Doogee Dagger DG550 – full review

July 4, 2014
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Doogee DG550 11The Doogee phone brand is becoming quite prolific on Chinese wholesale websites. Over the last few weeks I have had a chance to test three different models: the Doogee Turbo, the Doogee Pixels and the Doogee Valencia. I have now managed to get hold of a Doogee Dagger DG550. It is a 5.5 inch, 1.7 Ghz octa-core smartphone with a 13MP camera and 16GB of storage.

It costs just $166, but just what can you expect from an octa-core phone that costs so little? I took the phone through its paces and this is what I discovered.

Specification

Considering its price, the Doogee Dagger has some impressive specs including that octa-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. You might think that at this price the designers would need to cut some corners in terms of the display technology, but you would be wrong, the DG550 has a 720p HD IPS display.

Display5.5-inch IPS OGS 720p HD (1280 x 720)
Processor1.7GHz MTK6592 Octa Core
RAM1GB
Storage16GB, microSD card slot, up to 32GB
Camera13 Megapixel Rear Camera & 3 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera
Battery2600 mAh
ConnectivityGPS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth
Networks3G/WCDMA: 850/2100 MHz
SoftwareAndroid 4.2 with Google Play
Dimensions153 x 76 x 9 mm
180 grams
ColorsBlack
SIM slots1x Normal SIM, 1x Micro SIM

Design

The DG550’s design is sleek. It has metal colored sides and is wrapped in a matte, almost rubber like, plastic. On the front of the phone is the 5.5 inch display and a small silver colored ear piece grill. Towards the bottom are the three capacitive keys: menu, home and back. The home key is blue dash and the menu key is three short lines. All three keys light up when one of them is pressed.

The micro USB port and the headphone jack are on the top, on the right side is the power button and on the left are the volume controls. The bottom edge has a small hole for the microphone plus two speaker grills.

The back cover is a matte plastic that doesn’t easily slip from the hand. The cover starts to curve towards the edges but the middle part is flat. The camera protrudes slightly from the back, which means the device doesn’t stay flat when on a table, but it doesn’t affect how you use the device in your hand.

Performance

The MediaTek MTK6592 is MediaTek’s Cortex-A7 octa-core processor. It is clocked at 1.7GHz and includes the ARM Mali-450 MP GPU. The Doogee Dagger scores 27419 on AnTuTu, just slightly slower than a Samsung Galaxy S4 and faster than the HTC One (M7). Not bad for $166. During my short time with the device the UI worked smoothly and quickly.

Doogee DG550 antutu

In Epic Citadel the device managed a frame rate of 60.7 fps at 1280 x 720 in high performance mode, and 56.3 in high quality mode.

Doogee DG550 Epic Citadel

A quick test of the GPS showed that it was able to get a lock in just a few seconds and the magnetometer (compass) seemed to function as expected.

Battery

The Doogee Dagger DG550 has a 2600 mAh battery, which theoretically should provide a reasonable number of usage hours. However in practice the numbers were a little disappointing.

The 3D gaming is unfortunately the weakest aspect of the battery’s performance. Running a test with Epic Citadel shows that the phone can really only handle about 2.5 hours of intensive 3D gaming. The battery also gets quite warm during 3D game play.

Unfortunately the situation doesn’t improve much with other types of usage. You can watch a movie, stored on the phone, for around 4 hours, and the phone can stream YouTube videos for the same number of hours. I did a crude calling test and found that the device has a 3G talk time of around 16 hours, the 2G talk time will likely be longer.

The ThL W200S, which has a 5 inch 720p screen and the same octa-core processor, packs a 2000 mAh battery but can handle Epic Citadel for 3.5 hours and do 7 hours of YouTube streaming. Comparing the DG550 to the W200S shows that the battery in the DG550 should be able to perform better.

Camera

13MP sensors are becoming increasingly common in lower-end phones and the DG550 is a good example of this. The camera in the handset is excellent when you consider the price point. The pictures are vibrant, bright and have a good color balance. The built-in camera app includes features like face detection, HDR, continuous shooting and a panorama mode.

Overall I was impressed with the quality of the photos, but it is best that you judge for yourself. Here are a few examples taken in my garden:

Connectivity

The Dagger is a budget 3G phone and has all the connectivity options you would expect. There is Wi-Fi ( 802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, 2G GSM and 3G. The device is dual SIM and supports 3G on 850 and 2100MHz. This means that the 3G won’t work in the USA, however standard GSM calls should work. 2100 Mhz is the most common 3G frequency and should work in most places around the world, however a lot of carriers also use a secondary 3G frequency range. In Asia and South America this is often 850MHz, but in Europe it tends to be 900MHz. You need to check with your carrier to ensure compatibility or if you trust Wikipedia then this UMTS networks page could have the information you need.

Software

The phone runs Android 4.2, actually Android 4.2.9. That version of Android doesn’t officially or unofficially exist, so my only guess is that this is a custom build for this device, and to differentiate it from other builds the software engineers at Doogee bumped the minor version number up to 9. In terms of functionality the phone is certainly Android 4.2 and I didn’t find any compatibility issues during testing.

Doogee DG550 gaming

One difference from stock Android and Android 4.2.9 on the DG550 is the launcher. It isn’t clear if the launcher is the stock one from Android with a different icon pack. However one thing is sure, it looks very different. It is possible to install a replacement launcher from the Play Store, so if you don’t like the launcher this isn’t really a problem.

The firmware also includes some power saving settings (under “Power Save”), which allow you to define different power profiles. In each profile you can define which components should be on or off (i.e. GPS, Bluetooth etc). You can also define a super power saving profile which will automatically kick-in when the battery level drops below a certain level.

Doogee DG550 power save

Another interesting feature is the “App permissions” in the Security settings. When enabled you can control which apps have permission to make calls, send SMS message, get your location etc. For example, if you start a third party mapping app then you will be asked before the app can access your current position.

The phone also includes some pre-installed apps including a backup and restore app, Docs to Go, and the Go Keyboard. Google Play is pre-installed on the device and there is full access to all of Google’s apps including Gmail, YouTube and Google Keyboard etc.

Pricing and conclusion

There is no shortage of budget devices, especially those from Chinese OEM’s. The DG550 has a nice processor package and a good display. There is a reasonable amount of internal storage, and the 1GB of RAM is more than sufficient for all but the most advanced users. However the battery on the DG550 is certainly a weak point. You can pick up a Doogee Dagger from Gearbest.

Comments

  • Alex S

    Looks like pretty damn good camera actually.

  • MasterMuffin

    One of the few Chinese cheap phones that doesn’t look bad! I think this could be a great deal for most people, but not for me because I want my phone to have a lot of custom development (and well, better specs :)

  • Kazahani

    Dang I wish this had AT&T’s 3g bands in it. I would buy one for my wife right now! Not even 3g though, that’s a killer.

  • MOSA

    Great design. Love it!

  • Max

    wow
    such phone
    very chinese
    much mediatek
    not much android upgrades
    never kitkat
    not wow

    • http://www.garysims.co.uk garysims

      There are plenty of big brand devices on the market today that won’t see KitKat either…

      • Max

        Yes, but I bet most MediaTek-powered devices won’t even see a custom Kitkat ROM. At least some devices like Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini or Huawei Ascend Y300 have very nice CM11 ROMs, but that’s only because of the “openness” of their chipsets and bootloaders.
        It is also very sad to see a new device coming with Jelly Bean 4.2 (not even Jelly Bean 4.3!).

        • http://www.garysims.co.uk garysims

          Max, Yes and no. There are lots of custom ROMs for MediaTek devices here: http://www.needrom.com/ and the Doogee DG800 (which I reviewed here http://www.androidauthority.com/doogee-valencia-dg800-full-review-390264/) is already running KitKat. But having said that I wouldn’t expect Doogee to release an official KitKat for the DG550, but that is just my guess, I have no official word.

          But we mustn’t forget that people who put custom firmware on their devices are still just a niche. For the “average” buyer it isn’t a issue.

          Also, we mustn’t forget that there is no such thing as a true open source Android phone, even the official Nexus devices have binary blobs for drivers which aren’t released by the chipset makers.

          • Max

            Well, I don’t own any MediaTek device myself (aside from an Acer tablet my father has), and it was certainly hard to get root on it, and it has no custom ROMs whatsoever. Very different from the Acer tablets which have Tegra CPUs, which also have CyanogenMod ROMs. I briefly checked the site you posted, and it seems like it mostly has stock ROMs which a little degree of customisation (mostly to look like Kitkat, but they are Jelly Bean inside).
            Of course it’s not my intention to start a fight. After all, most innocent buyers don’t even care about Android upgrades. They only want a device with a kinda good camera to take selfies and upload them to Facebook/Instagram.

          • http://www.garysims.co.uk garysims

            There are certainly a myriad of different types of Android user. One could argue that at one extreme is the custom firmware obsessive and at the other is the selfie & Facebook/Instagram junkie… However I think both of these represent two extremes. Most Android users I know don’t fit into either group, they are just regular people using their smartphones the way the want to.

          • Max

            I can surely say that I’m that first kind of Android user. I’m always trying new ROMs and kernels for my device, constantly installing new nightly versions of the ROMs I like, tinkering with dual boot and things like that, mostly because I highly dislike OEM customisations (like TouchWiz, Sense, Emotion UI, etc.).

            Well, after all, Android is all about different choices, and we are free to choose something that suites our needs.
            Thanks for knowing how to discuss and interact with your readers :)

          • Rustybolts

            Well they released one.

        • gg88

          Lot of Kit-Kat custom ROM for Mediatek device here. http://www.needrom.com/
          Now, you mind need more “openness” too.

    • Chirag Jain

      looks like don’t follow many mediatek phones,
      most of the MT6592s and MT6582s are gonna get Kitkat
      and to whose who say MTK is hard to root and has no custom roms
      Lookup again.
      with Framaroot around ,it has become very easy to root and porting roms to mediatek is damn easy.
      I agree we can’t have Original development for Mtk because of incomplete/improper kernel and device sources.
      and the very reason i love mtk phones because they can’t be hard bricked unless you flash a wrong prebootloader.

      Big OEMs can force sources out of MTK (or might be they pay mtk for it)
      take the example of BLU,Lenovo and Oppo.

      • Max

        Original development is what we need, not poor modifications of the stock ROM. CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, AOKP, Slimrom… ROMs like those are worthy to have in a device, and most MediaTek devices (there might be some few exceptions) don’t have them.

  • daniel hariri

    i wish it was qualcomm…. mtk closed source make me really angry… what u gonna do about it beside root(if there is)?

    • Chirag Jain

      with many clones of the same chipset being available,
      you can port more roms than for a qualcomm phone

  • filaos

    “You might think that at this price the designers would need to cut some corners in terms of the display technology, but you would be wrong, the DG550 has a 720p HD IPS display.”
    Was that a joke ??

    Another piece of crap.

    • http://www.garysims.co.uk garysims

      If it was a joke I would have started the sentence with “A man walks into a bar…” :-)

      But seriously for a moment, there are plenty of budget device out there with less than 720p displays. The designers of the DG550 could have used a lesser display to keep the price down. Where you expecting more for $165?

      • Rustybolts

        Amazing we are quite happy watching 720 and 1080 on a 42″ wide screen reply but we moan when the same resolutions are used on 5 to 6″ devices. Its difficult to see a pixel on a 42″ screen on either of these resolutions.

        • Rustybolts

          Ignore that random “reply” dam predictive keyboard.

  • 151566

    Stop spreading stupid lie about Mediatek have poor support for Kit-Kat update. Official Kit-kat updates are already available for multiple Lenovo model from last year. VibeUi 1.5 is Kit-kat 4.4.2 http://www.vibeui.com/xiazai.html

  • s2weden2000

    Go for the kingzone k1 turbo instead..nfc & qi wireless charging with flipcase…

    • http://www.garysims.co.uk garysims

      I haven’t tested the K1, so I can’t comment, but it is $80 more expensive than the DG550.

      • Azerjaban

        Could you please test the K1? Its a newer company and very few reliable reviews out there. I have my sights set on one but the lack of info is holding me back. It sports an all metal body casing, drop test :-) ?

  • LeadTheLeader

    I’m planning to buy a new phone, but I’m tired of those expensive phones out there, I’ll be checking this out!
    Led Lampen

    • Magnetic1

      I found buying chinese phone is the only way to avoid $100 monthly data plans. I can get by using wifi for data needs. So I am forgoing the big dollar phones like Galaxy Note, Galaxy S, LG G, HTC One, and iPhone. To me it’s not realistic to pay for a $800 dollar phone out right. Nor is it realistic to sign up for 2 year contracted $100 data plan only phones.

  • f-lip

    powerful and with lots of great features such has the screen and the camera, once u apply a custom rom, ur ready to go.

    a great value for money.

  • Coolbreeze

    I ordered this phone last week and it has shipped and I’m impatiently waiting. Very well done review. The specs of this phone are great and it does everything I need it to do and more all for an amazing price.

  • http://ssc-result.org/ dileepku

    Very different from the Acer pills which have Tegra CPUs, which also have CyanogenMod ROMs. I temporarily examined the website you published, and it seems like it mostly has inventory ROMs which a little level of customization (mostly to look like Kitkat, but they are Jam Vegetable inside).

    Of course it’s not my objective to begin a battle. After all, most simple customers don’t even proper worry about Android operating system improvements. They only want a system with a kind of excellent digicam to take selfies and publish them to Facebook/Instagram. ssc cgl 2013 re exam admit card Himachal Pradesh University Results raksha bandhan Action games for windows phone

  • ImAFriendlyOrange

    I just ordered mine should arrive in a couple days :P

    • Entice

      whats ur service provider??

  • Nigel

    Why does this list the camera as 13mp when all online sellers list at 8mp with 13 interpolated???? Im confused

  • Amaso

    Got mine from Tinydeal last week and it’s really a good phone.Awesome display, very fast , extremely stylish and has a very solid ROM.

  • Bill

    Just got this phone for $30 on eBay

  • TED PARKAR

    Does not work with my current service provider (Lycamobile). Got the IMIE checked with AT&T. They say it is a 2G Phone and they cannot provide service on the handset..

    • http://www.garysims.co.uk garysims

      According to Wikipedia Lycamobile uses T-Mobile’s network which is on 1700 / 1900, so this phone won’t work on 3G with that network. AT&T are probably just being cautious as its network runs on 850 / 1900 which means you may get some 3G coverage depending on the area. However the general principle is as I wrote in the review “the 3G won’t work in the USA.”

      • TED PARKAR

        It doesn’t even get 2G signals on T-Mobile network at the place where I live…

  • Entice

    can someone please tell me if i can use this for verizon wireless network??

  • Jay

    die