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Our verdict of the Doogee Mix:
A budget-conscious device with a premium look about it. A dual-sensor camera, good performance, and a bevy of bundled extras make this fantastic value for money.
710

Chinese phones have a reputation for being cheaper clones, but that’s a broad and sweeping statement that’s not always fair. In the case of the Doogee Mix however, it’s almost entirely fair: the Doogee Mix is a clone of the Xiaomi Mi Mix. They didnt even bother to change the name, but they did change the price. Available in blue or black for less than $200, the Doogee Mix packs a good amount of power in a stylish design, alongside a 5.5 inch “bezel less” display. There’s even a dual-sensor camera in there. Does this hit a sweet spot of value? We think so, but keep reading to find out more.

Design and Specifications

  • Helio P25 Octacore CPU, Mali TM880 MP2 GPU
  • 4 or 6GB RAM (we tested with 6GB)
  • 64 GB storage, expandable via shared dual-SIM / micro-SD tray
  • 5.5″ 720p almost bezel less display
  • 16+8MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • 3380mAh Li-Po battery
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0.
  • $185-200 from the official AliExpress store

For something on the budget end of the scale, the Doogee Mix feels nice and looks great. A brushed, curved metal rim surrounds the device fully, and it feels good in your hand – not too slippery. A single button / thumb sensor sits on the front. The rear of the phone is a highly reflective surface, encased in some kind of plastic resin. Weighing 193g, nothing about the Doogee Mix feels like a budget device.

In the box you’ll find not only the usual assortment of charger, cable, and screen protector (it ships with one applied), but also some other goodies. There’s a matt black plastic case, an 8GB USB thumb drive, and a ring holder. I must admit, I was a little dubious of the contents of ring holder package when I saw it.

This contains a “ring holder”, I promise.

What’s a ring holder? It’s a small rectangular widget which sticks onto the back of your phone or case. You can either use the ring to hold you phone more conveniently, or prop it up in landscape mode to watch movies.

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In terms of little extras then, Doogee can’t be beaten.

The only slightly disappointing aspect of the Doogee’s design is the inclusion of a micro-USB port, instead of the now standard USB-C.

The bezel less claim is not entirely true, and those basing their purchase on Doogee’s marketing material may be a little disappointed to find that there is in fact around 2.2mm of non-screen area before you reach the curved edges.

Interface

Out of the box, the device runs the Doogee custom launcher on top of Android 7, which is very similar to the Blackview A9 Pro Blackview A9 Pro Review: Dual-Camera Sensor and Under $100 Blackview A9 Pro Review: Dual-Camera Sensor and Under $100 The A9 Pro is an ultra-budget smartphone at just $100 -- and it's even got a dual-sensor camera. With above-average photo quality, is this a great all round budget device? Read More we reviewed, featuring the same radial “Floating View” menu systems. The only difference is the navigation bar is enabled by default on the Doogee Mix, so it wasn’t nearly as frustrating to pick up. On the downside, an annoying pull-down cat animation sits underneath the search bar, encouraging you to switch themes. Tap on the homescreen and delve into the launcher options to disable this.

Swipe left to find a built-in Infohub news feed, complete with ads every few stories. This can’t disabled, however.

To be honest, I don’t feel like the Doogee launcher adds much in the way of unique features, and can feel a little sluggish. Replacing it with Nova launcher felt a lot snappier, so your best best is just to swap them out right away for a launcher you prefer.

Dual Sensor Camera

The camera system is above average, able to produce some lovely shots on a sunny day that I’d say were indistinguishable from a high end iPhone.

It’s only let down by low light photos, which tended toward washed out and grey. Bokeh mode seemed to work well, however.

The good news is that the second rear camera sensor actually improves photos. Though I couldn’t detect much of a difference in bokeh effect with the sensor covered or active, I did notice a loss of details when it was purposefully disabled on regular photo mode.

This the same scene of my kitchen, cropped and zoomed to show the difference. The photo on the left side was with secondary sensor intentionally covered up, and on right, uncovered as normal. Other conditions didn’t change, and you can clearly see it contributing to overall sharpness of the image.

The camera can be accessed with a simple double tap of the power button, from anywhere, which I found useful compared to gesture-based access like swiping up and tapping a special shortcut, or navigating home – it just felt a lot faster to get shooting.

The 5MP front-facing camera gets the job done, and includes a selfie “beauty” mode. Bask in my glorious algorithmically optimized beauty!

Performance and Battery Life

Antutu scored the device a reasonable 60,000; while Geekbench gave it a single core CPU score of 800, multi-core 3,900; and GPU compute score of 2,800. Even better than those raw numbers though: nothing felt sluggish apart from the default launcher, which is easily replaced. Web pages scrolled nicely, and casual games were smooth. The thumb sensor was also very responsive, with only 1 in 10 attempts failing to recognise. This is in stark contrast to most other budget phones I’ve tested this with this kind of dual-purpose front fingerprint sensor.

For battery life, we managed about 8 hours of streaming video at full brightness and full volume, which is certainly impressive. In real world usage, there should no worries about this lasting all day, and then a bit.

Adware

In the past, Doogee phones have been found to be distributing adware in the form of full-screen ads, so it would be remiss of me not to mention that as a warning to potential buyers. I haven’t experienced that yet in the course of testing the Doogee Mix, so it’s possible they stopped that practice. It’s also possible that like before, the adware may not be enabled until a later date – I also didn’t detect any in my original X5 Max review The Doogee X5 Max is Ridiculously Cheap The Doogee X5 Max is Ridiculously Cheap The Doogee X5 Max has a huge battery and 5" IPS screen, running Android 6.0 – for just $65. Read More , but it later developed the same reported symptoms as others.

Should You Buy the Doogee Mix?

At $200 or less, the Doogee Mix is fantastic value for money. It might not be entirely bezel less, but it’s close. The camera is decent, there’s some good power under the hood, and it feels premium. Just get rid of the default launcher, and you’ll have a solid device. Check LTE bands for your carrier before purchasing, though.

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  1. freddyzdead
    August 22, 2017 at 8:25 am

    I have to say, I bought one of these based on reviews like this one, and a lot of others. Now that I have the thing in my hands, I am wondering if I got the same phone as the reviewers. This is a P.O.S. The fingerprint sensor doesn't work; well it does work maybe 1 time in 20 tries. It won't work with either of my thumbs no matter what I do. I have tried registering them dozens of times, but my thumbs will not unlock it. I am comparing this to a OnePlus 3, which appears to use the same fingerprint sensor, and works on my thumbs every time. I have yet to discover what algorithm it uses to decide whether to allow you to wake it up by fingerprint at all, as most of the time I am forced to use the power button and then the pattern in order to wake it. By then, I've forgotten why I wanted it awake.

    If that was the only thing, I might not complain, in view of the price.

    But most of the "features", of which very few are actually useful, do not activate with the advertised gesture or swipe, and cannot be deactivated. Some of them are just unfathomable as to why they are there at all. The UI is very laggy and unresponsive, in spite of the 6GB of RAM, why is that? There is no notification light. Why? There are tones it emits which cannot be turned off without making the whole phone silent. For example, whenever it finds a new WiFi acces point, it bleeps. There is no way to turn this off. The camera shows no hint of how the second camera is used; I suspect it does nothing at all. The "blur" effect, which has been hinted at as using the 2nd camera, obviously does not, because covering up its lens has no effect. The blur effect is supposed to simulate depth-of-field, but all it does is blur everything around the selected focus point. Not very convincing. Otherwise, pictures are very ordinary.

    If I'm using the on-screen keyboard, and I want to type a "." it either doesn't work or activates the screenfull of smiles, which I don't want and never use. The "." key has to be hit on the top edge or nothing, but often you get the "M" instead.

    When the lock screen is showing, and a text message comes in, part of the message is shown. This should not happen, for privacy reasons. There is no way to stop this behaviour.

    There are a lot more bugs that I can't remember just now, and I don't see what kind of miracle is ever going to get them fixed. Did I mention the English translations straight from Google Translate? What a joke.

    This is the most unusable phone I have ever owned. This is entirely due to the software. There is no way it should be this terrible with the hardware it's running on. You would think it has 256MB of RAM, for instance. It is hard to distinguish what are "bugs" and what are "features".

    There is no way I can use this phone as my daily drive. No way. Too many things don't work. Why is there not an honest review to be found anywhere?

    The only thing that can save this is if someone develops a custom ROM for it. So far there is no such thing. Not even a custom Recovery, at least not that I would dare to try, with any confidence of not bricking it. And believe me, I have looked.

    I will go back to my OnePlus 3, which does have its issues, but they are none of those mentioned here. It does what it does very well. I'm just about despairing of how to coax it to update since I've rooted it. Even if it unroots it, as it says it will, I wouldn't mind, but nothing happens, it downloads huge updates and never installs them.

    So, no phone is perfect, but Doogee has succeeded in creating the most imperfect one I've ever seen.

    • James Bruce
      August 22, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Thanks for your input, Freddy. As I mentioned, I've often had the same problem as you with the fingerprint sensor on other budget phones, where it fails more often than not and I simply stop using that feature. In this case, it seemed to work well, so it's possible we have different finger types, or perhaps the hardware has such a high failure rate and I just got lucky.

      I agree the interface is more sluggish than it ought to be, and recommended swapping it for something else. The "Engrish" is terrible, and usually is on budget Chinese imports. I always recommend to the manufacturers that they spend some money on a native speaker to give their UI the once over and fix it...

      I'm sorry to hear you don't think my review is honest. Perhaps it's because we only get a short time to review things, rather than long term usage where these things would start to grate. It seems you're looking for something more suited to a seasoned Android pro user, while this phone is aimed very much at the low end beginner Android market.

      By the way, we've got a review and giveaway of the OnePlus 5 due out later today, come back to enter that and upgrade your OnePlus 3!

    • kcw
      September 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      i am using doogee mix for 2 months. there's nothing to complain except the camera lack of detail when zoom in. but that were solved using another camera app like Open Camera which shows much more details. overall everything works OK not fantastic but user-able OK. its even better in everything than my previous sony xperia z3c.
      maybe u got a defective phone. it can happen to any brand maybe less on established brand.
      so i think ur condemnation on this phone and the review is a little unfair.
      no i didn't get paid by Doogee to write this.
      i honestly say this phone is user-able as a daily driver but for how long that i am not sure