Review: The Doogee N100 is a budget phone that gets a lot right
For $150, there’s a lot to like about this budget smartphone.
I’m going to start this review with a caveat. I know that Doogee makes budget phones. You know that Doogee makes budget phones. Doogee knows that Doogee makes budget phones. But just because something is inexpensive doesn’t automatically make it bad.
So, before you skip off with a dismissive “cheap phones LOL” wave, I’m going to tell you exactly why the Doogee N100 is actually a pretty great handset. Especially with a sub-$150 price point.
I HAVE THE POWERRRRR!
If He-Man was a smartphone battery, he would be the Doogee N100 battery. See, the N100 boasts a whopping 10,000 mAh ATL tank. Yep, you read that correctly. 10,000 mAh. To give you an idea for comparison purposes, a Samsung S10+ has a 4100 mAh battery, so it has less than half of the capacity. The iPhone XS Max has a 3174 mAh battery capacity, which is less than a third of the Doogee N100. See where I’m going here?
In fact, this is one of the best batteries on the market right now, both in terms of life and capacity. It outstrips some of the most expensive flagship phones such as the Huawei P40 Pro, which only has 4200 mAh. Not only that, but the N100 is also compatible with OTG reverse charging. That means you can use this brute as a portable power bank, in a pinch.
Now, this great battery does come with a couple of footnotes. Because of its capacity, that makes it a heavy battery. So, that means we have a heavy phone at “only” 267 grams. You’ll have to trade off what is important here; an amazing battery or a lighter phone. You can’t have everything. Not for $150.
The battery size also means charging it fully takes a long time. While the phone uses “safe and reliable frontier 12V/2A 24pin TYPE-C fast charging technology” according to Doogee, you’ll have to wait 3.5 hours for the phone to charge up to 100%. But, that does also mean you won’t have to charge it for a couple of days after that. This makes it an excellent travel companion for long journeys, or when charging points are scarce. Providing you’re happy with the extra weight.
Is that a 5.99″ screen in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?
Not only does the N100 have a massive battery, but it also has a fairly sizeable 5.99″ screen. This offers a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The IPS (in-plane switching) screen displays colors vibrantly and brightly. The 403 PPI (pixels per inch) afford nicely defined images on the screen even when the phone is fairly close to your face. I have to admit to being fairly taken aback by the display quality on such an inexpensive handset.
The brightness is good, too. I have a Huawei P30 Pro and I have to say, the Doogee outperforms it in bright, direct sunlight. We have had a run of very nice, sunny weather here in the UK this past week and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been struggling to see my phone screen at times. The Doogee N100 is bright enough at full-beam to give our nearest star a run for its money. You can’t say that about many smartphones!
Video playback and photo viewing are, as a result, pretty neat. I tested it with Justice League and, despite being such a fucking awful movie, the Doogee displayed it without a problem. Dark scenes weren’t so dark I couldn’t make anything out, while the special effects still looked crisp and as realistic as they should.
Cameras ready, prepare to flash
The Doogee N100 comes with both front and rear-facing Sony cameras. The front is an 8MP camera embedded in the top bezel next to the earpiece. This has an 80-degree wide-angle aperture that is great for selfies. If they’re your thing, Narcissus. It also has beauty-face features in case your own visage is a bit crap. There are two lenses around the back; one which packs 21MP and one which carries the same 8MP as the front-facer. This results in pretty decent images, especially for such an inexpensive handset.
The rear camera lenses do protrude from the rear of the handset, which could potentially make scratching the lenses a bit of a worry. Especially given the weight of the phone. If you put it down on a concrete surface, for example, you’ll need to do so carefully so you don’t wreck the camera at the back of the N100. You can buy cases for the N100 but, given the fact that it is already quite large and heavy, you might not particularly want to do that.
You got guts, kid
So, what is going on inside the N100? Well, obviously you already know about the battery and the screen, but what about the belly of this beast? The handset utilizes an MTK Helio P23 chip to store all the system info etc. This is a mainstream ARM SoC (system on chip) which you will find in many smartphones. It is a power-efficient octa-core processor so it can easily handle the day-to-day tasks you throw at it. It can handle multiple processor-heavy apps at once which is great for multi-tasking.
Memory-wise, you’re looking at 4GB ROM and 64GB eMMC storage. While this doesn’t seem like a huge amount of space compared to some more expensive smartphones, you can easily get around this by storing your media on a cloud-based platform (Google Drive Photos, for example) and this will keep your phone clutter-free. You can still access all of your pics and videos, just not directly from your handset storage. So stop moaning.
Should I buy a Doogee N100?
That depends. What are you after? If you are looking for a sleek, slimline phone that you won’t notice in your pocket or bag, then the Doogee isn’t for you. If you are after an expensive phone with every bell and whistle you can imagine, then the Doogee isn’t for you.
The Doogee is a brilliant, inexpensive smartphone that, at this price point, is worth picking up if you plan to go traveling or to a festival for a few days. The battery will last way longer than any other smartphone you take on your trip. If you are only just entering the smartphone universe (yes, some people still use phones with physical buttons) then the N100 is a great way to get used to the new way of operating.
OK, so it might have a slightly strange glyph-like shape and a faux-leather fascia to the rear, but if that is enough to put you off a $150 phone then you need to get your priorities straight. The Doogee N100 might not be everyone’s first choice but, given its outstanding battery life, great screen, and decent camera setup, it is undoubtedly a market leader at this price range.
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