back to article Doogee Wowser: The S40's a terrible smartphone, but a passable projectile

Earlier this year, I reviewed arguably the worst phone I've ever used in eight years of covering tech for a living: the Doogee S40. I've always prided myself on my fairness, but I genuinely couldn't find a silver lining to this appalling waste of rare-earth metals. It had a crap screen, a weak camera, and was frustratingly slow …

  1. Gonzo wizard

    Throwing a Doogee...

    "Howser" that?

    I'll get my coat.

  2. baud

    From what I've heard, most ruggerised phones and laptop are bad, compared to what you'd get on standard kit at the same price point. The construction company where my brother work don't bother with ruggerised kit, reasoning it would be better to have the people working don't get annoyed by slow kit and it wouldn't make much of a difference budget-wise (well, that company has never been parsimonious with its money).

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Some good rugged laptops from yesterjob.

      When collecting telemetry on vehicles (see the nickname), we had a pair of Dell XPS ruggeds to run our supplier's "service tool" applications. They ran Windows 7 just fine and kept up with the data logging*.

      If they had vulnerabilities, it was the keyboard when they were open -- I rapidly descended (dropped) one of the service tool adapters (USB-to-Deustch truck connector cabling plus a block with the actual data transceivers and blinky lights) from a vehicle a height to the laptop on a low table, which partially busted the cover off the "C" key.

      I also had the pleasure of using an even newer model of Dell XPS running a full CANbus suite. Again, still fast enough to keep up with the telemetry, yet rugged enough to swing by the handle into someone's head and give them a lovely time-out**. (But no swings at the vehicle itself -- laptop loses when going against a steel hull.)

      Okay, ONE negative thing? I always needed them at full brightness due to the bright lighting in the Prototype Shop or working outside, and the battery life was crap, made worse with the sheer number of recharge cycles. They always needed to be plugged in to get any real work done. And they were HEAVY. Both of these made them less-than-fully-portable. (The heaviness was duplicated by the extra case of adapters/cables and the power supply. A walk across the building was shoulder torture.)

      * One tool saved telemetry at 4 samples per second. The other saved data points very randomly, but quickly (generally more than 4/sec), and thankfully saved time data along with it so at least I could plot it.

      ** Usually an idiot boss -- many of them weren't MY boss but I had to defer -- that continually asked "so what's the problem" and "did you fix it yet". Not that I ever made a swing, but I sure wanted to.

      1. Matt_payne666

        Re: Some good rugged laptops from yesterjob.

        I had an XPS rugged laptop as a replacemet for an aging CF-30 and it was a delight with a fast Core2duo (P9600 possibly) so fast, with a decent resolution screen... but just not as solid in any way as the Panasonic...

        Thats now long gone and Im rocking a Getac V110 which is ace! you could barely tell its a rugged from its performance, it is chunkier than a normal 13" laptop, but no bigger than a mid range 14"

        But I still have a CF-31 for when the going gets real dirty! (and a FZ-M1 tablet!) cant beat Panasonic for sheer strength - and bulk!! :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Some good rugged laptops from yesterjob.

          "cant beat Panasonic for sheer strength - and bulk!" ... You've obviously never seen my ex wife.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Some good rugged laptops from yesterjob.

          "cant beat Panasonic for sheer strength - and bulk!!"

          You got THAT right ... I used to carry a Panasonic Sr. Partner. 38 pounds of luggable (including case, modem, manuals & floppies). At least it had a built-in printer. I still have it. You get attached to the daftest things after a quarter million air-miles together.

          Mine has an MFM controller in the expansion slot, a 20 meg hard drive in one of the floppy bays, and an aftermarket hack that upped the stock 256K of RAM to a more usable768K. I used an external modem. Yes, it still works. Came with Panasonic-labeled MS-DOS 2.2, but it currently boots MS-DOS 3.3 ... It might be hard for some of the younger readers to believe, but a LOT of RealWorld[tm] work was done with such primitive devices.

      2. Shadow Systems

        At Stryker...

        Just grab a Raspberry Pi 4 with max RAM & call it a day. Now enjoy a pint while I fantasize about using an old Compaq luggable as an orbitally dropped kinetic weapon...

        *Happy sigh*

      3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Some good rugged laptops from yesterjob.

        > Dell XPS running a full CANbus suite

        CANbus will be legalised soon.

    2. lafnlab


      At work (a university) we have a cold room in our building where some people do lab work. They have a ruggedized Dell laptop of some model which is connected to a piece of lab equipment, and is kept in the cold room full time. Since the room is kept at a constant 4º C, I'm not sure a regular laptop would withstand those temperatures for years on end as that one has.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Usefulness

        A Macbook with any sort of load would self-heat to a much more managable temperature.

        1. baud

          Re: Usefulness

          That might defeat the purpose of a cold room, though

          1. The Dark Side Of The Mind (TDSOTM)

            Re: Usefulness

            "That might defeat the purpose of a cold room, though"

            Or would blow the HVAC budget.

          2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: Usefulness

            Think different

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Usefulness

        Since the room is kept at a constant 4º C, I'm not sure a regular laptop would withstand those temperatures for years on end as that one has.

        Interesting question. In the mid-1990s, I had a Toshiba laptop suffer some hard-drive problems when it sat in a freezing office1 for a week or so. That was well below 4C, though, and it did eventually return to life once it had warmed sufficiently.

        1The landlord was not particularly attentive to problems that might result from turning the heat off and leaving for an extended Christmas holiday. He had time to mull them over while replacing the bathroom plumbing in the crawlspace that January.

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      @baud - I recently bought an Ulefone Armor X5 to replace my two Note 4s that mysteriously developed the same time at the same amount of time of use*. I didn't really care what I got as long as it worked, and I am really impressed - great battery life (5000mAH) means I get up to four days between charges compared to less than one day with comparable use on either of the Notes, dual SIM or single plus SD card, waterproof etc. all for £101. There is a bit of lag on the number pad when I want to open it, but other than that it is smooth and fast**.

      * Random reboots getting worse until it they don't successfully boot at all - it looks like code corruption, and I'll try to put a custom ROM on when I get chance.

      ** No connection with company, just a pleasantly pleased customer.

  3. joeW

    We must...

    Make sure all teachers are also equipped with ruggedised smartphone bricks - the only thing that can stop a bad kid with a Doogee is a good guy with a Doogee.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: We must...

      In this modern world, it'll be the opposite ... One bad kid used a Doogee as a weapon, so all phones obviously must be banned.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We must...

        I think the joke is, not in America it won't.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: We must...

          The phones would be banned unless they were attached to an assault rifle

  4. Blockchain commentard

    Should they rename the company Dodgee?

    1. newspuppy

      learn from the masters... not dodgee... but iDodgee....

      you could even have kit... iDodgee.... uDodgee... weDodgee.......

      and..... iMissed

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Well, it's the States, so you could use it to play Doogeeball as-is.

  5. Roger Greenwood

    There was a time....

    .. when teachers would launch the blackboard rubber (eraser - a lump of wood the size of a brick) at any kid reverting to ankle biting annoyance. They usually missed but it woke us up. A rugged phone sounds like it would do the same job though.

    I used to look forward to history, now it's just a memory.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: There was a time....

      They missed with unerring accuracy. Concussing a child was frowned upon even in the good old days.

      1. rmv

        Re: There was a time....

        Not in our school. It was generally hard to tell the difference between a concussed child and those in a natural coma from having sat through one of the lessons. Most teachers threw chalk though - we only had one Latin teacher who threw board rubbers.

        He also used to line us up against the wall with our hands out. He'd go up and down the line asking questions. Get one wrong and you got whacked across the hands with a wooden ruler. Get three in a row right and you were allowed to go back to your desk.

        I now still have a negligible grasp of Latin but a surprisingly high tolerance to pain.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: There was a time....

          Reminds me of my Latin experience. Not as violent, and far less successful (perhaps there's a lesson here?), but the thrown board erasers (block of thick felt strips, backed with some sort of cardboard composite) and the resulting chalk marks on one's sport coat (yes, coat and tie) were to be avoided at all costs. Best to pay attention in class. Our History teacher never missed, but then he was the baseball coach as well.

          I expect you find the "Romanes eunt domum" scene in Life of Brian as funny as I do...

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

            Re: There was a time....

            Romani ite domum

            Please write it down CC times before lunch.

        2. Mike Moyle

          Re: There was a time....

          Yes; definitely the chalk.

          One small classroom in our Jr. High had the desks set two side-by-side, then an aisle, etc. One teacher, out of the corner of her eye caught two students seated together conversing while she was writing at the blackboard, stepped back and, with no wind-up, did this sort of elbow-and-wrist-snap bullet with the chalk that caromed off of one kid's head and into the other's. It was a thing of beauty.

          This is the teacher who (in the same class, though not the same day) stepped backwards, caught her high heel on an uneven board in the floor (1920s-vintage school building), fell backwards and landed in the wastebasket, and nobody laughed.

          She scared us.

          1. pmb00cs

            Re: There was a time....

            Scariest teacher I ever had was a quiet, kind, unassuming A-Level Chemistry teacher. She never threw anything at any of us. She did however explain, in painful detail, as if from personal experience, why it is much easier to make nitroglycerine than TNT, and not just because Toluene is toxic, and hard to come by, and that the former can easily be made in most kitchens if you know what you are doing.

            1. TDog

              Re: There was a time....

              And nitric acid isn't? Nor sulphuric acid? Presumably the kitchen because that is where the fume extractor is and a ready supply of ice. Plus of course it would have been easier to redecorate than the living room.

              1. Mike Moyle

                Re: There was a time....

                Well, automobile batteries run 30 - 50% sul[ f | ph ]uric in water, so you're that far along, anyway. ISTR the US Special Forces Improvised Munitions Handbook giving instructions for using battery acid for that purpose. (It also rather strongly recommended that you DON'T do this unless you really, REALLY need to -- but that warning pretty much holds true for ANY home-brewed explosives.)

              2. pmb00cs

                Re: There was a time....

                I don't think anyone ever dared ask why the kitchen. We all just assumed because that's where the hob was to heat everything up to the required temperature.

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: There was a time....

              Toluene is hard to come by, but we had Benzene available in our Chem lab. TNB goes boom, too.

              1. pmb00cs

                Re: There was a time....

                Yes. I know. That was explained in the same speech. From the front of the classroom. Along with the explanation as to why TNT and not TNB is used as an explosive, what with TNB being basically impossible to make. DNB also goes boom, but is less powerful and less clean as an explosive than TNT. The methyl group on the toluene lowers the energy needed to add the third nitrate group to the benzene ring to the point that you can do so without it going boom first.

                She was also quite a good chemistry teacher.

            3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

              Re: There was a time....

              My chemistry teacher grew up under German occupation in the channel islands, she didn't talk about it much (Other than a vague mention of growing potatoes under floorboards, digging them up & eating them at night (raw?), which was punishable by being taken to a camp somewhere or shot should a patrol catch wind of the operation).

              Icon - Mrs Whetman... cause you still scare the crap out of me with your mood swings (Even though I haven't thought about you for 40 years).

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: There was a time....

        "They missed with unerring accuracy."

        That, and the eraser embedded in the rear wall of the classroom were cause for "respect" for certain teachers (one of whom I had great respect for, for other reasons - he was a fantastic engineer)

      3. sbt

        Re: There was a time....

        I found they missed with the wooden handled ones, but not with the ones entirely constructed of felt.

        It's amazing I remember anything from that time.

      4. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: There was a time....

        Missed? Not at my school they didn't. It was a private boarding school, so different rules which included throwing whiteboard erasers and aiming to hit, corporal punishment (slipper, gym shoe, cane, in increasing order of severity) and other nice punishments like spend all night in the changing room standing only on one leg (and hope to whoever you believe in that you don't need to pee).

      5. Psmo

        Re: There was a time....

        I had one that would throw the blackboard duster onto the desk in front of you, wooden side down so there would be a cloud of chalk dust for a good minute or two.

      6. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: There was a time....

        They missed with unerring accuracy. Concussing a child was frowned upon even in the good old days

        Back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and my high school math class was just after lunch, my teacher had wicked aim - he could lob the eraser such that it would land on a nodding student's desk, releasing a cloud of chalk dust that woke the offender up, sneezing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There was a time....

      Back in my day we didn't have History, it was still Current Events at the time.

      *Shakes a palsied fist*

      Now get off my lawn!

      1. EVP

        Re: There was a time....

        Your comment is one of those rare ones that I don’t even dream of doing “I’ll see you and raise” xD

        Well done!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There was a time....

        Yeah, and in my Day, we had Nights, I mean Knights, no, knights!

    3. Imhotep

      Re: There was a time....

      Ahh, yes. I remember when I was dozing, teacher beaned me with the eraser. I woke up and punched the kid next to me, proving I was lazy AND stupid.

      Good times.

    4. RockBurner

      Re: There was a time....

      At our prep-school they didn't waste energy throwing the chalk-board eraser, they walked up to you and pounded you over the head with it.

      Instant old-age: white hair, coughing fits and a pounding headache.

  6. Chris G

    The phone I m writing this on is a Ulefone Armor II. About three years back I was looking for a dust and moisture proof phone. I found this for just under €200 on a Gearbest flash sale, the reviews I found on it were all good so I took a chance. 6GB of ram and 64GB rom , plus a decent processor makes it a pretty good phone.

    It has been dropped a few times working, takes reasonable pics both in and out of the water.

    The weight is a slight downside but you could describe it equally as well as being either weaponised or ruggedised.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Hah! See my comment a bit further up about the Armor X5 - very good for the price!

  7. jake Silver badge

    And with any luck ...

    ... the bully learned his lesson, and will stop bullying. It's how kids have sorted out their differences since time immemorial.

    Sadly, however, in today's world the kid teaching the lesson will be vilified by the adults, and the bully will be coddled & cured and thus will instead learn that bullying is OK.

    Will the phone stand up to being gnawed on by sheep & puppies, run over by tractors, dropped into a pot of boiling soup, and accidentally being left in the smokehouse overnight?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: And with any luck ...

      "Sadly, however, in today's world the kid teaching the lesson will be vilified by the adults, and the bully will be coddled & cured and thus will instead learn that bullying is OK."

      Unfortunately yes. This is usually what happens when the victim finally snaps, fights back and hurts the bully for a change.

      These days the bully's mates(*) are usually filming the events and share the footage though - which means that they usually end up being caught and dealt with properly

      (*) One of the defining characteristics of bullies is that they almost ALWAYS run in packs

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Throwing phones at school

    Used to be chalkboard rubbers in my day, thrown by teachers.

    My German teacher was particularly adept of hitting the children at the back of the class in the head.

    1. E_Nigma

      Re: Throwing phones at school

      I remember, when we were 12-13, my maths professor throwing the chalk at a classmate on one occasion, hitting him straight on the forehead. Then she asked for the piece of chalk to be returned and when she got it, she nailed him once more (she was a former handball player). The poor sod never said a word, he just went under the desk to fetch it again, but she said there was no need, she wouldn't do it anymore.

      Sounds terrible when I write it like this, but it was a one time thing and kind of done in jest. Also, I remember that guy form preschool and he was trouble even back then. We had a class reunion recently and at some point, as we were reminiscing about school mischief, people started remembering stuff involving him like "Remember that time you tried to throw me in the dumpster?!" It got a little awkward after 3 or 4 of such stories.

      Then again (while he was the class bully and did a number of really bad things over the years), by the time we turned 14-15, I actually realized on my own that he really wanted to fit in and not always be the bad guy. My guess is that he had been bullied himself a bit before he became the bully (he had a limp) and also that his family situation wasn't the greatest (I remember his aunt more than his parents and his aunt's son was the worst kid in my sister's class). Sadly, no one at school managed to get to him, although I believe that a couple did try, but probably with wrong methods (our principal for instance, whom I also remember for having a pick on a mate and threatening him with scissors because of his "girly" hairstyle, so, well meaning but a tad old-fashioned). The positive is that in the end he seems to have turned out a decent, regular guy.

      Geesh, have I gone on a tangent or what?!

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Throwing phones at school

        My teacher when I was ten was so accurate with chalk that he could aim for and hit ears well over 90% of the time. I think he threw the blackboard rubber for effect only - but the chalk was hurled at viciously high speeds.

        The only funny line I can remember from the Police Academy films is someone asking what the worst thing about being a teacher was. And the answer was, "not being able to carry hand grenades." Much more effective than a detention.

        As the saying goes, "if you can't beat 'em - what's the point of teaching."

  9. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    I can't help but hear this as 'Duggee'

    Which leads to this earworm in my head, you're welcome :

    1. Soruk

      Re: I can't help but hear this as 'Duggee'

      All too familiar with this, having a small child.

      Crowdfunding idea: The Duggee Stickphone.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I had a Doogee X5 max pro for about 2 years and it was a reasonable low end smartphone. But the bloatware that Doogee preinstall was full of malware which would start downloading ads and redirecting your browsing after about 2 months of using. Loads of people reported this on the Doogee forums and they never did anything about it, so in the end I had to root it and remove the offending malware myself.

    So I would not buy another Doogee phone because of that, and now use a Nokia which i only paid a little bit more for than I did the Doogee and comes with no bloatware and gets monthly securing updates.

    1. Chairo

      But the Nokia is not water proof, as I can tell from sad experience.

  11. hellwig

    Copyright Infringement?

    On the doogee site they have a background image that looks a lot like a promotional image from the Marvel Iron Man movies. Think they licensed that from Disney?

  12. David Neil

    This right here

    Is the content I come here for.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Both children were suspended as a result.

    multi-million legal case, against both kids, school, and mobile manufacturer, probably already in progress ;)

    1. Chris 15

      Re: Both children were suspended as a result.

      Careful, the ambulance chaser may decide to try and sue El Reg for their involvement. More money there etc...

      joke alert icon because IT'S NOT A SUGGESTION FOR THE LAWYER!

  14. TomPhan

    Hitting someone in the eye with a phone...

    and there was no reference to that's how you make an iPhone? What sort of journalists in El Reg hiring these days?

  15. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

    It has been rumored...

    that someone created a ruggerised version of the Noka 3330

    1. RockBurner

      Re: It has been rumored...

      We'll know about it when it comes back as V'Ger.

  16. Graham O'Brien

    N95 ballistics

    At work a few years ago I found that a Nokia N95, when launched with enough pent-up anger behind it (phone call from colleague who was being more of a total idiot than their previous impressive best), can go through a partition wall comprising 2 sheets of 12mm plasterboard while breaking up into its constituent units. I hate to think what that could have done to someone if they had got a battery in the eye...

  17. Aussie Doc


    It was actually an EyePhone, then?

    Yeah, it's in my other pocket.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At my school when the boys (single sex school) got unruly, a "game" of staff vs boys dodgeball was instigated, using the football sized tennis balls that were all the rage at the time.

    The boys that were the "ringleaders" seemed to unerringly catch a full on volley straight to the face from the (used to be a professional footballer) sports master every time...

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