Two or three years ago, the concept of a frameless phone was realized in smartphones that functioned as a concept rather than as a full-featured device. Today, it is the standard we are assessing flagship devices. Unnecessary frames around the display shrank, but so far only for a flagship. Is it a premium feature, though? However, the relatively young Doogee wants to bring this feature to users who do not want to pay for the phone 500 euros or more for a smartphone of almost same specs. You do not even have to pay half to get the Doogee Mix.
Here is a table of contents to make it easier for you to breeze through the article. Click on any of them to jump to the content:
- Packaging, Construction and Display
- Fingerprint Scanner, Performance and Memory
- Operating System and Multimedia
- Connectivity and Camera
- Battery and Final Assessment
Packaging, Construction and Display
Let us start with the packing. This is at first glance inconspicuous and elegant. The matte black box has an inconspicuously worded MIX on the top and the logo of the manufacturer at the front. Once opened, you will see the device itself. It is placed on the envelope with the necessary documentation and pleasant bonuses. Although the phone comes with a pre-installed protective film at the front and back, inside the pack, we find another extra film for the front of the device. Also, we also find a cleaning cloth and an elegant black cover.
But that's not all. The package also includes a SIM card ejector pin, a charging adapter, and a USB cable. The most interesting bonus is a small, glossy packaging that deliberately imitates a condom pack. Inside, however, there is a special accessory - a ring holder that you can be glued to the phone for more comfortable handling. Regardless of whether you use the accessory, you have to recognise that such a level of creativity is not so easy to see when you buy a new phone 🙂
Construction: Minimal frame in heavy body
The most attractive feature of the phone is its design without debate. The aforementioned minimal frame display uses a similar principle to many other Chinese manufacturers. The minimum frame is on the hips and at the top of the display while we find a classic chin down. This is not the smallest, but even extremely large. Also, it holds a fingerprint reader, which can also be used to navigate and shoot photos, making it reasonably possible to use this space. We find here even a selfie camera that just did not make it up.
However, the traditional speaker and proximity sensor remained at the top. The edges of the device are now more standard - we find the power button on the right and a dual volume control over it, a SIM / microSD card slot on the left. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on top (thankfully) and a double speaker grid at the bottom (the speaker is only on the right) and the micro USB port.
The phone has a size of 144 x 76 x 8.0 mm and a weight of 197 grams. This is average size, but overly heavy equipment. You will surely feel it in your pocket, and in particular, with these dimensions, the weight in hand is surprising. The construction is made from a large amount of glass - it is also found on the back, with the frame of the device made of metal. We tested the phone in Aurora Blue, which works interestingly but not ecstatically. At the back we find only the dual camera lens, the flash LED and the manufacturer's logo.
Overall, this is a very clean design, which, not a minimal frame around the display, acts a bit boring, especially from the back. However, the quality of the construction is at an excellent level, and nothing can be denied. We praise the use of a 3.5mm jack for headphones, but we're a little bit sorry for the old micro USB port. This is not exceptional in this price category. On the contrary, a luxury frameless design is something that is entirely new in this category.
Display: AMOLED low resolution
We've written enough about the frameless design, so now we'll be looking at the quality of the Doogee Mix smartphone display. Here we find the 5.5 "Super AMOLED display from Samsung. However, this is an inferior quality panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720 px. The resolution of the display is a little disappointing. Although in the price range of up to 200 Euros in which the Doogee Mix is not, it is not an entirely incredible value; in the category of phones it competes with, it is significant under prime.
But we have to say that it has a decent screen. As this is the AMOLED panel, you'll enjoy bright colours as well as true black. But there is visible blue colour distortion when looking at the display from an angle, but the text is readable even at extreme angles. The highest brightness also does not let you breathe, but it is at least sufficient for outdoor use.
Overall, we can label the display as the average of this price category with exciting features. However, if you hold a well-processed device in your hand, you simply expect more from the display. But it is clear that the manufacturer has had to save some time to get to this impressive price tag. The display was the place where its price was saved.
Fingerprint Scanner, Performance and Memory
Fingerprint Scanner: Saving here as well
A few years ago we would love to use fingerprint scanners in this price category. Today, however, the fingerprint reader is becoming the standard on absolutely every device except the cheapest ones. We've also experienced excellent scanners several times in even more affordable devices, but this is not the case. The Doogee Mix has a front finger reader, which is a reasonable placement that many users enjoy, but the quality of the scanner is at most average.
It repeatedly happened that the scanner did not recognize our fingerprint or recognised it several times. This behaviour was best observed when the phone was placed on the table, and we fingered the sensor at the most unusual angle. But the responsiveness when holding the phone in hand and putting the thumb on it was much higher.
At the same time, however, the scanner offers practical navigation features in the system. Your phone has the navigation keys as standard on display, but you can hide them and use the fingerprint scanner for most operations. With one touch, you can go back one step at a time, and you can program long presses, for example, Home or Multitasking.
Overall, the use of the scanner is praiseworthy, but we do not like the inconsistency of recognizing the imprint. Again, the phone looks more luxurious at first glance, but if we look at it globally and compare it to the same price, the result is not bad at all, and even a sub-fingerprint scanner can be a bonus.
Performance and memory: So good, but no more
When looking at the Doogee Mix specification list, we can feel that it is a compelling device. The handset features the Helio P25 chip, which is not the fastest on the market but offers plenty of power for most operations. In our configuration, we even had a model with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory, which are values that compete in this price category several times. In practice, however, it turned out that the phone is no performance champion.
In normal work, we did not feel the lack of performance. At the same time, the user experience did not respond to what the specifications suggest. Although the applications remained open for a long time, their execution was relatively slow. We also encountered intermittent chopping in applications or the system.
The same can be said about the more demanding applications - you run them, but wait a little for them to run and avoid occasional hesitations. However, we feel that these problems that we felt during the use of the phone are somewhat related to the lack of optimization of the system and not to the lack of computing power of the hardware used.
Our problems have partially resolved the use of the High-Performance mode that we have chosen in the battery settings. The Balanced Mode was turned on for the first time, but thanks to good battery life, we were able to afford higher performance mode by default. The effect was observable, but it was not drastic.
But we greatly appreciate the use of 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory. No one will take you away, and when you accidentally fill it, you still have a hybrid microSD card slot. In this way, the phone is also equipped for demanding and long-term use. At a time when it's still a standard in the lower price category to use 16GB of internal memory, it's a lovely bonus.
Operating System and Multimedia
System: We have not seen more features yet
Like other alternative manufacturers, Doogee offers its superstructure over the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system on the Doogee Mix smartphone. The superstructure is labelled DoogeeOS 2.0 and changes almost every graphic or functional part of Android.
Practically unchanged is a locked screen that offers just a simple clock widget and standard camera startup shortcuts or Google Assistant. Changes are only the automatically changing backgrounds of the screen locked. However, after unblocking, it looks at the completely changed Android system.
The home screen offers its clock and weather widget, and also features an animated tool that hangs from the notification bar. This is an acronym that opens smartphone theme settings. However, this pre-installed application is poorly optimized, and the themes or wallpapers are loaded too long and use is very demanding. Fortunately, this feature can be turned off in the launcher settings, where you will find many other options.
But that's not all - you can set everything on the home screens, starting with the size of icons and fonts, and ending with animations of screen crossings. Even a news feed can be found on the home screen. However, we have not figured out whether this feed can be edited or customized, by default, it only displays reports from foreign websites.
Perhaps you will not be surprised that the notification bar is completely altered, which you can additionally adapt. The apps menu is also changed where the titles are saved by title in the sections. There are no gestures on the locked screen that can directly trigger a particular application.
There are so many added features and settings that we've discovered. In general, we have nothing against the extra options, but in this case, they often worked cumbersomely. The role here was also played by the fact that many additional features were in English.
The good news is that the manufacturer minimised the amount of pre-installed bloatware. We can find most useful applications such as Gallery, File Manager, Sound Recorder or WPS Office. Doogee also offers a custom calendar or calculator and DG Xender to manage files between multiple devices. Otherwise, we will find only Google apps and a minimum of other preinstalled titles.
As we already mentioned in the performance section, we thought the software would be better optimised. Most of the transition effects in the phone were seamless, but sometimes the animations were a bit slower. We also do not find it happiest to use some added features, most of which a regular user will not even want to use. Less is ever more, and perhaps a less crowded system could be better optimised to achieve a better user experience.
Multimedia: Sufficient equipment
The Doogee Mix Smartphone is designed for multimedia work thanks to its design and equipment. Even though the low resolution of the display fades, the other side of the phone is suitable for most multimedia activities. There are two loudspeakers on the bottom right now, which is a relatively large rarity today. Although it is not far from the best speakers on the market, its purpose is fulfilled, and since the speaker is hidden behind both grilles, it will be more challenging to cover them with a palm. It also welcomes the presence of a 3.5mm jack for headphones, which is no longer a matter of course.
When working with multimedia, you will also appreciate the excellent battery life, so you will not have to limit yourself when watching videos or viewing pictures. This also features a minimal frame around the phone. Regardless of the model available, this feature is still breathtaking for many users - if you have not met with this smartphone yet, the experience will be enhanced by the innovation that Doogee Mix will bring to your life.
Connectivity and Camera
Connectivity: Reasonable standard
We have no big reservations about the connection angle. The Doogee Mix is equipped with standard mobile connections, and we can see that there are no "European" LTE frequencies. An advantage in this price category is also Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n with the support of 5GHz networks, so you can also take advantage of modern routers. Bluetooth version 4.0 can also be found on this phone, but it is still standard for some more expensive smartphones. The same applies to the use of a micro USB charging connector, which we would not have expected anymore, but smartphones in this price category are standard.
We have no problems with the quality of the connection. 4G we tested in more remote areas, and we even though the signal strength was somewhat better than with other devices. It may have been because the signal intensity indicator worked so that the signal is always superior, but even in reality we still had a good connection, we did not meet any hesitations, and even when travelling, the transition between the transmitters was instantaneous. Overall, we consider the phone to be excellent regarding connectivity.
Camera: Do not scramble
The Doogee Mix is equipped with a 16 + 8 MP dual camera. The manufacturer chose a combination of standard and telephoto lenses, so a 2-fold zoom is also available. Of course, there are other features associated with dual cameras, such as a blurred background. However, we can assume that the camera is only average in this price category, and despite the many possibilities, the results are relatively weak.
Under great conditions, it is possible to make beautiful sharp photographs with bright colours and reasonable contrast. However, any deterioration of the conditions, including the heavily skewed sky, is the basis for much worse results. Photos shot in the low light area are often dark, sometimes blurred even when staying with a stable hand. The dynamic range is also relatively low, so we met with burnt bright tones or dark shadows.
Added value in the form of extra features here is, but there are also various limitations here. The 2x zoom is practical, but the resulting picture has low resolution and details are missing. Blurring background with software effect is also imperfect, often ignored edges, and blur looks relatively artificially. Still, we have to think about the price category we are in. We do not find many photo blocks here, but there are more smartphones with a significantly better camera than Doogee Mix. If you are a passionate photographer, you may find some restrictions in this respect.
The app itself offers many other features and photo modes. You are a bit unobtrusive to our taste, but with a little habit, you can easily orient them. It also welcomes the presence of a professional mode with which some of the ailments of photos can be removed.
The video quality is at a similar level to that of a photo - in the perfect light, it's OK, in worse conditions the video is rather dark, and the details are missing. The front camera also has problems in the interior, but it is possible to make relatively decent pictures suitable for social networks. But here too, perfect lighting is the foundation. Also, the front 5MP camera is located in the lower right corner, due to the construction of the device. But the software solution is interesting, where the phone asks you to rotate it by 180 °, and then the flip angle is completely standard. Handy.
Battery and Final Assessment
Battery: Excellent stamina
The Doogee Mix comes with a pre-installed 3380 mAh battery. This is actually above average regarding the hardware used, and so is the load on one charge. We have been able to work on the phone for almost two difficult days without a problem, which is a real rarity. The compact AMOLED low-resolution display also plays a big role, so watching the videos is not so fast.
On the enclosed screenshots you see one really busy day during which we used the phone, and we even tested it. We had run benchmarks, photographed, made phone calls, viewed settings, and also used typical communications applications, social networks, emails, and all other standard features. Nearly 50% of the battery was at the end of the day, and we used the phone for 3-4 hours during the day.
The stamina is so great, and it also welcomes the presence of fast charging. This makes it possible to charge the phone at 50% in about 30 minutes, which is decent and is enough for a normal day of use. It will also delight in displaying the percentage of battery charge in the status bar right after the device is started - you do not have to search and switch this setting just like on almost every new smartphone.
Doogee Mix: Final Review
Doogee Mix is an interesting phone. Due to several observed deficiencies, this device is not a direct competitor for the best smartphones on the market, though it may look at the face. In fact, it is an interesting medium-class device, but in some ways, it also outstrips the much more expensive competition.
The display is its pride, yet one of the most significant imperfections - Full HD resolution is in 2017 just a base, and the 720p panel also captures the layman's eye. The software has a lot of flies, but we also find some skilful tricks that have impressed us (such as the recommendation to turn the phone in the presence of a selfie because of the front camera positioning).
- + Frameless display
- + Price
- + 6 GB of RAM
- + Battery life
- + Thin thoughtful details (packing, selfie mode)
- - The camera
- - System crowded with features
- - Slower reactions
- - Unreliable fingerprint scanner
- - 720p display resolution
In short, it's a broken personality. On the other hand, it's a phone that looks like a flagship in some ways and an affordable device at a level just above EUR 200, wherein some categories competition overcomes, but in others, it lags behind cheaper models. The positive thing is that the phone has some bold qualities and is a great springboard for the future. Just fine-tune some imperfections, use a better camera, and Doogee can have a really attractive device in the portfolio.
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