Spoločnosť Ulefone is perhaps less known in our region. The brand focuses mainly on affordable equipment with a good price-performance ratio. New smartphone Ulefone Armor 9 however, it offers a powerful and armored body with high resistance, a large 6600 mAh or an interesting thermal camera.
In the editorial office, we decided to test this smartphone so that we could evaluate for ourselves what equipment it actually offers. This is his review.
Ulefone Armor 9: Where to buy?
We ordered a smartphone for the editorial office Ulefone Armor 9 through the popular e-shop Aliexpress.com. We ordered the equipment on September 27, 2020 from an EU warehouse and it was delivered to our home on October 5, 2020. The total delivery thus took only 8 calendar days.
However, it is also available at a bargain at the Banggood store. If you want to order a cheaper variant from China, be sure to choose Banggood with EU Priority Line transport. With EU warehouses, you do not pay extra fees in any store.
Ulefone Armor 9
There is no extra charge for EU Priority Line.
We recommend choosing the EU Priority Line, where you will not pay extra. Customs fees and any VAT will be handled directly by you. Shipping can be selected in the cart after entering the delivery address. EU Priority Line delivery typically takes approximately 15 days, but may take longer.
Packaging: Ulefone will please you with accessories
smartphone Ulefone Armor 9 comes to your home in a box of standard dimensions, which already reminds in its design of the high durability of this device. The yellow box with the name of the device also shows the basic technical specifications of this device.
Right on top of the box, after unpacking, there is a smartphone Ulefone Armor 9 wrapped in protective foil. Below is a brief paper manual and even a protective glass for the display directly from the manufacturer.
In the lower part of the package there are accessories in the form of a durable charging cable with a USB type C connector, there is a fast 18W charger, reduction from USB - C to USB - A, but also reduction from USB - C to microUSB.
Our version also included extra accessories. It comes in the form of a durable case, which further underlines the power and durability of the device, as well as a practical carabiner for carrying in extreme conditions or attaching to a belt.
The endoscope set is also interesting. That is, a thin and long tube that contains optics for displaying the camera's shooting results in tight spaces. These accessories can be easily connected to the device via the connector on the side.
A truly powerful device of the brand Ulefone definitely not for everyone. The dimensions of this durable smartphone have stopped at 168,2 x 82 x 15 mm and its weight is consequently an incredible 320 grams. And we are talking about dimensions and weight without accessories such as a case, endoscope or carabiner for attachment.
The front contains a 6,3 ″ display with relatively wide frames, but this display has a protective film at least from the factory. Above the display there is a group of sensors, a front camera in a cut-out in the display, as well as a speaker intended for telephony. Control buttons are traditional, software.
The left side edge contains a combination of armored rubber material and metal materials. There are buttons for volume control, a button that can be customized to trigger various software actions, as well as a group of pins for connecting accessories (endoscope connection).
On the right side, there is then a SIM card slot (Hybrid DualSIM) or memory card. There is also a metal button to turn on the device and a fingerprint reader located on the side edge of the smartphone.
The upper side is covered with rubber material and under the protective cover it offers a standard 3,5 mm audio connector for connecting wired headphones. The situation is similar on the bottom, under the protective cover there is a universal USB type C (USB OTG) connector designed for charging and connecting to a computer.
Increased durability of the structure
However, the back of the smartphone is unique. It has a rubber material and shows a number of screws, which underline the durable focus of this smartphone. In the upper half is the square module of the rear cameras. Three photographic sensors are complemented by a specific thermal camera. Below this module there is also a quadruple LED flash.
In the lower half there is also a recycling label, an IP 68 resistance label and the manufacturer's logo. At the bottom edge there is also a slight protrusion for placing the loop. The durable construction is also certified by the aforementioned IP 68 certification (1,5 meters underwater within 30 minutes), but also by the MIL-STD-810G certification. The manufacturer also declares resistance to falls from a height of 1,2 meters.
Display: Standard IPS panel
The display panel is a very important feature of every smartphone. In this case, we have a large 6,3 ″ IPS LCD panel with an aspect ratio of 19,5: 9 and Full HD + resolution (2340 x 1080 pixels). The display occupies about 70% of the front wall, it is a lower number, but it is due to the massive frames around the display.
The screen itself will offer a fineness of 409 ppi, which is not bad at all. We also have a protective glass with anti-scratch protection and an oleophobic layer to help prevent fingerprints.
We were very satisfied with the display during testing. It is an IPS panel that offers realistic colors, very good viewing angles, but also a suitable minimum brightness when used in the evening or at night. Nevertheless, the manufacturer could still work a little on maximum brightness, which would improve the use outdoors. In this case, however, we must also take into account the price of this device.
Performance: MediaTek that you don't have to be ashamed of
In terms of performance, an eight-core MediaTek Helio P90 processor (2 x 2,2 GHz Cortex-A75 + 6 x 2,0 GHz Cortex-A55) codenamed MT6779 is available. It is a processor of medium resp. upper middle class produced by 12 nm technology, while it is also supplemented by a graphics chip PowerVR GM9446.
In our region, it may be a slightly unknown combination, but the smartphone certainly does not have to be ashamed of its performance. We did not experience any performance issues during testing, even with simple multitasking.
The smartphone can also handle more graphically demanding mobile games from the Play Store in medium detail. The attached results of the AnTuT benchmark tests can provide you with a better overview of performance.
Memory: UFS 2.1 storage and microSDXC card
The equipment of this device is also supplemented by 8 GB of RAM memory, from which the system and the superstructure will cut approximately 2-3 GB as standard in standard use. In terms of internal storage, 128 GB of older UFS 2.1 storage is available. Although it has a lower speed than modern UFS 3.0 or UFS 3.1 storage, we must again take into account the price of the smartphone.
After the first start-up, the Android system and the local superstructure take up approximately 10 GB of the total storage. However, this is a reasonable choice of storage size by the manufacturer, which should suffice for the vast majority of users. To expand the storage, it is also possible to use a hybrid slot for a microSDXC card (use with only one SIM card) or the included reduction to a USB "flash" drive.
As far as the security of the device is concerned, the main element is in particular the standard capacitive fingerprint sensor, which is located in the right side edge of the smartphone. Yes, it's true that Android also natively supports face unlocking, in which case only the front camera is used for verification, so we recommend replacing this form of security with fingerprints.
The sensor itself is stored relatively low, under the button to turn the device on and off. At first glance, this may seem to be a disadvantage, but given the massive body of the device, it is a reasonable location. The sensor is easy to feel with your right thumb, even if the smartphone is stored in a thick protective case.
The responses of this fingerprint reader were very fast. The sensor responded without problems to the first attempt and managed even fine grease or moisture on the fingers. The speed of this sensor can be compared to standard capacitive sensors located on the back of competing devices, its use was really no problem.
Android + superstructure from the manufacturer
Ulefone did not complicate the situation too much in terms of software. There is still a relatively current operating system Android 10, which is complemented by a slight graphical superstructure from the manufacturer. The home screen is modified (following the example of other Chinese manufacturers, all available applications are distributed on the screens), as well as the notification bar and the list of settings menus.
However, Android is already original in the settings themselves, and there is also a Google screen on the far left of the home screen. The system as such was suitably optimized, we did not notice a problem during use or in simple multitasking. In addition to English, the Android system is also available in Slovak, but the translation in the superstructure from the manufacturer had reservations.
If the phone has already asked for an extra second, it was when you started the camera or launched one of the reinstalled applications. These were not perfectly optimized and in this case we encountered hesitation. It was mainly an application for an endoscope or a thermal camera. The manufacturer has pre-installed about a dozen of its own applications for the calculator and sound recording.
If we should highlight another negative in the chapter on the operating system, it is security or. security updates from the manufacturer. The smartphone is offering a security package from Google as of May 05, 2020, and no further updates were available during testing.
Camera: 64 MPx main ISOCELL sensor
Photographic equipment of the model Ulefone Armor 9 is practically unique, not only in our, but also in the global sales market. For rear cameras, a pair of sensors is available. The main one has a resolution of 64 MPx (f / 1.9) and is also equipped with PDAF focusing. This is the well-known Samsung ISOCELL GW1 sensor, which is complemented by a 2 MPx depth sensor with a "bokeh" effect.
Rear cameras offer support for 1080p (30 fps) video, but for better stabilization we recommend using 720p recording. We were not very satisfied with the resulting recording, and if you definitely need a stable video, we recommend connecting a tripod or small "tripod". The front camera is located in a notch in the display and its resolution has stopped at 8 MPx (f / 2.2). The front camera also supports 1080p (30 fps) video.
Full-size original photos are available at the following link.
The resulting photographs were usable especially in daylight. In full resolution of 64 MPx you will get more details, but it is necessary to count on cooler colors and the resulting higher photo size. In addition, as the light decreases, the sharpness of the images decreases and noise increases. The smartphone recorded poor results in night photography, where the ambient light was insufficient.
Specific thermal camera and endoscope
However, the photographic features of this smartphone are also specifically focused on the accessories. In this case, we also had a thermal camera available for testing (5 MPx + thermal sensor) and even an endoscope with a length of two meters (connection via pins on the side edge of the smartphone).
As far as the thermal imager is concerned, this is a very interesting feature and it needs to be launched via the integrated MyFLIR application. This application is slightly worse optimized and sometimes asks for an extra second to start, but also to use. However, the application offers various modes for the thermal imager, including localized temperature measurement or the average result of the measured temperature.
We see the use of this camera especially in working, construction or tourist or camping conditions. The accuracy of the measured temperature has a deviation of approximately +/- 1 degree Celsius from the temperature of the human body. However, the camera is not directly designed for this measurement. Looking at the interior photo (23,8 ° C), the temperature matched the Mi Smart Temperature sensor from Xiaomi.
An interesting accessory, however, is the endoscope. This two-meter camera is connected to the smartphone via pins and has its own application called Endoscope. This application is also not fully optimized (just like MyFLIR).
We were not even happy with the attachment of the endoscope, which tended to disconnect. The camera has a low resolution and its image has a relatively high noise. Nevertheless, the working use of these accessories is undeniable.
Connectivity: Standard 4G / LTE smartphone
In terms of connectivity, the traditional LTE connection is now available (Cat12 600/150 Mbps, channels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66). Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac is also available, as well as Bluetooth 5.0 technology. As for location, we did not notice any problems with it and GPS, A-GPS, BDS, GLONASS and GALILEO are available.
The smartphone contains an NFC chip, which can be used, for example, for mobile payments via Google Pay. We tested this service and the addition of the card, as well as the payment itself, worked on our local terminals without any problems. It will please FM radio with RDS and recording, as well as a universal USB type C connector with support for the USB OTG function.
Battery life: 6600 mAh battery
The device offers a battery with a total capacity of up to 6600 mAh. It is a really powerful device in terms of thickness and weight, and the resulting capacity corresponds to this. The battery can be charged via a fast 18W cable charge. The smartphone does not support wireless or reverse charging.
The resulting endurance ranged from 1 to 3 days, depending on use. Heavy use, including playing mobile games for an hour, making an hour-long phone call and watching Full HD videos for an hour, stopped endurance at the level of 1,5 - 2 days. With simple and more moderate use, the life of this large battery can be easily extended for 2-3 days.
Final evaluation: Ulefone Armor 9
What to add at the end. In terms of resilience, it is Ulefone Armor 9 truly top equipment, which will be appreciated especially by employees in dusty and humid environments, but also by tourists in difficult terrain. In terms of performance, it is true that a smartphone would deserve more, but even with this chipset it is well usable.
If you are looking for a durable smartphone for extreme conditions, even with optional accessories, and you do not want to leave your entire payment for such a smartphone, we recommend that you buy it. It is precisely these conditions that meet the imaginary target group of customers of this device.