When you think of Ulefone, you think of a rugged smartphone but that’s not just where it ends, the company changed the landscape of what a rugged smartphone should be like. Making their smartphones truly waterproof is another interesting thing that sets their devices aside from others. The new Armor 7 is one of the few truly rugged smartphone with a real IP68 certification which makes it a waterproof device and not only that, the device also come with shock proof as well as dust resistance all which combined makes this a truly rugged device.
This is the smartphone built for adventurers and if you’re one, you want to get yourself one of these devices. One thing that intrigued me first upon learning about the device is the fact that it’s not costly whatsoever but that in a bit.
It comes with a 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage which can be expanded using a MicroSD card. Other important specification includes the camera which is a triple setup on the back of the device as well as being powered by a MediaTek chipset.
Alright, this is a tough smartphone and that is one thing about the device or should I call it the selling point. While it’s a bit chunky, you wouldn’t expect a device that can withstand lots of falls and water and packed up with a giant battery to not be big so it’s thicker than your average device.
One thing I also quickly notice about this device when I unboxed it was how smudgy the device is. When held, it’s not very lightweight and it’s dimension was 165.9 x 81 x 13.6 mm (6.53 x 3.19 x 0.54 in) while the weight of the device was 290 g (10.23 oz) which isn’t bad after all. You can literally use this smartphone in the darkness as it features 5 powerful LED flash right at the back near it’s triple camera compartment.
I wasn’t quick to judge the strength or weakness of the device upon holding it so I didn’t immediately drop it on to the ground or put it in a pound of water instead examined other capabilities of the device such as its the camera, the efficiency and of course it’s 5500 mAh Li-Po battery which I was promised would last 3 days with multimedia consumption which first lead me to examining the device from one part to the other.
Smudgy and tough design is necessary
As said earlier, one thing you’d notice first with this device is the smudgy look and feel of the device. Naturally built rugged to serve that purpose and well, the Ulefone Armor 7 did just that. But then comes again the slim bezels despite the so many ruggedness of the device. I mean who would expect thin bezels on a device of this category.
With a dimension of about 165.9 x 81 x 13.6 mm, the device’s screen-to-body ratio is surprisingly 72.5% which isn’t bad at all. The display measures 6.3-inch and is protected with the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 while the back is made up of flexible plastic which is well screwed up to the internals of the device which is then covered with another layer of flexible plastic for better protection against water and drop. Speaking of the design, the sides houses what you would expect of a smartphone which is the same volume rocker and power button. Then features a fingerprint sensor also on the side, which allows you to unlock your phone easily.
The fingerprint reader is very smooth and fast compared to others on the sides, what also makes it refreshing is the fact that you can easily tap on it while holding the device. The device is well glued up together using some sort of special “Waterproof Glue” which makes it well packed up together.
In other aspects of the device, it uses the USB Type-C 1.0 reversible connector version 2.0 (USB On-The-Go ) which is interesting and don’t even be scared that water could get through the bottom because the area is made up with some protective mesh which help keep water away from the device’s internal components. It comes with several sensors such as UV sensor, heart rate sensor, compass and pedometer so you can use it as you want in all situations. In addition, it is made with NFC.
Triple-rear camera setup is dope
Now comes the rear camera which is really not bad but not great either. Like the saying go, the number of camera pixels doesn’t equal the quality of photographs although that is part of what helps in creating great quality photographs and well, the Ulefone Armor 7 camera did really well in this aspect.
The device has a triple rear setup with the main sensor being a 48 MP (wide), with f/1.7 aperture , 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF and then flanked up with a smaller 16 MP sensor, with f/2.0 aperture, AF and lastly the third sensor is another 8 MP, with f/2.4 aperture, (telephoto). The camera can record 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps and has interesting features such as the 5-LED flash which I love so much about the device, an HDR, and of course panorama feature.
But these numbers are just great in the book. Taking the camera out for a real life test was really interesting. I took numerous pictures right outside in broad daylight as well as indoor where the lighting isn’t so great but guess what, the 5 LED flash compensated for the bad lighting making it produce much better photograph than I would expect without one.
The 48MP took some really nice photographs in the consistent broad daylight and the edge detection was really great making the bokeh effect of the device interesting. So I imagined myself as a wildlife photographer snapping two monkey spiders fighting against a dinosaur (LOL) But anyways, the camera is great for such activity if you get what I’m talking about. While it can’t take the position of a DSLR, you can use the camera with a good Gimbal to record really smooth footage because there is no OIS on the cameras.
Up front is a 16MP sensor which is great for selfie and might not be really great for other tough stuffs like video recording although that won’t be a bad idea just know that nothing ultra-professional can really come out it but it can do a 1080p@30fps which is great news.
Ulefone Armor 7 Key Specifications
Operating System : Android 9 Pie
Chipset : Mediatek Helio P90 (12nm): Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55), PowerVR GM9446 GPU.
Front camera : 16MP, f/2.0 aperture, 1.0µm pixels. 1080p/30fps video recording.
Rear camera : Primary: 48MP, f/1.7 aperture, 1/2.0″ sensor size, 0.8µm pixel size, PDAF. Telephoto: 8MP, f/2.4. Night camera: 16MP, f/2.0, PDAF. 5-LED flash. Video: 2160p@30fps.
Display : 6.3″ IPS LCD, 1080 x 2340px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 409PPI.
Body : 165.9 x 81 x 13.6 mm, 290g; reinforced metal frame with rubber top and bottom, reinforced plastic back, shock-proof up to 1.2m height, IP69K for dust and pressurized water endurance, MIL-STD-810G compliance.
Memory : 8GB of RAM; 128GB storage; shared microSD slot.
Connectivity : Dual-SIM; LTE-A, 4-Band carrier aggregation, LTE Cat-12/ Cat-13; USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; dual-band GPS; Bluetooth 5.0.
Battery : 5,500mAh; 15W fast charging
In case you weren’t already aware of its rugged prowess, you’ll find the terms ‘SHOCKPROOF’ and ‘WATERPROOF’ emblazoned on either edge of this classic mobile device.
A 5500 mAh Battery isn’t bad at all
The power of the Ulefone Armor 7 is very incredible and that is one thing I love so much about the device sincerely. It features a 15W fast charging which refills 27% of its dead battery in 30 mins, 52% in 1 hour, while a full charge takes 2 hours and 40 mins and isn’t bad though Ulefone could do far better than that. We’ve seen devices with 40W. But that doesn’t dispute the battery capacity which peaks a long term of usage. I literally did a toughened test myself to see what the device is up to and you sure bet, it worked very well. The device ships with a 5V/3A charger.
During my test with the device, I did lots of things and took numerous pictures with the device and it worked really well and smooth while consuming not so much power. Thanks to it’s it’s processor and optimized OS, the device is great at battery management. I mean what else do you want in a cold camping than a smartphone that can last you through to the next morning and has other goodies to offer.
During my intensive usage, I personally do call myself the “not your average” smartphone user because I do a lot with my smartphone from media consumption to gaming, internet surfing, photography, editing and other peripheral tasks which includes writing codes…Yeah! So I tried porting all those into this device and the battery handled it very well but the performance isn’t very crisp because with those activities I counted above, i’ll be needing a device that is efficient in many ways and because the Ulefone Armor 7 falls to the categories of mid-ranger means I needed to check out things I’m doing.
The device’s battery did get me through the day sincerely and that was surprising even though I had struggled with the device in some situations requiring me to either force-stop applications in order to free up capacity or wait while the device froze for some seconds which leads to the next aspect of the device, Performance.
Not so crisp but not a slow device
During the first phase of my test drive of the Ulefone Armor 7, the device was blazing fast and I was really happy. I mean considering the fact that the device offers an 8GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage means I have a lot of memory to operate different tasks and applications. I used an application called “Phone Clone” to move necessary applications to the Ulefone Armor 7 which is essential starting point for me.
Bit eventually, I started seeing some lags but do note that this is subjective as people’s usage of smartphones are really different. But being a rugged smartphone, I’d expect a device that can super-multitask just like normal conventional smartphones but then this is just a mid-range smartphone. First, the modified Android OS on this device kills off my application in the background to maximize the battery life and you can barely control this, another aspect where the device lags behind was moving to and fro from some really big and memory-centric applications.
Gaming went really well on the display and that isn’t bad but the MediaTek Helio P90 chipset isn’t a mediocre as the P90 packs an octa-core CPU with two large Cortex-A75 cores ticking at 2.2GHz and six smaller, energy-efficient Corext-A55 cores working at 2.0GHz which is great. The SoC was launched at the end of 2018 and is based on the 12nm manufacturing process from TSMC. There is a (3-core) PowerVR GM 9446 GPU for taking care of graphically intensive tasks.
The Good about Ulefone Armor 7
- The toughest phone we’ve met, handsome at that
- Large enough screen with excellent contrast
- Top-notch battery life
- Good enough performance
- Pleasant photos and videos, once you get the handle of the camera
- Clutter-free and ad-free Android OS
The Not so Good about Ulefone Armor 7
- Compromised experience because of the fingerprint reader position
- The camera always defaults to the upscaled version of the photos it should be saving
- Dedicated night camera is quite poor
- The USB-C hole is a bit deeper and renders most of the USB-C cable useless
- No 3.5mm jack
Ulefone Armor 7 Price & Availability
The device is currently on AliExpress and sells for as low as $500 on AliExpress which is quite good. The device was released back in 2019, October and has been available worldwide ever since then.
Ulefone Armor 7
Great device that come packed with powerful battery and strong hardware
- Powerful Battery
- Water and Dust proof
- Great cameras
- Really efficient
- Not so great display
- Little quirks here and there