There are a vast number of different white label Android smartphone makers from China, however Doogee is one brand which often appears for sale online. Recently I had a chance to test two models, the Doogee Turbo and the Doogee Pixels, and now I have managed to get my hands on a Doogee Valencia DG800. The DG800 stands out from the crowd for several reasons. First it only costs $113, second it has an interesting touch panel on the back, third it includes a 13MP super wide angle camera, and lastly it runs Android 4.4 KitKat.
But just what can you expect from a phone that costs less than $115? I took the phone through its paces and this is what I discovered.
For its price, the Doogee Valencia has some impressive specs including a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. To squeeze all that into its price point, the phone only sports a QHD display (960×540), however for a budget phone that isn’t really a problem. Here is a look at the rest of the specs:
|Display||4.5-inch IPS QHD (960 x 540)|
|Processor||1.3GHz MT6582 Quad Core|
|Storage||8GB, microSD card slot, up to 32GB|
|Camera||13 Megapixel Rear Camera & 8 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera|
|Connectivity||GPS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth|
|Networks||3G/WCDMA: 850/2100 MHz|
|Software||Android 4.4 with Google Play|
|Dimensions||138 x 67 x 9 mm|
|SIM slots||1x Normal SIM, 1x Micro SIM|
The design of the Doogee Valencia is simple. It could be said to resemble a white version of the iPhone 3GS, but without the curved back. The front of the phone is black with a bar at the bottom for the capacitive keys. The top of the phone houses the front facing camera and the earpiece speaker grill. The back cover envelop the rest of the phone including all the edges. So much so that the power and volume keys are part of the back cover, well the physical bits anyway. 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.
On the back of the phone (incorporated into the cover) is a touch panel. It allows you to swipe and scroll using your index finger while holding the phone and without touching the screen. The good news is that it actually works. Since I am not used to there being a rear touch panel, I found that I often forgot to use it. But when I did remember to use it, it worked as described. It is especially useful when reading eBooks or reading long web pages.
Clearly the device has been designed so that it is easy to manufacture. But that doesn’t mean it looks bad, it may not be “stylish” but there is an elegance in its simplicity.
The Doogee Valencia uses the same MediaTek MT6582 processor as the Doogee Turbo and the Doogee Pixels. It scores 17,645 on AnTuTu, a result very similar to its cousins. Putting that into some context, it means that AnTuTu ranks this handset as just slightly slower than a Samsung Galaxy S3. Not bad for a device which only costs $113. Overall the phone performed well and there was no lags or annoying pauses. It felt as fluid and usable as many of the Android devices I have tested.
A quick test using Epic Citadel showed that the Doogee Valencia can manage an average of 60.2 frames per second at 960 x 55 in high quality mode. Clearly having less pixels to control means the device can handle all of those 3D graphics much easier.
The battery in the Doogee Valencia is reported as being a 2000mAh unit, however something is amiss. When I tested the device for 3D gaming, I found that it could only run Epic Citadel for 1.6 hours on one charge. That is the worse result I have ever seen. Streaming YouTube works for about 2.5 hours, and watching a MP4 which is stored locally works for around 3.5 hours before you need to find a charger. The final test was MP3 performance. My testing showed that you could get about 8 hours of MP3 playback. However, one good aspect of the batteries performance is that overnight it loses very little charge.
What are the reasons for this? It could be that the battery size has been exaggerated, or maybe my unit could have a defective battery. It could be that the firmware needs tweaking. Since this is the first Android 4.4 phone I have seen coming from a budget device maker, maybe there is something wrong with the firmware. The Doogee Turbo, which runs Android 4.2, has a smaller battery than the Doogee Valencia and yet better battery performance. Whatever the reason the battery performance is something to watch out for.
Because the Doogee Valencia runs Android 4.4 it is able to run Google’s official camera app. So basically I ignored the built-in app and worked only with Google’s offering, lens blur and all. The Valencia features a super wide angle 13MP camera. According to the blurb it has a “wide angle of 88 degrees”. That isn’t the normal way that photographs describe wide-angled lens, but I guess we get the idea.
As for the pictures themselves, I was quite impressed, especially when you remember the price point. Here are a few shots from the camera, judge for yourself:
The Valencia is a 3G budget 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.
The Doogee Valencia runs Android 4.4 and it is good to see a budget Chinese device with Android KitKat. The only difference between vanilla Android 4.4 and the version running on the Valencia seems to be the launcher. It isn’t the stock KitKat Launcher and is probably the same one as used on Doogee’s other devices. 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 extra gesture functionality. Called “Smart somatosensory” you can configure the gestures for the gallery, to move between pictures; for the music player, to move between songs; for the camera, to take pictures; for the launcher, to move to the next page; and for the unlock screen. The unlock screen gesture seemed to work reasonably well, but the other gestures were basically useless.
There is also a section in the settings to configure the back touch panel. The options are: Long press in the camera app to switch cameras, click in the camera app to take a picture, and double-tap to open a selected app.
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
It is hard to find fault with the Doogee Valencia when you consider its price. A quad-core processor, 1GB of memory, a 13MP camera and a 4.5 inch display for just $113. You get Android 4.4 and the neat little touch panel on the back. However there are some weaknesses, especially the battery life. As long as you remember that you get what you pay for, then the Valencia is a bit of a bargain! You can get a Doogee Valencia from Chinavasion.