30 seconds rating
The S98 Pro from Doogee (opens in new tab) is a variant of the S98 (opens in new tab) but it ended up being very close to being the perfect embodiment of what a smartphone with a thermal camera should be. Only the lack of 5G connectivity prevents us from giving it a 5/5 score; a laughable omission in an era where 5G is now mainstream, but will likely be rectified in the very near future.
The USP remains the thermal camera feature which is an improvement over previous models; it also has an IR/night vision camera sensor, the first handset to offer both. The rest of the handset is quite powerful and the launch price is affordable enough to make it a highly sought after item for those looking for one of the best rugged smartphones (opens in new tab)†
Doogee S98 Pro: Pricing and Availability
At the time of writing, the S98 Pro was sold in Doogie’s official store on Aliexpress for only $324 (opens in new tab) (about AU$450, GBP260). The price includes free shipping to most areas worldwide, but excludes import duties and taxes (or charges that may be levied by the carrier for handling the product). Note that the S98 Pro is only available in one color, unlike the S98.
Doogee S98 Pro: Design
The S98 Pro induces a sense of déja vu; not surprising since we only tested the S98 a few weeks ago. See this review for more details on the chassis, dimensions and weight. The former is essentially a variation of the latter, with the second circular display replaced by an equally sized thermal camera sensor. A more useful addition for most users and one that may have helped it win the European Good Design Award.
The S98 Pro retains its sibling’s MIL-STD and IP68/69K ratings, no surprise given the generous use of TPU and polycarbonate plastic atop the aluminum alloy frame protecting its guts. It also has the same separate fingerprint sensor, we would prefer it combined with the power button, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 (opens in new tab)†
Doogee S98 Pro: Hardware
USP: IR camera
CPU: Helio G96
GPU: ARM Mali-G57
Screen size: 6.3″
Screen resolution: 2400×1080
Dimensions in mm: 172x82x15.5
Rear camera (MP): 48,20,2,20
Front camera (MP): 16
Battery Ah: 6
The S98 Pro uses the same hardware as the Doogee S98; Mediatek Helio G96 SoC, a slower, non-5G version of the Dimensity 700, 8 GB LPDDR4x memory and 256 GB UFS 2.2 system storage.
Also on the spec sheet is a 6Ah battery that supports fast charging (33W) and wireless charging (15W), NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 and WiFi-5. The screen is still a 6.3-inch 2340×1080 display with an oleophobic coating courtesy of Corning.
The biggest change took place with the camera sensors. The Samsung 64 megapixel camera on the S98 is replaced by a 48 megapixel camera from Sony; this “downgrade” is mitigated by the introduction of Infiray’s thermal imager sensor (instead of FLIR).
A quick search turns up standalone, Infiray-powered, thermal cameras that cost hundreds of dollars, highlighting what a bargain the S98 Pro is if you’re looking for a camera with such capabilities. It works together with the 20 megapixel Sony infrared camera that was present in the S98 Pro.
As well as the usual manuals and cable, Doogee has also bundled a case with the S98 Pro, which is a bit counterintuitive considering that this is a rugged smartphone and shouldn’t be protected by a case. There’s also a 33W charger, a screen protector, and what Doogee calls an anti-explosive film.
Doogee S98 Pro: Performance and Usage
It’s the second rugged smartphone we’ve tested that comes with Android 12 (the first being the S98) and it doesn’t explain any of the differences between the two handsets. We noticed these during benchmarking and that includes some significant variations, sometimes over 20%, on Passmark.
Overall, like the S98, the Helio G96 is one of the fastest non-5G systems-on-chip available for rugged smartphones. It’s great for most tasks, but will struggle with anything that requires a lot of resources. Speaking of software, there is hardly any bloatware on the device; there are some Mediatek specials like Duraspeed, Easy Launch, Security, Children Space and GameSpace, as well as the usual range of outdoor/DIY/handyman apps. They are all useful to some extent, free and can be easily removed.
The display is surprisingly bright with punchy colors and vivid images, even in bright daylight, thanks to the 500 nits brightness and 15000:1 contrast ratio. The images produced by the Infiray thermal camera are spectacular, especially when combined with an image generated by the “normal” Sony camera sensor.
Should I buy the Doogee S98 Pro?
Buy it if:
You want or need a thermal camera. The Infiray thermal camera on the S98 Pro sets it apart from the rest of the competition in this price range. It is really remarkable that such a technology is integrated in a smartphone.
Don’t buy it if:
You definitely need super fast connectivity. The lack of 5G is a bummer, but remains a small dead fly in an otherwise tantalizing ointment. 4G should be more than enough for most use cases.
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