It’s never been a better time for those who want a ruggedized Android phone. It’s a booming market.
The Doogee S98 Pro is one of the latest entries to this market of smartphones aimed at engineers and people who spend more of their time outdoors than the average person.
And it’s packed with features that are just not available on iPhones.
For example, take the built-in thermal camera. Sure, you can buy one for your iPhone, but this is one extra thing to carry and keep charged up.
Also: Why you need a phone with a thermal and IR camera
Then there’s a night vision camera. I don’t even think you can buy one for the iPhone. OK, the main camera on the iPhone has good low-light capabilities, but it’s not night vision.
Then there’s the robustness. The water, dust, and impact resistance. Even inside a rugged case, the iPhone is still vulnerable.
But you get all this, and more, in the Doogee S98 Pro.
There’s a lot I like about the S98 Pro.
First off, it’s a sturdy, well-built unit. The polymer shell combined with the Corning Gorilla Glass makes for a tough combination, and not something that people are likely to break through being careless or unduly harsh on the handset. The display also comes with a pre-applied screen protector, which is a really nice touch (you’re iPhone won’t have one of those).
The combination of the Corning Gorilla Glass and the screen protector really gives this smartphone a super-durable display.
I dropped and kicked and generally mistreated the S98 Pro and it didn’t seem to mind at all. Not only does the outer shell protect the delicate electronics, but it is very good at resisting wear and tear and scuffs.
Try that with an iPhone.
On second thoughts, don’t.
Same goes for water.
Rain, and even immersion doesn’t seem to bother this handset at all (just remember to keep the charge port covered with the little flap). I’ve had this handset absolutely soaking and it worked just fine.
The thermal camera and night vision are what I’d expect from a handset like this. You can’t imagine how handy it is to have tools like this until you have them built into a handset that you carry with you. Like a pocket knife or a multitool, they quickly become part of your daily carry, and tools that you turn to without thinking about it (and tools that you miss when they’re not there with you).
These are superb features, and this makes me a little jealous that my platform of choice is an iPhone.
But you can bet I’ll be keeping this handset nearby, because these features are super useful.
The MediaTek Helio G96 chipset with its eight Arm Cortex cores and Mali-G57, backed up by 8GB of RAM keeps everything humming along quite smoothly.
In all my use of the S98 Pro, I found it to be smooth and responsive. While the Helio G96 is not the fastest chipset by far, it’s certainly fast enough to handle everything I wanted this handset to do.
I certainly never had any complaints.
Powering all this is a 6,000mAh battery that is good for at least a day of hard use — maybe two if you don’t push things too hard — and the 33W fast charging capability means that you’re not hooked up to a charger for too long.
Not sure if it needs saying, but the battery life is way better than what I get from the iPhone.
There are some limitations to bear in mind.
The first is that there’s no 5G support. If you’re currently riding the 5G wave, then stepping off and going back to 4G is going to feel like a real downgrade, so if speed is important to you, this is something to give serious consideration to.
Another is carrier support. The handset supports GSM WCDMA and LTE and will work with carriers such as T-Mobile. However, it does not support AT&T or CDMA carriers.
But aside from these limitations, the Doogee S98 Pro is a solid, reliable workhorse of a smartphone. It’s tough and rugged enough to deal with outdoor life, but the bulk isn’t too obtrusive and doesn’t get in the way if you need to use it in the office.