We final had an Ulefone smartphone land on our desk simply over a yr in the past. The original Armor – which continues to be on sale – made a superb impression because it mixed an incredible characteristic set with loads of storage, a pleasant measurement, and respectable worth for cash that made it a superb candidate for the entry-level finish of the spectrum.
The place to purchase?
On-line Chinese language retailer, Gearbest, sells the Ulefone Armor 2 for simply over £178 ($250) in grey, whereas AliExpress has it in inventory for a whisker under £200 ($280) on the time of writing, both in gold or grey end. Word that, whereas this value contains supply, it’s unique of any taxes which may be levied by HMRC or the courier corporations on behalf of the seller. Need to purchase tech from on-line Chinese language retailers? Read this first.
Nevertheless, with the brand new Armor 2, Ulefone is difficult the opposite finish of the market with a specification listing that pitches it towards the best IP68-capable rugged smartphones: the AGM X2, Doogee S60, Blackview BV9000 Professional (and its variants), the Nomu S30, and Cat S41.
The Armor 2 is way greater than its predecessor at 159 x 78 x 14.5mm, with a weight of 265g (try each fashions subsequent to one another within the footage above and under).
Ulefone stored the economic design, seamlessly mixing laborious rubber plastic (TPU and polycarbonate) with metallic components all through. Gone is the shiny metallic end and in comes a extra delicate gunmetal end that’s frequent on rival handsets as nicely (the BV9000 Professional notably).
It’s not solely constructed like a tank nevertheless it additionally resembles one (albeit not actually). The assemblage of components is especially seen on the again the place this telephone combines varied textures to ship one thing that’s radically totally different from the first-generation Armor.
The telephone has a grand complete of six bodily buttons, three on both sides: there are two quantity buttons and SOS on one aspect, with PTT (push-to-talk), energy and a devoted digital camera button on the opposite. There’s a single capacitive touchscreen on the entrance facia that acts as a fingerprint sensor as nicely, and the one connector – a USB Kind-C port – is hidden behind a flap on the backside of the gadget.
Just like the Armor, the Armor 2 hides its SIM playing cards and reminiscence card slot behind a canopy that may solely be accessed by eradicating two slotted screws (which is not ideally suited as it may be fiddly to undo them). Nevertheless, doing it this manner implies that the playing cards are much less prone to be broken by water coming into through a unfastened rubber flap.
Engineers have added a “high-density macro-molecule coating” which we consider to have water repellent properties, and the gadget is waterproof (IP68 licensed as talked about earlier).
There’s a delicate Ulefone branding on the rear of the gadget and nothing on the entrance.
Ulefone Armor 2 specs
CPU: Mediatek MT6757 octa-core 2.6GHz
Display measurement: 5-inch
Decision: 1920 x 1080
Dimensions: 159 x 78 x 14.5mm
Rear digital camera: 16MP
Entrance digital camera: 13MP
OS: Android Nougat 7.zero
Ulefone has employed a 5-inch Full HD show (protected by Corning Gorilla Glass) for the Armor 2, reasonably than a four.7-inch HD display as seen within the unique, which explains why this sequel is a bigger measurement.
Like so many flagship smartphones coming from mainland China, it makes use of a mix of a Mediatek MT6757 system-on-a-chip with a big dollop of system reminiscence (6GB LPDDR4) and ‘solely’ 64GB of storage. Word that it will probably do twin SIM standby however can solely take one SIM with one microSD card. That’s a disgrace.
It runs a personalized model of Android 7.zero with no affirmation from Ulefone that Oreo will come to the gadget. The remainder of the specification contains Bluetooth four.1, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, NFC, a 4700mAh battery that may be charged utilizing an 18W (9V,2A) charger, a rear 16-megapixel digital camera, a 13-megapixel front-facing snapper and a bunch of sensors.
The Ulefone Armor 2 delivered what was anticipated from it which got here as no shock given the standard of the elements that it homes. The display is unfortunately not oleophobic which implies that it’s liable to fingerprint marks. It’s vivid sufficient for use in direct daylight and the viewing angles are greater than respectable.
We liked the app toolkit that Ulefone bundles on the gadget, even when most of those bits of software program might be had without spending a dime. There’s a pedometer and a heartrate monitor for health-conscious customers, in addition to a bubble stage and a plumb bob for DIY’ers.
Right here’s how the Ulefone Armor 2 carried out in our benchmark exams:
Geekbench: 920 (single-core); three,984 (multi-core); 2,655 (compute)
Antutu 3D: 3D Marooned: Failed; 3D Backyard: Failed
PCMark (Work 2.zero): four,734
Passmark CPU: 126,067
Androbench (sequential): 257 (sequential learn); 170 (sequential write)
Androbench (random): 58 (random learn); 15.5 (random write)
3DMark Slingshot Excessive: 733
Out of doors staff and those that wish to get misplaced within the wild can also respect the PTT button that permits you to talk with co-workers or fellow explorers with that characteristic enabled on their units. Additionally helpful is a devoted SOS button that may make emergency calls or ship messages containing GPS data to designated contacts.
The telephone’s IP68 score appears to be sound, at the least in keeping with our transient real-life take a look at: we dunked it in an aquarium with none hurt to the electronics inside, and a number of other drops from round 90cm excessive, onto a tough tile ground, didn’t trigger any seen harm to the handset. Extra importantly, the USB Kind-C flap didn’t come unfastened.
Put merely, there’s just one competitor at this value with the identical and it’s the Blackview BV8000 Pro. The Armor 2 is a greater beast altogether, although: it has a much bigger battery, higher front-facing digital camera, barely improved SoC and NFC. The Vernee Energetic, which we now have but to assessment, the Blackview BV9000 Professional and the Doogee S60 are marginally higher, however are far costlier as nicely.
The Ulefone Armor 2 is one in every of quite a lot of just lately launched rugged smartphones that supply vital upgrades over their predecessors at a really inexpensive value, far cheaper than both the S60 or the AGM X2. By some means this handset nonetheless gives comparable core elements (a Mediatek Helio P25 octa-core CPU, 6GB of RAM and 64GB on-board storage).
When you can reside with the economic design, then the Ulefone Armor 2 will show to be an incredible rugged smartphone. It’s inexpensive, filled with nice elements, and sports activities a fairly latest model of Android.
On the draw back, this telephone’s battery capability is just below par and there’s no audio connector, so you have to to make use of a converter. Just like the S60, it’s bundled with a digital toolkit that accommodates just a few instruments, however there’s no sound stage monitor.