A strange noise from a gnarled, cracked and paint-spattered object pierced the air from the dark corner of the room.
No this is not the suspenseful beginning to a horror novel, but the unique ringtone of a phone belonging to a tradesman who was doing some work in our home recently.
I've often thought that today's slimline, elegant but delicate mobiles are somewhat incongruous when in the hands of an oil-covered mechanic, or a caulk gun-wielding decorator, and considered their precarious nature when in the pocket of a roofer, should it slip out.
So if indeed you are a tradesman or in a profession where something far more robust and utilitarian is needed, then the Doogee S90 Pro could be right up your street.
The S90 Pro has been specifically targeted at tradesmen by the relatively new Chinese communications company Doogee, who have signalled their intentions by including some handy apps in its 'Toolbag' folder, including a compass, sound meter, gradienter, height measure, magnifier, protractor and plumb bomb.
And so it's probably not best suited to a lady's handbag or in the back pocket of some Levi’s, given its chunky and hefty dimensions. At 300g it dwarves my 178g Motorola, the extra weight more than noticeable in my trouser pocket.
But if you're the kind who would appreciate a device you could drop, submerge, run over by a car even (see the video!), then this could be ideal. If the S90 Pro were a car it would be a Hummer, or a small Sherman Tank even.
My test phone did not include the optional extras that would make even Bear Grylls swoon, but this rugged modular smartphone can mix, match and swap its parts by sliding into place dependent on the conditions users find themselves in – making it perfect for the adventurous type.
Optional modules include a night vision camera, a digital walkie-talkie with 400-480MHz range, and a gamepad with joystick. Doogee also plans to produce a speaker, 5G, projector and printer module.
My test sample did however include the additional 5,000mAh battery which attaches to the back of the phone magnetically, connects to the contact pins and increases the battery capacity to 10,050mAh. Note that this increases the weight and thickness even more, but this is probably of little consequence to likely users, given the incredible extra battery life it provides.
So we know by now it's chunkier than a Kitkat, but what can it do? Here comes the tech.
The S90 Pro offers the new Android 9.0 Pie which means that the phone uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to learn its owner’s preferences, making the handset smarter as it’s used over time.
It is powered by a multi-core AI processing unit and NeuroPilot AI technology that also has facial recognition and fingerprint unlocking options. Regarding the facial recognition, I checked this out but as I received a message saying that this method is not as secure as fingerprint or pattern unlocks, I decided against.
I understand facial recognition technology is still in its infancy and so this has nothing to do with the S90 Pro’s capabilities. Some users might still like to give it a go and it’s a handy (or facey even!) addition.
The MediaTek Helio processor has been updated from the P60 to the P70 issue to deliver a smoother and more powerful experience for multitaskers and gamers alike.
The Helio P70 boasts an enhanced Artificial Intelligence Processing Unit (APU) that enables peak performance, a long battery life, beautiful imaging and a fluid gaming experience.
The S90 Pro still offers some of the one-of-a-kind features found in the previous edition, making it one of the best rugged phones on the market. It is waterproof, dustproof and shockproof with IP68 protection and is fully functional when submerged in water up to 1.5m (5 feet) for two weeks. The screen is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
Thanks to its combination of metal and polycarbonate, the S90 Pro can survive extreme temperatures, drops, transport shocks, humidity, mould, salt spray corrosion, explosive gas, vibration and much more.
It comes with a generous 6GB of RAM and considerable 128GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot, allowing up to up to 256GB extra memory. This, together with the MaliG72 MP3 video adaptor, ensures the S90 Pro functions smoothly during resource-intensive gaming or graphic applications
The screen has an aspect ratio of 18:9 and 6.18’’ full HD+ display resolution of 2160x1080 pixels to produce a bright and contrasting picture. It also houses 16+8MP dual rear AI cameras, acting as a smart photographer, as it intelligently learns from facial recognition and scene identification in order to adjust light and tone. The device offers a multi-frame function, noise reduction, depth of field recognition and various filters to ensure the best photo possible is taken.
The 8MP SONY front camera with f/2.0 big aperture and 90°super wide-angle means every selfie captured is soft and flattering and AI-driven beauty function highlights the contours of the face to deliver the most attractive portrait.
The 5050mAh Polymer battery has a power saving system and has 675 hours standby time with the support of 10W wireless charging. The large battery capacity and rapid charging speed ensures you are never out of power for long.
My only niggle with the S90 Pro was the fingerprint sensor which, as is now becoming the norm, is located on the back of the device. I found I had to have a few goes before my fingerprint was detected, unlike my current phone which always works first time.
However this is a well constructed and competent device from a company that is confidently taking on the big boys but at a fraction of the price.
The S90 Pro (phone only) is available from the Doogee Shop at www.doogeemall.com for $299.99 (approx £240 , the S90 Pro with the Power Module is $359.99 (approx £290) and the S90 Pro with all modules is $459.99 (approx £370).
Brand – Doogee
Model – S90 Pro
Device Type – Android 4G Smartphone
Color – Black, Orange
CPU – Octa-Core 4x 2.1 GHz ARM Cortex-A73 4x 1.95 GHz ARM Cortex-A53
Chipset – MediaTek Helio P70, 64-bit Processor
GPU – ARM Mali-G72 MP3, 3 Cores, 900 MHz
Camera – 16MP+48MP with Dual-LED and AF Dual Rear Camera | 8MP Front Camera
Memory – RAM- 6GB LPDDR4X, 1800MHz | ROM 128GB External Memory Supports Up to 256GB (Uses SIM 2 Slot)
Display – Screen size 6.18 inches IPS FHD+ Display (1080 x 2246 Pixels)
Battery – Non-Removable 5,080 mAh Lithium-Polymer
SIM – Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM + Nano-SIM/microSD), Dual Standby
Sensors – Proximity, Light, Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Barometer, Fingerprint, Step detector, Step counter
What's in the box?
1 x Cellphone
1 x Charger (12V/2A)B111
1 x USB Type-C Cable