There’s a seemingly never ending supply of cheap Android smartphones coming out of China at the moment, some of them great, others not so impressive. We thought we’d take a look at a generic offering to see whether the overall quality of these phones has improved over the past couple of years. And the answer is…a qualified yes.
The Doogee Turbo 2014 is a new brand on the market offering a general purpose Android powered smartphone with decent enough specifications. The phone sports a quad core, 1.3GHz processor, with 1 GB RAM, twin SIMs, GPS, Bluetooth and an 8 megapixel camera. It also offers a 1750 mAh battery, FM radio and a 5 inch 1280×720 touchscreen, plus 8 GB of internal storage and support for up to 32GB of microSD storage.
The phone comes in a nice pack, with the typical accessories you’d expect to find, including a charger block, headset, and very limited user manual. When we say limited, it really only covers the very basics, so for example there’s no mention of one of the features of the phone, which is the sensor activation feature.
The handset itself is surprisingly well made, with a nice metal surround, and a solid feel in the hand. One of the things you’ll see on the video below that amused us most is the lavish boot up tune, which is more like the start of a Barry White song than a sign on, and we have to say it makes the phone more than a little endearing. The other nice feature is the screen, which is crisp and clear, and more than a match for equivalent phones in this price bracket. Nice to the touch too.
Inside the phone there’s a typical Shenzhen layout, with dual SIM slots (one micro SIM and one full sized) the microSD slot and the familiar rectangular 1750mAh battery. No surprises. The designers have however, clearly had to make some compromises over the slimness of the phone, as the camera module does stick out more than we’re used to. More on the camera in a moment.
The phone comes with a complete complement of apps, and access to the Google Play store, and since it’s running Android 4.2. it’s up to date in terms of things like Maps and other Google accessories. We’re also impressed with the amount of effort that’s gone into the user interface, things like the icons are nice, and while they’re probably bought off the shelf, it’s still a nice touch.
Unfortunately there are a couple of glitches we found in the use of the phone day to day. First, the power meter sometimes mis-reports the charge level when you’re doing a recharge from a very low level. This can be a problem if you don’t make sure to charge it up properly. We also found that the sensor feature (where you wave your hand to get things to happen, as in the Samsung handsets) doesn’t work very reliably, but that’s hardly surprising since the Samsung version also isn’t that accurate.
However the one larger disappointment, and we’re not sure whether it’s just our review model, is the fact that the camera is really not that good at all. As you can see from the samples below, the depth of field is pretty poor, and the resolution, even though it’s 8 megapixels, comes out looking smudged and out of focus. Shame, and something that really needs a firmware fix as soon as possible.
There’s no question that judging by the Doogee, the overall generic quality of Shenzhen smartphones has improved considerably over the past couple of years. When we started reviewing them, they were typically poorly made, with shoddy fittings, and inadequate performance where it counted. This Doogee is a whole cut above this previous generation.
It’s well put together, has a very appealing interface and a full feature set. It’s unfortunate that the camera we tested had problems, because cameras are a vitally important part of today’s smartphone, and if the unknown brands are going to compete they will have to improve the results to match the major names in the market. Companies like THL clearly understand this, which is why their products take care in this area.
Price: $153.37 / £90.91
OS Version: 4.2
CPU: MT6582 Quad Core
Processor Speed (max): 1.3GHz
GPU: Mali-400 MP2 @ 500 MHz
3G: WCDMA: 850/2100MHz
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot (3G Tethering)
2 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera (5MP Interpolation) + 8 Megapixel Rear Camera (13MP Interpolation)
Video Resolution: 640×480 Front / 1280×720 Back
Mic and Speaker
Battery Size: 1750mAh
Usage Time: 4 to 5 Hours
Display Size: 5 Inch
Display Resolution: 1280×720
5 Point Capacitive Multi Touch Display
Micro SD Card up to 32GB
3.5mm Audio Out Port
2 (WCDM/GSM) SIM Card Slot – 1x Normal SIM, 1x Micro SIM
Micro SD Card Slot
Magnetic Field Sensor
Main Product Dimensions: 143x71x8mm (L x W x D)
Main Product Weight: 142g