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Ulefone Armor survives nearly everything: being driven over by an A8, being used for cracking nuts or even for draining nails. At least this is implied by the advertising videos of this new outdoor smartphone. Ulefone invests much effort to establish its brand in the middle class outdoor sector on the market. At the moment, Blackview BV6000 is the middle class outdoor sector king. Ulefone Armor’s YouTube videos are very convincing but whether the full package is, or not, the following review will show.

Design

Ulefone Armor’s design is held very rustic; it has a tool-like look. A weight of 194g and measurements of 149x75x13mm provide a nice holding comfort. Each component fits in the robust plastic casing.

The bezel to the left and right measures 3.5mm. Additionally, there are the typical Android buttons under the display. Ulefone Armor can also be controlled by on-screen buttons which unfortunately are neither illuminated nor marked. The smartphone features a metal element with the Ulefone logo which is screwed in on the bottom front side. Volume control buttons, lockable USB and headphone plugs, as well as the power button are located respectively on the device’s left side and its top. Also located on the left side, there is an emergency (SOS) button which activates a pre-set chain of commands, and an extra picture button. The entire rear side is visually divided into five single segments with a good grip in which house the rear cover screws. The camera, the LED flash light and loudspeaker are embedded in the top rear segment. The rear side can be removed with the help of a screwdriver which is included in the scope of delivery. Under the cover, you will find both micro SIM slots. The smartphone supports dual SIM function with simultaneously expandable storage of up to 128GB.

  

Ulefone Armor in total leaves a good finishing impression despite – or perhaps because of its plastic casing. It also has a good haptical carrying feeling, despite robustness. All buttons have a pleasant pressure point except for the power button. This keys operation is a bit tricky and associated with much physical effort. Its position on the top side of the phone is rather impractical. In practice, the power button is almost never used as the phone can be activated by touching one of the three Android buttons. The headphone plug has to be extended with a supplied adapter because it is too low for most of the common 3.5mm headphone wires. In order to charge and connect the device with your PC, you will need another special,  micro USB wire that is a little longer. One of which is part of the scope of delivery. Another possibility is to cut every USB cable into the right size.

Dust- and waterproof in accordance with IP68 regulation

According to the IP certificate, Ulefone Armor is protected against ‘continuous immersion’ and absolutely dustproof. In practice, we can only approve as our device still worked after five minutes in a full sink. No liquid entered the casing. You should still make sure before immersion that all rear screws and connection spots are sealed. The phone also survived our simulated falling test from a height of one to two meters. Depending on how the phone landed on its display it still breaks, even though Ulefone advertises its puncture-safe Gorilla Glass 3.

Display

The 4.7-inch display has a resolution of 1,280×720 pixels which results in a pixel density of 312ppi. Single pixels are not visible. It leaves a good impression about viewing angle stability, touch recognition and colour representation. Only the black level could be improved. Ulefone Armor’s brightness and readability outdoors is great. Up to five touching points are detected simultaneously. Further, it is scratch-safe and robust due to Gorilla Glass 3, according to some YouTube advertising videos, it can even crack nuts or drain nails.

Ulefone Armor Performance

Ulefone Armor’s performance can be categorised in the lower middle class sector. Eight cores of MT6753 clock at up to 1.5GHz. Simple tasks like watching videos, chatting and internet surfing are carried out flawlessly. Its performance is perfectly fine for multitasking purposes which runs quite fast thanks to 3GB RAM. Internet surfing and app usage is no problem. Loading times are usually very low.

Main memory has 3.6GB/s. The internal storage is sufficient with its 32GB and has a reading pace of 227MB/s and a writing pace of 87MB/s. The built in Mali T720 GPU is unfortunately not geared for high-performance functioning. If your ambitions are not too high, there is enough performance for occasional playing. Performance straining 3D games, however, cause considerable lags and frame drops. Compared to the slightly more expensive Blackview BV6000, Ulefone Armor’s performance is noticeably lower. Nevertheless, the phone has sufficient power to handle standard tasks.

Android

Ulefone Armor’s operating system is Android 6 based. According to the manufacturer, it is adjusted to energy efficiency and reception quality of GPS and phone signals. In reality, GPS is not usable for navigation. Phone reception, on the other hand, is satisfyingly strong. The system has various modified symbols. It runs mostly fluent, only waking the system from standby might lead to lags sometimes. It takes a whole three to four seconds until the screen switched on. This is much too long. As safety measure, emergency numbers can be dialled in the SOS menu which sends pre-set texts or calls a specific number.

Mainly the smartphone offers all functions which are typical for Android devices. Google Playstore is pre-installed and all apps can be accessed without any limitations. Updates are installed directly via WIFI.

Camera

Ulefone Armor houses a 13MP and a 5MP camera. The rear camera takes good pictures at daylight that, however, sometimes seem a little greyish, but altogether have a good quality. The focussed area is mostly sharp, but towards the edges there occurs an increasing noise. Selfies are of average quality that only seem to be a little too dark. For occasional shots Ulefone Armour is fully sufficient, however you should not expect much more.

Connectivity

Ulefone Armor is perfectly equipped for mobile surfing and telephoning as it supports 2G, 3G and any required 4G frequencies. Reception intensity of phone and WLAN signals are good. GPS, on the other hand, is the opposite; even outdoors the device is useless for navigation. Position determination simply takes too long and is not precise at all. Compass and gyroscope are provided. It was no problem to establish Bluetooth connections. The smartphone also houses a NFC chip which connects with other NFC compatible devices very quickly. Loudspeaker quality was excellent, however, via headphone there was a blurry sound. This may be caused by the adapter which has to be used. The plug is too low for common 3.5mm connections because of the protection case. Ulefone Armor has no fingerprint sensor.

Ulefone Armor is an outdoor smartphone role model when it comes to WIFI and network, numerous sensors and NFC. The faulty GPS module, in contrast, is a major disadvantage.

Battery

A battery capacity of 3,500mAh is sufficient. Under normal conditions Ulefone Armor’s battery lasts  1.5 days. Extensive users can use it a whole day without charging. In comparison to Blackview BV6000, the devices battery is 1,000mAh smaller. In the PCMark battery test, Armor made it to 9h usage at a moderate display brightness. Over the night, the Ulefone mobile consumes only 3-5% battery and one hour of watching YouTube videos only take 11% of the battery life. Charging took quite some time as it took 30 minutes for 25% battery – for 50% it even took 1:15h. After a little more than 3 hours, the battery was fully loaded.

* Incl. VAT and, if applicable, delivery costs – subject to interim changes.

Conclusion and alternative

75% Good

After our test it turned out that Ulefone Armor is comparable to Blackview BV6000. The mobile’s performance is capable of chatting, browsing and occasional gaming. Battery life, camera and display are also very convincing. Being outdoors, Armor turns out as a loyal and robust companion. No need to worry about scratches, puncture or water damages. The weak GPS reception, however, is a fatal disadvantage.

  • design and build quality 80 %
  • display 70 %
  • operating system and performance 70 %
  • connectivity and communication 80 %
  • camera 70 %
  • battery 80 %

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