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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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, 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.