This is a happy story as I’m sure you’re all sick to death of hearing about everyone’s favourite virus – far better to read about great gadgets…
This first part is about the new phone I recently received from Banggood, the Doogee S68 Pro (Global version) Smartphone.
Is this a top of the line phone? No. Does it have an ultra-high-res camera? No. Does it cost more than a small PC? No. The review also covers the Blitzwolf Wireless Charger I use with the phone.
The Doogee S68 Pro, while not having all the features of a top of the line mobile, is still a robust, inexpensive phone and well worth a further read, not least because of the price – early January 2021, Banggood have it for $189/€154/£139 (or you could spend almost 25% more at Amazon etc).
I refer you to my Doogee Mix 2 back in December 2017. Aside from the second rear camera being nothing special – I loved my original Doogee (a life-saver as I spent the next 2 months in hospital – without it I might’ve died of boredom). This time around, things are different – the S68 Pro sports a standard (21Mpx) lens along with lower-res wide angle and telephoto lenses. I have a high spec phone already and I was interested in a different angle for the inexpensive Doogee S68 Pro – the protective standard rear shell is RUGGED. Rather than fire off endless stats here, I refer you to the Banggood link at the top of this blog entry.
Now, in case I’m giving the impression this is a basic phone, let’s start with the packaging – very impressive. You can see the box it comes in to the right. Quite impressive. Banggood delivered this in record time and as I write this, 2020’s general shipping issues (Brexit and Covid-related) seem to be on the recovery path. As far as I’m aware there are no particular issues getting goods into into mainland Europe – I’m getting regular post both within Europe and from China.
Here’s a thing – the S68 Pro is THICK – a LOT thicker than my Poco X3 phone. My S68 came with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage (of course you can add more in the form of an SD card if you want and yes, it handles up to 2 SIMs – I rather like the ability to insert and remove SIMs without a special tool (manual says it is included but I didn’t see it – and certainly didn’t need it – I DID on the other hand find what I can only describe as a disassembly tool – photo below. For SIM installation – my fingernail worked just fine).
The phone is certified IP68 water resistant and looks like it is built to take a punishing. The 6300ma battery is marvellous – no chance of that going flat in one day.
As the phone has a rubberised back, this may be the first phone I’ve ever used without an additional case. It also comes complete with some sort of screen protector pre-fitted. I note that both the headphone interface (top) and USB-C charger connector are protected behind water-resistant rubber. Titanium aluminium sides offer comprehensive protection. I LIKE that.
The phone supports NFC and also has a Gorilla glass 4 screen – always handy.
Here’s a feature some may love, some may hate – the active screen does not extend right to the edges – personally I like that as it means I can handle the phone without fingerprinting the screen every time as you see in the photo above left of the phone, itself taking a photo of my desktop. I like that Orange trim.
Pretty much standard Android 9 – and I got a wireless update as soon as I started up the phone and hooked up my WiFi. Processor is a Helio P70 – not something for fanatical gamers but just fine for general use – I certainly am finding the phone to be quite responsive.
Both wireless charging and reverse charging are possible (which means for example you could use the phone to charge other devices such as ear plugs which support Qi charging). As for being rugged, rather than chance my new phone, I watched videos of others dropping it from 1.5m and saw no examples of any damage.
The power connector is type C, pretty standard right now – and the phone comes with a fast Doogee-branded USB charger. Using a wired charger in this case does mean wasing back the protective cover over the charge connector… but see below…
The S68 Pro also supports Qi wireless charging at 10 W and Reverse wireless charging at 5W. I won’t elaborate further as this is the first phone I’ve had which does wireless charging. You need a separate wireless charging pad for that and I have just received one which works perfectly – but don’t expect very fast charging from wireless chargers of course. In use the phone alternates between “Charging” and “Charging slowly” when using a wireless charger. Peronally as I spend much of my time at my desk, I’m inclined to use the Blitzwolf charger shown below for “keeping the phone topped up” while at my desk. I noted that from FLAT, a complete charge looked like it might take up to 10 hours – thankfully a wired charge is many times faster.
So, if you choose to buy this separate and attractive Blitzwolf BW-FWC7 15W/10W/7.5W/5W Wireless Charger, it is inexpensive, comes complete with USB-C lead and has a pretty green glow on power up – which changes to a slow undulating blue and green glow on supported phones like the Doogee S68 Pro – while on my Poco X3 which does NOT support wireless charging, the LED ring quickly alternates between green and blue. I’m guessing that when not charging your phone, it makes a great coffee mat. Not tried that.
Camera photos below – a comparison of photos taken in identical conditions using the S68 Pro (above) and my Pocophone (below).
The top two photos were taken with the S68 Pro and the bottom two with the Pocophone. Before commenting that the bottom photos are better (or worse), bear in mind that the aspect ratio of the two phone cameras are different, that the Pocophone costs much more than the S68 Pro and that normally I would only print photos after using (for example) Snapseed to adjust colour etc., had I done this I could have made the photos not far off identical. Photo resolution on the S68 Pro is 21MP at 4:3 and 20MP at 16:9.
Note also that the S68 Pro DOES (out of the box) support the full Android Playstore unlike some far more expensive phones I could mention (Huawei ring a bell?) and hence within minutes of opening the phone, I had Microsoft YourPhone installed along with Snapseed and several other utilities. Video on the S68 Pro seems to max at 1080p and videos are stored in 3GP format – I’d have preferred 4K and MP4 format but you can’t have everything.
As I already have the relevant (free) drivers on my PC for file transfers from Android, it took no time at all to plug the phone into my PC to gain access to files including video (photos can of course be downloaded wirelessly with “Your Phone”).
The second part of this blog is for my friends and subscribers in Spain. And no I’m not on commission!
For mobile connectivity, I’m using Simyo in Spain and when I joined them earlier this year, I signed up a friend never thinking twice about it. Today – months later) I just checked and my free 3GB and free fiver (sign a friend) gifts are STILL waiting for me. Not only that but two OTHER things – I have until Jan 15 to claim my FREE 20GB Xmas present (not that I’ll need it any more than the 9GB I’ve accumulated over the last month or two in partial lockdown) – and on TOP of that, the service at 6GB a month for €5 has just permanently gone up to 8GB with no price change – and the service includes ROLLOVER and ROAMING. I will never in a million years use up all that data…. unless our broadband goes off – handy for emergencies then. Near the end of December I’ve just been sent a notification to say I’ve accumulated 9″gigas”.
Of course the phones mentioned above work just as well with other providers.