Ulefone is the latest of three major rugged smartphone vendors to launch a flagship smartphone based on Mediatek’s latest P90 chipset and 48-megapixel rear camera setup. Blackview and Doogee have unveiled all their BV9900 and S95 Pro flagship phones, and with MWC 2020 a few weeks away, an event that promises even more surprises and above all unveils when Mediatek announces a new 5G chipset. But today, we are here with our Ulefone Armor 7 Review.
Ulefone Armor 7 Review – Design
No major surprise here; the Armor 7 sticks to the tried-and-tested, classic 4+4 robust smartphone template. Four long sides, four rubber corners for extra protection. Not much evolution from a design perspective. The most noticeable change takes place at the back, where there’s a very smooth plastic plate instead of the usual rubber sleeve.
A forward-facing camera sits in the middle of the upper rim in a water droplet arrangement. There are no permanent capacitive buttons that can divide opinions and no status lights (except for the battery status). The back contains a loudspeaker grille, three camera sensors, and five LED flashlights plus a heart rate sensor; the cameras are extended, which means they absorb most of the shock when this phone hits the ground.
Note the notch on the underside of the unit, which is used to attach the bundled lanyard. Not sure why and how this is a useful addition, as it makes the device a few millimeters thicker. With 166 x 81 x 13.55mm for a weight of 290g, it is large without feeling it. On the left and right side are a SIM drawer, an adjustable SOS button, a fingerprint reader, the on/off button, and two others for volume control.
On the top and bottom side, there is a Type-C connector (beware of dust and lint getting stuck there because it is not covered) and a proximity sensor. Ulefone states that the phone is IP68/IP69K compliant and is MIL-STD-810G certified under laboratory tests. The phone, as the company claims, has used a bi-injection process with a waterproof adhesive to hold together the assembly of metal, plastic, and composite materials.
Ulefone Armor 7 Review – Hardware
Armor 7 is one of a few robust smartphones on the market that uses a Mediatek P90 chipset. This Helio variant was unveiled in 2018 and had six slower cores and two faster cores, coupled to a PowerVR GM 9446 GPU. The chipset offers Cat-13 150 Mbps upload speed and Cat-12 600 Mbps download speed, Dual 4G SIM with Dual VoLTE standby mode along with Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac wireless connectivity, and an NPU. Ulefone has added 8GB DDR RAM with 128GB internal storage. A micro-SD card slot is available. However, you will have to sacrifice a SIM card to use it.
Coming to the camera setup, the Armor 7 uses three Samsung rear cameras; a 48-megapixel, a 16-megapixel night shot and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with a 10X zoom; it can also shoot 4K videos. The box contains four leaflets, tempered glass to protect the display on the Armor 7, a Type-C to 3.5mm audio jack, a 15W (5V3A) power adapter, a Type-C to Type-A adapter, a Type-C to MicroUSB adapter and a Type-A to Type-C cable along with a short strap.
The phone is backed by a 5,500mAh battery, NFC capabilities, and a 6.3-inch Full-HD+ display complete the specification sheet. The battery can be charged wirelessly with an optional 10W charger, and the phone supports all three major satellite positioning systems.
The display was already covered with a screen protector when we took it out of the box, and we were surprised at how easy it was to scratch; you can remove it, of course, but I decided to keep it in place, mainly because it was oleophobic. There’s a Children Space mode that allows the user to refine access and usage time. It is, in a nutshell, a highly restricted virtual PC. The heart rate monitor and the outdoor toolbox are the two other apps worth mentioning.
The latter includes a pedometer and a pressure sensor. Since this is a Mediatek smartphone, you also get DuraSpeed – which reduces resources for apps that run in the background – and Smartlock that keeps your device unlocked when it’s safe with you by recognizing physical signals.
Let’s start with the biggest competitor of Armor 7, the Doogee S95 Pro, which on paper appears to be a better buy. It costs about the same price, but with a smaller battery. However, it makes up for it with a unique magnetic modular design that makes it possible to attach accessories to it. Too bad, they only contain a loudspeaker and a battery. If your budget allows it, the AGM X3 should be on your list. It has a faster CPU, the older but still very powerful Snapdragon 845.
It has a small battery and lacks the sophistication of the cameras found elsewhere, but the design is much more neutral, and the X3 feels more like a rugged phone that you would use outside of work without any scruples. The BV9900 is billed as the most durable super camera rugged smartphone ever and has a price tag that equals just under $500. On paper, however, it is a different story; the price premium is not justified since it uses the same camera setup and processor as the Armor 7 and the S95 Pro. However, the BV9900 has twice as much internal storage as the S95 Pro.
Ulefone Armor 7 Review – Conclusion
More an evolution than a revolution, Armor 7 has the limits of what has been achieved when it comes to rugged devices. It’s not a flagship product; the AGM X3 has a much faster processor, despite its launch in 2018. Commercial requirements and a price-sensitive market mean that there is almost no chance of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 in, for example, an Ulefone or Blackview or Doogee device.
But all is not lost, MWC 2020 is likely to see some important announcements regarding the successor to the Helio series with the associated handset unveilings. Back to Armor 7, it is a handset that meets all the essential expectations one would have had of a top-end rugged smartphone. Looks good, feels solid, has a large battery, and multiple accessories. It is very priced decently against the competition and generally performs as expected. So, a big thumbs up from us.
Where To BuyBuy Now
Yes, after the official MTK update, ULEFONE will upgrade via wireless FOTA.
Yes, it’s Unlocked for worldwide use. Please ensure that your local area network is compatible.
Ulefone Armor 7 is a solid robust smartphone with a very competitive price tag. It would be hard to find a cheaper device with 8GB RAM, with the added advantage of being waterproof and shockproof.
- Wireless charging
- Great price
- Superb configuration for the price
- Dual LTE/4G SIM standby
- Good performance
- Camera sensor positioning