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Poptel P9000 Max hands-on: A rugged phone with excellent battery life

  • Editors' rating
    8.4 Excellent


  • Large 9,000mAh battery
  • NFC capability
  • OTG reverse charging capability


  • Heavy
  • Could be cumbersome for tiny hands
  • Takes over 3 hours to charge fully

The Poptel P9000 Max is the first in the up-and-coming line of rugged phones from Chinese manufacturer FortuneShip Group, founded in 2006. The new Poptel brand was created this year, and its phones are aimed at the outdoor, sports, and extreme sports users.

Out of the box, the $229 phone is heavy at 330g (11.6 ounces). This is heavier than both the Doogee S60 and the Aermoo M1 -- down to its enormous 9000mAh battery.

Also: Batteries: The Achilles Heel of mobile devices

The P9000 Max is slightly larger in size, too, at 168.8mm x 86.5mm, with a thickness of 15.9mm. I found the phone to be a little wide for one-handed long term use, which might be an issue for people with small hands

The phone comes with ear buds -- rare for in-the-box extras. There is also a protective screen cover and USB C cable included.

It has a 5.5-inch FHD display with a 1920x1080 high-density resolution, Gorilla Glass 3, LTPS tech, and multi-point touch. The P9000 max is rated IP68, meaning it is dustproof and waterproof for immersion in up to 2m of water for up to 30 minutes.

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Inside the device, there is a 64-bit octa-core MediaTek MT6750V, with a clock speed of 1.5GHZ. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and there is extra capacity for a TF card up to 64GB in the dual SIM slot.

There is no need to worry if you leave the device in the car. The P9000 will operate at a temperature range between -20 to 50 degrees Celsius.

The 13-megapixel Samsung rear camera is good quality and takes images, video, and panoramas. The Picture-in-Picture mode (PiP) is a nice addition. The 5-megapixel front camera also has a picture-in-picture feature.

Also: Forget that fragile phone. Rugged alternatives await

Post image manipulation is pared down to the basics, without beautifying extras found on other consumer phones.

I like that the P9000 has NFC -- unlike the Aermoo and the Doogee rugged models. Data exchange is quick using Android Beam, and reading from NFC tags is quick. NFC can also tap and pay on this model using Google Wallet or your credit card.

The Android 7.0 build is pared down with no extra OEM features on the UI, which means you can optimise the device for your own apps and power consumption.

Standard features -- like the flashlight with four LEDs on the back of the phone, as well as the rear fingerprint sensor -- are nice touches.

Also: Chuwi Hi9 Android tablet hands on: Good battery life while out and about

Another nice feature is the OTG reverse charge, which will use the large battery capacity to charge other devices that might need a little extra juice.

Remember, as the P9000 has such a large battery, it will take over 3 hours to reach a full charge, which could be an issue if you are in a hurry.

One feature puzzled me: I tried to connect to Wi-Fi, and although the phone appeared to connect to the router, the status showed "Connected, no Internet." However, internet sites worked perfectly. Perhaps this is but a glitch on this version on Android.

All in all, I liked the P9000. Apart from the extra weight and width of the device, this is a pared-down OS in a rugged phone with a large screen.

I would be happy to use this in any environment and would not be worried about the lack of OEM apps or the Wi-Fi anomaly.

It works really well -- in all environments -- especially at the beach.

Previous and related coverage:

Teclast F7 hands-on: A lightweight notebook for mobile workers

At around $280, the F7 is a good-performing addition to your tech arsenal.

Hands-on with the Chuwi Hi9 Air: Fast performance and good battery life

The Hi9 Air from Chuwi is a nice, sleek tablet that runs multiple apps together well, and its 10.1 inch-screen is great for gaming.