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Hands-on with the Doogee S50: Rugged good looks and face recognition

doogee-s50-rugged-phone-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
  • Editors' rating
    8.2 Excellent

Pros

  • Facial recognition to unlock phone
  • Rear fingerprint sensor
  • Four cameras

Cons

  • No Toolbox apps
  • No one-handed use option
  • No wireless charging

The Doogee S50 is a nice looking rugged phone compared to others I have seen.

Doogee S50: Design

It is slightly smaller than the Doogee S60, yet its 163.9 x 79.8 x 13.3mm size means that it does not feel clunky in my hand. It manages to squeeze a 5.- inch IPS screen and 1440 x 720-pixel resolution into its streamlined, slimmer form.

Read also: Doogee Shoot 2 review: An affordable entry-level phone, but not for the enterprise

It weighs a few grams less than the S60, too, at 250g.

Doogee S50: Specs

The SIM card is simple to insert into its slot. Unlike the S60, this SIM slot sits behind a silicone seal and is accessed using the SIM pin provided by Doogee. You can install two Nano SIMs or one Nano SIM and a micro SD card up to 256GB -- a nice flexible option.

The phone is rated IP68, which means that it is dustproof and waterproof. Doogee says that the phone will still operate even after submersion in 1.4m deep water for 24 hours.

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Inside the S50 is an Octa-core Helio P23 processor with 6GB RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of ROM. Its graphics processor is a Mali G71 MP2.

Its 5180mAh battery (the S60 has a 5580mAh battery) gives this phone long life. I only charged the S50 every two to three days -- and I left resource hungry apps like Facebook and Twitter running in the background.

There is no wireless charging or NFC on this model, unlike the S60. More's the pity.

Doogee S50: Cameras

The S50 has four cameras, two rear and two front. The rear cameras are 15MP and 13MP with flash and 130-degree wide-angle lenses, and the front camera has 16MP and 8MP cameras with 88-degree wide angle lenses.

Both give crisp images, the HDR is really good, and there are basic post image manipulation features such as filters and image crop options.

Doogee S50: Features

This device has facial recognition technology to unlock the phone. Settings warn that the facial recognition may not be as secure as a PIN or password.

Unlocking the phone worked for me, pulling a range of faces with glasses on or off in a range of environments and light levels. I was impressed with the quickness. When image recognition fails, the unlock screen defaults to PIN or password.

There are a range of gestures you can use with the S50: Unlock the phone by waving, and you can put the phone close to your ear and the proximity sensor will answer the call. Swing the phone to answer an incoming call, or flip the phone to silence the ring. You can also switch from hands free to handset mode by placing the device near to your ear.

Gesture motion enables you to wave your hands at the top of the screen and perform a range of actions such as changing to the next song, picture, or page. By using three fingers on the screen, you can take a screenshot.

Read also: Doogee S60 (Black) Overview (CNET)

The S50 has the capability to receive ETWS alerts. The Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System (ETWS) can show severe threats, amber alerts such as child abduction bulletins, extreme threats, and test broadcasts.

It also has a SOS button where you can transmit an emergency rescue message to designated contacts.

Doogee S50: Conclusion

There are no fancy additions to the S50's home screen, and no options for one handed operation, although I do like the fingerprint sensor at the back of the device.

I was also disappointed that the toolbox of useful apps was missing in the S50 -- I used them a lot in the S60.

All in all, I was very impressed with the Doogee S60 when I road tested it last year. The streamlined S50, for its nicer form factor, facial unlocking, and easy SIM insertion, is a better piece of hardware -- despite the lack of toolbox apps in this build.

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