Doogee Mix Edge-to-Edge Screen Smartphone review and key features and specifications
We've always tried to maintain an impartial perspective and shy away from bias in our work. Whether that shines through or not is really up to you, our readers to decide. However, we will admit right off the bat that Doogee hasn't really received any significant attention from us in the past. While there are perfectly good reasons for that as well, we still feel compelled to give the Doogee Mix the benefit of the doubt.
It's the first time we have a Doogee device for review. Normally, Doogee devices stay out of the scope of our review efforts but with a price under $200, the Doogee Mix looked too promising to pass on. This low price-tag gets you a (mostly) bezel-less design, an AMOLED screen, 4K video recording, a dual camera setup all in a pocketable form factor. Once you go through the specs list, you'd immediately understand how we got to this review.
Doogee Mix key features:
- Body: Metal frame and glass back
- Screen: 5.5" Super AMOLED display of 720p resolution; 294ppi; Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
- Chipset: 16nm, Octa-core MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757CH) (4x 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 + 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53); Mali-T880MP2 GPU
- Memory: 4GB/6GB of RAM; 64/128GB storage, dedicated microSD slot for expansion
- Camera: Dual 16MP f/2.0 and 8MP f/2.0 main camera, LED flash, PDAF; 1080p video capture at 30fps; 5MP f/2.2 front-facing camera; 720p at 30fps video recording
- Video: 1080p at 30fps
- Connectivity: Dual nano SIM; LTE (Cat. 6); VoLTE Support; dual-band Wi-Fi a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.1; FM Radio; microUSB; 3.5mm jack
- Battery: 3,380mAh
- Misc: Fingerprint reader; Magnetometer/Compass & Gyroscope sensors
- No notification LED
- No NFC
- microUSB port is getting outdated
- No quick charging
Doogee is less than subtle when it comes to the obvious Xiaomi Mi Mix design "inspiration". But it has merits of its own. It's more pocketable, it has a Samsung-made AMOLED panel and it's got a proper earpiece unlike Xiaomi's device.
The Samsung parts list doesn't stop there either. For some extra 2017 flare, Doogee also opted for a trendy dual camera setup. One powered by Samsung ISOCELL technology. And just when we thought that looks suspiciously like skillful "item checking" off of this year's "hot" list, the Doogee Mix throws a quite sensible 16nm Helio P25 chipset our way, an equally reasonable 4GB, plus 64GB memory setup in its base variant and a respectable 3,380mAh battery pack.
The 720p screen resolution also sounds perfectly fitting and reasonable, as far as cost saving measures go. All things considered, the Doogie Mix specs sheet is mostly believable at this price point, albeit just a bit "clickbaity".
So, it all comes down to execution and whether Doogee has managed to craft the right Mix (cheesy, but we're rolling with it) to go with its undeniably right price. That being said, we invite you to keep an open mind as well and join us for our Doogee Mix review on the next page as we start to methodically dissect one potential caveat at a time.
If there is one area the Doogee Mix clearly shoots above its price range, it has to be design. Sure, we could sit here all day and ridicule the Chinese manufacturer for its obvious Xiaomi Mi Mix aspirations. Or, make fun of the rather corny "Mini + Max = Mix" PR justification for the Mix branding. As in: "Minimum Size, Maximum Screen";
That's the things, though, Doogee clearly drew some inspiration for the trendy bezeless design, but then gave it a rather ambitious spin of its own. The sub-$200 Mix was meant to bring the fresh new look to the masses at a much more affordable price point than Xiaomi's bigger phone. Again, there is plenty of room for nitpicking with technicalities, concerning bezels and the definition of "bezel-less", but overall, the desired design effect is undoubtedly present and actually pretty impressive.
As far as specifics go, the 5.5-inch panel of the Doogee Mix is indeed a few mm shy of touching the edges. On the sides, there are about 2mm of colored bezel, with a slight 2.5D effect on the glass, followed by another two or so of black internal bezels around the panel itself. Because of the Super AMOLED panel, these are hardly visible when displaying darker images and don't really look off-putting at all.
Perhaps some of the visual appeal can be attributed to the equally thin top bezel. Despite its limited size, Doogee actually managed to fit a proper earpiece in it - frankly a big step up from the technologically advanced but not very efficient vibration solution on the Xiaomi Mi Mix. Not only that, but there was even room for a light, proximity and gesture sensor above the display.
This snug fit actually makes the DOGEE Mix one of the most compact 5.5-inchers out there, with a body comparable to that of a 5-inch device (144mm tall, 76.2mm wide and 7.95). Just like on its Xiaomi sibling, though, this means a lot of hardware needs to be relocated under the display, hence the thicker bottom bezel. Unlike the Mi Mix, however, the Doogee does feature a single capacitive touch control (not an actual button, though) to accompany its on-screen controls.
The manufacturer refers to it as a DTouch module and pressing it acts like a back button. It also houses a fingerprint reader, which is perfectly satisfactory in both speed and accuracy, especially when you remember you're getting it as part of a $200 phone.
The selfie camera is also on the bottom bezel, near the bottom right corner. This is actually a pretty conventional location once you get used to the fact that you simply need to hold the phone upside down to use it properly.
To finish off the front, we have a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 on top for protection - another impressive extra at this price point. We are missing a notification LED though and the ever so slightly slanted edges mean it's not possible to put a glass screen protectors on this one.
Doogee actually ships the Mix with a soft screen protector pre-applied on both the front and back. You even get an extra one in the box. However, these are low quality and entirely too small. Speaking of the package, it is impressively sturdy and premium on the outside and full of accessories inside. Besides the already mentioned protector, you get a plastic hard case and in some cases, even a Doogee-branded ring-style phone holder. We received a USB thumb drive in our package instead, but since it was filled with review guides and promo clips, you can probably expect to get the ring.
While on the topic of package, we will note that a wall charger is included and so is a micro USB cable. The brick is a fairly plain 5V/2A one, since the Doogee Mix doesn't really support any form of fast charging beyond that.
Back to the hardware tour, the back of the phone is really clean and looks quite premium, thanks to the large piece of Gorilla Glass 5 glass covering it. You would have to use jeweler's gloves if you ever want to see it smudge-free though. We can only hope Doogee used the same material to cover the two cameras as well, since the assembly sticks out a bit and could potentially be susceptible to scratching.
The bezels are actually metal and benefit from something Doogee calls "A micron scale Vacuum ion plating technology ... to bring colorful and high-intensive body". We have to agree with the colorful claim, since the Aurora Blue color we got for review really stands out. We are sure the Coral Blue and Dazzle Black options are just as smashing.
We have to say Doogee has done a pretty impressive job of hiding the four plastic antenna inserts along the top and bottom edges, at least as far as color is concerned. The build quality is actually pretty impressive.
Just two final notes, before we move on: only one of the grills at the bottom of the Doogee Mix houses a speaker, the other one is for the microphone. Also, at 193 grams, the Mix is definitely on the heavy side. It comes off as particularly heavy, relative to its size.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Pink noise/ Music, dB||Ringing phone, dB||Overall score|
|Xiaomi Mi 4||62.0||62.1||66.6||Below Average|
|Sony Xperia XA||61.6||66.2||68.3||Below Average|
|Xiaomi Redmi 4a||62.8||67.5||72.1||Average|
|Sony Xperia XA1||61.7||69.7||71.8||Average|
|Lenovo K6 Note||63.2||69.5||71.0||Average|
|Xiaomi Redmi 4||64.8||70.1||72.0||Average|
|Moto G4 Plus||64.0||70.4||73.0||Average|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 4||64.2||67.2||76.9||Good|
|Huawei Honor 5c||66.5||71.1||74.4||Good|
|Lenovo K6 Note (Dolby Atmos Music preset)||63.7||69.0||79.4||Good|
|Xiaomi Mi 4c||73.2||66.6||77.5||Good|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)||67.3||70.3||81.5||Very Good|
|Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017)||68.0||70.2||82.3||Very Good|
|Huawei P9 lite||66.0||71.5||83.2||Very Good|
|Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra||68.3||71.6||81.0||Very Good|
|Meizu M5 Note||65.1||70.7||86.8||Very Good|
The Doogee Mix sports a respectable 3,380 mAh battery. This is not huge by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn't really charge quickly either, since it can only take [email protected] Even so, you can expect a full charging to take around two hours, which is not that bad.
What is bad, however, is the poor use the Doogee Mix makes of its power. In theory, the 16nm Helio P20 chip, coupled with an efficient and low-res Super AMOLED display should spell out stellar endurance. In practice, however, that is not the case. And judging by the terribly low web browsing endurance, we feel pretty confident in blaming the OS and its poor optimization.
Mind you, we conducted the test a couple of extra times with Chrome and with the default Doogee browser in hopes of getting better scores. Other than that, however, the Doogee Mix pretty much hit its target in standby and call time, as set by the Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra, which uses a similar Helio P20 chip. The XA1 Ultra, however, has a bigger and less efficient LCD screen than the Mix and a smaller battery. So, there is clearly a lot of room for improvement.
The display situation is a mixed bag. Still, we can't really fault Doogee for cutting some corners for the sake of cost efficiency. Or rather, cutting A corner, namely the 720p resolution. Still, there are some upsides to that decision as well - mainly benefits to battery life and on-screen graphics performance.
Other than that, we've professed our liking of AMOLED technology on many occasions in the past. And as far as vendors go, Samsung arguably leaves most of the competition in the dust with its signature Super AMOLED variety.
With a peak brightness on 385 nits, the Doogee Mix is far from a record breaker, but it still gets bright enough plus those infinitely deep blacks for which AMOLED is so sought after. Taking a wild guess here, we think the panel Doogee bought comes close in specs to that on Samsung's Galaxy J5 (2016) or J5 (2015) model.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Contrast ratio|
|Xiaomi Mi 4||0.73||679||929|
|Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra||0.382||603||1579|
|Sony Xperia XA1||0.512||537||1049|
|Xiaomi Redmi 4||0.576||527||915|
|Sony Xperia XA||0.38||523||1376|
|Lenovo K6 Note||0.383||521||1360|
|Lenovo P2 max auto||0||510||∞|
|Huawei P9 Lite||0.42||497||1192|
|Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode||0.00||484||∞|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)||0.322||484||1503|
|Motorola Moto G4 Plus||0.33||478||1448|
|Meizu M5 Note||0.614||463||754|
|Xiaomi Mi 4c||0.28||452||1609|
Sunlight legibility seems to add more credibility to that hypothesis as well. Again, the Doogee Mix is no chart-topper but it remains perfectly usable outdoors.
Sunlight contrast ratio
If color accuracy is what you are after, then the Doogee Mix is probably not the right choice for you. Despite our best efforts, we only managed to bring the average deltaE down to 10.4 and the average to around 6. Overall, Doogee's color pallet of choice is a bit too cold.
Luckily, you can fix that, since the device offers a color temperature slider. In fact, the Mix is jam packed with fine tuning controls for the display. If you don't mind living or actually happen to prefer the "punchier" signature AMOLED color rendition, you can pretty much tweak absolutely everything else to your liking.
As for those looking for our best bet on a color profile, after multiple colorimeter tests, your best bet seems to be to lower the color temperature by two levels and leave the brightness at about 74%. Coincidentally, that's the setting that got us as close as possible to the 200 nits standard we use for our battery tests.
DoogeeOS, based on Android 7 Nougat
From what we manged to gather, Doogee is undergoing some major restructuring in the software department. The Mix is the first device to ship with its new DoogeeOS. It is a tailor-made ROM, based on something called FreemeOS, which apparently is originally developed by another Chinese company.
On the plus side, the ROM is based on an up-to-date Android 7 core, with June 2017 security patches. It also offers a fair bit of customizability.
On the other hand, it is clearly geared towards the company's local market, which is often painfully obvious. There is plenty of bloat, including all sorts of little animations and cute characters popping up here and there, which kind of ruins any chances of taking the OS seriously (unless you're into this sort of stuff, we don't judge).
The English translation is just horrendous and was probably relied on machine translation to some extent. That is hard to live with, but harder still is the poor overall OS optimization, which really takes its toll on perceivable performance.
In its current form, DoogeeOS simply does not offer a smooth user experience. Stutters and slow-downs are frequent. Granted, this is an early version of the OS and things might improve in time. Then again, the Doogee Mix doesn't really come with any formal promise of frequent OTA updates and support, so we'd advise you to take it for what it's for and not expect much in this respect.
DoogeeOS welcomes users with a fairly inconspicuous lockscreen. Nothing is out of the ordinary, really: a notification area, swipe up gesture to unlock and two quick shortcuts. The microphone shortcut opens up a quick search interface that conveniently enough can scour through pretty much the entire phone for your query.
So with that gentle easing in out of the way, the DoogeeOS launcher pretty much slaps you in the face instantly the moment you unlock the phone. Out of the box, it is dressed in the extremely punchy Orange-yellow color scheme that frankly devours any and all white texts instantly. Away with it then. Changing it is a pretty straight-forward deal. Just hold down a finger anywhere on the empty homescreen and get to the Theme options.
The Theme engine is actually pretty impressive. You get a lot of control to tweak the UI yourself or alternatively, download something from the online library. We can't help but note the same interface reveals more than a few other interesting customization options. In what looks like a very Android Icecream sandwich interface, there are options for adjusting icon and text sizes, as well as colors and even transition animations. Those are a clear throwback to the older days of Android custom launcher chic as well.
And there are even more custom visuals to enjoy or, you know, instantly disable and return to depending on your taste. Most of these are housed within the Launcher Settings menu. Here's a quick rundown of the options here, since the option names are have seen some bad times in the translation process.
Search bar is Doogee's custom search interface. The one we mentioned earlier in the lockscreen.
"Know On Home Screen" toggles an interface we can only describe as a second notification shade that only houses a few lines of text and just happens to have a kitten or smartphone icon dangling from it down to the home screen.
"Application Manages" spawns a little orange circle icon, with an Android on top within the app drawer that opens an app manager when clicked. If you don't like using an app drawer, "Show all app in desk" is the option for you.
"Magicfinger" is nothing short of "fabulous" in every internet-infused sense of the word. It allows you to set a custom tap animation and have hearts, starts or even a mix of the two fly out every time you touch the screen!!! YES, for real.
You can also back up your unique flashy launcher setup once you are finished with all the tweaks for safekeeping. And last, but not least, we get the first taste of gestures from this interface. The emphasis on "first" was no coincidence, since Doogee pretty much went all out in this department.
The options here pertain to the launcher itself, so it does make some sense to have them here, instead of within the main settings menu. You can choose to display notifications, edit the homescreen or lock it by either sliding up or down or double tapping the home screen. The double-tap-to-lock one is actually useful, since the Doogee Mix also supports double-tap-to-wake. Just don't try to use it together with fingerprint unlock, as it leads to some weird behavior and you could find yourself locked out of the device.
While we're on the topic of gestures, we might as well dive straight in and briefly introduce the rest of the rich selection. "Float gesture" spawns a draggable circle that can only snap to corners. In it are a Game and Reading mode, as well as shortcuts to a few floating small apps - Music and Video players.
There is also a drawing input window for triggering gestures, These can be defined within the "Gestures Builder" where you are free to pretty much map any pattern you like to a quick app launch.
The "One Hand FloatView" is mostly meant as an alternative to the "Float gesture" interface. You can bring it up by swiping from the bottom right corner of the UI (not the display, but just above the on-screen navigation bar, because that makes sense...). It is a mix of floating app shortcuts, quick toggles and settings and even has some recent apps thrown in. We guess it could be useful to the right user crowd.
Just be sure not to confuse it with the One-handed interface mode, which is still a thing and can be triggered by sliding horizontally near the bottom of the screen.
"Smart somatosensory" is definitely something you don't really see in a smartphone settings menu that often. Weird naming aside, the menu actually houses some interesting options. These leverage the proximity sensor of the Doogee Mix and enable things like waving across the screen to light it up or to switch between photos. They are definitely cool to play around with, but not really reliable enough to use on a daily basis.
Telephony motion and System motion enable a few other gestures around the UI. There is also a gesture unlock interface that can be used to quickly land you in any application you choose, provided you can memorize the gestures you set up.
Parallel Spaces is a nifty little app. It lets you operate two instances of certain application, so you can be logged into a pair of accounts. Most manufacturers seem to have some sort of solution for this nowadays.
We might have just drifted a bit too far into the oddities the Doogee Mix has to offer. There are quite a few standard and expected parts of DoogeeOS as well. The app drawer is a pretty plain vertical interface, complete with a search bar. Perfectly convenient, if you choose to use it. Since the Mix only has a single physical key for the "back" command that doubles as a fingerprint sensor, there are also on-screen controls. Naturally, these can be reversed or even hidden at will.
The notification shade is pretty standard as well. All the basic editing options for the toggles are there and there is a pretty extensive notification access control feature as well.
If fine-tuning and per-app tweaks are your thing, the System Manager app is pretty in-depth in its feature set. That being said, its translation is particularly rough around the edges, so you might just have to experiment with some of the features.
The "Application freeze", "App Lock" and "App autoclean" functions are particularly perplexing in their relation to one another.
One thing to note about the otherwise stock rolodex-style recent apps interface are the pair of buttons on the bottom. One clear the list, while the other lets you whitelist certain apps to be spared from this process. It is a rather odd place to put the manager and comes off as an afterthought, to be honest.
But to be perfectly frank, the entire UI seems like an oddly spliced together mix of dated-looking AOSP applications, sprinkled with custom, over the top features here and there. For instance, there is a separate contacts app, even thought the default dialer also offer that feature.
A few other numbers from the Doogee app package include the basics - calculator, calendar, clock, file manager and WPS office is pre-loaded for all your document needs.
Having a proprietary core app package is fine and dandy, but the odd thing is that Doogee still loaded Google Play services on to the Mix, along with a lot of Google's app that duplicate most of the same basic features. Now, this might not be the case with all ROMs and ours could very well be an exception, since it is a Chinese unit, rather than international and still has Play Services installed.
We can only assume that units meant for the home market won't get the benefit of Google Photos or Play Music and their corresponding free cloud services. Instead, those users will have to live with the default Gallery app, which looks a little bland on the outside, but is actually fairly feature-rich in the editing department.
The situation is pretty identical with the Music player. The standard Doogee one is pretty basic, but still has most popular sorting options and should get the job done. There is an equalizer, but fiddling with it is kind of a lost cost. Spoiler alert for the following section - the audio quality of the Doogee Mix is really bad.
The video player is incredibly barebone as well, but we've seen way more reputable manufacturers and expensive devices get away with worse, so we won't complain too much. You do get a trim function for quickly cropping clips.
On a more positive note, the Doogee Mix has an FM radio receiver. It even comes with RDS support, so no corners cut there.
If we haven't made it clear already, the Doogee Mix actually packs a surprisingly amount of hardware value in its sub-$200 compact body. Before we get to the actual synthetics, we believe a quick clarification is in order. It has to do with the MediaTek chipset inside the Mix. Doogee is marketing it as a Helio P25, which has been the source of some confusion among tech experts, reviewers, as well as tinkerers, willing to take the phone apart to check for themselves.
This became necessary after a few such people noticed that some hardware information apps, running on the Mix report the chipset as simply MT6757, which would officially make it a Helio P20. Opening units has since revealed that some chips have "MT6757V" written on them, others have "MT6757T", but the bulk are labeled as "MT6757CH". Ours pertains to the last group, but what is important to note here is that these are essentially the same 16nm chips, with 8 ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores and a dual-core Mali-T880MP2 GPU. The main difference is in the CPU clock speed. Officially, only the P25 supports dual (13MP + 13MP) cameras, as well.
Our unit has four cores at a max of 2.93GHz and the other four at up to 1.39GHz. Sure, it's not the upper 2.6GHz limit the Helio P25 is advertised to be theoretically capable of, but in its current configuration, we found the chip to be potent enough, stable and running reasonably cool under load. Frankly, that's more important in our book than any formal branding.
Our basic 64GB unit actually has 4GB of RAM to back up the Helio chip, which is plenty and equally impressive for a sub-$200 device. Now about that price, we keep tossing it around, but like most Chinese manufacturers, especially those with limited international presence, like Doogee, there are some extra costs typically involved with sourcing and importing a unit.
That being said, we took a couple of pages from our recent guide when choosing viable contenders for the Doogee Mix, while limiting ourselves to the sub-€200 range. We also made sure to include the Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra from Sony's current lineup, since both rely on the same MediaTek Helio chipset. The former even has a 720p display, making benchmark comparisons with the Doogee even more valid.
Starting up with GeekBench and some pure CPU loads, we are glad to report the MT6757CH managed to hit its performance target, despite the lack of polish in the software department. Multi-core numbers, in particular, came out really strong, outpacing both Sony handsets.
GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)
Higher is better
GeekBench 4 (multi-core)
Higher is better
GeekBench 3 (multi-core)
Higher is better
The Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra gain back some ground in single-threaded scenarios, but the difference isn't really all that significant. On a broader scale, it is evident the MT6757CH is no slouch. It even manages to consistently outperform the Snapdragon 625 and the Exynos 7870 - two mid-range solutions we have repeatedly praised for their efficiency-to-performance ratio. Sure, the 16nm MT6757CH isn't quite as frugal in the battery department, but with proper OS optimization, we are sure it can come close.
On to more compound benchmarks then and AnTuTu 6. The Doogee Mix stands its ground well. 4GB of RAM is still plenty in Android terms, so no bottlenecks there. We can only assume Doogee had to opt for a slower storage solution to keep costs down, which could cost it some points from the AnTuTu score.
Higher is better
Basemark OS is even kinder to the Doogee Mix. Frankly, out of the similarly priced pool of contenders, only the Helio X20-powered Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 manages to significantly trump the Mix in pure performance metrics.
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Basemark OS 2.0
Higher is better
The Mali-T880MP2 GPU demands some respect of its own. While not a chart-topper by design, when viewed in the appropriate budget context, the dual-core solution really punches above its pay grade.
GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)
Higher is better
GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)
Higher is better
720p resolution is a noteworthy plus here. Of course, there is the obvious drawback to image sharpness and detail that comes with an HD panel. On the flip side, the GPU has a lot less pixels on its plate to worry about. If you are into mobile gaming, 720p is a pretty fair trade for higher frame rates.
GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)
Higher is better
GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)
Higher is better
The Doogee Mix offers a solid gaming experience. Casual titles play without a hitch and look pretty impressive thanks to the almost bezeless design. Even most popular 3D games weren't enough to choke the phone.
GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)
Higher is better
GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)
Higher is better
Basemark X tells the exact same story.
Higher is better
All things considered, It's really hard to poke holes in Doogee's choice of hardware for the Mix. Copy-cat or not, it is more than a one-trick pony. Even with a glaring lack of polish in DoogeeOS, the Mix still managed to live up to its impressive value specs sheet. Well, for the most part, that is.
Take audio quality, for instance. Despite our best efforts, the handset consistently delivered extremely disappointing output in out testing procedure. It could, very well be a defective unit. We are also not ruling out the distinct possibility of a bug within the equalizer, preventing us from turning it off to get a flat reading.
Regardless, our review unit clearly failed short in the audio department. And "fell short" is just us being polite here.
Speaking of unmitigated disasters, Doogee really skipped on the camera department for the Mix. Well, we guess something had to give when working with such a tight budget, but we kind of feel some of the damage could have been avoided.
Here's part of what we mean: Having an edge to edge display in a handset takes up a lot of internal space, even in the manner Doogee has done it, with a bit more bezels than the likes of the Xiaomi Mi Mix. That is why it's quite difficult to combine the space-hungry display assembly with a space-hungry dual camera setup. It appears Doogee really wanted the bragging rights and marketing appeal for the latter, enter its 16MP + 8MP ISOCELL setup.
The Samsung ISOCELL brand name typically inspires confidence and sets expectations pretty high for a solid camera experience, complete with a certain boost to low-light performance. However, to accommodate everything space-wise, Doogee opted for the slimmest Samsung camera module, one measuring just 5mm and one that inevitably has to battle a lot of engineering challenges.
Another interesting issue concerns the secondary 8MP snapper. Doogee is really non-descriptive when it comes to its function. It clearly contributes some depth information to improve the phone's trendy bokeh effect. It also plays part in the 2x zoom algorithm. Beyond that, however, what it can do for you is a bit of a mystery. Some people have speculated that it is black and white, but the monochrome camera mode definitely does not rely on it. In fact, there is no way to take a shot with the second camera alone, so we are just going to assume it has purely assistive functions.
Just like the rest of the UI, the camera app is quite rough around the edges. It is also not very stable and managed to crash a few times while we tested the device. Other times the shutter button would become unresponsive and plainly refuse to take pictures for a while.
We have to admit the dedicated monochrome mode is a bit confusing and potentially misleading, since, like we already mentioned, it does not use the secondary camera, provided it is even monochrome. Still, there is a monochrome filter as well, which sounds like it does the same thing.
HDR, on the other hand is not a separate mode, but might as well be one, since the Doogee Mix does not offer an auto setting for it. You have to enable it manually, which takes three whole taps.
Blur mode works well enough, although it is kind of excessive in its effect. Pro mode is a bit rudimentary, but it does offer ISO control.
Photo quality is really poor on the Doogee Mix. Frankly, we haven't seen mobile photos come out quite so bad in a long time. Shots come out noisy and soft, with little fine detail. Edge to edge sharpness is also uneven. In fact, the Mix tents to miss focus quite often. It is also stubborn in refocusing on tap.
Tapping on the viewfinder is not really advisable for another reason as well. That gesture also triggers spot exposure metering and you really need to be careful with that on the Doogee. It is really sensitive and tends to severely over or underexpose shots every chance it gets. Coupled with the inherently poor dynamic range and unreliable focus, that often leaves you with practically ruined shots.
At this point we turned to HDR in an act of desperation, hoping it might at least remedy the exposure situation a bit. It didn't. The phone is just a temperamental and overly sensitive in this mode as well.
You really do need to take your time with the Mix's camera and absolutely always take at least a few shots, just in case.
On a slightly more positive note, the monochrome effect works well enough.
Zooming (2x) is also reliable and thankfully with little to no loss of detail - definitely a good thing, since it is kind of scarce to begin with.
The Doogee Mix has a dedicated Blur mode to handle bokeh shots. The effect is actually pretty convincing if you keep the intensity settings low (below 30). Go any higher than that, however, and the imperfect way it works really starts to show.
The main slider controls the intensity and radius of the blur circle from the edges of the frame inward. You can't adjust said circle's center no matter how much you play around with spot metering and focus (which you really shouldn't, so as not to ruin the shot's exposure, remember). Then there is a second inner circle, which you do actually more around by tapping the viewfinder. It has its own radius and intensity control, again combined in the same slider.
Sadly, it's shape is not affected by the subject matter or selected focus depth at all either. That all adds up to some odd, flat and artificial-looking shots, where it is easy to blur out things that are part of the foreground, that should be in focus and vice versa. Plus, you can never actually get a proper portrait effect, tracing around your face out of the mode.
Panoramas have a few distinct issues of their own. They lack resolution and Doogee also made the rookie mistake of correcting exposure between separate shots, which is a surefire way to ruin a panorama. Other than that, stitching seems pretty good with little to no sights of defects, so a few software tweaks here and there might actually make the shots usable.
You can also check our photo compare tool for some extra pixel-peeping.
As for the 5MP, f/2.2 selfie camera, it is even worse than the main camera setup. And we aren't referring to the lower resolution or the lack of autofocus, since those are still common selfie traits in the smartphone realm.
Despite all the criticism we had for the main camera setup on the Doogee Mix, at least is did an OK job with color capture and representation. Sadly, the selfie camera even fails in that respect. Most of our samples came out with various hues and tints, almost as if a retro effect was applied.
Also, this might be a small grudge, but the odd camera position forces the user to do some really odd hand acrobatics to capture landscape selfies. It dopes prompt you to turn the phone upside down, but that has a few issues of its own and can often result in strange and unflattering angles.
Speaking of unflattering, you probably want to steer clear of "FaceBeauty" mode. Even with conservative amounts dialed into each setting, the end results are far from natural. Dial everything to high and you get an instant horror-movie avatar. Perhaps it's good for a few laughs on social media.
The Doogee Mix is technically capable of recording videos with a resolution up to [email protected] - a truly impressive feat at this price point. However, the key work here is "technically". In our testing, we never actually managed to get a stable frame rate out of the unit. The stream hovered around 28 frames most of the time. The more troublesome issue, however, are the constant stutters the Mix produces during video capture - even 1080p ones.
Back when we tested the Sony Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra, we were informed that the MediaTek Helio P20 inside those devices was simply not able to handle 4K capture. Now, if we assume the silicon inside the Doogee is indeed an upgrade over the P20, that might potentially include some performance tweaks to the camera ISP as well.
What we are getting at is that it is hard to say what modification of which party (MediaTek or Doogee) actually enabled 4K capture and whether it was a good and feasible idea to do so, or it's just a marketing stunt gone wrong. Considering the poor state of the camera UI and the surrounding OS as a whole and taking into account some other details, like the antiquated 3pg format, we feel pretty confident in blaming Doogee's software division for this issue as well.
But even if we ignore the frame-rate and smoothness issues (which you really shouldn't), the video samples we captured still look really grainy, noisy and in obvious need of more detail. At least colors seem accurate.
Bumping the resolution down to 1080p locks the frame rate at a steady 30 fps and gets rid of the stutter issue. Detail is not great, but also not that far off from that of 4K Mix clips.
Last, but not least, we have our standard set of studio video samples for you to check out and compare with other devices from our extensive database. If some of the Doogee shots look a bit out of focus, it's because they are. We literally shot each sample 30 times and this is the best we managed to cherry pic out of the mess of inconsistent focus and exposure clips.
The Doogee Mix is just disappointing and utterly unreliable as a digital camera, even for casual use.
Reviewing the Doogee Mix has been a rather different experience from what we're used to and unless you cross beyond a particular buyer's mental threshold, shopping for one will be as well.
The phone's flaws are pretty apparent, once you poke underneath the shiny PR exterior, so is its obvious Xiaomi Mi Mix-centric marketing ploy. If not that, we can always ridicule it on grounds of obscurity of the Doogee brand alone - easier still.
But is still has its own little market niche under the sun and a pretty vibrant and active one at that: Maze Alpha, UMIDigi Crystal, Bluboo S1, IDWell D10... these are all smartphones which you may not have heard of but they battle it out to win the heart of the budget-conscious and yet picky customer. Hence, it's only fair that the Doogee is judged compared to its peers. We have zero experience with those so we've done our best to review this phone as objectively as possible having in mind its sub-$200 device.
With that disclaimer out of the way, our objective conclusion is that the Doogee Mix presents a great value hardware-wise, but it's mostly let down by bad software.
Key test findings
- The Doogee Mix is not really as bezeless as the Xiaomi Mi Mix, but the design is still impressive and well executed. The physical button/fingerprint reader on the front is a nice touch and so is Gorilla Glass 5 protection on both sides.
- Battery life is average. The 16nm Helio chip, coupled with 720p AMOLED panel can do better, but really poor web browsing performance drags the overall rating down.
- Display is about average in brightness and sunlight legibility. It is also not very color accurate, but still offers deep AMOLED blacks and very punchy colors, if you are into that. The 720p resolution is spread a little thin over the 5.5-inch screen so fine details such as icons and UI elements look a little soft.
- DoogeeOS is still in its infancy and is very poorly optimized. Slow-downs and unresponsiveness are common in the UI. Some features work at time and refuse to work other times. There is a decent amount of bloat and and the UX style is inconsistent. The English translations are comically bad in this version of the ROM.
- Performance is really solid from the MT6757CH, regardless of whether it is technically categorized as a Helio P20 or P25 chip. Poor OS optimization still affects some applications and real-world usage scenarios. Games that do manage to run without issues, typically run very smooth in the native 720p resolution.
- Audio output is really bad, potentially due to a software bug that won't let us disable some system-wide equalizer. This doesn't mean it would sound bad, it's just way off based on our testing standards.
- Due to its compact size, the main camera on the Doogee Mix is rather disappointing. It lacks detail and sharpness in stills. Noise as an issue as well. The phone also struggles to sustain proper focus and consistent exposure in stills and videos.
- 4K video capture is technically available, but only usable if the phone sits really steady and there isn't a lot of movement. In any other use case, the footage comes through quite stuttery. Colors are nice and accurate, but detail is lacking. 1080p video works better all around. The 3gp capture format is really old.
It's a shame really. And since the aforementioned devices generally appear to offer only slight variations in specs, our best advise you to try and find real-world examples of how responsive they are in every day tasks.
If you would rather pick up something with more of an international face locally, there are a few options out there. Sticking to a budget of $200, it is definitely wise to hit up your carrier and see what subsidized deals it potentially has to offer.
As for the SIM-free market, the Xiaomi Redmi 4 throws in an octa-core Snapdragon 435 and a bigger battery on top of the Redmi 4a specs for just a few extra dollars. It is well worth, since that puts it a lot closer to Doogee Mix territory in terms of performance.
The wildly popular Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 also adds a few extra inches to the display and an amazingly efficient Snapdragon 625 chipset (in some versions), really closing the gap with the Doogee. The Meizu M5 Note and somewhat obscure, but still impressively good value Huawei Y6II Compact deserve a mention in this group as well.
If an AMOLED screen is a must, last year's Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) is still a solid pick. If you do your shopping right and get the 14nm Exynos 7870 variant, you can expect near Doogee Mix performance with the added bonus of truly impressive battery endurance.