A Guided Tour of the Doogee S96 GT Rugged Android Smartphone

A Guided Tour of the Doogee S96 GT Rugged Android Smartphone

Close-up of Doogee S96 GT on a wooden pole

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

As someone who takes my phone with me on random adventures, I’m a big fan of rugged smartphones. A name synonymous with rugged smartphones is Doogee.

Well, Doogee is back with another rugged Android smartphone, the S96GT, a revamped S96 Pro.

Is he good? Let’s take a look, okay.

Also: The 6 Best Rugged Phones

Technical specifications of the Doogee S96 GT

  • Display: 6.22-inch IPS Corning Gorilla Glass waterdrop display
  • Resolution: 1520×720 pixels
  • CPU:MTK Helio G95 Octa Core; 2x Cortex A76 2.1GHz + 6x Cortex A55 2.0GHz
  • GPUs: ARM Mali-G76 Up to 900MHz
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256 GB
  • Rear camera array: AI quad camera (48MP+20MP+8MP+2MP)
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • SE: Android 12
  • Battery: 6350mAh
  • loading: 24W (15W wireless charging)
  • SIM tray: Dual SIM + microSD
  • Satellite navigation: GPS, Galileo, Glonass, Beidou
  • Protection sign: IP68 / IP69K / MIL-STD-810H
  • Biometrics: Fingerprint reader
  • lester: 310g
  • Dimensions: 167 × 81.4 × 15.5mm
Close-up of Doogee S96 GT on a wooden pole

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Externally, the S96 GT looks like most other rugged smartphones I’ve reviewed over the past couple of years. It’s a huge display covered in rubber, metal, and sealed ports. Colored metal and plastic are used to try and soften what would otherwise be a very utilitarian look, and for such a chunky handset you could go so far as to call the S96 GT “sleek”.

Well, if big smartphones are your style, of course.

As a smartphone, the S96 GT is fast, lag-free, and fun to use. The speedy octa-core processor helps keep things going, and not once did I experience any lags or hiccups in performance.

Also: The Doogee S89 Pro could be the first Batman-endorsed phone

The cameras are OK. Not great, but not bad either. The output is perfect for the likes of Facebook and Instagram, or sharing with friends and family. There are plenty of camera features to play with, ranging from Portrait, AI Camera, and Night Mode to Pro, Panorama, and Time Lapse modes.

A word of warning though. Do not trust any of the sample photos the manufacturer uses on their website, as a quick search shows that they are repurposed stock images.

I really wish smartphone makers would stop doing this.

Doogee S96 GT rear camera

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Same as the S96 Pro, there’s a 20-megapixel night vision camera, which uses the four built-in infrared spotlights to capture black and white nighttime images. While it’s easy to “Ooooh” and “Ahhhhh” over that, I would much prefer a thermal camera, which would be more useful and less gimmicky.

Still, if you want to see what’s happening around you – up to around 20 meters away – in the dead of night, this smartphone will give you that superpower.

Battery life is also good, with the 6350mAh unit maintaining that for over a day of use, although I felt the battery life wasn’t as good as the one I had with the S96 Pro.

Taking the S96 GT outside? No problem.

Exam: Doogee V20 Rugged Android Phone Review

The IP68 rating means it shrugs off wet and dusty environments, even able to withstand submersion in water to a depth of 1.5m for 30 minutes and, according to Doogee, a day submerged in concrete at a depth of 1 m (I don’t know how to get it back to you then).

You can even take photos and videos underwater.

It can also withstand extreme temperatures between 70°C (158°F) and -55°C (-67°F).

Closeup of rubber flaps on Doogee S96 on wooden pole

Rubber flaps prevent dirt and water from entering the smartphone.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

OK, now onto the not so good.

First, the display. A 720p display in 2022 is no longer enough. Yes, it’s fine on a budget phone, but on a phone that costs $350, it’s a huge disappointment.

Second, the microphone is weak, which makes phone calls frustrating. Add wind or traffic noise, and it’s virtually unusable without the use of headphones.

Also: The 6 Best Android Phones

That said, how often does someone make calls these days?

But one thing you regularly do on a smartphone is stare at the screen, and that 720p screen looks really old now.

If you are looking for a rugged and stylish Android 12 smartphone with a decent battery and camera, then the Doogee S96GT is not a bad buy at all. Yes, there are some limitations, and I would have preferred a thermal camera over the night vision feature, but it’s still a solid, reliable, well-made smartphone that’s capable of surviving anything the great outdoors can throw at it. throw.

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