Doogee S98 is a rugged smartphone that won’t hurt your pocket
Rugged smartphones are big, bulky and sometimes a little bulky and that’s all the Doogee S98 is but also so much more. Good performance isn’t just measured by the speed of a phone or the number of megapixels the cameras have and while the S98 doesn’t rival the raw power of a flagship, it does deliver ruggedness and endurance to a affordable price.
The S98 has an industrial style that doesn’t stray from the Doogee design language we’ve seen on several of the companies’ previous smartphones. Although not everyone appreciates the small screws on the side rails or the large rubber bumpers in the corners, everyone will appreciate how sturdy the S98 is, including the Corning Gorilla Glass that protects the screens. front and rear. Yes, the S98 has a rear screen, but more on that later.
At 320g, the S98 is heavy and chunky at 15.5mm thick.
It has a large 6.3-inch screen with a dewdrop cutout for the 16 MP front selfie camera.
Under the hood, there’s a massive 6,000mAh battery with a 33W charger that comes in the box for quick recharging. It’s also nice to see 15W wireless charging present.
The left side has a dual SIM card slot which is protected by a gasket around the tray. Doogee provides a small plastic level tool to open it. On the same side is a custom “easy key” that can be configured to open an app, start a screen recording or take a screenshot with a single, double or triple tap.
On the right side are the power, volume up and down buttons as well as a fingerprint reader which I found needed to be done a few times to make it more reliable.
On the bottom edge is a thick rubber flap that protects and seals the USB-C port and a mono speaker that produces decent volume but not-so-great sound quality.
The S98 has been rigorously tested to comply with IP68/IP69k and MIL-STD-810G standards, which means it’s drop-proof from a height of 1.5m, and waterproof to a depth of 1.5 m and protected from dust.
The S98 comes with 8GB of RAM and a generous 256GB (UFS 2.2) of storage with the option to expand it further with a microSD card up to an additional 512GB. It is powered by MediaTek Helio G96 processor and Arm Mali-G57 GPU. The G96 is a midrange processor that doesn’t come close to the performance of a modern flagship. That means apps will launch a little slower and switching between apps won’t be as smooth as on more expensive handsets with faster chipsets.
Unfortunately, there’s no 5G support but you do get NFC for contactless payments.
The S98 comes with some interesting cameras including the 64MP main camera, 20MP night vision camera, 8MP wide angle and finally, the 16MP selfie shooter.
The night vision camera performs well and captures unusual black and white infrared images. The results are interesting and I can see someone with a creative touch putting it to good use.
The main camera is able to capture excellent detail with good color accuracy in good light. In low light, image quality drops and motion blur can become an issue.
You can also use Night Mode and while that produces crisp, noise-free images, the sacrifice is the aggressive noise reduction which also reduces image detail.
The 8MP wide-angle camera is fine in good light but isn’t as good as the main shooter in terms of overall image quality.
Video capture is limited to 2K and quality is good in good light.
The 6.3-inch front display is an FHD+ LCD panel with a peak brightness of 480 nits. It comes with one screen protector pre-installed and one extra in the box. Viewing angles are excellent for an LCD screen and colors are vibrant. It’s one of the best screens I’ve seen on a phone in this price range, but don’t expect the quality you can get from a high-end OLED panel in terms of contrast, brightness and these inky blacks.
One of the selling features of the S98 is the rear circular display which can show the time with a selection of three clock faces, answer a call or control media playback. While it’s a neat party trick and looks cool, functionally it’s very limited. Maybe over time Doogee might improve its usability through firmware or software updates, but for now that’s not a reason to buy this phone.
The Doogee S98 is a rugged phone in every sense of the word with great features for those who need a phone that can take a lot of jolts. The battery is good enough to last at least two or even three days for average users. Overall performance is adequate for day-to-day tasks and even some light gaming.
For those looking for a rugged phone that looks good and comes with lots of great features, it’s hard to look past the Doogee S98. See Doogee for more.