Ulefone is the last of the big three rugged smartphone vendors to unveil a flagship smartphone based on Mediatek’s P90 chipset and a 48-megapixel rear camera. Blackview and Doogee have already unveiled their BV9900 and S95 Pro flagship models and with MWC 2020 just weeks away, an event that promises even more surprises and reveals especially as Mediatek announced a new 5G chipset.
No real surprise here; the Armor 7 sticks to the tried and trusted, classic 4+4 rugged smartphone template. Four long sides, four rubber vertices for added protection. Not much evolution from a design perspective. The most notable change happens at the back where there’s a very smooth plastic plate rather than the usual rubber cover.
A front facing camera sits bang in the middle of the top bezel in a water drop setup. There’s no permanent capacitive system buttons which may divide opinions and no status lights except for the battery status.
The rear houses a speaker grill, three camera sensors and five LED flashlights plus a heart rate sensor; the cameras are protruded which means that they will take most of the shock if this phone hits the ground flat.
Note the notch at the very bottom of the device which is used to attach the bundled lanyard. Not sure why and how that is a useful addition as it makes the device a couple of millimeters thicker.
The Armor 7 is one of a handful of rugged smartphones on the market that use a Mediatek P90 chipset. This Helio part was unveiled back in 2018 and sports six slower cores and two faster cores, paired with a PowerVR GM 9446 GPU.
It offers Cat-13 150 Mbps upload and Cat-12 600 Mbps download, Dual 4G SIM with Dual VoLTE standby mode plus Bluetooth 5.0, 802.11ac wireless connectivity and an NPU. Ulefone added 8GB of DDR memory with 128GB onboard storage. A microSD card slot is available but you will need to sacrifice a SIM card to use it.
When it comes to the camera subsystem, the Armor 7 uses three Samsung rear cameras; a 48-megapixel one, a 16-megapixel night photography one and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with a 10X zoom; It can also capture 4K videos.
In the box, you four leaflets, a tempered glass to protect the screen on the Armor 7, a Type-C to 3.5mm audio converter, a 15W (5V3A) power adaptor, a Type-C to Type-A adaptor, a Type-C to microUSB adaptor and a Type-A to Type-C cable and a short strap.
The display was already covered by a screen protector when we picked it out of the box and we were surprised at how easy it was to scratch; you can of course remove it but decided to keep it in place especially as it was oleophobic.
There’s a kids mode that allows the user to fine tune access and usage time. It is, in a nutshell, a heavily restricted virtual desktop. The heart rate monitor and the ubiquitous outdoor toolbox kit are the two other apps that are worthy of a mention. The latter includes a pedometer and a pressure sensor amongst other things.
Since this is a Mediatek-powered smartphone, you also get DuraSpeed which reduces resources for apps running in the background – and Smartlock which keeps your device unlocked when it is safe with you by recognising physical signals.