Doogee Mix Review: Mixed Bag

by John Nieves  August 9, 2017

We review the Doogee Mix!

One of the biggest trends in smartphones today is the dramatic reduction of bezel sizes in flagship devices. Samsung, LG and their ilk are in race to reduce bezel sizes and increase the amount of usable space that you’re able to enjoy on phones, but the technology behind those all-screen phones will take quite a bit of time to reach phones the average Joe can realistically afford.

Enter Doogee, a relatively new player in the Philippines, and their Mix smartphone. They might have taken a lot of inspiration from Xiaomi’s flagship bezel-less device, but folks who want a “bezel-less” phone won’t mind the design liberties (and compromises) that they’ve taken with their flagship phone.

Doogee Mix

  • MediaTek Helio P25 octa-core processor
  • ARM Mali-T880 MP2 graphics unit
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch HD AMOLED display, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 64GB of expandable storage, up to 128GB via microSD
  • 16-megapixel primary rear camera + 8-megapixel secondary rear camera, with PDAF
  • 5-megapixel front camera, wide angle
  • Dual SIM, with 4G LTE, LTE-A
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 3380mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat

Not even pretending to hide the roots of their phone’s looks

Yes, Doogee unashamedly copied the design of their smartphone from Xiaomi. Heck, they didn’t even bother to change the name of their phone when they started selling it, which takes an incredible amount of guts and chutzpah. In any case, the design is solid but since Doogee’s interpretation is a budget phone, there’s a few design compromises.

The phone isn’t bezel-less as Doogee advertises it, nor does the bezel size approach the one on Xiaomi’s offering. It’s just as well – completely replicating the original’s incredibly thin bezels would have jacked up the price on the phone, and the design compromise was for the best.

While the phone has bezels that are comparable to higher-end smartphones like Motorola’s Moto Z2 Play, the top bezel has been reduced dramatically. There’s still an earpiece at the top so you can still take and receive phone calls the old fashioned way and not through bone-conducting magic that’s used on Xiaomi’s flagship.

Overall the phone feels hefty and well-put together, though we wouldn’t recommend taking off the protective film on the back and front of the phone. Phones like the Doogee Mix don’t come with tough Gorilla Glass, so keep that film on if you want your phone to stay pristine as the day you bought it. Thankfully the Doogee Mix comes with its own soft case to protect the rear of the device.

Speaking of the rear, the Doogee Mix has a dual-camera setup tucked in the upper left portion. The rear camera is a 16-megapixel deal paired with a 8-megapixel secondary cam that shoots in 2X digital zoom. Because of the thin bezels on the top of the phone, the 5-megapixel front camera is positioned at the bottom of the display.

The 3.5mm jack is on the top of the phone, while the USB port and speaker grilles are on the bottom. The right side of the device holds the volume rocker and power button. There’s a fingerprint reader located in the bottom center of the phone as well.

The 5.5-inch display is unfortunately only HD, which means you’ll have to contend with a little bit of pixelation when you’re using the Mix. Color reproduction isn’t great, and the AMOLED display looks like it wasn’t calibrated properly from the factory. The oversaturation problem that’s inherent on most AMOLED panels is present (and then some) on the Doogee Mix. It might not be a deal breaker for some, but it’s very apparent when you’re using the phone. The display also isn’t bright enough to see under direct sunlight, so be aware if you plan to buy this phone.

6GB of RAM for cheap

The Doogee Mix is one of the few phones that offer 6GB of RAM under 13K as of the moment. That much RAM is usually reserved for high-end flagship devices, yet Doogee has found a way to stuff that much RAM into their phone while keeping the price low. The result is that you won’t have to keep closing apps as you use them, useful for multi-tasking.

Doogee includes a MediaTek Helio P25 with the generous 6GB of RAM inside of it, which gives the phone some mid-range oomph. Most games (with the exception of graphically complex ones) will run on high without any issues. Navigating through the phone’s OS was fast and zippy, and we never had issues with multi-tasking at all.

The phone runs Android Nougat, topped off with Doogee’s own UI dubbed DoogeeOS. Running a custom skin on Android and calling it their own is standard practice for most Chinese manufacturers and is something you should be ready for when you decide to buy from them.

As far as the custom OS goes, it’s alright – there’s an app drawer that arranges your apps alphabetically, and even a floating dock that lets you access quick actions ala Xiaomi’s Mi Mix.

Call quality is good, and we had no issues at all taking and receiving calls. The fingerprint scanner isn’t as sensitive as we would have liked, and as a result there were times that we had to repeat the scanning process for the phone to register our fingers. LTE radio performance is good considering the phone rocks a MediaTek chipset.

Dual-camera is just for looks

The Doogee Mix is one of the increasing number of budget smartphones rocking dual rear cameras. A 16-megapixel primary shooter with an 8-megapixel secondary camera graces the rear of the phone. The primary camera shoots normal photos, while the secondary camera takes 2x digital zoom photos and serves as the depth sensor for bokeh shots.

Regular camera
Secondary camera with 2x digital zoom

Does the dual cameras deliver? Not really. Photos taken outdoors are generally okay for social media sharing, but the less light there is, the crappier photos get. The dragon photo was taken indoors in HK and is a muddled mess, with poor definition. Color reproduction is hit and miss as well, and the bokeh effect isn’t that impressive especially when you compare it to more expensive phones.

On the bright side, the selfie capabilities of the Mix is more than enough for most people.

Long legs means less time spent charging

The Doogee Mix has a 3380mAh battery inside of its supposedly bezel-less design. That, combined with the power-efficient AMOLED panel (that’s only HD) and the MediaTek P25 processor meant we were getting at least two days of moderate use in a single charge. That’s good news for people who don’t like charging every day. It scored around 9 hours in our PCMark battery benchmark test. 

Verdict: A mixed bag

There’s a lot to like about the Doogee Mix: it’s the only phone that has 6GB of RAM in its price range, has thinner bezels and better screen to body ratio than its contemporaries and has excellent battery endurance. There’s a lot of things to hate as well: that oversaturated display is tiring to look at, dismal camera performance when there’s not enough light and the underperfoming bokeh feature are annoyances that you’ll have to deal with if you decide to spring for the Php 12,995 for one.

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    I think the price is around 11k (more than the 10k when it was first announced, that become the price of the slightly lower spec 4GB one), with price varying from time to time at Lazada, it’s currently 10,395.

    Had high hopes for this phone but eventually passed on it.

    Plus the horror stories over the internet re: Doogee after sales support and Customer Service, hyep – moving on….