Review: If it looks like a $60 phone and quacks like a $60 phone, it’s probably a Doogee X95
That’s not a typo, this is a $60 smartphone.
You don’t get a lot for $60 these days. Three Andrew Jacksons are enough to get you the latest AAA title on launch day. Or, if you’re not too concerned with your waist length, you can enjoy fifteen Wendy’s “4 for 4” meals. Failing that, you can get a new phone, thanks to the new Doogee X95.
As phone manufacturers go, few are more curious than Doogee, and the X95 exemplifies that. This device has ideas beyond its station, touting a triple-lens camera, a huge 6.52-inch display, and Android 10. But you don’t have to look far to identify the compromises that led to its pocket-friendly price.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait
Powering the Doogee X95 is the Mediatek MT6767 chipset, which uses four Cortex-A53 cores. This wasn’t espfecially powerful upon its release in 2016, and thus feels positively decrepit in 2020. As you use this phone, you’re inevitably confronted with a crushing sluggishness that manifests itself throughout the device, from browsing to basic UI interactions.
The wait for the keyboard to appear when pressing a text input box is excruciating. Apps take forever to load. And it stutters as you scroll through even the most media-barren websites.
Of course, it doesn’t help that things are fairly paltry on the RAM front. This phone comes with just 2GB of memory, which simply isn’t enough for day-to-day use. For context, Google expects manufacturers wishing to ship Android 11 with less than 2GB of RAM to use the stripped-down version of the hugely popular mobile operating system: Android Go.
Things aren’t much better on the storage front, either. The Doogee X95 comes with just 16GB of internal storage, thus requiring the use of a MicroSD should you wish to store your video library.
Credit where credit’s due, I should complement Doogee on the solid battery life. With a 4,350mAh cell under the hood, you can easily get a full day’s worth of usage out of the device. Wired charging maxes out at 10W, although you wouldn’t realistically expect fast charging from a phone this cheap.
The display on the Doogee X95 isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, either. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not the most luscious I’ve ever seen, but it’s perfectly serviceable. It’s big and is bright enough to use outside.
Not quite picture perfect
Doogee is eager to tout the triple-camera setup on the X95, which is headlined by a 12MP shooter and accompanied with corresponding 2MP depth and telephoto lenses. There’s also a 5MP front-facing camera, housed within a teardrop notch in the phone’s upper display.
As you might expect, the quality of the shots produced by the X95 was ropey to say the very least. From detail to color fidelity, it falls short in almost every metric you’d care to mention.
There are a few quirks within the camera app that made for good fun. My favorite was the “beauty mode,” which, in theory, makes you look more beautiful. You can adjust the level of beautification by adjusting a scale that goes from one to ten.
I tested this out by visiting my neighbor (and fellow KnowTechie contributor), Ste Knight. Instead of making him look drop-dead gorgeous, it just made him look dead.
This is a bit off-topic, but I’d like to congratulate my colleague Ste on being successfully cast as the titular character in the live-action remake of Tim Burton Corpse Bride.
There’s also a portrait mode, which again, you can adjust via a scale. Cranking this up to ten made me wonder if my phone had developed glaucoma.
Pricing, availability, and competitors
Okay, so it’s slow and the camera is comically bad. But let’s not too be harsh here. First: this phone costs just $60. Any criticisms leveled should be regarded in the respect that this is a bargain-basement device that might not actually be intended for the average phone user.
But beyond that, there’s a lot to like. The Doogee X95 has its charms. I like the inclusion of a headphone jack, although USB-C would have been nice. The chassis is made of plastic, but it doesn’t look (at least, from a distance) cheap. Moreover, the screen is surprisingly solid for the price. But if you can pay more, you should.
Although relatively on-par in terms of specs, the Nokia 2.2 has an advantage thanks to guaranteed security updates via the Android One program, as well as NFC. Pay a bit more and you can get something like the TCL 10L, which offers far superior day-to-day performance.
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