We tested one of the fastest rugged phones currently available from Ulefone, the Ulefone Armor 7, which is a lot better than its predecessors. Fortunately, the initial high price is a thing of the past, now the excellent value-for-money mobile phone can be taken for about $300. The big question is whether the new model is worth that much.
The Ulefone Armor 7 was released last November, replacing the previous 6 series. The new Ulefone rugged phone shows progress in many ways: it also got a bigger display, faster hardware and a better camera, while the price barely went up.
Rugged phones are gaining ground around the world as they come to the market today with the right hardware and camera. And water, dust and shock resistance can be an advantage in many areas where your phone can be damaged more easily. Among the Far Eastern manufacturers, in addition to Ulefone, there are currently similar survival mobiles among Blackview, DOOGEE and HOMTOM products. But it can be said that Ulefone products are sought after and used by most people today.
Until a month ago, the Ulefone Armor 7 was the manufacturer’s most expensive and knowledgeable mobile phone, but the recently released Ulefone Armor 9 was bidding a little above, both in terms of knowledge and price.
The Ulefone Armor 7 is currently available for purchase for $339 from the GearBest store, but was already available for $300 in a previous promotion. There is not much competition in this price range, perhaps the DOOGEE S95 Pro can be highlighted, which is similar in knowledge and does not differ in price. Of the Blackview phones on our site, the Blackview BV9800 is a little weaker in hardware, and we can hardly find a store to buy at the moment. Only the Blackview BV9900 has similar specifications, but is not available in better-known online stores, and is much more expensive at the moment.
In-house, it’s worth mentioning, the Ulefone Armor 7E, released in March this year, which, although with less memory (4GB), is available at a much better price. Available at around $220, the mobile is, in my opinion, one of the best value rugged mobiles currently on the market.
The Ulefone Armor 7 rugged phone in our test was purchased from the GearBest store, where it is currently available for $339.99.
You can access the promotion on GearBest:
BUY ULEFONE ARMOR 7
Ulefone Armor 7 – Design
The manufacturer doesn’t encrypt much of the packaging lately, who has already read a test on Ulefone Armor mobile from us or even elsewhere, it may certainly be familiar with the yellow-black unit packaging. The box is simple and clean, with only the product name and version number on the front, while the main parameters of the Ulefone Armor 7 can be read on the back.
In the box we first find the phone itself, while underneath the various accessories are hidden. This time, Ulefone has packed almost all the accessories we may need during use:
- Charging adapter (5V / 3000mA)
- USB Type-C charging cable
- USB Type-C OTG adapter
- USB Type-C – 3.5mm Jack Converter
- USB Type-C – Micro USB converter
- Replacement rubber seals for Type-C connector
- SIM needle
- Wrist Strap
- 9H glass foil
The device weighs 290 grams, and that’s not just because of the large battery. The phone is surrounded by a thick plastic, metal and rubber cover, which is a prerequisite for impact resistance. In order to be waterproof, we find rubber covers at the physical openings, which should only be removed when charging or replacing the SIM.
The Ulefone Armor 7 has IP68 / IP69K protection, but the new model has also received the so-called MIL-STD-810G standard.
The device comes with a 6.3-inch FHD + (1080×2340 pixels) resolution IPS display with Gorilla Glass 5 glass panes, with a 16-megapixel front-facing camera that extends in a drop shape at the top. Also in the upper area you will find the speaker, various sensors and the notification LED
There is plenty to see on the back: here you will find the imaging system consisting of three lenses (48MP + 16MP + 2MP), the ecta strong flash with five LEDs, the heart rate monitor, the air pressure monitor and the noise-canceling microphone. It is important to note that the composition of the back cameras has changed since its release. In the case of the device included in our test, the secondary cameras have a resolution of 16 MP + 2MP, while the newer version of the Ulefone Armor 7 model has only 2MP + 2MP detail of the same units. In fact, anyone who uses the main camera primarily will not even notice this shortcoming.
On the left side of the phone you will find the tray that accepts two SIM (nano) or SIM + MicroSD cards, a special function key and the text Shockproof, which reminds us that this phone is shockproof. When you press the function key, we can set in the system what action to perform or what application to start immediately.
To the right, toward Waterproof and to the side fingerprint reader, are the standard controls: power and volume controls.
Below you will find only the speech microphone and the default USB Type-C connector. Due to the water resistance, this socket is also very small, but it has moved inwards, so unfortunately not all of them can be charged with a Type-C cable. Comparing the one provided by the manufacturer and my own cable, I could hardly find any difference in length, yet only the manufacturer’s cable slid perfectly into place.
Surprisingly, we can find proximity and light sensors on the top of the phone that, despite their weird placement, worked perfectly during the test.
The 3.5mm audio connector is also lagging behind this time, who would use the mobile with a Jack headset can bridge the problem with the included adapter (USB Type C -> Jack).
Ulefone Armor 7 – Hardware
The Ulefone Armor 7, as I mentioned above, got very strong hardware when viewed in long-distance phone circles. Instead of the Helio P70 in Ulefone Armor 6, this time a more advanced and faster MediaTek system chip has been added to the back cover. The eight-core MediaTek Helio P90 SoC with 12nm manufacturing technology is found, working with Cortex A55 (6) and A75 (2) cores that can work at a maximum clock speed of 2.2 GHz.
The Helio P90 has also made great strides in artificial intelligence calculations: more than four times the acceleration (1165 GMAC/s) compared to its predecessor (280 GMAC/s).
The device runs more modern 3D games with ease thanks to the upgraded IMG Power VR GM 9446 graphics processor.
In addition to the MediaTek system chip, 8GB of LPDDR4X internal memory and lightning-fast 128GB UFS 2.1 storage ensure a flexible, seamless system run. Of course, the storage can be expanded this time as well, with the help of a Micro SD card of up to 256 GB, which takes the place of the second SIM card.
The table below shows the differences between the latest Armor devices:
|Armor 6S||Armor 7||Armor 7E|
|CPU||Helio P70||Helio P90||Helio P90|
|Memory||6 GB||8 GB||4 GB|
|Storage||128 GB||128 GB||128 GB|
|Battery||5000 mAh||5500 mAh||5500 mAh|
|Weight||267 g||290 g||290 g|
|Camera||16MP + 2MP||48MP + 16MP + 8MP||48MP + 2MP + 2MP|
|Price||259,99 $||339,99 $||219 $|
The advantage of the Helio P90 can be felt in the tests, it performed about 15-20% better in the synthetic tests than its predecessor Helio P70. Moreover, there is even greater development in 3D applications and games.
The graph below illustrates the results of each test on the three most recent Ulefone Armor mobiles, i.e. the differences between the Helio P60, Helio P70 and Helio P90 processors:
You can see the detailed results of the tests below:
Ulefone Armor 7 – Software
Ulefone Armor 7 has received a multilingual Android 9 operating system, security updates have been in place since March, no further patches or system updates have arrived on the device.
Of the 128GB of internal storage, the system takes up 9GB after the first boot, so there’s plenty of room for apps or our own personal files. Thanks to the 8 GB of system memory and the advanced eight-core Helio P90 system chip, the system is extremely fast, it doesn’t have any problems at all, the programs load quickly. Thanks to the large memory, you can run several applications at the same time without closing it in the background. Switching between already open programs is fast and hassle-free.
The screenshots were taken in Hungarian because I wrote the original test in Hungarian. Unfortunately, English-language screenshoot is now missing.
In addition to the factory applications, Ulefone has also installed a so-called “Outdoor Toolbox” application package on the system, which includes the pressure gauge (Pressure) in addition to the usual measuring tools. Unfortunately, these have not been translated into Hungarian anymore, but the icons will soon reveal which one is suitable for what.
We also find a separate application for heart rate measurement, the strange-sounding “Heart Rate”, which determines our heart rate quite accurately, using a sensor on the back.
Using the separate function button on the left side of the Ulefone Armor 7, you can launch and control any installed application. You can select the “Smart Button” option in the settings to specify what to do after pressing the button. With a single button, you can add up to three actions, depending on how many times and how you pressed it: single, double, or long.
Ulefone Armor 7 – Communication
In terms of data communication, the features include all the extras we may need for everyday use. Ulefone Armor 7 is primarily designed for the global market, and accordingly handles almost all 3G and 4G LTE networks excellently. In the case of LTE networks, there is no speed complaint (Cat 12 (DL) / Cat-13 (UL) (FDD / TDD)), and we also receive VoLTE support. The quality of the conversations over the 4G network during the test was impeccable, both on the part of the recipient and the called party.
The Wi-Fi module can also connect to dual-band, 2.4 and 5 GHz networks without any problems. While I had the phone, I used it many times on my home wireless network, the signal strength was perfect, and I didn’t experience dropping it off the network.
In addition, there is NFC support and Bluetooth 5.0, all of which worked perfectly during the test period.
I tried navigation both in and out of town, the satellite signals (GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo) were always found quickly, the positioning was fast and stable. Of the Ulefone Armor mobiles tested so far, this model has performed the best while navigating.
Ulefone Armor 7 – Cameras
The new Ulefone rugged phone has improved a lot in photography: this time with a very serious 48 megapixel Samsung GM1 1/2 “sensor behind the primary lens, which thanks to its extremely good aperture value (f/1.7) can be used even after dark. the 48-megapixel ultra-high-resolution (8000×6000) mode, which is best chosen if you want to capture a lot of detail when taking a single photo. we get a much sharper, more beautiful end result.
The secondary camera in version 2019 is a 16-megapixel, 1.12μm, 1/3.1 “sensor (S5K39P) called a night camera. This is represented by a small moon pictogram in the camera app.
The third imager is an 8-megapixel telephoto camera, type S5K4H7, with a 1.12μm, 1/4 “sensor size, which allows us to achieve nearly twice the optical magnification compared to the primary camera.
It is worth mentioning that this time we are really talking about real cameras, the changes between the units can be clearly seen in the camera software.
In the 2020 edition, the manufacturer has carved a bit on manufacturing costs: in the new version, the composition of the three cameras has changed significantly. Fortunately, the primary Samsung unit was not harmed, but the two secondary cameras were replaced. Both the 16-megapixel and 8-megapixel cameras have been replaced by a 2-megapixel piece. They certainly wanted to carve out manufacturing costs with this.
Unfortunately, I was not completely satisfied with the quality of the pictures, I was able to take good pictures with the main camera during the day. The camera quickly found the focus, the captured images are rich in detail and good quality. Of the Category B mobile manufacturers I have had so far, the Ulefone Armor 7 camera has been the best so far, which also means that fortunately the development is visible, even if not at the same pace as we were used to at the more reputable manufacturers.
However, there were also cases when the camera unfortunately could not perform well: where the software should have been a little, there was unfortunately the camera bleeding. Unfortunately, it’s still true that it’s not enough that your phone has a camera with a very good image sensor, you need a well-written software that can take advantage of its capabilities. Because of this deficiency, it has happened quite a few times, especially in very bright areas, that parts of the images have burned out or were just too dark.
In the evening, after dark, it made sense to still take photos thanks to the bright sensor, but focusing was already slower and more difficult.
We can also record videos in 4K resolution with the help of the back camera, but then no stabilization is available, so practically not enjoying the hand-held shots. The situation is the same with the front camera, although the maximum resolution is only FullHD.
Ulefone Armor 7 – Battery
The Armor 7 phone has a 5500mAh battery, which is a 10 percent capacity increase over its predecessors. The display size, on the other hand, has increased, if not much, but it still affects the operating time. In our previous test, the Ulefone Armor 6S performed approximately 11 hours in the PCMark: Work 2.0 battery meter program. To a minor surprise, this result could not be corrected by the Ulefone Armor 7, and even closed a slightly weaker time of 10 hours 26 minutes.
The 5V / 3000mA charger included in the box is the most suitable for charging the large battery, which allows you to charge your mobile phone in about 2 hours. The Ulefone Armor 7 also supports wireless charging with up to 10 W of power. The box does not include a wireless charger, if you want to take advantage of this extra feature, you may want to get one for your home.
The Ulefone Armor 7 is one of the best rugged phones on the market, usually durable, with excellent resistance to water and dust, and withstands minor falls. Thanks to the Helio P90, it also grew in hardware for the big ones, during the test the system worked smoothly, the applications ran quickly and without any problems. Thanks to the more powerful graphics processor, it is also perfectly suitable for gaming, it ran all of the newer games I tried perfectly. And thanks to the large battery, I didn’t have to reach for the charger even after several hours of intense play.
Overall, the device is performing very well, compared to the last Armor 6S I have seen. The camera is strange to describe it this way, but it is also a strength and weakness of the new Ulefone phone, as it has improved a lot compared to its predecessors, but compared to a Redmi mobile phone, for example, you can still feel the lag.
On the downside, I would mention the lack of software support. I received the last update of my mobile software at the end of March 2020, and since then the manufacturer has not released another one.
Is the Ulefone Armor 7 worth $300-340? In my opinion, no! Currently, I think the mobile is still overpriced for what it would be worth buying, at around $250-270.
In terms of value for money, I would rather recommend the Ulefone Armor 7E mobile phone, which is almost identical to the 7 model, with the difference that we only find 4GB of internal memory in it. However, the price is much cheaper, as it can be purchased for $220 in a running promotion.
While writing the test, the newer Ulefone Armor 9 with thermal imager was also released, taking it to another level in the world of rugged phones. For now, however, it is not known whether a thermal camera model equipped with nearly similar hardware is worth the nearly $ 150 surcharge. We hope to test the new model in the future, and then we will be able to answer this question as well.
Ulefone Armor 7 is available in several stores, a list of which can be found on our website, in the phone’s data sheet. The subject of our test came to us from the GearBest store. You can also purchase the updated 2020 model (now only available) via the link below:
BUY ULEFONE ARMOR 7
Price: 339.99 USD