Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article.Our process
'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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