Doogee DG850 Hitman Review – A clone we can condone?


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Every single one of you reading GizChina for a while knows how we feel about clones: We don’t really like them! The main reasons are build quality and software, which obviously aren’t up to the standard of the original devices, nor similar priced unique devices. Even more, we don’t like to see great ideas and hard work of some company being ripped of by someone for a benefit, or sometimes even criminal activity, when clones are being sold as the real deal. But actually there has been one clone, which managed to impress us, and made us put “the hate” aside for a while. It’s the Doogee DG850 Hitman! Why? That’s what we are telling you right now, so hang on for a full review of this budget-beauty.

Doogee DG850 Review – Specs

The Doogee DG850 Hitman has been launched back in the end of November. Being equipped with a MT6582 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of non-expandable memory and not even LTE support, this phone might not exactly seem like a good deal, being priced at $140. Yet, it’s the attention to detail Doogee has put into this device, which actually makes the handset appear attractive despite the old SoC. First of all, it features a 5-inch Sharp / JDI screen with HotKnot support, which you don’t find in every mid-range device. The next unique part about this mid-ranger is the fact, that it features a beautifully crafted Zinc-Alloy Chassis and frame. Still Doogee didn’t stop there, and threw in a 13 mega pixel Omni Vision rear camera, a 8 mega pixel wide-angle front-camera, a comparably large 2,500mAh battery and a rear touch-panel into the game. So in the end, this isn’t ending up being “just a clone”, as Doogee really put some thoughts into the overall device. Let’s see if this was worth it.

Doogee DG850 Review – Unboxing & Build Quality

The thoughts Doogee put into the development of the DG850 didn’t just apply to the smartphone itself, but to the packaging as well, which gets obvious at the very first glimpse. Usually, phones priced below $200 don’t offer quite a quality packaging, yet the Doogee DG850 does. It’s beautifully designed, and well structured inside. Even more, it doesn’t only pack a nice-looking wall charger, flat USB cable, user manual and headphone, but even includes a bumper, one replacement screen protector and a SIM tray opening tool together with a nano SIM to micro SIM adaptor.

With regards to the phones’s design, we for sure haven’t to go into details. It’s a clone of the Xiaomi Mi4 after all. What’s more interesting, is the build quality. And let us tell you: The very first thing most will say after holding the phone in their hands for the very first time probably is “Wow” or “Oh my God!” What Doogee did here is absolutely stunning. The build quality is insane considering the price tag. The handset does feel like the original Mi4 and just is a little heavier at 169g. It’s feeling amazingly solid, and probably will survive some very hard crashes without any damage. The buttons are sitting tight, which never goes without saying with other “Chiclones”. The main differences to the original device besides the missing Mi-logos are the missing status LED, a larger buldge on the rear, which pushes the thickness up to 1cm, the thrown-in rear touch panel, plus a little bumpiness on the frame, cause by the plastic dividers added for increased signal strength despite all the metal, which you don’t feel with the real deal. All in all, we are very impressed, and the build quality and design is far from anything you would complain about at a $140 price tag.

Doogee DG850 Review – Screen

Without a doubt, pretty much all Chinese budget-phones offer good screens nowadays. But good isn’t perfect. Of course reading “Sharp / JDI” on the spec-sheet of the Doogee DG850 pushes up the expectations quite a bit. We haven’t been disappointed, as the panel used inside the DG850 is one of the best 5-inch 720p panels we’ve seen so far. It’s very crisp with vivid colors and an outstanding contrast. Even more, the brightness is extremely high, making convenient outdoor-use possible. Let’s do the screen-samples the remaining work:

Doogee DG850 Review – Software & Performance

The MT6582 is old, no way around that. Still it’s by far not an outdated SoC, and is perfectly suitable for the entry-level market and anyone not into gaming and massive multi-tasking tasks. The MT6582 is still capable of running Android surprisingly smooth if the ROM has been optimized properly by the manufacturer. The Doogee DG850 is running Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which has mostly been left stock, except the launcher. The quality of this ROM appears to be very good, as we didn’t stumble upon bugs nor significant lags. Doogee even have thrown in some nice features like doublte-tap to wake or off screen gestures. It even enables you to take screenshots just by swiping three fingers down, which is a lot more convenient than the traditional power + vol-down combo.

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Doogee DG850 Review – Reception Quality

No matter how much the Doogee DG850 Hitman was able to impress us so far, we need to stay objective and admit that it’s not a perfect phone. It’s the reception quality which wasn’t able to fully satisfy us. Don’t get this wrong, the phone isn’t unusable or something, but you certainly notice a weaker 3G and Wi-Fi signal compared with other devices. The reason probably is all the metal around the phone in combination with a badly designed antenna. Those of you never around places with bad network expansion probably won’t encounter any issues, but if you are, better stay away from the Doogee DG850. What’s left to say? Of course something about GPS. We did notice weaker signals here as well, but nothing to worry about. Navigation is working fine and the average fix-time is 20 seconds, which could be faster, but still is at an acceptable level.

Doogee DG850 Review – Audio Quality

This time we can’t tell you much about the audio quality as far as wired headphones go, as our sample has a faulty headphone jack. Thus we can only tell about the internal media speaker. Judging from the size alone you probably don’t expect any wonders here – and you are right. There is no single hint of bases, which makes the speaker sound kinda boring. At least it doesn’t distort at full volume, which means it is very usable to a certain degree.

Doogee DG850 Review – Camera

Let’s get back to the positives now, and that’s the camera. Being used to bad cameras inside Chinese low-cost and mid-range phones, the Doogee DG850 is a real breeze. It features a 13 mega pixel Omni Vision rear camera with an aperture of f/2.2 and a 8 mega pixel wide-angle front shooter. We’ve been extremely impressed by the quality of the rear-camera. It obviously is no high-end sensor, but considering the price of this handset, the results are outstanding. Depth of field, colors, contrast – it all is pretty much up on a perfect level for just 140 bucks. What’s more, the “failure-rate” while taking pictures is pretty low, so you don’t have to delete every second picture ‘cause it’s looking awful. Another impressive part is the camera’s night-shot performance. We’ve never seen a budget phone taking as nice pictures in the dark as the Doogee DG850 does. They are, again, surprisingly sharp with lots of details and almost no noise. The front camera also is nothing you would complain about at this price level plus the “selfie-by-rear-touch” feature is a nice addition, though it obviously can’t come close to – for example – the one found in the Vivo Xshot.
Any negatives? Well, you probably guess it already: The LED flash is no flash but the usual emergency light. But else? Nothing!

Doogee DG850 Review – Battery

The Doogee DG850 obviously can’t come close to those 5.000mAh+ power houses appearing every once in a while with it’s 2,500mAh cell. Still we can’t deny that this capacity still is a lot higher than those 1,800mAh cells you mostly see in clones and MT6582 phones in common. In real-life the battery life is up to an acceptable level. We’ve reached one to one and a half days of battery life easily, without caring too much about energy consumption. That’s again not bad at all, for a cheap phone like the DG850.

Doogee DG850 Video Review

Doogee DG850 Review – House of facts

Now the Doogee DG850 was a real boomer. We totally didn’t expect anything near this handset, when we noticed Doogee coming up with this Mi4 clone for the first time. Yet it actually made us put aside the “anti-clone” attitude for a while, thanks to four facts: The build quality is simply amazing and miles away from 98% of all phones at this price level, the screen is looking simply amazing and features very thin bezels, the camera blew us away and the battery life is amazing. The only very significant flaw we’ve been able to find is the limited wireless reception quality, but obviously that’s something one can’t live with, while others are totally fine with. Our take: If you are one of the latter ones, love this handset and can live with an outdated SoC, go and get this phone, chances are high you’ll absolutely love it!

The Doogee DG850’s best deals at the moment can be found at Aliexpress and Comebuy. Also available at Coolicool.com.

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