Chinese phone brand Doogee was pretty much an unknown entity five years ago, but it now makes some of the best rugged smartphones in the industry. Its durable devices are built to withstand the elements and are protected (using universally certified rating standards) against water and dirt damage, as well as sudden drops onto hard surfaces.
Doogee has launched Pro editions of its popular V20 and S100 Android smartphones and I recently tested the S100 Pro, which the rugged manufacturer is positioning as a handy outdoor companion. With bright 130-lumen lights and a long-lasting battery, this is a phone designed to be used on camping trips, outdoor hikes and days away from power.
I received a review sample from Doogee ahead of its launch and spent several weeks putting it through some rugged testing of my own. I dropped it down a hill accidentally during a run, onto my concrete patio on purpose, had it carried in my dog’s mouth on a walk, and left it submerged in a river for at least ten minutes. Needless to say, it didn’t falter.
I’ll delve into the phone’s features and how well they work in more detail below, but overall I’m very impressed with the S100 Pro’s massive 22,000 mAh battery (which can be used to charge other devices), its gaming mode, the camera quality, and its bright 6.58-inch 120 Hz screen. The S100 Pro runs on Android 12, so it includes all the usual Google apps you’d expect like Gmail and Google Play for the best Android games. It’s also compatible with all the best cell phone providers, so you can swap your SIM in and out anytime you plan to go on an adventurous trip and don’t want to take your usual gaming phone with you.
Put simply, the Doogee S100 Pro is the best rugged phone if you want a decent camera, screen and battery – and don’t mind its larger size.
The Doogee S100 Pro has a Helio G99 Octa Core 2.2GHz 6nm processor, which is the same as the Doogee S100. This is certainly fast and efficient enough to run the majority of mobile games, and it blazed through photo editing alongside my everyday tasks and email admin.
These are the Doogee S100 Pro specs:
|Display||6.58″ FHD+ 120hz IPS Waterdrop screen|
|Cameras||AI Triple camera (108MP+20MP+16MP), 20MP Night vision camera, 32MP front camera|
|Rugged ratings||IP68 / IP69K / MIL-STD-810H|
|Battery||22000mAh / 33W charging|
|Features||130 lumens camping light|
|Size (HxWxD)||179 x 83 x 27mm|
The Doogee S100 Pro has been given an IP68 / IP69K rating and MIL-STD-810H (military standard) protection, so you can be sure it will withstand extreme weather, temperatures and conditions. The IP69K rating is the highest protection available (at the time of writing) against moisture, dirt, sand and any other debris you might imagine wreaking havoc with your phone’s internal parts.
The S100 Pro is a reasonable media device too, with a camera system incorporating a 108MP AI main camera, a Sony 20MP Night vision camera, 16MP wide-angle and macro camera, and a 32MP front camera (also with a Sony chip). Instead of the cameras protruding out from the device as they do on my iPhone 12, the lenses are sunk in for extra protection against bumps.
The S100 Pro isn’t a specialist gaming phone, however, it caters to gamers with a gaming mode that keeps all your titles in one place and prevents incoming calls when you’re in gameplay mode. Coupled with the Helio G99 processor to keep things running smoothly and the bright, crisp, 120Hz screen, I’d say the S100 Pro could be a decent gaming device if you find yourself on a camping trip and in need of some entertainment. Connectivity-wise, it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an FM radio (that works with wired headphones), plus NFC and OTG support.
Elsewhere, the S100 Pro also offers a bank of handy (and some random) tools accessible from the ToolBag app, including a pedometer, height measure, compass and protractor. As rugged phones are often used by builders and contractors on messy sites, I can see some of these tools being genuinely useful. I tried the height measure and found it accurate to the nearest 10cm, but the Mirror option is essentially just the front camera giving you a close-up selfie.
When I first unboxed the Doogee S100 Pro I thought “Woah, this thing is a brick!” There’s no getting away from the fact that the Doogee S100 Pro is heavy and bulky. At 402g it’s almost twice the weight of my iPhone 12, and at 27.3 mm thick, almost four times the thickness. That adds up to a phone that feels very chunky in hand, even in large hands.
I’d guess that most people aren’t buying a rugged phone to be compact, but the oversized dimensions are something to bear in mind when you factor in your lifestyle and what you’d be using the phone for. It’s not easy to tuck it away in a back pocket, for example, and you probably need to use two hands if you’re going to hold it for longer periods. But if you mainly plan to chuck it in a rucksack, the form factor is less of an issue.
The build quality of the S100 Pro feels reassuringly durable, as you’d expect from a device with an IP68 / IP69K rating and MIL-STD-810H (military standard) protection. Corning Gorilla Glass (strengthened glass) is used for the screen, and while Doogee doesn’t state what materials are used for the casing, it feels like a plastic-metal alloy that can withstand scratches and dents. The back cover is textured like leather, and this helps to grip the phone, large as it is. As I mentioned earlier in this review, I dropped the S100 Pro many times during testing and didn’t notice any significant scratches on the casing.
On the right side of the S100 Pro, there’s a fingerprint sensor to unlock it and two volume buttons with grooves to aid the grip. On the left there’s a SIM card tray and custom key function. On the bottom is a covered USB Type-C port for charging the phone, plus a hidden microphone for voice recording and calls. I wish more brands (yes you, Apple) would incorporate the Type-C port as standard, as it means you don’t have to spend money on specialist cables or chargers should you need them.
Overall, I found the handling of the Doogee S100 Pro to be simple but effective. Even with my small hands, I could just about reach all of the buttons, although I found the fingerprint ID to be a bit temperamental when wet. In terms of design, I’ve already mentioned how heavy and cumbersome I found it, but I can’t pick a fault with the screen quality itself. Likewise, the speakers are good enough for playing games, and when I tested the microphone out, I found that it picked up my voice recordings with impressive clarity.
While the performance of the S100 Pro’s camera array isn’t a match for flagship phones like the iPhone 14 Pro or the Google Pixel 7 Pro, for the price and its use case, that’s absolutely reasonable. The cameras are generally quick to focus (but not great with fast-moving subjects), the colors are punchy enough, and the night vision camera is effective.
One of the standout differences between the original Doogee S100 and the S100 Pro is the inclusion of 130-lumen lights on the phone’s rear. The idea is that these lights last for up to 18 hours for illumination on camping trips or outdoor adventures. The lights are incredibly bright, and I used them several times to light up a path during a later-than-planned walk through the woods with my dog. I didn’t test them for the quoted 18 hours, but I did leave them on for several hours without the battery dipping by more than a few per cent.
When testing the s100 pro I used the SIM card from my usual iPhone 12, as the phone is designed to be used with all cell phone providers and comes unlocked. There was no issue with connecting to my usual network carrier in the UK, and I found that phone calls had crisp audio. Of course, trying to make a call from the wilderness isn’t guaranteed, and the S100 Pro is limited to 4G rather than 5G connectivity.
The Doogee S100 Pro is available on the Doogee website and on Amazon. You can also get 10% off with the code S100PROUK (for a limited time).
You should get the Doogee S100 Pro if you want a rugged phone that also offers a decent camera and media package. Although it’s a solid (literally) device, the S100 Pro isn’t the best choice if you have small hands or want a compact rugged device. The RRP ($499.99) of the Doogee S100 Pro is reasonable for its features, but it’s not the cheapest rugged phone on the market, so if you need a budget option, look elsewhere.
For a cheaper rugged smartphone, look at the Doogee S96 GT. It’s a good choice if you need a phone that can withstand drops (up to 1.8m) and spills, but don’t want to sacrifice media features.
The best discrete rugged smartphone is the Nokia XR20. It’s much less chunky, offers regular security updates and is a trusted brand.
If you want an even more rugged smartphone, the Cat S75 is the best on offer for now, with sand, dust, and dirt resistance. It has 5G, 4G, and 3G connectivity, plus a satellite messaging system.
- Want to know more about how we tested the Doogee S100 Pro and phones like it? Find out how we test at Pocket Tactics.
Doogee S100 Pro review
The S100 Pro is big and bulky, but its high-capacity battery, camping lights and night vision make it a fantastic choice for camping, or for any outdoor adventures where you’re not able to access a power supply. The IP68 / IP69K rating gives ample protection against water and drops, and its one of the best rugged phones we’ve tested. The S100 Pro offers a more than decent camera system, gaming mode and Helio G99 processor to keep things running smoothly.