My contact at Doogee moved to Oukitel this summer and contacted me asking if I was interested in reviewing the Oukitel WP27, it's another chunky and rugged smartphone with a few notable omissions that I'll get into below.
First up, let's dive into the specs:
|Display:||6.8" 120Hz IPS 24 bit 2460x1080, 396 PPI, 20.5:9 Aspect Ratio,
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|CPU:||MediaTek Helio G99 Octa Core 2.2GHz 6nm (MT6789)
8 Cores: 2 x Cortex A76 2.2 GHz, 6 x 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex A55
|GPU:||ARM Mali-G57 MC2, 1000 MHz|
|12 GB LPDDR4X 2133 MHz|
|Storage:||256 GB (UFS 2.2), expandable up to 2 TB via TF Card|
|Rear Cameras:||64 MP AI main camera
16 MP Selfie Camera
|Dimensions:||86.2 x 178.2 x 15.3 millimeters|
|Battery and charging||8500 mAh, 66 W fast-charging via USB Type-C, 15W wireless|
|Connectivity:||Dual-SIM, WiFi: 2.4G/5G (802.11ac/a/b/g/n),
FM, NFC, OTG, VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.2
|Ports:||USB Type-C, Headphone jack|
|Bands||GSM / UMTS / HSPA+ / LTE (700 - 2600 MHz)|
|GPS:||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo|
|Durability:||IP68, IP69K, United States Military MIL-STD-810H|
|Security:||Face unlock, side-mounted fingerprint sensor|
|Material:||Metal, Polycarbonate, TPU|
|Color:||Blue Camo, Camouflage|
As you can see, yet again we have another rugged phone with an IPS screen and no 5G. In 2023, I feel like not supporting 5G is a serious omission to make, it seems like this and no AMOLED is a cost-cutting measure right along with the lower-end four year old SoC.
We're not getting flagship features here in terms of display or processor power, but like we've seen in Doogee rugged phones, Oukitel doesn't skimp on the rest. There's plenty of RAM and storage, and unlike a few flagships, the onboard storage can be expanded with a TF card if you should so choose.
The first thing anyone will notice when unboxing it is the weight. At 328 g, it is rather heavy, switching between this and my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra was a fun experience. I'm a big lad with big hands, but this presents a challenge to use one-handed for any length of time.
Like all the other rugged phones I've tested I was allowed to throw this thing around, but I was more worried about the damage I could do to my own floors. Dropping it from about a meter did not result in any damage to the phone, which is the minimum expectation you should have for it anyway. There were also no scuff marks that I could see after dropping it a few times, which is good news for the metal and polycarbonate materials the company used. They also included a TPU case in the box
On the rear, you will find the camera array which consists of a 64 MP center main camera, under that is a 20 MP night vision camera, and below that is the 2 MP macro camera. To the right of the cameras are two LED flashes with infrared night vision lights directly below. There's no Oukitel branding anywhere on the phone except for the sticker that includes the serial number, IMEI, and safety certifications. On the bottom left are slits for the single speaker, which can get quite loud.
The camouflage polycarbonate back has a pleasing feel to it, it does not give me the idea that it could very easily slip out of my hand. Although a clear TPU case is preinstalled on the phone out of the box, I don't think it compliments it very well, so I removed it. As I've said before, a rugged phone should be able to hold its own without a need for additional coverings.
On the right side of the phone, you will find the volume rocker and a power key which doubles as a fingerprint sensor. When setting up a fingerprint, I was directed to find the sensor "on the back" of the phone, however it is on the side, and I was able to add my fingerprint fine despite the incorrect direction. The keys have a good height and are easily detected by feel, however all of these keys are completely smooth without any texturing.
On the left, you'll find the SIM/TF card tray which is protected against water ingress by a rubber seal that you can peel away from the side. A fingernail is enough to prise it free from the bezel, happily, the rubber stays connected to the phone when it is removed, so you won't lose it. The other end of the SIM removal tool includes a small flat hook (pic) that assists with prising up the SIM tray, since it does not fully protrude from the side of the device when released through the pin hole. Below that is the User-defined key, which is also completely smooth. I will talk about that a bit later.
On the bottom, you'll find a rubber tab access for the USB Type C charger port for the included 1 m USB Type C-to-USB Type C cable and 66 W Fast charger. There's also a headphone jack, which is becoming a rarity these days, so you can decide between wired and Bluetooth v5.2 connectivity. To the right of the tab looks is a mic hole.
The tab access was easy enough to use with my large fingers and short nails, which is great if you're in a hurry and on the job, which this phone is absolutely suited to in terms of usage.
On the top, there's a little hole for "Vent holes" (see description image below), waterproof testing is going to be fun.
On the front of the device above the display, you'll find the 16 MP front-facing camera, and top left of that there is a "light sensor" that probably controls the adaptive brightness. There is no notification LED on this rugged phone, which is a bit of a letdown, since we have yet another rugged phone with an IPS screen that natively does not support an Always on Display, so having a notification LED would have been a good trade-off.
The Oukitel WP27 includes a 6.8-inch screen, which is the largest I've tested on a rugged phone. Although it is not longer than the Doogee S100, it is slightly wider and thicker despite having 2,300mAH less battery. The weight does feel like it is distributed evenly across the phone though.
The Oukitel WP27 has a 6.8" FHD+ "Fullview" display, at 2460x1080, screen resolution, and with a 396 PPI pixel density, and 20.5: aspect ratio along with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It's not fancy by any means, but I didn't plan on watching 4K HDR movies on it anyway. The display is bright and vibrant enough to look at. I tried to find out if the 120Hz display is adaptive (switching between 60, 90 and 120Hz) but could find nothing in the settings.
In fact all I could find was an incomplete "Colours" setting that appears to let me choose between three different color settings, with three different images and an option that was undefined. Hopefully this gets fixed with an update, but it doesn't give me a great feeling that such an important setting was overlooked.
As you can see in the image above, YouTube doesn't use the full-screen thanks to the hole in LCD camera, but even so, the video's aspect ratio is kept at 16:9 so that explains the smaller letterbox playback. If you pinch out you can zoom in to fill the screen.
As I have said in previous smartphone reviews I've done, I am no camera buff, I'm a point-and-shoot kind of guy, but it is clear to me that smartphone makers seem to want to concentrate a hell of a lot on camera quality, sometimes at the expense of other features, and here is also no exception. On the rear we have a impressive-sounding 64 MP rear shooter with a F/1.8 ± 5% aperture with 81° FOV made by Samsung, there's also a 20 MP vision camera with F/1.8 ± 5% aperture and 78° FOV made by Sony, along with a 2 MP macro camera with a F/2.4 ± 5% aperture and 81.4° FOV.
Unfortunately, there's no optical image stabilization (OIS), which is a common omission on cheaper phones, so it is definitely a disappointment because I took some photos I had to dump due to shaky hands. Apparently, Google gets around this with its Pixel phones by using the gyroscope for stabilization, but no such luck here.
When taking photos, I left everything on the default setting, and as you can see I had a lot of trouble focusing on object such as flowers. In other rugged phones with similar cameras I have had far less trouble focusing on the intended object, however here no matter what I did, the flower remained blurry.
I had the same issue with QR codes, I had to be very patient until auto focus kicked in and maybe was able to scan it, other times I just gave up. Wide shots of an entire scene appeared to do far better, however, the quality of taking pictures on this phone is poor, but maybe it could all be fixed with a software update.
The Night vision camera is pretty useless on this phone, for starters it is called "Infrared" (see first photo above), so I tried taking a picture of my hand to see it in action (second image), which is when I discovered it is actually the Night Vision camera taking the picture; and because the viewfinder does not show anything on Infrared/Night Vision mode (see first image) I literally just had to guess what I was taking a photo of in a pitch black room by just pointing in a guesstimated direction and then shooting, which gave me the result of the (above) third picture.
So this tells me that the IR sensors only start working when I actually take a picture, or if there is more light. it is clear the software is incomplete here, with a few things missed out, and Night Vision is named incorrectly as "Infrared" and doesn't even work in the viewfinder. I should probably mention that other rugged phones I have previously reviewed did include a infrared/thermal camera, and one had a laser pointer measure, but the WP27 does not include these options.
The Oukitel WP27 has Android 13 preloaded with the July 2023 security update, which is quite some time ago considering we're now into October. I reached out to my contact about updates policy and received a reply of "about once a quarter" which is the same as Doogee, and other Chinese ODMs. You can expect just one year of software support covered by the 12-month warranty.
The phone comes with a dedicated launcher called Quickstep. I couldn't find much information about it online, however we've seen this before on the Doogee S98 Pro. It is mostly near to a stock experience. On powering up for the first time, you are prompted to complete set up . This can easily be changed in the Android settings.
The User-defined key (called Smart Key) can also be found in Android Settings. It lets you assign an app to it, although you only have one choice: long press to open:
- Outdoor Tool
- Start the app
I set it to launch the camera, but it was also possible to choose other quick settings, like Flashlight (Torch), the included Outdoor Tool, which I will get into later, or "Start the app" which is basically a custom app launcher, you can choose any app that you have installed to launch via long press. So as we can see, the settings suffers a bit from some broken English which is something we're used to by now from Chinese ODMs.
The "Outdoor" tool has a few apps grouped together like Compass, "Mirror", which is literally just selfie mode, dB measurer, level tools and a HeartRate app that uses your fingertip over the main camera to measure. I have mixed feelings about it. It certainly does not have the sensors to back these as professional tools. All in all I think little effort was spent here to align it with an Outdoors worker.
In my opinion, they should really hire some English or American quality control as a final eyes on their product before they ship it. Who wants to roll their eyes at the terrible English in their newly purchased device?
Upon long pressing on the desktop, you get a menu to the Quickstep Launcher settings, which as you can see above is pretty bare bones. Upon powering up the phone for the first time and going through the setup, you are presented with a pretty much stock experience.
As you can see from the above screenshot, a nice addition to the Easy Launcher is the Google app, which can be accessed by swiping to the right from the Home screen. Quickstep settings page says you have to swipe left to open Google page when it is actually swipe right as is the norm on my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with Nova Launcher.
Performance and Battery Life
The phone offers charging through the wall charger at 33 W and no wireless option, and with a 8500 mAh battery, Oukitel does not claim how quick it can charge, but in my own testing there does not appear to be a Fast Charge profile like most phone manufacturers offer. I let the phone completely drain, which took almost two weeks with very light use, and then put it on the wall charger that was included, and after 30 minutes I had 17%, which is around 1445mAh of capacity. For a modern comparison, Samsung claims it can Fast Charge the S23 Galaxy Ultra at 45W to 65% of its 5000mAh capacity in 30 mins, offering an impressive 3250mAh. So you can see why Oukitel made no claims of Fast charging on its website.
The official web page claims 1000 hours (41.6 days) on standby, 53 hours of call time, 32 hours of music, 8 hours of gaming or streaming, and 12.5 hours of video or photo recordings.
For those that love benchmarks, there are a few below. I started off by trying to run GFXBench which tests the GPU.
As you can see above, the test canceled itself. It happened five times, sometimes immediately. I checked if any other apps were running in the background and there wasn't. In any case, I have not had this problem on any other phone so I gave up on that one and passed the findings on to my contact at Oukitel.
Next up, I ran Geekbench, which returned a score of 730, up 92 points in Single-Core and 2,036 for Multi-Core, which is a bump of 5 points higher than the Doogee S100 which actually has the same Helio G99 SoC.
Last but not least, the AnTuTu benchmark tests, came in at 401,453 points, which is 12,103 points higher than the same spec Doogee S100 and beats out the 2018 Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note9. For a more recent comparison, it comes in slightly better than last year's Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G.
It should be noted that the AnTuTu score gave a warning that it "could not connect to the internet" despite the app being able to download test updates.
The Oukitel WP 27 includes the MediaTek G99 SoC which, in terms of features is still built on the original Helio G90T that was released in 2019. The newer chip utilizes a 6 nm process versus the 11 month older 12 nm G96. Although the G99 is still only a mid-range SoC, it can still hold its own against the in 2020 released Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G, which would be a fair comparison. However, the Helio G9x series is definitely showing its age here in terms of lacking 5G support in a world that is now starting to fully switch over to it.
As with all rugged phones, this has a very specific use case. It is very good at completing tasks where you would be outside, on a building site or in an otherwise dirty or dangerous environment. Dropping it in such areas, assuming you don't lose it in the process, will likely result in absolutely no damage to the device, although I do wonder how the polycarbonate backplate will hold up after prolonged use and exposure to rough environments, but there's also a TPU case included if owners are worried about damaging or scratching the camouflage print..
As I have said in previous rugged phone reviews, you can probably forget about using it as a main phone and sticking it in your Bermuda shorts or pant pockets. If you do, however, the ever-present risk of being pantsied by your own phone will haunt you. This is true even for a big guy like myself, it is proper heavy at 328 g. In fact I opted to keep it in my backpack when I was out shooting pictures with it.
The User-defined key allowed me to map the Camera to it, so we can forgive the lack of a dedicated camera button in this case, and its massive battery is more than enough that anyone can ask for. It seems that Oukitel is also missing the point by making a big deal out of the multiple cameras quality, but then skimping out on the more important options, like 5G and a better screen. They should instead concentrate on delivering a truly great rugged phone. The camera sensors loudly proclaim big numbers on the product site, but then they failed to properly implement the Night Vision camera, or include any sort of optical image stabilization which ruins what should be a quick point and shoot process.
Then there's the poor software support and only one year of warranty backing the phone. As I said earlier, this phone is mostly for specific use cases. I can easily recommend it to construction workers who find it important to have a smartphone on hand, they can toss it around and rinse it under the tap and it will still keep working.
This phone isn't going to break the bank at the (as of writing) discounted price of $259.99 (when a $30 coupon is applied) at Amazon, or $299.99 on Oukitel, which actually makes it one of the cheapest rugged phones I have tested. However, for that money you can only expect a year of support, plus only around four Android security updates in that year.
The absence of 5G and an AMOLED screen is disappointing, but you do get a decent mid-range SoC experience in a tough package. It's a meaningful device in tough working conditions, but it lacks the previously mentioned features we'd come to expect in 2023. Right now, I'd only say this is a good back up work phone.
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