New phone, bit of a disappointment – Ulefone Armor 3W

Old phone on the left – Doogee S60 and new Ulefone Armor 3W on the right
Excuse the smudgy dirty screens on both of them. Picture taken with another Doogee S60.

I kinda banged up my old rugged IP68 phone some time ago, dropped it from the night stand and it landed charging cable first, so the USB port on it was damaged. Decided to upgrade the now couple years old phone to new one as it had couple things wrong with it (couldn’t play 4K video, flash wasn’t working – during previous maintenance they failed to notice that flash light had slipped out of it spot when they had reassembled it and now the usb port was damaged).

Ulefone Armor 3W

Specs wise the new Ulefone Armor 3W should be a bit better than my old phone and almost twice as big battery. Unfortunately, only thing actually better on it seems to be the battery. Everything else is just meh.

Screen on Armor 3W isn’t your standard 16:9 aspect ratio, but 18:9 which I failed to notice, so everything is narrower. In landscape mode there just doesn’t seem to be enough height on the screen. Not a huge mark against the phone and as plus side it makes the phone easier to grasp. One handed use is still a bother however.

Speakers are way too loud. At lowest setting it is painful to listen to music in bed with the phone next to you. I find myself keeping fingers on both speakers to muffle the loud sound. Also tried and equalizer app which allowed turning the sound even lower, but that app was pretty rough looking and get closing so I assumed it was just buggy and removed it, but turns out it was Android 9’s fault.

Android 9 sucks

First annoying thing about Android 9 which I encountered was how the Split Screen feature now worked. Used to be really nice and easy on earlier Android versions, now it is a mess Watch a Youtube video, decide to check another app while still watching that video, previously you could do that without any interruptions. Now it is way more taps to activate it and the video stops when you start the split screen use. Pick the other app you wish to split screen and press play on the video. Buffering also starts again when you resume playing, so Google isn’t even being smart about it.

There is a certain lack of feeling to the design of Armor 3W. Power button, sound up/down button and the PTT buttons are somewhat mushy. And I was really wondering if the power button was getting presses from the lightest touches as I usually keep the phone in my chest pocket and the screen was constantly going on as if the power button had been pressed. Seems like it was just a stupid Android setting doing that.

Settings > Display > Advanced > “Lift to wake” was on, I turned that off and that problem stopped.

Armor 3W has a pretty blocky design, the front side looks the same both right way up and bottom up. Would be nice to see the correct way to grab it from a table. Now you pick it up and try to feel the buttons on the side, buttons are up if you are holding it the right side up.

just another stupid Android setting

Most annoying thing about the phone when I started using it was the constant closing of apps when I wasn’t using them. Made the phone seems really weak. But nope, just another stupid Android setting. Which was even more annoying to find and I found it once for one program, forgot where it was and had to spend lots of time rediscovering that setting. Settings > Smart Assistant > App blocker and turn the whole thing off or find the app that is getting closed and turn off the “Background cleanup”

Using Pulsar as my audio player, really like it btw

If that setting was on, I was walking and listening to music/podcast and I get a call, blah blah blah for while and phone ends. Audio should start playing, but nope, “smart assistant” had cleaned that and I had to go reopen that app.

I turned off couple other power saving settings off too, since battery is 10 Ah (phone makers/reviewers should start listing battery stats in Ah instead of mAh, that might make them put bigger batteries in them) big battery is nice and if you got it, you might as well use the damn thing.

Accidents the phone has suffered so far

Charging cable got munched by a visiting puppy, luckily the charger wasn’t plugged in. Had to go and buy a new USB C cable – 3 cables actually, since the first two had too large cable heads so they wouldn’t fit. The USB C port is under smallish rubber plug, so large headed cables won’t fit.

Original USB C cable on the left, the right one is too fat and won’t fit.

Bought the phone with armored glass, which has gotten first scratch on it. Surprisingly soft armored glass to be honest, wasn’t very long fall on snow and ice and middle of the screen got an annoying scratch now. In my old Doogee S60 armored glasses were really hard, but when they took heavy hits, they would crack.


Out of the box experience 2/5 stars. Change the settings I mentioned above and it is a 3/5 stars. Maybe I am a bit harsh on it due to my first experiences and it would get one star more if Android 9 wasn’t so stupid.