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Doogee S80 hands-on: A waterproof, rugged walkie-talkie phone

Written by Eileen Brown on

Doogee S80

  • Walkie-Talkie function with aerial
  • Sturdy back casing and external clip
  • Huge 10,080mAh battery
  • ToolBag tools as standard
Don't Like
  • Heavy
  • Large size hard to hold in smaller hands

The Doogee S80 is certainly more than a waterproof phone. This sub=$440 phone has a sturdy aerial, a rear pocket clip for your overalls, and can be used as a walkie-talkie when out of cell phone range. It seems to be much more than just a phone.

I have taken a look at several rugged waterproof phones from Doogee including the S50, S60, and S70. The Doogee S80 is sturdily built with plastic edges wrapped around an aluminum alloy frame that stands proud of the screen to protect it from knocks and drops.

I initially found it hard to hold comfortably -- but if you have large hands you will find its chamfered back very comfortable to hold in your hand.

Also: Doogee Mix smartphone hands-on: Great performance

The S80 has a waterproof, dustproof, and shatterproof body, and its IP68 / IP69K rating means that it can be immersed in up to 3 feet of water for up to 24 hours.

In fact Doogee claims that this phone is certified water-resistant to 150m underwater. I am only certified to dive to 40m, so I could not test this feature.

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The rugged aerial function allows the phone to communicate when the phone is out of cell phone network range. It is a 4-inch long bendable aerial that screws into the top of the phone casing.

The comms system is based on Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), the digital mobile wireless system standard introduced in April 2005.

This gives stronger compatibility with conventional analogue signals, according to Doogee. It operates at 400-480MHz frequency and has a range of 4km to 6km in town, 1km to 3km in a moving car, or 5km to 10km outdoors.

Also: Doogee S70 and Game Pad hands on: A rugged phone

Doogee claimed that this is a wider frequency band than the Blackview BV9500's 400-470MHz, and equal to Motorola models.

To set up the communications channel, use the 'Talkie' icon in the phone. There, you can configure up to 20 channels, or add your own analogue or digital channel.

I tested this with a non-phone walkie-talkie, and the S80 worked very well. I would certainly use the phone in place of my extra walkie-talkie, meaning I would not need to carry around an extra comms device

It has a physical push-to-talk (PTT) button for intercom messages, or one-push recording. You can configure walkie-talkie settings by holding the PTT button, naming the channel, and setting the frequency settings for each channel.

It also has an SOS button that will transmit a pre-configured message if the button is held for several seconds.

Also: Doogee S60 smartphone: Tough enough for your active lifestyle

The S80's dimensions are 172 x 82.5 x 21.2mm. At almost a pound in weight (398g), it's the heaviest phone I have ever used -- reminiscent of the earliest brick-type phones in the 1980s.

This is due to due to its 10,080mAh battery -- larger than most portable battery chargers -- which supports NFC and wireless charging. It has a large 5.99-inch FHD screen with 2160 x 1080 resolution and an 18:9 ratio for those of use that like phablet-style devices.

Inside there is a MediaTek Helio P23 octa-core processor running at up to 2.5GHz. It has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of ROM -- more than enough storage for all of your apps. Storage is expandable up to 128 with the addition of a Micro SD card.

The front-facing camera is a 16MP Samsung camera, and there is a dual 12MP and 5MP Sony IMX363 camera at the rear. Photos are crisp, good in low light, and the image editing tools are basic but useful.

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

There is a really useful group of icons in the ToolBag that come as standard in this model.

There is a compass, sound meter, picture hanging spirit level, height measurement, magnifier, protractor, plumb bob, and a gradienter (which measures the inclination horizontally and vertically of a sloping surface).

Other apps on the standard Android build include a barometer, pedometer, face unlock, and an application freeze feature within the System Manager icon.

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This works in a similar way to an uninstall of the app and will freeze system items that cannot be uninstalled. The app will be hidden from the desktop and not run in the background. The app will freeze standard system Android apps such as Chrome, or Google if you do not want to use them.

I started off using this phone and hating its size -- but once I got used to handling it, I found I loved its functionality and its stripped down black themed UI and icons, which is also the default theme in the S70.

This is a real workhorse of a phone for anyone in an outdoor job who needs a walkie-talkie for their work. Get one for your outdoor workers who need to keep in touch with each other, configure the walkie-talkie channels for the team, and save on your call bills.

Work by phone: 11 best smartphones for business users

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