Outdoor smartphones are now offered by many Chinese brands and are almost always in the mid-range. Ulefone wants to serve customers whose budget is just over 100$ by offering the Armor X. In addition to the latest low-budget processor from Mediatek, you also get a lot of equipment. Find out how the device did in our test.
Design and build quality
As it is typical for outdoor smartphones, the Ulefone Armor X is not a slim device. Measuring 161 x 75 x 14mm and weighing 259g, the device has average dimensions for this segment. The Armor X follows the current trend and also has an 18:9 display, which makes the device look slimmer.
All outdoor smartphones have one thing in common: the thick casing made of a mix of plastic and rubber. This makes all devices look quite similar, if not even the same. The manufacturers want to change this with various accents. Therefore, Ulefone Armor X uses strips and a plate into which the cameras are embedded. Both are made of metal in a “brushed-look”. In addition to the dual camera, a further detail on the rear side causes a sensation. The logo and the addition “Wireless Charge” are emblazoned on a small plastic label. This makes the smartphone one of the rare models in the outdoor sector that actually support wireless charging. In addition, this feature is also rare in this price range.
There are no surprises on the front. You find 3 soft-touch buttons below the display and above it, there are as usual earpiece, front camera and sensors. Even a notification LED is available, but it only shines in white. On the left side there are volume control and power button. On the other side, you find the PTT button, the SIM slot and the fingerprint sensor. The buttons are made of plastic and have a rather soft feedback for an outdoor smartphone. On the top is a jack connector for headphones and on the bottom the opening for the micro-USB connector. All openings are closed with a rubber flap and keep absolutely tight.
Even though the smartphone is one of the cheapest outdoor devices on the market, the quality has not been compromised. The Armor X is cleanly manufactured and nothing rattles or wobbles. Of course, like the other competitors, the Ulefone has an IP86 certification. Falling from a normal height with the display down as well as on the frame could not harm the smartphone. The Armor X also survived the 30-minute dive without any problems.
When it comes to the loudspeaker, however, you clearly hear to which price class the phone belongs. Even if it is loud and does not oversteer, everything sounds very tinny.
The Ulefone Armor X makes a very good first impression. Everything is well built and the smartphone keeps what the certification promises. For me personally, however, the positioning of the fingerprint sensor on the side is absolutely absurd and not really usable.
Ulefone Armor X scope of delivery
- short operating instructions
- tool to open the covers
- SIM ejection tool
- power plug and micro-USB cable
- screen protector
The Ulefone Armor X has a 5.5″ HD display with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. With 293 ppi, the display is beautifully sharp and individual pixels are not recognizable. For a smartphone designed for outdoor use, the maximum brightness leaves much to be desired. The maximum lux values of 230 also support this statement. With a purely black screen, 3 lux can still be measured, which speaks for a good contrast. The colour representation of the display cannot be adjusted via MiraVision.
The panel processes up to 5 points of contact simultaneously and processes each input directly. Unfortunately, Ulefone does not indicate whether the display is protected against scratches, for example by Gorilla glass. During the test phase, however, I could not scratch the device with normal means.
The display of the Armor X is okay. Colours are strong, but the maximum brightness is not enough to make the smartphone readable in bright sunlight. The display is also difficult to operate with wet fingers.
System and performance
The Ulefone Armor X features Mediatek’s new low-budget processor: the MT6739, the successor to the well-known MT6737, which is used in popular models in this price category. The MT6739 has four cores, each with a maximum clock speed of 1.5 GHz. The processor is supported by 2GB RAM and a PowerVR GE8100 GPU, which clocks at a maximum of 570MHz. The internal memory has 16 GB and can be expanded via micro SD card, when doing without the dual SIM function .
The RAM clocks with a maximum of 3600 MhHz, which is absolutely on average. Unfortunately, the 2GB are not too luxurious, which is why multitasking is not the device’s talent. The internal memory is unfortunately quite slow with a reading speed of 78 MB/s. The writing speed could not be determined with a benchmark app. However, this will be similarly low.
In general, the performance of the Armor X is very limited. Even standard tasks take time and everything seems a little sluggish. Gaming is out of the question. It gets worse once you open multiple apps. If you use your smartphone only for Whatsapp, Google Maps and occasionally for surfing, you’ll get along with the speed, but you shouldn’t expect a really fast system.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result
The Ulefone Armor X runs with Android 8.1 aka Oreo. While many manufacturers still find it difficult to deliver their devices with the latest Android, Ulefone is launching its budget outdoor smartphone with the latest system on the market – which is an advantage at this point. Ulefone left the system almost untouched, only some special functions have been added. On the home screen you find the Google search by default and the left screen serves as news feed, which can also be deactivated. The added special functions include the usual multi-touch and gesture control. The fingerprint sensor can also be assigned various functions. For me, however, this is not a positive point, because the sensor is placed on the side and often functions are triggered, although you did not want it at all. The position is simply at a place where the mobile phone is gripped normally when you hold it in your hand. They should have thought it through better. At least, the system is clean, without annoying apps and free of malware.
Ulefone delivers the Armor X with pure Android 8.1, which was only supplemented by practical special functions. Unfortunately, the smartphone lacks an SOS button, it would have been better not to use the PTT (push to talk) button but to provide the SOS function instead.
The website promises a face recognition for unlocking, but there is no such option in the settings. It may be updated at some point.
The main camera of the Ulefone Armor X is a dual camera with 8 + 5 MP (interpolated 13 + 5) resolution. The second sensor, however, is, as so often, only a fake and is not responsible for the bokeh effect, which is generated by a software instead. The images are quite good for an outdoor smartphone, especially in this price category. The sharpness and the colours are usually ok, only the white balance and the exposure are often not right, which is why you have to be at a good angle to your subject to get a good result. The focus is pleasantly fast, but the shutter release time is not. In HDR mode you get a little more out of the images, but image noise gets stronger. For one or two snapshots, however, the camera is useful and that really means something in this price range!
The front camera resolves with 5 MP (interpolated 8). Here you get significantly worse results, pictures look pale and have a strong image noise; in addition, the front camera has a strong red cast. For occasional selfies, it is sufficient if the requirements are not too high.
All in all, Ulefone offers passable results for one of the low-budget outdoor smartphones.
The device supports all 2G, 3G and 4G (LTE) frequencies. The reception was consistently good. You can use either 2 Nano-SIM cards or 1 SIM card and one Micro-SD card – it is therefore a hybrid slot.
The call quality is acceptable, the earpiece produces a somewhat tinny sound, but my conversation partner was always easy to understand. The same applies the other way around. I was often perceived as tinny on the other side.
When it comes to transmission standards, the Armor X excels once again and offers a full range at a small price. In addition to WiFi in the 2.4 and 5GHz range and with a/b/g/n standard, Bluetooth 4.1 and even NFC are also supported. The WiFi reception was always great, the same also applies to the transmission quality with Bluetooth. As usual, the GPS of mobile phones of this category is simply outstanding. The position is determined within a few moments and the navigation is always very accurate. On the test track on foot and by car, there was never any false localisation. Also typical for outdoor smartphones, Ulefone Armor X provides a generous equipment of sensors. In addition to the 3 standard sensors (proximity, light and acceleration sensors), a gyroscope sensor and an e-compass are also available. Additionally there is the fingerprint sensor on the side of the device, which unlocks the device reliably in 9 out of 10 attempts, but it takes 2 seconds until the device is ready for use.
The battery of the Ulefone Armor X has 5500 mAh. The test measurement showed between 4500 and 4800 mAh, which is somewhat below the specifications. In the benchmark, the mobile phone manages a good 13h 11min. In daily life I could easily get by with one charge for 2-3 days with normal use and some gaming. But power users will definitely manage to drain the battery in 2 days. The Ulefone Armor X supports Quick-charge, but it takes almost 3 hours for a complete charge. Within half an hour you’ll get 20%. In addition, the Ulefone Armor X also supports wireless charging, which also takes the same amount of time, as long as the module supports Quick-charge. But you need a little patience because the smartphone has to be positioned quite precisely for the wireless charging to work. Even if you find the right position, it takes a few moments for your phone to detect the module and start charging.Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours