DooGee S89 Pro Review: ‘Batman-inspired’ Rugged Phone?

One word accurately describes this phone: THICC! The DooGee S89 Pro tries to be more than your usual rugged phone because it is certainly packing a ton of features that may be useful or uncalled for. Although, I admit that one feature of this phone really surprised the geek out of me.

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It’s not the waterproofing, it’s not the design or battery, certainly not the gimmicky Batman-inspired RGB lighting that I’m surprised about. This phone got something else that you don’t usually see in other smartphones. Now, let’s have a runthrough of the DooGee S89 Pro, shall we?

Design and Construction

The DooGee S89 Pro looks MENACING with its sturdy, ‘chunky’ build. It spans almost two centimeters in depth and weighs about 400 grams.

It is a considerably tall device with robust protection on all sides. With rubberized edges, not to mention a hard plastic case adding more layers of protection. (If this ever falls onto your face, I don’t know which one’s gonna break. Use with caution, I guess?)

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It is IP68 rated, so you can take it for a dive under 1.5 meters but for only 30 minutes. It should also withstand certain extreme environmental conditions since it is military-grade (MIL-STD-810H) and IP69K certified.

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At the top, we have here a 3.5mm audio jack.

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At the bottom, we have the USB-C port and a microphone.

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While on the left side is the dual SIM tray with a dedicated microSD slot which you can pull open with just your fingernails, and beside it is the customizable function key.

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Turning to the right, we have the volume rocker and the power key that doubles as a fingerprint sensor.

Flipping onto its back panel, we see an interesting, dark knight-inspired design as DooGee says but the eyes kinda derived from something else. That’s not Batman, is it?

The entire back shell is covered in rubber material with metal frame accents on the sides.

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The triple camera array is placed above the ‘Batman’ eyes that display RGB lighting, and just below it houses the four infrared (IR) lights for night vision.

Below the IR lights are line patterns that extend across to the DooGee moniker and the single-firing speakers at the bottom. The two large holes from the far bottom are for lanyards it seems. And the other two smaller holes above it, only one of them is a loudspeaker.

The loudspeakers sound raucous or too harsh at max volume, but it will be enough to fill up a small room.

Display and Multimedia

To be frank, the water drop notch is hideous and kinda outdated these days. My thought is: the selfie camera could’ve been separate from the 6.3-inch LCD panel since it has relatively thick borders on the sides and chin.

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But anyway, it is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass and has FHD+ resolution so you can definitely enjoy watching media content with this one.

The caveat is its L3 Widevine so expect your Netflix and other DRM-related content is capped at 720p resolution. On YouTube though, there’s not much of a hassle when switching to higher resolutions like 1080p.

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In general, the display is okay and could’ve been better. Though let us not forget the free screen protector included in the box that follows the notch cutout.

We had prior unboxing of the Doogee S89 Pro so check that out too here.

Cameras

Even a rugged smartphone, the DooGee S89 Pro has an edge to photography as it is equipped with three cameras: a 64MP main camera with AI, and Samsung sensors 8MP macro and 20MP night vision camera.

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Doogee S89 Pro Review Article

The outputs look decent enough, although without the AI-enabled, the produced photos outdoors give off a stronger contrast making it less color accurate.

Indoor photos are decent with good detail, but when shooting subjects with striking lights, the photos give off an unnecessary glow, so you have to tweak a bit of the brightness.

What’s most fascinating about the cameras is the night vision — something that really surprised me. Yes, it can be considered one of the gimmicks, but I’m surprised that it is functional. It is indeed working… in black and white though, with the help of four infrared lights just below the ‘Batman’ eye.

Doogee S89 Pro Screenshots (2)

Night Vision Mode

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Is that useful? Yes. Is that something you’d use daily? No. At least it’s thematic to its design inspiration of being the Batman that can see in the dark, and the feature will be there until you’re faced with a situation needing the precious night vision of your phone.

The irony though is that the night mode (not to confuse with night vision) is not that good with too much noise and barely even bright. We don’t know if that’s intended, but when shooting night mode, the infrared lights do not light up. So, I’m not sure if the night mode can utilize the infrared too, maybe because of the monochromatic capture of the night vision lens? We don’t know for sure.

Video recording is up to 2K resolution with various photo modes. While the 16MP front camera captures decent, overexposed selfies. Below are some sample shots.

The cameras sound promising on paper, but it has its limitations and will be good enough for your social media postings. And props for that night vision ‘cause you literally can see in the dark just like Batman does.

OS and Apps

The DooGee S89 Pro runs on Android 12, but I gotta say, the user interface looks unpolished.

The experience is near stock Android without much bloatware which is good, however, the UI looks rushed and didn’t put much design effort into it.

The three-button navigation bar for example, looks okay from afar but when you try to look closer, it looks low quality on an FHD+ display. I even spotted a wrongly spelled word inside the Camera app with the Night ‘Vison’ mode.

The only bloatware are Easy Launcher which makes the homepage (looks like a ripoff of Windows 8) easier to navigate with large texts and icons; the Game Mode for enhanced gaming, the ToolBag app with some of the digital tools which is helpful in the construction field; the System Manager for optimizations; and lastly the Light Effect to customize the Batman eye lighting.

Inside the Settings page, it has a Function tab where various features can be accessed, such as the Smart Key that lets you customize the function key on the left side. It’s off by default so you have to set up to three quick actions on your own.

It has Google apps pre-installed which is expected. And I have to mention that it has an underwater camera mode that lets you still use the phone submerged in water using the volume keys.

Performance and Benchmarks

This phone is powered by MediaTek Helio P90 so in terms of performance, it’s… adequate. It has 8GB RAM and 256GB storage on board which is expandable up to 512GB.

Performance-wise it is consistently stable with little to no hiccups. Browsing across the apps is quite smooth, but when it comes to gaming, you may want to set your standards low along with the graphics settings of course.

Pokémon Unite is playable although it stutters on team fights even on low settings. I also experienced some overheating issues even when not in-game and just charging it. Anyways, here are the benchmark scores of DooGee S89 Pro:

• AnTuTu v9 – 194,034
• AnTuTu v9 Storage – 21,338 | 519.7 MB/s (Seq. Read), 313.2 MB/s (Seq. Write)
• 3D Mark – (unsupported)
• PC Mark – 6,655 (Work 3.0) | 23 hours 10 minutes
• Geekbench 5 – 226 (Single-Core), 977 (Multi-Core)

Connectivity and Battery Life

Now for one of its most compelling features, THE battery. The phone is literally a power bank with a bit of a phone.

It houses a 12,000mAh of battery (I have my doubt that it is rated at that much of a capacity, but sure DooGee) and comes with a 65W fast charging via USB-C that can reach zero to a hundred in more or less than two hours. It also has 15W wireless charging so that’s a plus.

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Based on our PCMark testing, it lasted 23 hours and 10 minutes with a score of 6,655. With that much of a juice, it will surely last you more than a day of use.

About its connectivity, it is 4G-limited with dual nano SIMs, and has FM radio, USB-OTG, and NFC.

Conclusion

Now for the verdict. The DooGee S89 Pro checks all the boxes of being a rugged smartphone. Though some compromises are here and there.

Casual users like me might find this device unfit literally in our pockets and in our tastes, but its toughness and menacing aesthetics will cater to specific consumers who might be always out for an adventure to the extreme, or for those working in the construction industry and the likes.

Priced at only under Php 16,000, this is definitely for those people who don’t want an expensive yet fragile phone and just want a daily driver that is sustainable and can endure anything you throw at it.

The DooGee S89 Pro sets you back at only Php 16,000 for its 8+256GB combo based on its official listing in Lazada.

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DooGee S89 Pro specs

6.3-inch FHD+ (1080×2340) LCD
Corning Gorilla Glass (unspecified)
MediaTek Helio P90
ARM GM9446 GPU
8GB RAM
256GB storage / UMCP
supports microSD card up to 512GB
Tripler rear cameras:
• 64MP f/1.8 AI main, PDAF
• 20MP f/1.8 Sony IMX350 night vision lens
supports 4 infrared lights
• 8MP f/2.2 wide angle / macro, 130° FoV
16MP f/2.0 front camera
Dual SIM
4G, LTE
2.4G/5G (802.11ac/a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 5.1
3.5mm headphone jack
GPS | Glonass | Galileo | Beidou
USB Type-C
NFC
Tricolour breathing light (back panel)
Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
IP68 / IP69K / MIL-STD-810H
Android 12
12000mAh / 65W fast charging
172 x 86 x 19.4mm
400 g (including battery)
Classic Black / Volcano Orange

JM's highest stat is probably his curious ardor to anything tech—electronics and gaming in particular. He certainly heeds utmost regard to specsheet, visuals, and rule of thirds. While JM may have a keen sense of writing, he randomly spends time experimenting on graphic designs, and calibrating his knowledge even further on photography and editing. If creativity and wit sometimes leave JM's system, watching films, anime and a good stroll for memes are his approved therapeutic claims.

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