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Too bad your new iPhone doesn't have this awesome feature

This budget, rugged Android phone has a secret compartment for a very cool feature.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer
Ulefone Armor 15

Ulefone Armor 15

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

While there's no doubt that the iPhone is the biggest selling smartphone in the world, it's interesting to watch other companies trying to come up with features that differentiate their offering from whatever Apple has come up with.

Sometimes the new features are a bit silly. Other times they are quite interesting.

Ulefone's Armor 15 is one of those with a very interesting feature.

On paper, the Armor 15 is quite a capable smartphone:

Ulefone 15 Armor tech specs

  • 5.45-inch HD display
  • Helios G35 octa-core processor
  • 12-megapixel + 13-megapixel rear camera
  • 16-megapixel front camera
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 6600 mAh battery
  • Face + fingerprint unlock
  • Water- and dust-resistant to IP69K (totally dustproof, and able to withstand water pressures of 80 to 100 bar/1,160 to 1,450 PSI at temperatures up to 176°F/80°C)
  • Android 12 operating system

The fit and finish of the Armon 15 is also excellent. Despite the rugged build, it has a very stylish finish.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

All in all, the Armor 15 is a capable budget Android smartphone. The performance is great, the cameras output decent photos perfect for social media, and the screen is bright and comfortable to look at, even for extended periods.

It's a handset that's built to a price, but it certainly doesn't feel cheap.

OK, but there's more. Let's get to that hidden feature. 

In a secret compartment at the top of the smartphone are... Bluetooth earbuds!

Hidden Bluetooth earbuds

Hidden Bluetooth earbuds

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

When in the holding compartment, the earbuds get charged up so they are ready for use (they'll run for about 4 - 5 hours on a single charge, but have a runtime of over 500 hours thanks to the phone being the charging case).

The earbuds!

The earbuds!

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

The Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds have a multifunctional touch key that handles play/pause, summoning voice assistant, and make and hang up calls. I've tested them with a variety of audio -- from music/podcasts/audiobooks to making and receiving calls -- and they seem to be quite capable. 

Considering that the super early bird price of the Armor 15 is $170, getting a smartphone and earbuds that are decent is a superb deal.

It's an interesting idea, and the concept of built-in earbuds is cool. Maybe less cool for someone like me who loses things, but if you always remember to put them back, they'll always be with your smartphone.

That's a really nice feature.

The Armor 15 also comes with a belt clip-case. It holds the smartphone securely, and it's something I've used when out and about when I wanted to keep the Armor 15 within reach rather than tucking it into a pocket.

Overall, I like the Ulefone Armor 15. It's got the fit and finish and quality that I have come to expect from Ulefone, and the price is right, with the super early bird on Kickstarter set at $169.99, rising to a still very reasonable $209.99.

If you're looking for a rugged smartphone that is just as home in the office as it is in the woods, and you want it to act as a charging case for your earbuds, the Armor 15 is definitely a one-of-a-kind solution to your needs.

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