Ulefone claims that its new model, Armor 2, is the best new outdoor phone. Indeed, we are talking about a cell phone with impressive technical data. So far, there have been very few outdoor mobile phones that surprised us with a big storage and a good display. But since outdoor smartphones are becoming more and more important, Chinese manufacturers are trying to focus on other factors, not just on the phone’s resistance. With 6GB of RAM, a 4700 mAh battery, the Helio P25 processor, the device offers pretty good hardware, and sounds really convincing. In addition, Ulefone also offers some extra features: a heart rate monitor, an SOS button, and even a barometer. We have tested the Ulefone Armor 2 in detail to see if this phone can really stand out from the crowd, find it out in our review!
Design and build quality
Take an armour, squeeze it to smartphone size and there you have Ulefone Armor 2. This was our first impression of the smartphone. The phone weighs 265g and measures 159 × 78.3 × 14.5mm, these values definitely make it a huge phone. The smartphone is not slippery when held in hand, but because of its size, is not really handy. Holding it with just one hand, the device is difficult to use.
The materials used in the construction of the mobile phone are: metal, rubber and plastic (according to the manufacturer it is: glass-fibre reinforced polycarbonate and a thermoplastic polyurethane). All this guarantees a good resistance against possible knocks or falls. If the phone falls on the ground, you should worry more about the safety of the tiles than about your phone. The rear side is definitely interesting. There we find the SIM and Micro-SD cards slots, protected by a small cover that is fastened with tiny screws. The edges are a little rougher in order to offer a better grip on the phone. The camera protrudes a little from the casing, but not as much as the rubber covers, whose shape ensures greater protection for the rear side. Here, there is also an NFC module protected by a plastic cover. In this case, Ulefone chose to use plastic simply because metal would probably have affected the NFC.
There are six buttons on the sides: among these, we find the SOS button, the camera button, volume control buttons, the power and the push-to-talk button. The push-to-talk button works connected to a pre-installed App and should act as a radio transmitter. All the buttons are large, made of metal, and have a good feedback. In my opinion, Ulefone could have placed them better. In fact, every now and then I happened to press the wrong button (I pressed the push-to-talk button instead of the power button). In order to protect the touchscreen, Ulefone decided to rely on a Gorilla Glass 3 and added some rubber frames around it. Above the display, we find an RGB notification LED. The fingerprint scanner is located below the display. Unfortunately, this only works as a scanner, and not as a home button. The phone is completely operated by On-Screen keys. We do not find any headphone jack connection.
All in all, Armor 2 really does a good job. The phone is protected by a very resistant armour. There are a lot of transitions from one material to another, but they are processed quite well so that we don’t find any gaps.
Ulefone Armor 2 scope of delivery
- USB Type-C cable
- Charging adapter
- USB Type-C to Micro USB Adapter
- Operation manual
- USB to AUX Adapter
The solid build quality of Ulefone Armor 2 benefits the outdoor ability very much. This is why Armor 2 received the IP68 certification. Not even a long immersion under water was a problem for the phone. Even if handled with wet hands, the phone responds very well to commands. So rain won’t be a problem. Furthermore, the phone is very resistant. Although we have not thrown the device from several meters on hard ground, but on Youtube you can find several videos showing the resistance of Ulefone Armor 2. The device seems to be unbreakable. In my opinion, the display could break only if it hits directly a sharp stone.
Also regarding the software, the phone offers plenty of useful outdoor functions. The compass is now a standard sensor, but we had never seen before a barometer that can also indicate the altitude! In addition, we also find a heart rate monitor, a sensor that can measure the decibels of certain sounds, and a pedometer. Another interesting feature is an instrument that can measure the size of objects surrounding us. All in all, Ulefone was ingenious with these new ideas. Besides all this, we also find another very useful function: the SOS button; with this you can set a favourite number that will be called quickly as soon as you press the button.
In short, we can say that Ulefone Armor 2 makes a good impression in the category of outdoor abilities. The incredible resistance of the casing and the excellent software really convinced us.
The 5-inch screen of Ulefone Armor 2 has a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels. The result is a density of 441 pixels per inch. So it is impossible to recognize individual pixels. The colour rendering is excellent. Using the MiraVision function, you can also customize the screen saturation at your will. Considering that it is an IPS display, it is obvious that the contrasts and the black values are not on the same level as an AMOLED display, but this does not influence our impression of this model negatively. The viewing angles is also very stable.
Due to the lack of sunshine of the last weeks, I could not test the brightness of the display under direct sunlight. As much as I could test it under artificial light, it seemed to me to have average values. In an outdoor smartphone, however, the brightness should be very high. The touchscreen worked without problems and registers up to 5 points of contact simultaneously. Fans of the Tap-to-Wake function will not be disappointed. It is possible to wake up the phone from the standby by double-tapping the display.
Ulefone Armor 2’s heart is its MediaTek Helio P25 processor. In advertising, it is presented with a frequency of 2.6GHz. In reality, we only registered a 2.4GHz CPU-Z. The energy saving cluster reaches up to 1.6GHz. The RAM is very large with 6GB. Nevertheless, the speed of 4.3GB/s is a bit too slow. In practice, the phone shows a good performance with few delays. Thanks to the big RAM, it is possible to keep many applications open at the same time. The internal 64GB storage has a reading speed of 100MB/s and a writing speed of 140MB/s. The values are not bad but they could still be improved.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result 3D Mark Result
Although Ulefone Armor 2 is not necessarily designed for gaming, in this category, it shows no flaws in terms of performance. Even games like Asphalt 8 can be played at high levels of details if you do not need 60 fps. The heat development was kept within limits.
The pre-installed system does not have many special features (except for the Outdoor-Toolbox already presented) as the Android system has been little modified. For this reason, an App drawer is available. The navigation through the system is very good and is carried out exclusively through on-screen buttons. The fingerprint scanner, unfortunately, does not work as a home button. During daily use, I had some problems with this, as I kept trying to return back to the home screen by pressing it. The navigation bar in the system is decimated to only half of what we are used to. But after a while, you get used to it. The advantage here is that the bar does not consume much of the display surface as it usually does.
System updates are installed via OTA, which means they are downloaded via WiFi and are then installed. All in all: the system works reliably and is very stable. We did not notice bugs or other problems. Even an antivirus scan performed with Malwarebytes has confirmed that Ulefone Armor 2 is free of malware.
Ulefone Armor 2’s camera is average. Most of the pictures are moderately sharp, but the colours could be a little bit stronger in my opinion. The 16MP and the f/2.0 aperture make good shots even at night. Obviously, they are a bit blurred, but at the end the result is good.
The HDR mode is useless. It can be activated, but there is no difference to the standard mode. The Pro mode, however, is quite another thing: here you can also customize some values such as contrast, ISO values and saturation. The autofocus is precise and fast, even in macro shots. The trigger, on the other hand, could be a bit faster. The selfie camera has 8MP and the quality is just enough to take a selfie every now and then.
Videos can be recorded in FHD (1920×1080 px), but they are not always very good. If you move a bit during the recording, the video will be blurred.
Connectivity and communication
Ulefone supports all the LTE bands, band 20 included. As a result, its reception is very good. During the test phase, I always had access to at least 3G networks. The microphone and the speaker also offer excellent sound quality during calls. I could always hear my interlocutor clearly. The main speaker is good even if the volume is not very loud. Basses are almost inexistent. Actually, only one of the two speakers works. Those expecting a stereo speaker will be disappointed. The WIFI reception is on average, the smartphone supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. The NFC function is also available (which is rare for outdoor smartphones). The GPS is good and together with the compass, it is very useful for navigating.
As for the sensors, Ulefone Armor 2 is well equipped. Standard brightness and proximity sensors are available. In addition to these functions, there is also a compass, a gyroscope, a heart rate monitor, a barometer and a fingerprint sensor. The acceleration sensor seems to be badly calibrated. This is noticeable when playing games with the phone, where, while keeping the smartphone straight, the car steers to the left. The error is also confirmed using the pre-installed App “Picture Hanging”. But this could also be an isolated case. If this happens again on other devices, we hope that they think of a solution through an update. The fingerprint scanner does not work very fast. The finger must stay on the sensor for a while before it is recognized.
Ulefone Armor 2 is well equipped with a 4700 mAh battery. Together with the energy saving processor, it is possible to have a battery life of up to 2 days. Depending on the intensity of use, the device may need to be charged only after 3 or more days. On standby especially, the phone does not consume a lot of battery. If you do not use the phone a lot during the day, you will have over 90% of the battery capacity left at the end of the day (with the mobile data switched off). In the PCMark battery test, the phone lasted for 10 hours.
The promised Fast Charge function is not fast at all. A full charge from 0 to 100% takes 3 hours. Normally, devices will almost never overcome 3 hours of charging. Too bad that Ulefone Armor represents a negative exception here.Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours