S98 Pro outside

There’s never been a better time for those who want a rugged Android phone. It’s a booming market.

The Doogee S98 Pro is one of the latest entries into this smartphone market aimed at engineers and people who spend more time outdoors than the average person.

And it’s packed with features that simply aren’t available on iPhones.

For example, take the built-in thermal camera. Of course, you can buy one for your iPhonebut it’s an extra thing to carry around and keep charged.

Also: Why do you need a phone with a thermal and infrared camera

Then there is a night vision camera. I don’t even think you can buy one for the iPhone. OK, the iPhone’s main camera has good low-light capabilities, but it’s not night vision.

Then there is robustness. Water, dust and shock resistance. Even inside a rugged casing, the iPhone is still vulnerable.

But you get all that and more in the Doogee S98 Pro.

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  • Processor: Helio G96, octa-core, 2.1 GHz
  • GPUs: ARM Mali-G57
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 256 GB (expandable using microSD/T-Flash cards up to 512 GB)
  • Display: 6.3 inches, 2400×1080, 409 PPI, Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Rear camera array: 48-megapixel main camera, 20-megapixel Sony IMX350 night vision camera,
  • Front camera: Samsung 16 megapixel
  • Biometric: Fingerprint reader
  • Operating system: Android 12
  • Battery: 6000mAh
  • loading: USB-C up to 33W
  • Certificate: IP68/IP69K/MIL-STD-810H

There are a lot of things I like about the S98 Pro.

First of all, it’s a sturdy and well-built unit. The polymer shell combined with Corning Gorilla Glass is a tough combination, and not something people are likely to break by being careless or unduly harsh with the handset. The screen also comes with a pre-applied screen protector, which is a really nice touch (your iPhone won’t have one).

The combination of Corning Gorilla Glass and screen protector really gives this smartphone a super durable display.

I dropped and kicked and generally abused the S98 Pro and it didn’t seem to bother at all. Not only does the outer shell protect the delicate electronic components, but it is very resistant to wear and scratches.

Try this with an iPhone.

On second thought, don’t.

Same for water.

Rain and even submersion don’t seem to bother this handset at all (remember to keep the charging port covered with the little flap). I got this handset absolutely soaked and it worked great.

The thermal camera and night vision are what I would expect from a handset like this. You can’t imagine how handy it is to have tools like this until you’ve built them into a handset that you take with you. Like a pocket knife or a multitool, they quickly become part of your daily carry-on, and tools you turn to without thinking (and tools you miss when they’re not there with you).

These are great features, and it makes me a little jealous that my platform of choice is an iPhone.

But you can bet I’ll keep this handset close, as these features come in handy.

S98 Pro Camera Matrix

The MediaTek Helio G96 chipset with its eight Arm Cortex and Mali-G57 cores, backed by 8GB of RAM, keeps everything running smoothly.

In all of my use of the S98 Pro, I’ve found it smooth and responsive. While the Helio G96 isn’t by far the fastest chipset, it’s certainly fast enough to handle everything I wanted this handset to do.

I certainly never had any complaints.

It’s all powered by a 6,000mAh battery that’s good for at least a day of heavy use – maybe two if you’re not pushing too hard – and the 33W fast-charging capability means you’re never not connected to a charger for too long.

I don’t know if it should be said, but the battery life is way better than what I get from the iPhone.

S98 Pro is a very capable handset

S98 Pro is a very capable handset

There are a few limitations to keep in mind.

The first is that there is no 5G support. If you’re currently riding the 5G wave, then going down and back to 4G is going to feel like a real downgrade, so if speed is important to you, it’s something to seriously consider.

Another is carrier support. The handset supports GSM WCDMA and LTE and will work with carriers such as T-Mobile. However, it does not support AT&T or CDMA carriers.

But beyond these limitations, the Doogee S98 Pro is a solid and reliable workhorse of a smartphone. It’s strong and sturdy enough to handle life outdoors, but the bulk isn’t too bulky and doesn’t get in the way if you need to use it in the office.