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.

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