The DOOGEE S59 Pro was initially launched by its maker on December 15. Eventually, the rugged smartphone made its way to the U.S., arriving on Amazon in mid-January. Born in Spain, the Chinese brand focuses on creating durable phones and selling them at affordable prices.
One of the unique features of the S59 Pro, apart from the military standard IP rating, is the giant battery it comes with. The DOOGEE smartphone has an enormous 10,050mAh battery paired with 24W fast-charging support and is priced at $239.99 in the U.S.
We received the international version for the purposes of this review in the Army Green shade. Continue reading for a detailed evaluation of the rugged device.
|Display||5.71 inches, IPC LCD, HD+, 720 x 1520, 295ppi, 90Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass|
|CPU||Mediatek Helio P22 2.0GHz 12nm|
IMG PowerVR GE8320
|Storage||128GB, expandable up to 256GB via microSD|
|Camera||Main: 16MP f/2.0 130° ultra-wide + 8MP wide-angle + 8MP macro + 2MP depth
|Dimensions||6.41 x 3.19 x 0.63 inches|
|Battery and charging||10,050mAh, 24W fast-charging via USB Type-C|
|Connectivity||Dual-SIM, WiFi 6, NFC,|
|Durability||IP68, IP69K, United States Military MIL-STD-810G|
|Security||Face unlock, side-mounted fingerprint sensor|
|Material||Metal and hard plastic blend|
One of the first things that I noticed immediately about the S59 Pro was its chunky size. Since it is a rugged smartphone, it's normal for the device to be built in such a manner but that doesn't make it easy to carry. As it has many protective layers and is made of metal and hard plastic, the phone is extremely heavy at 340g. It looks like a miniature tank or a brick, almost like a regular smartphone on steroids.
On the right side, you'll find the volume buttons, the power button and a dedicated fingerprint reader. Meanwhile, the left side houses the dual-SIM tray and a fully customizable extra button called the smart key. It can be programmed to trigger an SOS message, open any app, record audio and more. The top of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone port covered with a tab to maintain the waterproof nature of the phone. The USB Type-C port can be found at the bottom of the phone, also hidden away underneath a tab.
DOOGEE has fitted a powerful 2W speaker on the back of the S59 Pro. While it is really loud, the location makes it prone to being covered up and muffled when the phone is set down or held in hand. This was very problematic as the phone is so thick and heavy, I couldn't really hold it up in a way that didn't block the speaker for very long. The speaker placement essentially made it functionally useless most of the time.
Speaking of the display quality, I was very happy with it despite some shortcomings. The DOOGEE S59 Pro has a 5,71-inch HD+ LCD display with a 720 x 1520 resolution, 90Hz screen refresh rate, and Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It has an LED notification light on the top left, a waterdrop notch and extremely thick bezels. The forehead and chin are especially chunky and decrease the actual screen size by quite a bit.
The colours were crisp, bright and very accurate, and I could see content even in bright sunlight. Thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate, it responded very well and displayed smooth transitions and animations. The quality of the screen reminded me of the earlier iPhones, like the iPhone 5 or 6 (but better). Bottom line is, I think this was one of the best budget displays I've seen, despite the thick bezels.
Quad-cameras have become a bit of a fashion statement in the industry and the S59 Pro has embraced the trend as well. On the back, it has a square camera unit that houses a 16MP Samsung AI f/2.0 130° ultra-wide camera, an 8MP wide-angle camera, an 8MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. As for the front camera, it sports a 16MP lens that supports face unlock.
Honestly speaking, I went into the process of reviewing this phone with minimal expectations but the cameras surprised me. As seen in the sample images below, the pictures came out really nice with clear details and vivid colours. The bokeh mode, or portrait mode as it's generally called, was a bit too artificial for my liking but the effect can be customized to the user's tastes so I was fine with it overall.
There is also an underwater mode and a dedicated monochrome mode in the camera which captures some aesthetically pleasing images in black and white. The cameras did struggle a lot with low lighting though, especially when the lighting was warmer. Under soft yellow lights, the pictures came out blurry and lacked detail and clarity. There is no night mode so it goes without saying that taking photos at night was hopeless.
As for the front camera, the 16MP selfie snapper took good shots but only in bright settings. Overall, I would say that the S59 Pro is capable of capturing some nice pictures but only with a lot of proper lighting. From an affordable rugged phone such as this, it is to be expected but I was hoping there would be a night mode.
DOOGEE touts that the S59 Pro is designed to withstand various forces of nature such as extreme weather conditions, shocks, falls and water. It has several durability certifications, including IP68 and IP69K water and dust resistance as well as the MIL-STD-810G military-grade rating.
I tested out its durability by dropping it face forward on tiled floors and there were no visible scratches or any damage. Dipping it in water did absolutely nothing, and even after a rough day of playing with my dog, the S59 Pro was completely unharmed. It got dirty with mud and I simply washed it under the tap afterwards. It felt a little unnerving to be washing a phone at first, but seeing the positive results made me relaxed.
Performance and battery life
Under the hood, the DOOGEE smartphone has the entry-level Mediatek Helio P22 chipset, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage and runs stock Android 10 out of the box. To test out the performance of the rugged phone, I tried playing various games that are heavy on the system such as The Elder Scrolls: Blades and Warhammer: Odyssey. It could handle the first game but the second one was abysmal, I couldn't even play for ten minutes because the app was so slow and kept getting stuck.
Running normal apps such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Docs or YouTube wasn't any hassle for the phone. I never faced glitches with any other application apart from the bigger, heavy-duty mobile games. Even smaller games like Gardenscapes and SimCity BuildIt played alright.
For proper benchmarks, I started off by running GFXBench which tests the GPU.
Next, I ran Geekbench 5 which tests the CPU.
Last on the list, I ran AnTuTu which tests everything. I used the Blackview BV4900 Pro's benchmarks for comparison as it is a rugged smartphone with the same CPU, GPU and similar storage options. According to the BV4900 Pro's scores on Unite4Buy, the Blackview phone got a total score of 94,288 whereas the DOOGEE S59 Pro got a significantly better overall AnTuTu score of 103,448.
Moving on to the battery life, DOOGEE touts the S59 Pro's gigantic 10,050mAh battery can last for two days on a single charge and can juice up to 100% in three hours. I put this to the test as well, and let me tell you, that was quite a task. The battery just would not die! I was astonished because the results were unbelievable. I went a whole seven days without having to charge the phone. That is, without a doubt, the longest any phone or wireless device I have ever owned lasted without losing power.
Followed by such heroic battery life, I had to deal with the daunting process of charging the S59 Pro back up. My goodness did that take a while - exactly four hours on the dot. Bear in mind that the phone comes with a 24W fast charger.
In the end, I would say that with the DOOGEE S59 Pro, nothing went as I was expecting. The overweight device was full of surprises but in the best sense. That being said, it had plenty of downsides as well. The bulky, heavy nature of the phone makes it really hard to carry it around. You can forget about putting the device in your pant pockets. If you do, however, the ever-present risk of being pantsed by your own phone will haunt you.
The speaker placement is extremely foolish and defeats the purpose of fitting such a loud one in the first place. Performance-wise, mobile gamers should definitely give this phone a pass because it can't handle demanding apps such as process-heavy games that well.
The rugged DOOGEE phone is meant for someone who prioritizes battery life over everything else and needs a decent, functioning smartphone. Aside from the excellent battery life, the device is extremely durable, it has good cameras and a great display. Though it needs to be charged for four long hours, that only needs to be done once a week so I believe it balances out.
Then there's the customizable smart key which is fantastic because you can assign different functions to it for one click, two clicks and a long press. That's really handy for emergency situations, you could use it as an SOS button and automatically alert contacts of your safety issue. You could also choose to take screenshots with the button or open any app.
All things considered, I believe that the S59 Pro is appropriate for a very specific segment of the market. If you're an adrenaline junkie, construction worker, army personnel, or simply a very clumsy human, I would definitely recommend you this phone.
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