60 seconds rating
This is the second smartphone with a secondary display that we are reviewing. The first was the Unihertz TickTock 5G smartphone which launched on Kickstarter in late 2021 and still has some delivery issues. Doogee dips his toes in the secondary display with a second rugged phone, the S98. Frankly, we prefer the implementation on the V20, a superior – but also more expensive – smartphone from the same supplier. However, given the S98’s price tag, we’re pleasantly surprised by the hardware spec sheet that anchors it firmly in the midrange basket: 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and three cameras on the back, including a 64-megapixel shooter.
Doogee S98: Pricing and Availability
The Doogee S98 is available directly from the manufacturer’s site for $340 (about £ / AU$), that’s $160, which is a saving from the suggested retail price. At the time of writing, there was a delay of a few weeks due to the three worldwide warehouses that currently stock the smartphone. It is available in wine red, classic black and phantom grey. AliExpress sold it for just $260 (about £/AU$) on special, so it might be worth looking around. Please note that these prices do not include local taxes and handling charges that may be levied by third parties.
Doogee S98: Design
There is not much to write about the design of the S98. It is a tried and trusted template with an industrial design that uses a metal frame covered with rubber for impact protection.
Given the size of the screen (6.3-inch) and the large battery capacity, it’s no surprise that this is a large phone – 172 x 82 x 15.5 mm for a weight of 320 g, which is about the size of two other rivals, the Oukitel WP17 and the Ulefone Armor 10 5G† The main attraction is at the rear; a 30mm circular display between four sensors and the LED flash, more on that later.
The front screen is a 6.3-inch display with a Full HD+ resolution, a pinhole selfie camera sensor and a Corning Gorilla glass overlay (the rear display gets it too).
On the left is the SIM card slot and a customizable button, while the right has a volume rocker, a power button and a separate fingerprint reader (we’d rather have both combined).
A flap hides a USB Type-C connector on the bottom. As expected, the S98 meets IP68/IP69 and MIL-STD 810G guidelines.
Doogee S98: Hardware
The Doogee S98 comes with the following hardware:
PROCESSOR: Helio G96
GPU: Arm Mali-G57
Screen size: 6.3 inch
Dimensions: 172 x 82 x 15.5mm
Rear camera: 64MP, 20MP, 8MP
Front camera: 16MP
operating system: Android 12
The S98 has a Mediatek Helio G96 system-on-chip similar to the Dimensity 700, only slightly slower, with a more mature production node and without 5G. It is supported by 8 GB LPDDR4x RAM and 256 GB UFS 2.2 storage.
Doogee used a 64-megapixel Samsung camera sensor for the main snapper, a 20-megapixel Sony IMX350 night vision camera, an 8-megapixel Samsung wide-angle camera and a 16-megapixel Samsung camera for the front. In addition to a charger and a cable, you get a warranty card, a screen protector and a user manual. The 6Ah battery supports fast charging (33W) and wireless charging (18W).
Doogee S98: Performance and Usage
Here’s how the Doogee S98 performed in our series of benchmark tests:
PCMark (Work 2.0): 9524
Passmark CPU: 3188
Geek Bank: 501 (single); 1729 (several)
3D Mark Wild Life: 1168 (Volcano); 329 (Extreme)
We didn’t have high hopes for the S98, as it’s based on a mid-range processor. Benchmark results show it’s slightly faster than devices powered by the G95 and slightly slower than handsets based on the Dimensity 700. So expect it to be good enough for most tasks with a little gaming on the side.
Aside from the stock Android 12 build, the S98 comes with the standard set of apps usually found on Mediatek-enabled smartphones: the ubiquitous toolbox (with a pedometer, compass, etc.), the Easy Launcher (for seniors), GameSpace, and Children’s Space ; these create virtual environments for the intended users with different levels of lockdown capabilities (e.g. access to apps or mobile network).
You can configure and even disable the rear display. In terms of features, you can take calls and operate the music player and that’s about it. We’ve made the same kind of criticism against the TickTock 5G; there’s no compelling reason to use the rear screen, as it’s not an energy-saving e-ink screen (like the Hisense A5) and doesn’t have a great app.
Should I buy the Doogee S98?
The double screen TickTock from Unihertz that is more expensive and has half the system memory. On the other hand, it has 5G connectivity thanks to the Mediatek Dimensity 700. Also, the TickTock lacks wireless charging, a new Android 12 OS and the night vision camera.
Alternatively, the Doogee V20 is a worthy alternative to the S98 at a higher price. It keeps all the good stuff (256GB storage, 8GB RAM, 64MP camera, night vision) and adds 5G capabilities and a design that’s less industrial and more geared towards a consumer audience.
First reviewed April 2022
- Need a smartphone that can take a beating and doesn’t need a case? Check out our full list of the best rugged smartphones