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How Does This Foreign Android Phone Stack Up In America? – Forbes

Though there are several impressive new and upcoming smartphones on the market from the likes of Apple, Samsung and LG, they aren’t the only brands with fresh models. In fact, I was able to try out one such Android phone the past couple of weeks from Doogee, a Hong Kong-based company that’s relatively obscure in the U.S. market.

This model, the BL5000, is billed as having a curvy design, 13MP camera, long and fast-charging battery life, fast processor, bright display, and outstanding camera. And all for $140. So how did it measure up, in my usage?

Doogee

Doogee BL5000 smartphone

First of all, I cannot of course speak to its long-range durability and quality — only having it for such a short period of time. But it looks to be fairly solid. All of its front and rear edge curves add elegance, especially to the Gorilla Glass screen. However, the phone seems overall a touch bulky — in terms of size and weight — probably because I have been testing out other new phones that are ultra-slim and sleek. This isn’t a deal-breaker by any means, it’s just noticeable.

I powered up the phone and everything came up quickly on the 5.5-inch display. It’s quite responsive to the touch — web pages and apps load quickly — comparable to many of the latest popular models.

While set to its brightest setting, the screen is plenty bright but not quite to the level of the major brands. The whites look relatively gray — as do the blacks. Everything was very crisp to read, but it just lacks a contrasting visual pop.

Videos come up instantly on YouTube but seem to take several seconds to become clear. Television apps on the other hand work very well, with instant clarity. Sound is pretty decent from the speaker, too. And as many of you know, an FM radio app typically comes with most Android phones — employing plugged-in headphones as an antenna. This one rocks. I used the same pair of headphones with this as I did some major-brand phones, and for whatever reason this worked way better drawing in strong signals. Go figure.

It’s also supposed to handle SIM cards from a variety of companies in America. Then there’s the camera. I’m a fan of having depth of field in close-ups, so that the subject is in focus while the background is nicely blurred. The Doogee does perhaps the best job of automatically blurring backgrounds as I’ve seen on any mobile phone to date. I know Apple is really pushing this feature on its upcoming models — as it did with the iPhone 7 Plus — and as I suspect Google will also do with its next smartphone that’s expected to debut in October. But all I can say is “wow” with this model. I created portraits with it that were comparable to those taken with my DSLR. I even printed some out through a cloud print app, and they came out frame-worthy.

Finally, there’s the battery. In my test unit, battery life was long — noticeably more so than with my iPhone and Samsung. But it’s the quick-charge feature that Doogee is touting — with claims that you can charge it 40 percent in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the test unit sent to me had a plug that will not fit into any U.S. wall socket. Thus, I plugged the USB attachment into a Samsung power brick. That combination didn’t seem to juice up the battery any quicker than usual — leaving me to think that this quick-charge may be a function of the Doogee brick.

Another item lost in translation is some of the broken-English system messages. For instance, every time I close a web browser I see a “the release of 278MB memory” (or however much memory was used by the browser) message pop up on the screen. Then occasionally I see a cryptic “your mobile phone is in the best condition” message. In other words, you’re continuously reminded while using this phone that it’s a foreign model functioning adequately in the States. It can feel like a compromise at times, but is offset by some nice features.

How Does This Foreign Android Phone Stack Up In America? – Forbes

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