Almost none can go toe to toe with any flagship smartphone but then again, theyre not really designed to most are large form factor with long battery lives and theyre designed to take a beating. Many incorporate some kind of special tool or feature that would be only useful to the trade or outdoor market that they are aimed at the doogee. S97. Pro ticks every one of these boxes. It is huge, it has a massive battery life. It is tough as nails, and it has a laser rangefinder, built directly into the phone, its clearly aimed at trades people, but the mediatek helio g95 chip running the show makes it a speedy handset in its own right. It is currently available at a starting price of just 267., also making it one of the on paper best value phones in terms of features, speed and battery life. My name is ian and in this make use of review, we are going to see if the doogee s97 pro measures up to the competition. So before we get going. Why should you care what i think about a rugged smartphone? Well, i have been a rugged smartphone enthusiast for a number of years. I have used them in work as well: ive used them in theaters, in music festivals and on building sites um, perhaps more crucially, ive used them around a variety of small children who are the ultimate destroyers of all unwatched technology, but ive also used and reviewed a Large variety of rugged tech in general, i know what claims are worth paying attention to, along with what marketing claims are sort of worth.

Taking with a bit of a pinch of salt, i test things thoroughly and that has resulted in me being blacklisted by one unnamed vendor for giving their rugged device a low score for braking under what i deems to be completely fair and normal circumstances. This particular review is a little different as well as my faithful smartphone that ive used for a long time died. Just as i received this phone, so i ended up using the s97 pro, as my daily driver for longer than most reviewers would, i suspect, thats why ive noticed some things about this phone that ive not seen reported anywhere else. The s97 pro is a dual sim android 11 handset, with a 6.’ inch, corning gorilla, glass screen and an 8 500 milliamp hour battery that supports up to 33 watts fast charging and a 10 watt wireless charging as well. The version i tested comes with 8 gigabytes of ram and 128 gigabytes of storage, which can be increased via a micro sd card, though you will lose one of those sim slots. If you choose to do that, you also get nfc bluetooth, 5. Face unlock a side mounted fingerprint sensor and all of the standard features you would expect on a modern android phone. Now it does have four rear mounted cameras, a 48 megapixel main camera, a 2 megapixel portrait camera, a 2 megapixel macro lens and an 8 megapixel wide angle lens, along with four white leds, which act as a torch and a camera flash in the box.

You get a fairly beefy, fast charger, a usbc charging cable, a wrist, strap and a little sim bay removal tool along with some screen protectors. So what sets the doogie s97 pro aside, apart from the rangefinder which well get on to, is its size, its pretty massive, its 6.7 by 3.3 by 0.6 inches. It does fit in my pocket with my keys, but only just the thickness is: what does it? Its? A really thick phone, but that size is somewhat of an asset because that thickness is the battery and that battery allows you to watch videos on its big screen pretty much all day long um, its the onboard speaker, is more than good enough for watching things. Even at a bit of a distance and of course a larger screen allows you to do that. Bluetooth connectivity is a bit of a different matter and thats one we will get on to um. Another thing that sets this phone aside is that it apparently has an onboard formaldehyde detector and i havent seen any documentation for how that actually works and how it warns you if you come into contact with it um, and it does also have two extra side mounted Buttons one is customizable by the user and the other one is for triggering the rangefinder when the app is open, uh. Speaking of the rangefinder, it is the key feature of the s97 pro its kind of its gimmick that theyre selling it on.

So the important question is well: does it work? Well, the short answer is yes, it works as well as any low budget rangefinder will work. It works indoors and theres a lot of circumstances indoors. That will give you very dodgy readings, thats, actually, a problem with most laser rangefinders in the s97 pros defense, um, even name brand budget rangefinders have those issues that said they have a video comparison with the bosch glm 40, a higher cost laser rangefinder used widely and By venue, staff and theaters technicians and set builders ive used them a lot um. It seems like an interesting comparison, its an aesthetic choice really that they had this video comparison because they do have their own video comparison. But doogees own store page claims a three centimeter accuracy variation on the s97 pros rangefinder, while the bosch dedicated range fighter is accurate down to 1.5 millimeters um, the promo video claims, the s97 pro is just as accurate as the bosch gl m40 and uh. Well, its not, but that said its its more than accurate enough for many short range indoor uses and on a phone at this price. It is a nice addition, its just a shame, theyre trying to market it as an actual tool, its something more um when it. When it isnt now um, is it actually rugged well before we get to that most manufacturers of rugged devices claim this mil std810g standard youll see it everywhere, but you should know that this is purely an aesthetic thing.

Yes, rugged manufacturers follow military device testing protocols, but they do it house. The military itself has nothing to do with consumer phones. So in this particular case, doogee is telling you that their phone has a military certification that doogee gave the phone after doogee tested it. That said, the s97 pro is as bomb proof as pretty much any other phone doogee makes um and its stacked up to all of the usual punishment that these reviews dish out. It is a solid brick which took all normal day to day use in its stride and some very overzealous dropping onto a variety of surfaces, along with the usual water and dust test, the at uh that ip68 and ip69k ratings should be able to take. It took all of them in its stride anyway. It was absolutely fine, um after everything that ive put this through ive, given this a wash in the sink and as you can probably see, this thing still looks fantastic by the way. If you noticed at any point that there was scratches on the screen during the footage of this review, that was purely on the screen protector and one of the things i tend to do with phones like this is a test to see how strong the actual glass Is and in doing that, test um these screen protectors, get wrecked, obviously um, but yeah i mean i took the screen protector. It currently doesnt have a screen protector on.

I took that screen protector off and you can see the gorilla glass apart from a few fingerprints. Is completely untouched um the covers that you put on your screens. They wont stop your glass from shattering in any circumstances. Thats. This is you know. The screen is obviously tough um in my mind, a rugged phone needs to be, of course, rugged um. It also has to have a couple of other features. One is side buttons and the other is face, unlock and thats very important. If youre, using this in a rugged environment, youll, probably be wearing gloves, you want to be able to unlock the phone without typing in passwords, and you want to be able to use basic features like google and, of course, the rangefinder without having to touch the screen. As well in this capacity, the gs97 pro passes on all fronts. I also quite like the approach theyve taken to the charging port theres various different things that different manufacturers have done over time. Some just go completely bare and say that you can get the charging port wet just make sure you dry it first, some get little plugs this little flap that they have on the s97 pro. I think, thats a really really good approach for doing it. It feels like a good seal and i had never had any problems with water ingress during this review and yeah its not too hard to its just hard enough to kind of flip out to get the charging cable in that part of it.

I think is really well designed. The rugged element of this phone is fantastic. Rugged. Ruggedness aside, you theres also the feel of this phone. If you were to use it every day as i did, and unfortunately, this is sort of where things start to fall. Apart a little for the s97 pro um, but before we get into that lets just talk about some of the good things because general use is incredibly snappy. There was no slowdown whatsoever while moving between apps and it has good background memory management, courtesy of android that stops things from getting bogged down at any point, um mid to high intensity android games just run without any issue whatsoever. I dont play any really high intensity once so. I cant help you there too much um, but the large screen is fantastic for general media and gaming. Watching videos and the huge battery is an asset there too. You can go for days without charging this thing, and even if you do need to charge it, the quick charging means you can top it up briefly and get an entire other day out of it, rather than just the few more hours that you would get. As other phones, its a really nice touch, unfortunately, there are some glaring problems here that make the s97 not all that fun to use as a daily driver. Connectivity is probably the biggest um. I live in a pretty small flat, but i was getting wi.

Fi drops frequently sometimes in the same room as the router, and this hasnt happened with any other device using bluetooth and wifi. At the same time will cause one or the other to instantly lose connection and using bluetooth outside on network data is a little bit better. But it still gives off all of the artifacts of a poor connection, and this is with headphones that i know to work perfectly well with multiple other handsets now. As ive said several times, i use this phone as my daily driver, and that might be why im noticing problems here that i havent really seen reported anywhere else. Um like, for example, this might seem like such a tiny detail, but when i was setting up google pay because the phone has nfc um, i couldnt use the automated setup, because not one of the four rear cameras could focus on my card now. I know that sounds like a tiny detail, but heres another one. You know the side. Buttons are incredibly light and easy to press. That means id frequently pull the phone out of my pocket and find that the power button had been pressed and then the reset button on the screen had been hit in my pocket and id have to unlock my sim before i could receive calls and messages. Now that issue in a phone is quite hard to ignore. After all, a rugged phone should be able to at least stay switched on in an environment as dangerous as my pocket, with some keys in it.

If you have ever been in your life in a position where it is vitally important that you do receive a phone call just throwing out an abstract example, here, like a nine month pregnant partner who might need to ring you quite quickly um a telephone, a telephone Designed to travel in a pocket, it should just be able to travel in a pocket in standby mode. I dont think im nitpicking too much when i say thats a big issue: um funnily enough. Ive only had this exact problem with one of the phone and it was another very, very similar budget, rugged phone, but from a different manufacturer so um. This might not be a doogee s97 pro issue only, but it is still a pretty big issue and one that i couldnt. Let fly really so. As previously mentioned, the camera didnt play nice with google pay um, but the camera itself is okay. Actually, if youre using the camera outside youre, going to get some good photos, its not going to come close to any flagship phones, its also not going to come close to things like the pixel 4a, which is a budget phone but its a google budget phone. So yeah there are a few cheap phones that can compare with that, but yeah, the normal photographs from the 48 megapixel main and the 16 megapixel selfie camera are fair, uh, muted lighting does cause large drops in quality, and the same is true for the 4k.

Video recording, which is completely passable, but there is a noticeable stepping effect in uh brightness compensation when changing light levels, its okay for day to day use but fairly average when compared to other budget phones in recent years, its just kind of there in the middle um. What it does make up for what makes up for it somewhat sorry is the 2 megapixel macro and 8 megapixel wide angle modes. Now macro lenses are fantastic additions to phones in general. They allow you to get such high detail close ups of things on the fly that great its a great combination with a phone, and this one it works functionally like a fixed focus lens with a little work. You can get some really wonderful images, however, for whatever reason, the macro mode doesnt allow you to turn the flash on at the same time as using the macro lens, which can cause problems when the phone blocks out the light as you get close. But when youre outside thats less of an issue, usually um the wide angle, camera is also nice. The images arent any noticeably lower quality than the main lens, which is slightly worrying, given how much less megapixels it is, but its a great way to pack a lot into a single photo so for reference. This wide angle shot was taken from the same position as this regular photo, and i took both of these photos just to give a sense of scale for this macro shot.

So should you get this phone i mean, i know ive come across as quite negative with a few of the points, but i have to stress that for the money you are getting a lot of phone for your money um. If you are looking for a a basic android phone that can be used while wearing gloves, um and take a bashing, has an insanely huge battery life, ive used it for four days on the trot. You know the s97 pro might well be, for you just make sure it gets its own pocket and youll be fine. You will get a lot of fun out of the macro lens too, and the distance measurement tool has some use in getting ballpark figures. I would say um, but if you are hoping that this phone will act as a useful tool, then its probably not for you, because the idea behind it is great. It is a phone that cannot only survive harsh working environments but has actual utility as a tool within them. Unfortunately, if you already work in those environments, you are very unlikely to want to trust a budget rugged smartphone to things like accurate measurement, that you know thats. How you do your job well and uh, toxic substance, detection, thats thats! You want industry grade tools for that and not a budget rugged smartphone um for most everyday users. All of these issues would be forgivable if you just treat it as a large form factor.

Rugged phone with a big battery life. Unfortunately, in my experience, the combination of the weak side, buttons average main camera and shotty shoddy connectivity, makes it yeah less than ideal for your average day to day use as well. Now this isnt entirely just on doogee. I want to be clear: this is a product of the rugged smartphone market in general. This is a problem right now, so many rugged phones come with a standout feature that in reality, isnt actually all that useful to have built into a phone um. It seems to me that if someone brought out a phone at this price, with no gimmicks just tough as nails with a massive battery life and crucially a fantastic camera, then it would be a really useful daily phone and it would probably do really well um its A shame as well, because im im a big fan of doogee, i dont want you to think i dont like doogies products. I love their approach and they made some fantastic phones, its just that, unfortunately, the s97 pro isnt one of them. If you found this review useful, consider subscribing to the make use of youtube channel, we have reviewed a lot of rugged products, but we review a lot of everything else as well um and if there are any points in this video that you didnt really agree with Id love to hear what you think in the comments section below um. I do understand that i am somewhat opinionated, but then again that is the job of the reviewer to have opinions.

There was also a written version of this review that you can find in the description of the video, but for now my name is ian.