoramas and built-in filters. You can see examples of shooting with these filters applied above.

On the left — shooting in normal mode, on the right — in night mode

There is also a night mode in which the smartphone takes several shots, then sticking them together into one — with noise reduction and improved exposure. Improved in theory, but in practice, for night shooting, the BQ Strike Power Max is of little use in any case, and the special mode does not save.

BQ Strike Power Max can shoot videos with resolutions up to Full HD and at up to 30 frames per second.

The front camera in BQ Strike Power Max is also very simple — 8 megapixels, aperture lens ƒ/2,2. It does not have autofocus and flash, but there is an artificial background blur (no worse than the main camera, by the way) and a rather effective (even aggressive), but switchable beautifier.

⇡#Offline work

BQ Strike Power Max has a truly serious battery capacity: 22.8 Wh (6000 mAh, 3.8 V). We add to it a not too powerful and relatively energy efficient (albeit not due to the technical process) platform — and we get the estimated autonomy of a very serious level. The manufacturer in a press release talks about three days without recharging, but this is still an exaggeration. For three days, the smartphone will last only if you use it infrequently — in standby mode, it really does not consume the battery. With constant daily use, we can talk about two days of work. At maximum load in non-stop mode, the Strike Power Max should last 14-16 hours. He does not break records, but in any case, this is a very decent level of autonomy.

In our traditional test with HD video playback at maximum brightness, with wireless modules turned on and active updates, the smartphone lasted almost 10 hours. The result is not that grandiose — even a little less than one could expect from a device with such a capacious battery. Nevertheless, the BQ Strike Power Max corresponds to the declared role of a smartphone with increased autonomy.

Alas, the capacious battery takes a really long time to fill up with energy, and the BQ Strike Power Max does not support fast charging. The included 5V 1.5A adapter charges your smartphone in more than four hours. It’s normal to put it on overnight, but if you forgot to charge your smartphone and it needs to “eat” urgently, get ready for a tedious wait.

⇡#Conclusion

BQ Strike Power Max fully corresponds to the declared position of a long-lived smartphone. A very decent, bright Full HD display, a huge battery and NFC distinguish it from the crowd of state employees, and a fairly modern hardware platform allows you to count on acceptable — albeit far from outrageous — performance. The smartphone will cope with the basic duties. If you are not looking for a device with high quality shooting and gaming capabilities (hint: there are none), then in its price category this is a good choice.

Advantages:

  • NFC module;
  • bright Full HD display;
  • excellent autonomy;
  • price.

Disadvantages:

  • combined slot for memory card and SIM-cards;
  • poor quality of shooting on the rear camera;
  • long charging (which is natural for a huge battery).

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