Doogee S98 Rugged Smartphone Review
60 second exam
This is the second smartphone with a secondary screen that we are testing. The first was the Unihertz TickTock 5G smartphone which launched on Kickstarter in late 2021 and still has some supply issues. Doogee is dipping its toes with the secondary display feature with a second rugged phone, the S98. Truth be told, we prefer the implementation on the V20, a superior – but also more expensive – smartphone from the same vendor. Considering the S98’s price though, we’re pleasantly surprised by the hardware spec sheet that anchors it solidly in the mid-range cart: 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and three rear cameras including a shooter. 64 megapixels.
Doogee S98: Price and availability
the Doogee S98 is available direct from the manufacturer’s site for $340 (approx £/AU$), a saving of $160 off its suggested retail price. At the time of writing, it was a few weeks behind the three global warehouses currently stocking the smartphone. It is available in Wine Red, Classic Black and Phantom Grey. AliExpress sold for as little as $260 (about £/AU$) on sale, so it might be worth shopping around. Remember that these prices exclude local taxes and processing fees that may be levied by third parties.
Doogee S98: Design
There’s not much to write about the design of the S98. It is a tried and trusted model with an industrial design that uses a rubber coated metal frame for impact protection.
Given its screen size (6.3in) and large battery capacity, it’s no surprise that this is a big phone – 172 x 82 x 15.5mm for a weight of 320g, about the size of two other rivals, the Oukitel WP17 and the Ulefone Armor 10 5G. The main attraction is at the back; a 30mm circular display housed between four sensors and the LED flash, more on that later.
The front display is a 6.3-inch display with Full HD+ resolution, a pinhole selfie camera sensor, and a Corning Gorilla Glass overlay (the rear display gets that, too).
On the left is the SIM card slot and a customizable button while the right has a volume rocker, power button and separate fingerprint reader (we’d rather have both handsets).
A flap hides a USB Type-C connector on the lower edge. As expected, the S98 complies with IP68/IP69 and MIL-STD 810G guidelines.
Doogee S98: Hardware
The Doogee S98 comes with the following hardware:
CPU: Helio G96
GPUs: Arm Mali-G57
RAM: 8 GB
Storage: 256 GB
Screen size: 6.3 inches
Rear camera: 64MP, 20MP, 8MP
Front camera: 16MP
SE: Android 12
The S98 features a Mediatek Helio G96 system-on-chip similar to the Dimensity 700, only slightly slower, using a more mature manufacturing node and no 5G. It is supported by 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB of UFS 2.2 storage.
Doogee used a 64MP Samsung camera sensor for the main snapper, a 20MP Sony IMX350 night vision camera, a 8MP Samsung wide-angle camera and a 16MP Samsung camera for the front one. . Along with a charger and cable, you get a warranty card, screen protector, and user manual. The 6Ah battery supports fast charging (33W) and wireless charging (18W).
Doogee S98: performance and use
Here’s how the Doogee S98 fared in our benchmark test suite:
PCMark (Work 2.0): 9524
Passmark Processor: 3188
Geek Bench: 501 (single); 1729 (several)
3DMark Wildlife: 1168 (Vulcan); 329 (Extreme)
We didn’t have high hopes for the S98 as it’s based on a mid-range processor. Benchmark results show it’s slightly faster than G95-powered devices and a bit slower than Dimensity 700-based handsets, so expect it to be good enough for most tasks. with a little play on the side.
Besides the stock Android 12, the S98 comes with the standard set of apps usually found on Mediatek-powered smartphones: the ubiquitous toolkit (with a pedometer, compass, etc. .), the Easy Launcher (for senior users), GameSpace and Children Space; these create virtual environments for targeted users with varying levels of lockdown capabilities (e.g. application or mobile network access).
You can configure the rear screen on the back and even turn it off. In terms of features, you can take calls and control the music player and that’s about it. We had the same kind of criticism against the TickTock 5G; there’s no compelling reason to use the rear display as it’s not a power-saving e-ink display (like the Hisense A5) and doesn’t have a killer app.
Should I buy the Doogee S98?
The dual screen Unihertz TickTock which is more expensive and has half the system memory. On the other hand, it has 5G connectivity thanks to the Mediatek Dimensity 700. The TickTock also lacks wireless charging, a new Android 12 operating system and the night vision camera.
Alternatively, the Doogee V20 is a valid alternative to the S98 at a higher price. It keeps all the good bits (256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, 64-megapixel camera, night vision) and adds 5G capabilities and a design that’s less industrial and more in tune with a consumer audience.
First revision April 2022
- Need a smartphone that is shock resistant and does not require a case? Check out our full list of the best rugged smartphones