Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

The Chinese company Doogee has presented to the mobile market an updated version of a rugged smartphone called Doogee S96 Pro.

Several interesting features have appeared in this model of the device, and I want to talk about them in a detailed and complete review. In addition, you can find out my opinion about the device itself after reading it, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

The first thing you pay attention to when buying is, of course, the cost. The price tag for the Doogee S96 Pro was approximately $270. This is quite a lot, as for a rugged smartphone that can be thrown, submerged underwater, and for other purposes.


Mostly rugged smartphones are bought by people who do not need high performance. Such devices are taken for fishing, hunting, construction, and other difficult habitats. Therefore, I see no reason to purchase a secure smartphone for a high price. Or maybe I’m wrong?

The high cost of the new Doogee S96 Pro rugged smartphone is due to the flagship technical specifications. For example, inside the case, the manufacturer installed an Helio G90 processor with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory.

I can also note the presence of a good battery capacity of 6350 mAh with fast charging at 24 watts. But the most interesting feature was the presence of a 20-megapixel infrared sensor for night shooting.

Of course, I will test every function and feature of this device, and tell you their performance in an in-depth review below. First, let’s talk about the packaging and find out what Doogee has put inside the box.

Doogee S96 Pro: Specifications

Doogee S96 Pro:Specs
Display:6.22 inches IPS with 1520 x 720 pixels, 60 Hz
CPU:Helio G90T Octa Core 2.05GHz
GPU:Arm Mali-G76
Inner memory:128 GB
Expanding memory:up to 512GB
Cameras:48 MP + 8 MP + 2 MP + 20 MP main camera and 16 MP front camera
Communication:Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and GPS
Battery:6350mAh (24W)
OS:Android 10
Weight:310 gram
Dimensions:167 x 81.4 x 15.5 mm

Unboxing and packaging

A new rugged smartphone Doogee S96 Pro came to me for a test in a rather large square black package. On the front, only the brand designation and model name can be seen.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

Inside the box itself, I found a large list of interesting features. I can refer to it – it is, of course, the rugged device itself. The package also includes an 18 W power adapter, a Type-C charging cable, a cord, wired headphones, a stick for removing the SIM tray. I also noticed an additional screen protector and a large set of documentation.

Therefore, I was very happy to see such a large package. But this is not surprising, since each rugged smartphone has a wide range of interesting components. Okay, now let’s check the workmanship and build quality.

Design, quality of materials, and workmanship

The appearance of the new model of a rugged smartphone from the Doogee brand is practically no different from its other brothers and competitors. That is, the S96 Pro model received a fairly solid construction in its performance.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

In addition, I have no complaints about the quality of the materials used. The body of the device is a combination of metal and rubber, which has shown itself to be positive in strength and wear tests.

For example, protection against drops, water, and even dust helps the smartphone survive in harsh environments. As for the degree of protection, everything is standard here – these are IP68, IP69K, and also MIL-STD-810G.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

During my tests, I submerged the Doogee S96 Pro smartphone to a depth of about one meter. After 20 minutes underwater, the device worked properly and without any problems. Also, I can’t say bad things about the materials used. Since even when dropped 1.5 meters, the smartphone received only minor scratches and abrasions.

Of course, if you want to, you can even kill a rugged smartphone. But I didn’t do this, as it will still be useful to me for further use in tests. Overall, my new Doogee S96 Pro smartphone endurance tests went well.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

At the end of the case is the main camera with four modules and a large number of LEDs for the flashlight and infrared sensors for the night vision sensor. You can also notice the holes in the microphone and barometer.

The right side received a volume rocker, a power button, and a separate fingerprint scanner. Recently, the fingerprint scanner and the power button have been made combined. But the manufacturer Doogee decided to go the old-fashioned way. As for the operation of the fingerprint scanner, then I had no problems and comments on its work.

On the opposite side of the case, there is a slot for dual nano-SIM cards and a separate slot for a microSD memory card. Here you can also find a separate custom button for quick access to various tasks or applications.

The bottom end of the smartphone received a plug under which a Type-C charging connector and a 3.5 mm headphone jack were hidden. But on the upper end of the device, I did not find anything.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

If we talk about size and weight, then the new smartphone Doogee S96 Pro has dimensions of 167 x 81.4 x 15.5 mm and weighs about 310 grams. From this it is easy to conclude that the rugged smartphone turned out to be large and rather heavy. Therefore, using the device in everyday life will not be as comfortable as you might expect. But after a few days, you get used to it and you start not to notice its weight and dimensions.

Screen and picture quality

I was a little surprised that the Doogee S96 Pro smartphone did not have the largest screen size with a size of 6.22 inches. As for me, this is not the most standard screen size, usually rugged phones have 6.3 or larger screen sizes in the same price range.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

I was also amazed at the screen resolution, which was 1520 x 720 pixels. At the same time, the pixel density per inch does not exceed 270 PPI. The maximum value of the brightness level was 480 nits, but as for everyday use, the screen brightness is sufficient, even for comfortable use in sunny and bright weather.

I want to note that this is the most mediocre IPS screen that does not stand out in any way. But if the smartphone was in the budget segment, I would not criticize the quality of the screen so much. And with a price tag of more than $ 250, getting a screen with only HD + resolution is not exactly what I would like to see here.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

Naturally, the screen itself is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and there is also an additional protective glass out of the box. But at the same time, the frames around the screen are quite massive and on top of the screen, there is a waterdrop notch for the selfie camera. There you can also find light and proximity sensors with a notification indicator.

Performance, benchmarks tests, games, and OS

Now I understand why the manufacturer has set a rather high price tag for the new model of the rugged smartphone. The Doogee S96 Pro uses the Helio G90T processor. It was introduced back in 2019, but it is still quite popular even now.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

This is a 12-nanometer chipset with eight cores, where six energy-efficient Cortex A55 clocked at 2.0 GHz and two for maximum loads Cortex A76 clocked at 2.05 GHz. Below I will leave the benchmark tests, but I note that the value in the AnTuTu test, the device scored about 260 thousand points and this is a solid indicator for a mid-budget device.

In terms of gaming capabilities, the Arm Mali-G76 graphics accelerator does its best for smooth playability. That is, I had no problems running even heavy and complex games. I was able to play games like PUBG MObile, Call Of Duty, and others. Even after playing for a long time, I did not notice a strong overheating and the device was lying in the correct temperature range.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

I was also surprised to find 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Such memory can be found only on flagship devices, and here on a rugged smartphone. And in addition, you can use a separate slot for a memory card format microSD.

If we talk about the operating system, then the Doogee S96 Pro uses the Android 10 version. But then again, I can’t promise there will be an upgrade to version 11. And in general, will there be any update after the purchase of this smartphone. During my use, I have not received a single update.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

I can’t say anything negative about how the user interface works though. Each function worked quickly and without too many problems. Yes, and it’s also worth saying that this is almost a pure OS, but there are custom icons and wallpapers. Also, Google services and applications are already preinstalled on the smartphone. Therefore, I had no problems with authorization in my Google account.

Camera and sample photos

Another interesting feature, as for a rugged device, is the main camera. The main sensor Samsung S5KGM1 received a resolution of 48 megapixels with an aperture of f/1.79. The second sensor Samsung S5K4H7 has an 8-megapixel resolution and was created for ultra-wide shots.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

At the same time, the third sensor GalaxyCore GC2385 for macro photography received the most standard resolution of 2 megapixels. But the last sensor Sony IMX350 Exmor RS was the most interesting for me – it is a 20-megapixel module. It is designed for night photography of various objects. At the same time, this mode is removed in black and white and infrared sensors are also activated so that it is possible to see the picture even in complete darkness.

On the front of the device is a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture. Naturally, you can evaluate the quality of the photos in the album below, which were taken with a rugged smartphone Doogee S96 Pro.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

But what I didn’t really like was the sound quality of the microphone during the video recording. The sound was pretty quiet. But I can also note that the macro mode will not be very useful, since the resolution of the photos was weak, as for a modern smartphone.

Battery and run time

During my tests, the Doogee S96 Pro rugged smartphone easily lasted 2 days of active use. This is not surprising, since the manufacturer installed a 6350 mAh battery inside the case.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

This capacity was sufficient, both for a small resolution and screen size, as well as a fairly good optimized operating system. Therefore, under light loads, the device can work for about 3 days.

I was also a little surprised by the support for 24W fast charging. Although the power adapter is only 18W out of the box. Charging time using a standard power adapter was about 3 hours. In addition, the manufacturer has installed wireless charging at 10W of power and this function will definitely not be superfluous.

Conclusion, reviews, pros, and cons

The new model of the rugged smartphone Doogee S96 Pro has shown itself on the positive side. It received many interesting features, and let me tell you what I liked the most about this smartphone.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

Of course, I liked the construction of the case and the materials used. In addition, the tests for shock resistance and water resistance, the smartphone passed perfectly well. The strengths I can attribute are performance thanks to the Helio G90T processor and a large amount of memory for 8 and 128 GB versions.

The camera and battery life proved to be surprisingly good. I can also highlight the presence of wireless charging and even a contactless NFC module to pay for your payments.

Doogee S96 Pro Review: Rugged Smartphone with Helio G90 and NFC

But it was not without its drawbacks, first of all, I did not like the cost of a smartphone. Although I understand what options the buyer will pay that kind of money for. I can also refer to the negative point – this is a low screen resolution. Also, this smartphone is not suitable for every user, as it has rather large dimensions and weight.

Price and where to buy cheaper?

You are currently able to purchase the Doogee S96 Pro smartphone for $269.99 with a 10% discount.

Definitely, this smartphone is worth your attention. But it is clearly not for everyone. Most likely it is suitable for people with active recreation, for example, rock climbers, firefighters, and others.


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