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Review: F150 B2021 rugged smartphone

F150 B2021 rugged smartphone

Why do we say it’s special?

Because this phone not necessarily suited for everyone. Only those who really need its rugged features will ever consider getting one. The B2021 from the brand F150 is aimed at outdoor users and this is evident from its super-rugged design and also the super large battery on board. 

The version we’ve got is the 6GB RAM+64GB ROM Sahara version. A simple glance at its design will reveal its ruggedness. At 315g weight, it is destined to be made for “tough people” who often work outdoors. A large part of this weight is due to its heavy protection. There are thick rubbers around the corners, while thick engineering plastic and metal protect the back cover and frame. The front display is protected by the Corning 5th generation Gorilla Glass. Every single port and hole on the phone is covered with a rubber stopper. So it is guaranteed to be not only drop-resistant but also IP68 certified and can last up to 30 minutes underwater at 1.5 m.

DESIGN

The B2021 takes the brashness and industrial look usually associated with rugged smartphones and dials it up to 1000%. It feels like a lump of cold metal with plenty of screws, rubber corner shock absorbers and an island at the back that houses no fewer than four camera sensors and an LED bar. The F150 branding is present in the front AND at the back, a far cry from Blackview’s more subtle branding.

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Its size (158 x 78 x 18mm) and weight (315g) mean that it is a chunky piece of technology that will not appeal to everyone. The polycarbonate textured back and the large notch on the front screen are two of the more flagrantly dubious design choices.

F150 Bison 2021 06 600x400 1Next to a dedicated feature button, there’s a SIM/memory card tray on one side, hidden by a rubber flap.

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On the other side of the device is a volume rocker, the power button and a fingerprint sensor. On the bottom edge is located a loop to secure a string as well as another flap behind which one can find a USB-C port and a 3.5-inch audio connector.

As for all rugged smartphones worthy of the label, this one comes with IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810G certification.

Pricing and availability

AliExpress & Banggood sells the F150 B2021 for a mere $119.99 at the time of writing, a 40% saving off its $199.99 suggested retail price. The device is available in black and gold. 

F150 B2021 Hardware

  • CPU: Helio G25
  • GPU: PowerVR GE8320
  • RAM: 6GB 
  • Storage: 64GB
  • Screen size: 5.9-inch 
  • Resolution: 1520×720
  • Weight: 315g
  • Dimensions: 158 x 78 x 18mm
  • Rear camera: 13MP, 2MP, 2MP, 0.3MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • OS: Android 10
  • Battery: 8000mAh

This 4G smartphone also has a 5.86-inch IPS display with a low resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels and a rated brightness of 400 nits. There’s nothing wrong with this screen resolution if you know what you’re looking for. Such a panel saves on costs and will consume less power but a lower pixel density means you’ll get slightly fuzzier edges when you’d expect a razor sharp corner.

The B2021 comes with a 8000mAh battery fed by a 10W charger, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5, Corning Gorilla 5, NFC but no notification lights. The main camera sensors are courtesy of Samsung and the low pixel count indicates that the B2021 should do OK in daylight but struggle in night mode.

Camera

  • 2MP Depth of Field Blur
  • 13MP Main Camera
  • Auxiliary Camera
  • 2MP Macro

Quad Rear Cameras

B2021 with its powerful quad rear camera combination offers you a great photographic experience. The 13MP ultra-wide main camera with software support is great for capturing great moments. Capture memories of your travels, adventures, and conquests with B2021.

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SUPER NIGHTSCAPE

Amaze your family and friends with great night photos. The HDR algorithms enhance pictures taken at night and make them much clearer and sharper.

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8MP SELFIE CAMERACAPTURES THE UNIQUE YOU
The 8MP camera with an AI beautification algorithm is designed to produce excellent images. Capture the best images of yourself, your family, and your friends.
 
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AI STICKERS BRING OUT THE SILLI- NESS AND CHILD IN YOU

 
B2021 AI sticker collections offer you the opportunity to bring out the kid in you. Be a superhero with the batman sticker or use the doggy sticker to see how you will look with dog ears and tongues. Enjoy many more options in our sticker collections.
 
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MORE CUSTOM MODES

  • TIME-LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • SLOW MOTION
  • GROUP SELFIE
  • MACRO
  • AI STICKER
  • PROFESSIONAL
    MODE
  • PANORAMIC
  • QR CODE

CUSTOMIZABLE BUTTON

Assign your most frequently used apps to this button and access easily anytime, anywhere.

Screenshot 5

SCREEN RECORDER

This function allows you to record your voice as you record events on your phone. Use this function to explain to your mum, brother, friend etc how to get things done while recording a screen for them.

Screenshot 6

Performance and in use

The F150 B2021 runs on a stock version of Android 10 but you can also run what F150 calls an “advanced and optimized OS with a great UI, Neo Software”. We call it one of the worst Android 10 user interfaces we’ve seen in recent times and thanks God it is entirely optional. Other than a couple of apps (system manager and the usual bunch of DIY software bundle in the “toolbag” (compass, protractor, voice simulation – that ain’t one, plumb line and sound meter), what’s remarkable is the absence of the customary Mediatek features (e.g. Duraspeed) which is a shame.

As for performance, it is as expected on par with entry level smartphones. There’s really no other way to put it; you are paying what you pay for; the G25 is a budget 8-core processor and behaves like one. The fact that it is relatively recent (less than one year old) and uses a small 12nm process means that it should be power efficient.

The rest of the test numbers show that its graphics subsystem will struggle with heavy usage scenarios while the storage subsystem delivers the sort of data that is indicative of the presence of inferior eMMC components. Not a surprise at all as F150 engineers have a bill of materials to stick to.

The competition

While the B2021 surprises with its aggressive starting price, there’s at least one rival that will give it a run for its money. The Doogee S58 Pro is slightly more expensive, doesn’t have the huge 8mAh battery or the quad-camera setup at the back. But it does have a better design and both its front and main rear camera sensors have much higher pixel counts, which should translate into better picture quality.

If you can afford an extra tenner, the wonderful Ulefone Armor 8 is a very solid alternative, swapping the processor for a far more capable Helio P60 system-on-chip with a reduction in system memory and battery capacity. That’s a perfectly acceptable compromise especially as you also get a faster battery charger.

Final verdict

Other than the flawed design – which we agree is an entirely subjective point of view – we’d prefer to have less memory and more onboard storage. A 4GB/128GB combination might have been preferable or, like the Armor 8, dial down the memory and dial up the processor. 6GB is a bit overkill for all intents and purposes.

Whatever aims they pursued with the Neo branding is nothing more than a spectacular confusion. We don’t understand what it brings to the customer and why it was there in the first place. This doesn’t mean that the B2021 doesn’t deserve any cookie points.

At $120 it is the cheapest 6GB device on the market; laptop, smartphone or tablet. And that is a credit to its manufacturer. We love the fact that it has a big 8000mAh battery which could make it ideal for some niche use cases.


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