I really like rugged cellphone, however getting your fingers on a cellphone that’s robust sufficient to withstand an outside life could be an costly affair. Telephones just like the $1,000 Cat S61 and the $800-plus Land Rover Discover are wonderful selections, however not everybody has a finances that may accommodate such extravagances. That’s the place Doogee is available in. I beforehand examined the $300 Doogee S90 and located it to be a stable contender, if a bit on the heavy facet. However it’s not the one robust cellphone Doogee is providing — the Doogee S40 goals to supply the same degree of safety for simply $120.
With a stable waterproof construct, Android 9.zero Pie, and an enormous battery, does the Doogee S40 have what it takes to enter our record of the most effective rugged telephones? Whereas the safety is top-notch, gradual efficiency and a poor digicam imply it’s nowhere close to a slam-dunk. Nevertheless, it might nonetheless discover a house with anybody who wants a secondary rugged cellphone on a budget.
A troublesome design with loads of energy
It goes with out saying stable and powerful construct is vital in a rugged cellphone, and fortunately, the S40 delivers that in spades. The S40 is constituted of a polycarbonate body that’s bolstered with aluminum, and completed off with a coating of rubber. This mixture of supplies offers it some critical sturdiness, and it feels extraordinarily stable in hand. I dropped the S40 onto a wide range of supplies to check the MIL-STD-810G drop-resistance, and it got here away and not using a scratch every time.
This isn’t a smooth smartphone by any stretch.
It’s additionally closely proof against ingress, with port covers for the Micro USB charging port and headphone jack, and an IP68/IP69Okay score. Meaning it’s fully sealed towards mud and particles, and may resist each excessive strain water jets from shut vary, and whole immersion in as much as a meter of water.
All that safety means it’s on the heftier facet although, weighing in at 240 grams — over 30 grams heavier than the iPhone XS Max. It’s not as heavy because the 258 gram Cat 48c or the 300 gram Doogee S90, nevertheless it feels each bit as stable. There’s a fingerprint scanner on the again, the ability and quantity buttons are on the right-hand facet, and the left-hand facet homes an SOS button — which could be personalised to name a trusted contact or the emergency providers when held. I didn’t come throughout any conditions the place I wanted to press it, nevertheless it might definitely turn out to be useful if you happen to come a cropper whereas adventuring.
Mark Jansen/Digital Tendencies
There’s a 5.5-inch IPS LCD show protected by Gorilla Glass four, and stretched out into an 18:9 side ratio. Nevertheless, this isn’t a smooth smartphone by any stretch, and there are massive bezels across the show and a raised edge across the exterior. These bezels add a buffer zone for the show and add to its possibilities of surviving a fall intact, making the design alternative rather more palatable. The show itself is appropriate, nevertheless it’s definitely not distinctive. In vibrant daylight it may be robust to see, even at peak brightness.
Respectable battery life
There’s an enormous four,650mAh battery within the Doogee S40, and it supplies sturdy battery life. I ran it via our battery take a look at and it managed over Eight hours on a single cost, which outdoes the bigger 5,000mAh battery within the Doogee S90. Nevertheless, it’s not a match for a wide range of different telephones we’ve examined, which offer stronger battery life with a smaller capability. The Moto G7 Play‘s battery lasted over 9 hours with a a lot smaller three,000mAh capability. Actually, the S40’s massive battery ought to have lasted longer.
Nonetheless, it’s greater than sufficient for a day’s value of battery on regular utilization, and it ought to final some time when shoved right into a bag and brought open air. It’s disappointing to see a Micro USB port on the backside of the cellphone, however maybe not unsurprising at $120. There’s no quick charging marketed, and — as you’d anticipate — there’s no wi-fi charging both.
Android 9.zero Pie, however gradual efficiency
Surprisingly for such an affordable cellphone, the S40 comes with Android 9.zero Pie. Nevertheless, it’s definitely not inventory Android, and Doogee’s personal unnamed spin on Android Pie presents an iPhone-like lack of an app drawer. There are some black-and-gold themed system apps and a ToolBag app that features a compass, spirit degree, and another useful instruments — one thing that’s a standard inclusion with rugged units. It’s just like the design we noticed within the firm’s different rugged telephones, and whereas purists could also be postpone, it’s definitely not unattractive.
With an absence of actual energy, that is undoubtedly not the cellphone for hardcore cellular gaming.
Future OS updates may very well be an issue with a cellphone this low-cost, and I don’t anticipate to see Android Q on the S40. Nevertheless, Doogee has accomplished a good job of pushing safety updates to the cellphone up to now, because the S40 has acquired a safety replace within the quick time I’ve had it. However there are points underneath the hood that aren’t linked to software program. Merely put, utilizing the Doogee S40 can generally be a chore. The cellphone continuously takes complete seconds to load an app, with Fb and Twitter being significantly susceptible to gradual efficiency.
The rationale for this gradual efficiency is beneath the hood. The S40 is powered by 2GB of RAM and the ARM Cortex-A53 processor — the identical processor we noticed within the rugged Unihertz Atom — however for some cause it’s way more disappointing right here. There’s an upgraded model with 3GB of RAM obtainable too, and it’s most likely value shopping for that one as a substitute. With an absence of actual energy, that is undoubtedly not the cellphone for hardcore cellular gaming — take a look at probably the greatest gaming telephones as a substitute. There’s solely 16GB of storage, although a 32GB variant can be obtainable, and each variations are backed up by a MicroSD card slot for growth.
A lackluster digicam
The digicam typically disappoints with cheaper telephones, and the Doogee S40 isn’t going to problem that development. The paired Eight-megapixel and 5-megapixel lenses across the again of the cellphone produce disappointing photographs with poor distinction in something however essentially the most splendid of lighting. Element is commonly missing on close-up photographs, and the much less stated concerning the abysmal portrait mode the higher. Night time photographs are horrible, and also you’ll discover footage taken in low lighting are riddled with noise and all the time poor high quality. The 5-megapixel selfie digicam produces first rate outcomes, nevertheless it’s equally bothered with an absence of element.
Nevertheless, the S40 can do a good job if you happen to solely want it to take the occasional shot of a piece doc, or just wish to shortly exhibit the place you’ve hiked. It’s not the digicam for the up-and-coming Instagrammer — however in its protection, it’s not meant to be.
Is it value it?
I put the boot into the Doogee S40 for its gradual efficiency and shoddy digicam — however there’s no denying it could be the proper cellphone for a sure particular person. The Doogee S40’s stable construct and IP68/69Okay score for water and dust-resistance means it’s robust sufficient to outlive most situations it’s thrown into. The massive battery additionally supplies long-lasting efficiency that ought to see a robust day’s value of cost on the very least.
The Doogee S40 is out there for simply $120, and you may decide it up from Doogee, AliExpress, and BangGood. Whereas it’s under no circumstances good — the efficiency and digicam being significantly weak — the Doogee S40’s extraordinarily robust construct, long-lasting battery, and discount worth might imply it’s an awesome purchase for anybody in search of an affordable, however extraordinarily sturdy second cellphone to tackle hikes, or to lug round development yards.