/ Tech stuff

Doogee X5 Max Pro, the chinkphone with more battery than chink

Phones from China are horrible. They run like snails, have an Android version from 2012 and spy on absolutely everything you do. Heck some will even explode in your pocket.

But recently we've seen some rather good phones pop up from China. Xiaomi is getting better and everyone has heard about OnePlus. But have you heard about Doogee? No, not the meme, the phone company. Because the Doogee X5 Max Pro is a Chinese phone with a 4000 mAh battery. No, that is not a typo. Four thousand milliampere-hours.

Like most phone reviewers seem to do, I used the phone as my daily driver to get a feel for what it's like to use. I dunno how long people normally run them, but I only used it one weekend and 3 weekdays.

Hardware

Alright, let's get the nerdy stuff out of the way.

Specs/Build

The phone sports a MediaTek MT6737 Quad-core CPU at 1.1 GHz (though it seems to effectively clock up to 1.25 GHz for some reason?) which is uh... passable. When paired with 2GB of RAM its performance sits somewhere between a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 5. It has dual 5 MP cameras, one on the front and one on the back. Both of which I would rate as being one slight step above potato. You can make out most of what's in the image, but it's far from beautiful.

I know people will ask for a sample, so here is a potato quality image of some spaghetti I had for dinner one day:

Colors are washed out and the entire image seems a bit out of focus, otherwise it is suprisingly usable. But please, don't use images like this on Instagram, spare their eyes. The selfie shooter appears to use the exact same sensor, since holding the phone backwards and taking the same photo with the front camera pretty much makes no difference.

On the display side it rocks a 1280x720 IPS display which is amazingly good. Colors are accurate, heck even more accurately tuned than my Nexus 5X. It also has great viewing angles, it was the first time I thought a phone was actually usable at a 178 degree angle, which is nothing short of ludicrous. Sadly the entertainment is brought down a notch by a bottom-firing speaker. It gets quite loud, but I wouldn't even rate the quality as average.

The build is entirely plastic, but it's very high quality and when I first picked up the phone I could have sworn that the outer rim was metal for a moment. The back is removable and the phone can accept two SIM cards and a MicroSD card, up to 128 GB apparently, though I only tested 32 GB.

All of this is backed by a 4000 mAh battery.

Many are probably already turned off by the specs above, but something I didn't mention is that this phone costs $85 - Yes, this is a sub-$100 phone. With that in mind, you can forgive most of the flaws mentioned above.

Packaging

The phone came delivered in a fairly nice-looking but but basic box. It included nothing but a useless quick start guide and a simple 1A charger.


The actual phone inside the box however was wrapped in some very nice plastic, on par with what most flagships are packed in these days, along with a pre-installed tempered glass screen protector. (Though I've heard online that not everyone got a screen protector on theirs)

Twitter unwrapping video thing

Software

The phone runs a pretty lightly skinned version of Android 6.0. They replaced some icons and for some reason decided to make the settings background black, but only the main settings screen. All the sub-screens in the settings still have white backgrounds, very inconsistent. Otherwise you can actually expect a mostly stock Android experience.

The phone does however have a sketchy browser installed. It has an Internet explorer icon and when you open it, it wants access to your contacts, files, camera and microphone. If it doesn't get that it simply crashes. I'd recommend not using that one. Fetch Firefox or Chrome from the play store instead.

Rooting

Rooting this phone was suprisingly easy. Rooting a MediaTek phone is a bit different since fastboot and adb don't actually work all the time. Instead they listen for connections over a virtual COM port for exactly two seconds when you plug the phone in while it's turned off. The software then needs to lock the phone in recovery mode during these two seconds. No, I'm not kidding.

A Google search will bring you to an XDA thread where some people scraped a working TWRP copy from some russian site. Flash this using SP Flash Tool, which is available for both Windows and Linux. Bam, TWRP installed. The actual flashing process is even easier than regular Android phones, though getting the USB drivers for the vCOM port to work was quite a hassle.

After that, I installed SuperSU as a system app like normal via TWRP. You're ready to go.

I recommend you fetch some app that lets you remove system applications and then get rid of that sketchy browser. Otherwise there was a Chinese keyboard that I removed but not much else of interest.

Benchmarks

The phone gets quite low scores in Geekbench and Antutu:

While scoring the most pitiful number I have ever seen in 3DMark:

However that isn't the exciting part about this phone. The exciting part comes into play with the Geekbench battery test. You'd expect the 4000 mAh to at least pass the 4 hour mark?

Well, so did I. But my guess was far off. In a good way

The phone passes a freaking ridiculous 8 hours of Screen on time:

In real world usage I was able to get 6-7 hours of screen-time off this phone with no issue. I'm a fairly heavy user, though I don't game. I have 15 E-mail accounts syncing and tons of other tasks running, such as ssh connections in the background.

Real-life performance

The phone performs quite decently during regular use. Scrolling through Twitter wasn't an issue at all. It played 1080p video files fine via Plex and didn't really hang no matter what I did.

It also managed a casual game of Bloons Tower Defense when I was bored, which ran smoothly. Though this is by no means a gaming phone, don't expect to play games on it. Simple games are however perfectly doable.

Many annoyances during daily use come with the MediaTek processor, some apps simply don't support it that well. Twitter is a great example, though it normally ran fine, it liked to randomly crash three or four times a day. Other apps did run fine however. Some apps also had difficulties recognizing that the device was rooted and complained that it wasn't and the app wouldn't work without root. I'm unsure if this is due to some issues with the SuperSU build I used or if it's also related to support for MediaTek CPUs.

It also has a resistive touch screen, which in my opinion is the biggest drawback this phone has. The screen gets confused if more than two fingers touch it at the same time, it also likes to register my slow normal swipes as insanely quick flicks at times. Sometimes I'd pan slowly through Twitter, but when I lifted my finger it would shoot (literally) thousands of tweets downwards in an instant. Making me spend 20-30 seconds begrudgingly scrolling up again to where I left off. It was quite annoying.

I tried removing the screen protector, it did help a little bit and the extremely quick flick registers are a lot less common now. But the issues mostly still persist.

Conclusion

This phone can make for a nice secondary device. It has a great screen and massive battery, making it a nice movie-watching device on long car trips or when lying in bed. However the touch screen makes the device quite annoying to use as your main phone, it will often ruin what you're trying to do and there's no way for you to fix it.

You should also beware of the MediaTek CPU since some apps will simply crash or have weird issues. But I haven't found an app yet that completely refuses to launch. Though Twitter, Turbo SFTP client and YouTube were the only apps I noticed crashing. They lasted anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, but they all crashed randomly in the end, typically 2 or 3 times a day.

The Camera is also quite useless if you like Instagram.

Pros

  • Sweet battery life
  • Very good IPS screen
  • Decent performance, handles every regular app
  • Dude come on, it's $85, that's nothing for a full-fledged phone.

Cons

  • Some apps don't like the MediaTek SoC
  • Touch screen is horrifyingly annoying
  • Camera

Meh

  • Speakers are loud but don't really sound that good
  • It's a bit thick compared to other phones

Overall

If I had to rate this phone I would give it a 6.5/10, I'd place it lower due to the very annoying touch issues, but I'll give it a lot of slack thanks to the price.

A nice phone if all you care for is battery life and a low price-tag. Also very useful for people who love watching movies on their phone, I'd recommend headphones though

However heavy users should take some time considering the choice since the touch screen and SoC support can cause issues.

If you like taking pictures, you should just ignore this phone's existence.