Doogee says its new S97 Pro flagship phone is the first to offer a rugged exterior with a built-in professional laser rangefinder. The chunky handset is chock-full of hardware, most of which is the battery, to be precise, and is otherwise made up of mid-range components such as the (non-5G) MediaTek Helio G95 chipset and a mediocre 720p display. However, it does have a tempting $329 price tag that goes into effect once the phone’s week-long promotional run ends.
Chinese phone maker Doogee is no stranger to producing big batteries that also happen to have a display and other phone hardware attached to them. The N100, for instance, launched in 2019 with a massive 10,000mAh unit. That capacity has slightly shrunk in the company’s latest S97 Pro, but coming in at 8,500mAh, it’s still roughly twice what’s available on most mainstream phones.
The S97 Pro also has another trick up its sleeve: an on-board laser rangefinder for quickly taking indoor/outdoor measurements. Located at the top, this infrared laser can be used to detect distances of up to 40m (131ft) and supports four measurement modes. These include calculating single/continuous lengths, area, volume and a ‘Pythagoras’ option for triangular measurements.
S97 Pro’s colored sides are reminiscent of the Nokia XpressMusic series
The phone also appears to be built like a tank. Its IP68 and IP69K ratings are meant to protect against dust, water, extreme temperatures and high-pressure sprays. The internals, however, aren’t as impressive as the exterior, but fairly decent in their own right. Powered by MediaTek’s 8-core Helio G95, the phone features an 8GB/128GB memory configuration and supports microSD expansion of up to 256GB.
The 6.39-inch 720p LCD is nothing special, as it lacks the sharpness, picture quality and high refresh rates found in most 2021 phones. The quad-camera setup appears to be solid, though, as do other features like the 16MP front camera, side-mounted fingerprint sensor, NFC, USB-C connectivity and 33W wired/10W wireless charging.
Doogee’s S97 Pro runs Android 11 out of the box and comes with several built-in ‘toolbox’ apps for making use of its various sensors and hardware. It’s launched this week on Chinese retailer AliExpress, with a choice of three color options: Orange Tiger, Red Lava and Silver Black.