Have you noticed that cellphone design doesn’t change all that much?
I’m betting I could show you the front screens of an Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel and you couldn’t tell them apart from 6 feet.
They’re all pretty much just black glass rectangles with rounded corners and no buttons on the front.
They all seem to have largely the same features as well.
Occasionally, a cellphone manufacturer will shake things up. The phone I’ve been testing, the Doogee S59 Pro, doesn’t look like any other phone I’ve reviewed.
The S59 Pro is thick and heavy, but it’s designed that way on purpose.
The S59 is a ruggedized phone. It looks like it’s wearing a strong Otterbox case, but the rugged covering on the S59 Pro is not removable.
You really would have a hard time damaging this phone without taking a hammer to it.
The S59 is IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810G certified. IP68 means it’s dustproof and waterproof (it can be dunked deeper than 6 feet). IP69K means it’s protected from total dust ingress and from steam-jet cleaning. The MIL-STD-810G spec is a U.S. military standard that certifies military equipment as field-ready with a system of tests that simulate a variety of environmental conditions.
Doogee tests the S59 Pro for rain, sand and dust, vibration, shock, acceleration, high temperature, low temperature, humidity, altitude and immersion. It has an operating range of -67°F to 158°F.
Doogee isn’t exactly hiding these features either — the phone has the words SHOCKPROOF and WATERPROOF etched into the sides of its body.
The openings for USB and headphone jacks are covered with a rubber plug.
This is a big, thick and heavy phone that looks like it is ready to take whatever punishment you can dish out.
The S59 Pro has the biggest battery I’ve ever tested on a phone — a whopping 10,050 milliamp hours. For comparison, my iPhone XS Max has a battery capacity of 3,274 mAh.
The S59 Pro has enough juice for 47 hours of voice calls or 50 hours of music playback.
I had enough power to go two full days and into the third day before I had to recharge.
Charging took just three hours, which is really fast for a battery of this size.
Unfortunately, the S59 Pro does not have wireless charging. But it can act as an external battery to charge your other devices through the USB port.
Design and specs
The S59 Pro is really big. It is the only phone I’ve found that makes my iPhone XS Max feel small.
The S59 Pro is heavy at 12 oz. versus my XS Max’s weight of 7.34 oz.
The phone is thick at 0.62″ which is twice as thick as my XS Max.
The screen is a 5.7″ IPS (in-plane switching) display with a resolution of 720 x 1,520 pixels.
The screen does not reach edge to edge, and it is not OLED, but it is good enough and responsive enough.
The phone has four gigabytes of RAM and 128 GB of storage. There is a microSD card slot to expand the storage. There are two SIM card slots so you can have more than one number on the phone.
The CPU is a MediaTek Helio P22 system on a chip with eight cores.
It runs Android 10.
Networking options include Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5 and the charge/sync is via a USB-C 2.0 port.
You should note the USB-C port access is a little tight. I tried to plug my Apple USB-C cable into the S59 Pro and the plastic around the Apple cable was too thick to fit into the opening for the S59′s USB-C port.
The phone unlocking options include face and fingerprint unlocking. The fingerprint reader is on the right side of the case.
It has a 2-watt speaker, and while it is plenty loud, music playback isn’t winning any awards for sound quality. But you will hear your callers in noisy environments.
The phone will work on GSM or CDMA networks, and it does not have 5G.
There is a customizable shortcut button on the left side, which can be set to launch any program or even to make an emergency call.
The phone also has NFC so you can use Google Pay.
The S50 Pro has four cameras on the back.
The main camera has a Samsung 16-megapixel sensor and an f/2.0 lens.
There is also an 8MP ultra-wide camera and an 8MP macro camera along with a 2MP portrait camera. The main camera array has a four LED flash system.
Up front, the selfie camera has a 16MP Samsung sensor.
The cameras are pretty good, considering the low price of the phone.
I think if I worked on a construction site, or in the oil fields, this phone would be on my list to explore. This is a big, hulking phone, but the buttons are easy to press, even with gloves. The screen also works with gloves up to 1.5 mm thick and the touchscreen works when it’s wet.
Pricing and availability
The Doogee S59 Pro is available in gray with your choice of three accent colors (gray, green or orange) and it lists for $229.99, although Amazon had it for less.
The S59 Pro is big, heavy and pretty cheap.
I tossed this phone around my office dozens of times on carpet and tile floors and it survived it all without a scratch.
This is a phone for tough conditions and big hands.
The phone works as you would expect. The screen feels a bit small, but it is very protected. Doogee ships the phone with a glass screen protector installed and an extra screen protector in the box. The screen itself is Corning Gorilla Glass, so it is pretty strong on its own.
For the money, this phone has unbelievable battery life and can take a beating. The rest of the features are middle of the pack, which is to say not disappointing at all.
Pros: Huge battery, rugged design. Inexpensive.
Cons: No wireless charging or 5G.
Bottom Line: Get this one if you beat up your phones. It can take the punishment.