Doogee S95 Pro modular rugged phone review


The Breakdown

The Doogee S95 is actually one of the best-rugged smartphones currently available on the market. Overall, the phone did not disappoint in any way in our test and even raised the current standard to a new level in some areas.
Design 85%
Performance 90%
Display 85%
Software 80%
Camera 75%
Bttery life 90%
Modules 90%

At the beginning of last year, the Chinese manufacturer Doogee attracted attention with its modular S90 rugged smartphone. In addition to a few other manufacturers, Doogee is one of the companies in the smartphone industry that follows the modular approach and is even the only manufacturer to use the concept in a rugged smartphone. Fortunately, the device was convincing, so the company has recently introduced its successor, the Doogee S95 Pro.

Doogee has made improvements in many areas, so that the S95 Pro now includes the new Helio P90 processor from Mediatek and faster UFS 2.0 memory. The camera has also changed significantly. Instead of the two lenses in the S90, the S95 Pro now has three lenses and one of them contains the well-known IMX586 sensor from Sony. The camera has a whopping 48-megapixel resolution and, in combination with the right software, it can produce excellent pictures.

On paper, the S95 Pro is a promising device that has the potential to outshine the competition in the rugged segment. We have found out for you whether the smartphone also meets these expectations in practice.

Unboxing

In addition to the Doogee S95 Pro itself, there are some accessories in the box. The box the obligatory paperwork and a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, which in conjunction with the included 24W power supply unit supplies the smartphone with power. In addition to the protective film already applied to the display, there is also another protective film in the box. In our case, the Super Mod version of the S95 Pro also include an external speaker and a battery module that also belong to the standard accessories. For the moment, these are all the currently available modules.

Specifications

  • Colors: Mineral Black
  • Dimension: 168×79.3×13.8mm
  • Weight: 285g
  • Display : 6.3″ 1080×2160 FHD+ at 384ppi
  • Panel Technology: IPS  Multi-touch/Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5
  • Certification Standards: IP68 / IP69K
  • Operating System: Android 9.0 Pie
  • Processor: Helio P90 12nm (2xCortex-A75 2.2GHz + 6xCortex-A55 2.0GHz)
  • GPU : IMG 9XM-HP8 970MHz
  • Battery : 5150mAh
  • Charging : Wireless Charing 10W – Wired Charging 24W
  • Memory : 8GB RAM – 128GB Sorage
  • External Storage : Micro SD Card (T-Flash Card) up to 256GB
  • Rear Cameras of 48.0MP(Sony IMX586)+8.0MP+8.0MP, AI Sony Triple Cameras f/1.8+f/2.4, PDAF, LED Flash with 4K@30fps supported
  • Front Camera 0f 16 MP f/2.0 80° Wide-angle
  • Dual SIM Cards Standby : Nano-SIM + Nano-SIM/ Nano-SIM+ TF Card
  • Side Fingerprint 300ms Unlocking Scanning Resolution 508DPI 360° Identification
  • Face Unlocking, NFC, GPS, G-sensor, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Compass, Geomagnetism, Gyroscope, Barometer, Customized Button, SOS, OTG, Wireless Charging, Hard Coulometer support

Design

The Doogee S95 Pro is unmistakably recognizable as a rugged smartphone, which is due, among other things, to the rubber corners on around the display or the decent weight of 285 grams and the dimensions of 168 x 80.5 x 15 millimeters. Nevertheless, it must also be emphasized that the S95 Pro looks quite normal compared to other rugged smartphones and also bears a certain similarity to gaming smartphones such as the Xiaomi Blackshark. Maybe this is what Doogee wanted? After all, the manufacturer emphasizes that the S95 Pro is also suitable for gaming.

On the front of the device, we have a large 6.3-inch display, which is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. To the sides, the display is surrounded by rather thin borders. The corresponding black area is only slightly thicker on the underside. Nice detail: there are bumps on the corners of the display that prevent the surface from contacting the display. The S95 Pro also has an LED indicator in the up right corner.

 

The frame of the S95 Pro consists of partially matted aluminum and rubberized plastic, which has a kind of soft-touch surface. Both the power and volume buttons and the fingerprint sensor are embedded in the frame on the right side. The fingerprint works reliably and quickly. There is also an additional button on the left that can be individually assigned.

The S95 Pro is dust and waterproof resistant according to the IP68/IP69K standard and is therefore also suitable for use under tougher conditions. On the back of the smartphone, Doogee uses a combination of plastic with a soft-touch surface and matt aluminum. The surface is also interrupted at the bottom by the grid of pogo pins that enable the connection to the modules.

 

Performance

In terms of performance, the Doogee S95 Pro has changed a lot compared to its predecessor. One of the biggest innovations is the new Helio P90 Octacore processor from Mediatek. This consists of two ARM Cortex-A75 cores with a clock speed of 2.2 GHz and six ARM Cortex-A55 cores with a clock speed of 2.0 GHz. In combination with the IMG PowerVR GM9446 GPU, the S95 Pro achieves an Antutu score of 216,927 points and is therefore on par with powerful smartphones such as the Xiaomi Mi 9T. Accordingly, the smartphone is also ideal for gaming and masters even demanding games such as PUBG Mobile at the highest level of detail. During everyday use with apps like Youtube, Whatsapp etc., you hardly notice the difference to high-end processors like the Snapdragon 855.

Extensive multitasking in the S95 Pro is ensured by a whopping 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM. You can keep countless apps open at the same time thanks to its generous size. The read and write rates of 400 and 210 MB/s of the 128 GB memory, which is based on the modern UFS 2.0 technology, are just as convincing. The storage space can also be expanded with a micro SD card by up to 256 GB. However, if so, you will not be able to use a second SIM card.

With the S95 Pro, Doogee is making a huge leap in performance compared to the previous generation, thus building one of the most powerful rugged smartphones in the market.

Display

As already mentioned, the Doogee S95 Pro has a 6.3-inch display and a waterdrop notch. With a resolution of 2160 × 1080 pixels, the S95 Pro achieves a pixel density of 383 ppi. The display relies on IPS technology, which produces a great picture in the S95 Pro. The colors are rich and the contrasts, as well as the viewing angles, are convincing. I was also impressed by the black level, especially when compared to other IPS displays. The maximum brightness of the display is acceptable and the operation of the touch screen was always quick and reliable.

The display of the S95 Pro is very satisfying. Even if some “normal” smartphones with a comparable price tag already use an AMOLED display, you have to remember that the S95 Pro is a rugged smartphone that has other features that the competition lacks. So Doogee has done everything right so far.

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camera

The triple camera of the Doogee S95 Pro on the back of the smartphone consists of two 8 megapixel sensors and the well-known 48 megapixel sensor called IMX586 from Sony. According to the manufacturer, this setup should enable both wide-angle and close-up shots with a 10x zoom in addition to the normal shots of the Sony sensor. In fact, one of the sensors serves as a wide-angle sensor, but the alleged telephoto sensor turned out to be not working. All zooming in on the camera app works purely digital and is accompanied by a reduction in image resolution.

As already mentioned, 48-megapixel recordings can be made with the main sensor, but these are scaled-down when using the HDR or AI function. The AI function is used to recognize the scenes and make automatic adjustments to the settings. In the test, however, I could only observe that colors are sometimes enhanced.

 

With Bokeh mode, The shots are convincing even in poor lighting conditions. But, unfortunately, I found that the pictures get a bit too warm in the dark. The wide-angle mode is also very disappointing in terms of quality. The photos suffer from a strong red cast and are very blurred towards the edges.

The 16-megapixel front camera can also be used to take good pictures in good lighting conditions. Here too the dynamics and the color representation, as well as the amount of detail, are right. In poor lighting conditions, the front camera, unfortunately, tends to make a lot of noise.

The S95 Pro records videos with a maximum of 4K resolution. The pictures are attractive, have good color reproduction and also have good dynamics. I couldn’t observe any dropouts, but the S95 Pro has no image stabilization.

Software

An adapted version of Android 9.0 is used on the Doogee S95 Pro, which is very similar to Stock Android in its basic features, but also differs significantly in some respects. For example, there is no app drawer. Instead, all app icons are placed on the pages of the home screen. This principle can also be found on iOS, for example. If you don’t like this, you can also simply download and use an alternative launcher from the Playstore.

The user interface of the S95 Pro also has some additional functions. On the one hand, the side button can have assigned functions when the button is pressed briefly, long or twice. The smartphone can also be woken up by lifting the device or using a double-tap on the switched-off display. Functions with gestures can also be carried out on the screen-off mode, such as stopping playback by swiping to the right. Face-ID is also supported by the S95 Pro, but did not work as exactly as the fingerprint sensor.

It is pleasant that the functions mentioned as well as the system as a whole work very well and no dropouts were observed during the test phase. On the contrary: the system of the S95 Pro reacts very quickly!

Battery life & connectivity

Inside the Doogee S95 Pro there is a 5,150 mAh battery, which has a good capacity and was able to supply the smartphone with power for two days of heavy use. In practice, with 3 to 4 hours of active use per day, the phone can last for 3 days. If you also want to extend the runtime, you can use the power module, which provides about a day and a half of electricity for the above-mentioned period of use.

The S95 Pro can be charged both wired and wireless. Wireless charging is supported with up to 10W and the included Fast-Charge power supply charges the battery with 24W via the USB C port. The complete charging process from 0 to 100% only takes around 2 hours.

Regarding the connectivity, in addition to the standard sensors for light, acceleration and proximity, the smartphone also has a digital compass, a gyroscope and even a barometer. This makes the device ideal for pedestrian navigation and can also determine the height using the barometer. This can be particularly helpful for outdoor activities. In practice, navigation with the S95 Pro has always been very accurate and reliable. Last but not least, the support for GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo also helps.

The Doogee S95 Pro also accepts up to two SIM cards at the same time. These are inserted in two separate SIM slides, one of which can also be used as a micro SD card slot. In this case, however, the use of a second SIM card must be avoided. The smartphone supports a lot of LTE bands and was always able to convince with a good connection. It has dual-band ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0. NFC is also available to use Google Pay.

Doogee S95 Pro modules

For the S95 Pro, modules are available that can be attached to the back of the smartphone using magnets. Unfortunately, only one speaker and one battery module are available so far, and the modules of the predecessor, the S90, are not compatible with the successor.

The loudspeaker module for the S95 Pro has its own battery, which can be charged using the built-in USB-C connection. When connecting the module, the loudspeaker must also be activated using the dedicated button. Then the music and voices sound will be more voluminous and has a much stronger bass than you are used to from a smartphone speaker. In addition, the loudspeaker is significantly louder, so that even a big room can be well sounded with it.

The battery module has a capacity of 3,500 mAh and thus extends the runtime of the S95 Pro by around 4-5 hours. The battery of the module can also be charged via the built-in USB-C connection and the current charge level can be viewed via the LED display on the back.

I am really a fan of the modular approach that Doogee is pursuing, as it offers the potential for a wide range of applications, particularly with rugged smartphones. However, I hope that the manufacturer will offer a larger selection of modules in the future.

Verdict

The Doogee S95 Pro is actually one of the best rugged smartphones currently available on the market. Overall, the phone did not disappoint in any way in our test and even raised the current standard to a new level in some areas. The high performance of the Helio P90 processor in combination with 8GB RAM and fast UFS 2.0 memory is particularly worth mentioning here. The camera also surpasses the results of most of the competitors and ensures the best shots especially in good light conditions. Finally, the modular design gives the phone a real unique selling point. On this point, however, it is to be hoped that the manufacturer will expand the limited selection of modules. The phone is available at a price of $369.99 without the modules and $469.99 with the modules, which is a good deal given all the features that we mentioned in this review.

Buy Doogee S95 Pro

BUY DOOGEE S95 PRO SMARTPHONE

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