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I am quite taken with the Doogee S97 Pro rugged phone. Not only does it have a larger battery than both the Cubot King Kong 5 Pro and the Doogee S86 that I looked at recently -- but the S97 Pro has a neat new useful gadget; a laser rangefinder.
In the S97 Pro box, the phone is covered with a blue screen anti-shatter film, already applied to the phone. There is a charger and a USB-type-C cable, a SIM slot opener, a wrist lanyard and a user guide.
The S97 Pro phone itself is large and heavy in my hand. Its dimensions are 170.2 x 83.6 x 16.2 mm, which is a little wide for my hands.
The huge 8500mAh battery on the S97 Pro means that the phone is heavy at 352g -- much heavier than the Doogee S86, which is 323g. The battery supports 33W fast charging and 10W wireless charging.
Like many other rugged phones, the S97 Pro is rated IP68/IP69K, which means that it is resistant to dust and can survive being dropped in water up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. Doogee says that this model is certified to have passed MIL-STD-810G tests.
The larger dimensions mean that Doogee has squeezed a 6.39inch Gorilla Glass screen with a resolution of 1560 x 720px, 69GHz screen refresh rate, and an aspect ratio of 19:9 into the S97 Pro.
Inside the phone, there is an octa-core MediaTek Helio G95 CPU running at up to 2.1GHz. Two cortex are A76 running at 2.1GHz, and 6 are A55 running at up to 2.0GHz. Its graphics chip is an ARM Mali G76 running at up to 900MHz.
The phone has 8GB RAM and 128GB RAM, which is extendable up to 256GB with a TF card in the second SIM slot.
The body of the S97 Pro unit looks pared down. On the left-hand side of the phone, there are the volume buttons, the power button, and the fingerprint sensor.
The left-hand side of the phone has two custom function keys and the SIM slot. On the top of the phone, there is the laser for the rangefinder feature.
Why is the laser range finder so cool? Well, if you have ever wanted to calculate the length, volume, or area of a room in square meters or feet, you can do it with this handy laser tool.
You can set whether you want to have the distance measured in metres or in feet or take the measurement from the phone's top or bottom.
Select whether you want to measure length, area, volume, or the area of a triangle, turn on the infrared laser, and measure the distance up to 40m away. Previous distances are saved in a list -- a really useful feature.
The S97 Pro cameras are different to the S86 Pro. The back of the camera has three lenses in a liner and a singular camera. The rear cameras are a Samsung 48MP main camera, with an 8MP ultra-wide angle camera with a 130-degree field of view and two 2MP cameras for macro and portrait work.
The front-facing camera is 16MP and takes good quality images -- the S97 also records in 4K video. There is a range of options in the camera app to enable you to specify features such as time-lapse, panorama, slow motion and an option to scan QR and barcodes.
The S97 Pro runs Android 11, has NFC and supports Google Pay. Other nifty features include a built-in formaldehyde detector -- in case you encounter this chemical when you are out and about.
There are other tools common across many Doogee phones such as a compass, a gradient meter, plumb bob, flashlight, protractor, and a height measuring tool -- although this might be redundant when the laser range finder is used.
Intelligent assistance has a range of features -- such as answering a call by putting the phone to your ear, prevent misoperation of the phone when it is in your pocket, or quickly open the camera app.
The feature also enables the use of the camera when you are wearing gloves and will take a screenshot by swiping downwards with three fingers, amongst others.
You can also configure an SOS message to your named contact with a pre-configured message and keep on sending the messages at a pre-defined interval.
There is no OEM bloatware or extra features on the phone apart from a simplified version of the launcher, which you can enable and disable at will.
There is little to annoy you about the Doogee S97 Pro phone, and its performance and sturdy build is a boon if you are rough with your devices. The S97 Pro is a rather nice phone -- if a little large and heavy for me.
At under $279.35, the Doogee S97 Pro is an affordable, sturdy all-rounder of a rugged phone that has an inbuilt range finder. If measuring distances, areas, and volumes is part of your job, you will find this feature invaluable.