Ruggedized phones, also known as off-road mobiles, have nothing to envy in terms of technological features compared to conventional ones. The model reviewed on this occasion, the Doogee S96 Pro, is proof of this. It is a full-fledged Android that brings together a thousand and one exciting function for adventurers and other users who carry out outdoor activities due to its ability to withstand classic threats in these “hostile” environments. It is the flagship of this Chinese manufacturer and is complete in terms of features, including one that almost no phone has: night vision.
Thanks to its waterproof feature, with the Doogee S96 Pro, you can capture images underwater with a 48-megapixel primary camera (with Samsung sensor), a wide-angle lens, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. The fourth lens, 20 megapixels, is for infrared night vision and is from a Sony manufacturer. In tests, in complete darkness, this camera captures close objects very well, but not so many distant ones. For example, it can be helpful if you want to photograph or record a video of an animal. All other lenses take quality photos in good light; in night mode, it is acceptable. The macro lens is not up to the task; it takes too much to focus, even in good light. The front camera is 16 megapixels and gives decent results, in addition to the possibility of making a bokeh effect by pressing an icon on the left side.
The camera has very varied options, such as one for UHD photos, two modes to edit them (filters and aesthetic retouches), dynamic images, a professional manner, document scanning, HDR, time-lapse photography, and panoramas. In the video, you can select up to 4K quality.
Autonomy and apps
Due to its technical characteristics, Doogee S96 Pro is mid-range: MediaTek Helio G90 Octa-Core processor (oriented towards gamers), 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage (expandable). For the battery, on the other hand, the manufacturer aims high and has mounted a long-lasting 6,350mAh battery. In the video test, with the brightness at maximum, it has given for twelve and a half hours, which is quite a long time. It is a significant autonomy. To charge the battery once depleted, it takes an hour to fill half and two hours and forty minutes to 100 percent. It also integrates 10W wireless charging.
Marta Villalba/Digital Trends in Spanish
Google’s flagship rugged phone runs on Android 10. As an adventure companion and for certain workers, the device gathers various apps with tools in a dedicated folder. From a compass and a flashlight to a noise meter, a plumb line, a magnifying glass, and a protractor, among others. They are useful for construction, hiking, and other outdoor activities. It is compatible with GPS, Galileo, Glonass, and Beidou navigation systems, so you won’t get lost even in the most remote places.
The S96 Pro stands out at the hardware level for its massive battery. In software, it can be said that it is an Android like any other, only with specific applications for users of rugged phones. The SOS button and other customizable functions seem to be an instrumental and essential detail to take with you while practicing risky outdoor activities.
If you’re familiar with Urban Armor Gear or similar protective cases for phones and tablets, then you can already understand what the S96 Pro looks like. This is how it was initially since it is manufactured in this way to resist extreme conditions and shocks. Due to its 171.6 × 85.5 × 18.7 mm dimensions, it is more extensive and, above all, much thicker than conventional phones. The same happens with its weight (372 grams), which is about 150 grams above the most robust non-rugged ones.
The fault of so much weight and thickness is its body that combines aluminum alloy parts (sides and camera module in brown) with others made of ultra-resistant polycarbonate to survive under challenging environments; the back is immune to shocks thanks to its military certification MIL-STD-810G. Google explains that it can withstand drops to concrete from up to 1.8 meters in height.
When I dropped it on the tiled floor (several times), it held up and wasn’t damaged, except once when it hit the screen directly, which shattered. After this brutal blow to the ground, the phone continued to work as if nothing had happened. However, in this circumstance, running your fingers through the cracks is dangerous, as you can cut yourself on the glass.
Minutes. The screen, 6.22 inches with HD resolution (720 x1520), is protected with Gorilla Glass, but clearly not enough for specific shocks.
Doogee S96 Pro is immune to water and dust with IP68 certification – a common standard for conventional high-end phones – and IP69K. To reinforce this protection, it has a waterproof plug for the SIM card slot and a rubber flap that covers and seals the area of the USB-C and 3.5mm jack connectors. A tool shaped like a stylus is included in the box to easily open when you want to charge it or plug in a pair of headphones. According to Google, this model can work in temperatures between -55 and 70 degrees Celsius as a particular device for extreme conditions.
The phone is unlocked thanks to a fingerprint reader integrated on the side and facial recognition. With this last option, opening it is fast, with the finger, it is not always successful because it is an entirely smooth surface; There is no indentation or protrusion to the touch to easily place the fingertip, as is the case with other phones. That is why when you put it on the side, the fingertip comes out of the reader, which does not scan the fingerprint until you put it in its place. It is my experience that perhaps for someone with a giant finger, this does not happen.
On the left side, there is an SOS button that is also used to access different functions directly, such as quick access to recording, flashlight, and screenshot (can be customized, although this requires installing a PTT application, walkie-talkie type)
In addition to the charger, in the box, there are some wired headphones and a hand strap, like those of cameras, that attaches to the phone and to the wrist to hold it more securely.