The folks over at Doogee sent me the Doogee S100 Pro a few weeks ago, and I’ve been taking a look at this chunky device. You may remember I reviewed the Doogee S98 Pro last summer, well this is a spiritual successor to what was already a good rugged phone, with some decent spec upgrades, but also a glaring omission, let’s take a look.
First up, let’s dive into the specs:
|Specification||Doogee S100 Pro|
|Display:||6.58″ FHD+ IPS, @ 2408×1080, 401 PPI, 20:9 Aspect Ratio,
480cd/m2, 1500:1 Contrast, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|CPU:||Helio G99 Octa Core 2.2GHz 6nm
(2 x Cortex A78 2.2 GHz + 6 x Cortex A55 2.0 GHz)
|GPU:||ARM Mali-G57 MC2|
|12 GB LPDDR4X (+ Up to 8GB Extended RAM)|
|Storage:||256 GB UFS2.2, expandable up to 2 TB via TF Card|
|Rear Cameras:||108 MP AI main camera
SONY 20 MP Night vision camera
16 MP Wide Angle & Macro Camera
|Front Camera:||SONY 32 MP Front camera
|Dimensions:||178.5 x 83.1 x 17.98 millimeters|
|Battery and charging||10,800 mAh, 66 W fast-charging via USB Type-C, 15W wireless|
|Connectivity:||Dual-SIM, WiFi: 2.4G/5G (802.11ac/a/b/g/n),
FM, NFC, OTG, Bluetooth 5.2
|Bands||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE (Global)|
|GPS:||Glonass, Galileo, Beidou|
|Durability:||IP68, IP69K, United States Military MIL-STD-810H|
|Security:||Face unlock, side-mounted fingerprint sensor|
|Material:||Alloy Enamel Process|
|Color:||Classic Black, Cyber Yellow, and Ice Blue|
As you can see, yet again we have another rugged phone with an IPS screen and no 5G. In 2023, I feel like not supporting 5G is a serious omission to make, it seems like this and no AMOLED is a cost-cutting measure right along with the lower-end SoC. We’re not getting flagship features here in terms of display or processor power, but Doogee doesn’t skimp on the rest. There’s plenty of RAM and storage, and unlike a few flagships, the onboard storage can be expanded with a TF card if you should so choose.
The first thing anyone will notice when unboxing it is the weight. At 376 g, it is rather heavy, switching between this and my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra was a fun experience. I’m a big lad with big hands, but this presents a challenge to use one-handed for any length of time.
The phone came with a screen protector in the box, but I am not really a fan of those things. Why have Gorilla Glass, which is supposed to be scratch resistant, only to then put a cheap bit of plastic over the glass display?
I was allowed to throw this thing around, according to my contact, but I was more worried about the damage I could do to my own floors. Dropping it from about a meter did not result in any damage to the phone, which is the minimum expectation you should have for it anyway. There were also no scuff marks that I could see after dropping it a few times, which is good news for the “Alloy Enamel Process” the company used.
On the rear, you will find the camera array which consists of a 108 MP center main camera, to the left of that is a 20 MP night vision camera and two LED flashes. Over on the right, you’ll find the 16 MP wide angle and macro camera and two infrared night vision lights. Down near the bottom of the phone, there’s a DOOGEE logo which is slightly raised and makes the phone able to lie completely flat on a surface thanks to the camera array having the same small raised height. All in all, it looks like the camera array and logo add a couple of millimeters, to the already 1.8 cm thickness of the phone.
The yellow back has a very pleasing feel to it, it almost feels (and looks like) leather, I reached out to my contact to confirm the material and was told it is “man-made environmental protection leather”, the stitching makes for a nice addition and gives it a very premium look and feel. All of this means that when holding the phone, it does not give me the idea it could very easily slip out of my hand. I like that Doogee has thought about negating the need for a case (the S98 Pro came with a plastic back cover). A rugged phone should be able to hold its own without a need for additional coverings, and this appears to address that just fine.
On the right side of the phone, you will find the volume rocker and a power key which doubles as a fingerprint sensor. The keys have a good height and are easily detected by feel thanks to the textured design on the volume rocker, although as you’d imagine the fingerprint sensor is completely smooth, but not flush with the bezel, it’s also slightly raised.
On the left, you’ll find the SIM/TF card tray which sits flush with the device, it is protected against water ingress by a rubber seal that goes around the inside of the tray. You’ll need something like a knife or sharp object to prise it free off from the bezel, but thankfully, it is done in such a way that there is a small lip you can use so you aren’t damaging the bezel. Below that is the User-defined key, which is also textured. I will talk about that a bit later.
On the bottom, you’ll find a mic and speaker (housed behind the right grill), and tab access for the USB Type C charger port for the included 1 m USB Type C-to-USB Type C cable and 66 W Fast charger. As was the case with the S98 Pro there is no headphone jack here. so you will have to make do with Bluetooth 5.2 for headphones connectivity.
The tab access was easy enough to use with my large fingers and very short nails, which is great if you’re in a hurry and on the job, which this phone is absolutely suited to in terms of usage.
On the top, there’s just the speaker (behind the right grill) and a receiver behind the left grill.
On the front of the device above the display, you’ll find the main 32 MP front-facing camera, and to the left of that the notification LED, which is a decent trade-off considering the screen does not support an Always on Display.
The dimensions make it slightly larger than the Doogee S98 Pro, the S100 Pro also adds 56 grams of weight which makes it more of a challenge to hold for prolonged periods. Doogee says the housing is made from the “Alloy Enamel Process” which sounds like a lot of hocus-pocus to me, but in reality, the wording suggests some sort of fusion process between materials, which is what most phone manufacturers do already. All I can say is that despite the weight, it has a pleasing texture to it so that it can’t easily slip out of your hand. Another thing I wanted to point out is that all that weight is distributed evenly, so it is not top-heavy or anything like that.
The Doogee S100 Pro has a 6.58″ FHD+ IPS display, at 2408×1080 screen resolution, and with a 401 PPI pixel density, and 20:9 aspect ratio along with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It’s not fancy by any means, but I didn’t plan on watching 4K HDR movies on it anyway. The display is bright and vibrant enough to look at. A major improvement from the Doogee S98 Pro is that the S100 Pro display supports 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz and adaptive refresh rate which lets the phone decide when to use between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on the content.
As you can also see in the image above, YouTube doesn’t use the full-screen thanks to the waterdrop camera, but even so, the video’s aspect ratio is kept at 16:9 so that explains the smaller letterbox playback. If you double tap you can zoom in to fill the screen.
There’s a notification LED, but unfortunately, it only has one color (blue) and it blinks exactly the same way for any sort of notification, you can only toggle the “Blink light” on or off in the Notifications settings, and you can’t enable or disable it per app either which would have made it handier to set to one or two important apps like missed calls, messages, and email. Once you have set up this phone with all your apps, you can expect the notification LED to be permanently blinking because you can’t set it, or the color per app, so it will look exactly the same for any notification that comes in.
As I have said in previous smartphone reviews I’ve done, I am no camera buff, I’m a point-and-shoot kind of guy, but it is clear to me that smartphone makers seem to want to concentrate a hell of a lot on camera quality, sometimes at the expense of other features, and here is also no exception. On the rear we have a whopping 108 MP rear shooter with a F/1.8 ± 5% aperture and 90° FOV made by Samsung, there’s also a 20 MP vision camera with F/1.8 ± 5% aperture and 80° FOV made by Sony, along with a 16 MP wide angle and macro camera with a F/2.2 ± 5% aperture and 130° FOV.
Unfortunately, there’s no optical image stabilization (OIS), which is a common omission on cheaper phones, so it is definitely a disappointment because I took some photos I had to dump due to shaky hands. Apparently, Google gets around this with its Pixel phones by using the gyroscope for stabilization, but no such luck here.
Gallery: Doogee S100 Camera
When taking photos, I left almost everything on the default setting.
Except for the Night vision camera, all the other cameras have received decent upgrades which more than double the megapixel count. When you have good lighting conditions and a steady hand you can take some nice photos with this phone.
The Night vision camera is exactly the same one that is included on last year’s Doogee S98 Pro, so you aren’t going to see different results here.
I can enable the night vision and use it to navigate around pitch-black rooms instead of using the built-in flashlight, it’s pretty cool. I mean, most indoor security cameras and doorbells have IR night vision sensors, but finding it on a phone could be useful for any number of job descriptions that require a rugged device. No complaints here.
I should probably mention that the two previous rugged phones I reviewed included a thermal camera, and one had a laser pointer measure, but the S100 Pro does not include these options.
The Doogee S100 Pro has Android 12 preloaded with the December 2022 security update, which is quite some time ago considering we’re now halfway through March. Doogee’s policy of updating Android only “about once a quarter” has not changed here. In addition, you can expect one year of software support covered by a 12-month warranty.
The phone comes with a dedicated launcher called Easy Launcher. I couldn’t find much information about it online, it is pretty much like the Quickstep Launcher which was preinstalled on the Doogee S98 Pro. It is mostly near to a stock experience. On powering up for the first time, you are prompted to set up Gestures or virtual navigation buttons at the bottom of your screen. This can easily be changed in the Android settings.
The User-defined key can also be found in Android Settings. It lets you assign a shortcut or an app to it through One Click, Double Click, and Long Press which is an improvement on last year’s S98 Pro’s user-defined key which only let you set an app to it with a single click function. I set the camera to it with a double-click so that I wouldn’t accidentally keep on enabling it.
Upon long pressing on the desktop, you can get to the Easy Launcher settings, which as you can see above is pretty bare bones. Upon powering up the phone for the first time and going through the setup, you are presented with a pretty much stock experience.
As you can see from the above screenshot, a nice addition to the Easy Launcher is the Google app, which can be accessed by swiping to the right from the Home screen. Confusingly, the Easy Launcher settings page says you have to swipe left, which I have reported to my contact at Doogee.
Performance and Battery Life
The phone offers fast charging through the wall charger at 66 W or wirelessly at 15 W, and with a 10,800 mAh battery, Doogee claims to be able to charge the battery to 60% in 30 minutes. In addition, the official web page claims 960 hours (40 days) on standby, 55 hours of call time, 43 hours of music, 15 hours of web browsing or streaming, and 11 hours of video or photo recordings.
For those that love benchmarks, there are a few below. I started off by running GFXBench which tests the GPU.
Next up, I ran Geekbench, which returned a score of 538, up 41 points in Single-Core and 1,791 for Multi-Core, which is an impressive bump of 601 points higher than the Doogee S98 Pro which has a previous-gen Helio G96 SoC.
Last but not least, the AnTuTu benchmark tests, came in at 389,350 points, which is 137,826 points higher than last year’s Doogee S98 Pro and beats out the 2018 Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note9. For a more recent comparison, it comes in slightly better than last year’s Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G.
It should be noted that the AnTuTu score gave a warning that it “could not connect to the internet” despite the app being able to download test updates. I suspect AnTuTu has not added or verified the Doogee S100 Pro yet seeing as it officially comes out today, on March 20.
The Doogee S100 Pro includes the MediaTek G99 SoC which, in terms of features is still built on the original Helio G90T that was released in 2019. The newer chip utilizes a 6 nm process versus the 11 month older 12 nm G96 that is included in the S98 Pro. Although the G99 is still only a mid-range SoC, it can still hold its own against the in 2020 released Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G, which would be a fair comparison. However, the Helio G9x series is starting to show its age here in terms of lacking 5G support in a world that is now starting to fully switch over to it.
As with all rugged phones, this has a very specific use case. It is very good at completing tasks where you would be outside, on a building site or in an otherwise dirty or dangerous environment. Dropping it in such areas, assuming you don’t lose it in the process, will likely result in absolutely no damage to the device, although I do wonder how the synthetic leather on the back will hold up after prolonged use and exposure to rough environments, if it is anything like modern synthetic leather, it should actually complement its ruggedness.
As I have said in previous rugged phone reviews, you can probably forget about using it as a main phone and sticking it in your Bermuda shorts or pant pockets. If you do, however, the ever-present risk of being pantsied by your own phone will haunt you. This is true even for a big guy like myself, it is proper heavy at 376 g.
The User-defined key allowed me to map the Camera to it, so we can forgive the lack of a dedicated camera button in this case, and its massive battery is more than enough that anyone can ask for. However, maybe Doogee should be asking itself if it is getting carried away with the major flagship brands’ obsessions with camera prowess, or instead concentrate on delivering a truly great rugged phone. The camera sensors are greatly improved compared to the S98 Pro, but for me, it loses a point for not including 5G, another for no AMOLED display, half a point for the useless notification LED, and finally half a point for poor software support and only one year of warranty backing the phone.
As I said earlier, this phone is mostly for specific use cases. I can easily recommend it to construction workers who find it important to have a smartphone on hand, they can toss it around and rinse it under the tap and it will still keep working. This phone isn’t going to break the bank at the current $339.99 asking price on Amazon, which includes a $100 off coupon. However, the downside is only one year of warranty and support, plus only around four Android security updates a year.
The absence of 5G and an AMOLED screen is disappointing, but you do get a great mid-range SoC experience in a tough package. It’s a meaningful update over the S98 Pro, but it lacks the previously mentioned features we’d come to expect in 2023. Right now, I’d say this is a good work phone.
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Mappable User key
Almost stock Android
Great battery life
No AMOLED display
1 year support
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