While Chinese companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, and OnePlus are making waves at the high-end of the Android smartphone market, some of the lesser known Chinese brands are tackling the low to medium end. One brand which I have often seen for sale is Doogee, but I have never had a chance to test one. However I have managed to get my hands on the Doogee Homtom HT6 and I have been playing with it for a few days to see what Doogee can bring to the table.
This is budget device, costs less than $150 and runs on MediaTek’s 64-Bit processor archetecture.
The HT6 is dual-SIM, one regular and one micro, and have all the standard connectivity options you would expect on budget devices. There is Wi-Fi ( 802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, 2G GSM and 3G. The HT6 supports 3G on 900 and 2100MHz. The latter of the two frequencies 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. Unfortunately the 3G won’t work in the USA, however standard GSM calls should work. You need to check with your carrier to ensure compatibility or if you trust Wikipedia then the List of UMTS networks page could have the information you need.
Doogee Homtom HT6 Specs
|Display||5.5-inch IPS OGS 720p HD (1280 x 720)|
|Processor||1-GHz MTK6735 Quad Core 64-bit|
|Storage||16-GB, microSD card slot, up to 32GB|
|Camera||8 Megapixel Rear Camera (13MP Interpolation) & 2 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera (5MP Interpolation)|
|Connectivity||GPS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth|
|Networks||3G/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz|
|Software||Android 5.1 Lollipop with Google Play|
|Dimensions||15.38 x 7.7 x 0.99 cm
The front of the phone is black with a bar at the bottom for the soft keys and room at the top for the front facing camera and the earpiece speaker grill. The top and the bottom edges continue in black while the sides are a metal-grey. The micro USB port and the headphone jack are on the top, on the left side is the power button and on the right are the volume controls. The bottom edge only has a small hole for the microphone.
The back cover is a dimpled plastic (which comes in a variety of colors). Although it is a shiny plastic, the coloring and the dimples make it look at lot more up market, also it doesn’t easily slip from the hand. The back cover starts to curve towards the edges but the middle part is flat. The right-angled corners combined with the devices straight lines give the phone a tech look and feel, it shouts functional. But overall the design works because it looks like a “smart” device.
The MediaTek MT6735 is one of MediaTek’s popular 64-bit quad-core processors. It is clocked at 1-GHz and includes the ARM Mali-T720 GPU running at 500 MHz. The Doogee HT6 scores 17064 on AnTuTu, just slightly slower than a Samsung Galaxy S3. Not bad for a budget device. My experience while using the device reflected the benchmark scores, it was fast, fluid and never suffered any noticeable lags during normal usage.
At 6,520-mAh it could be thought of as being one of the largest, especially since it needs to power the 5.5 inch 720p HD display. 3D gaming is unfortunately the weakest aspect of the batteries performance. Running a test with Epic Citadel shows that the phone can really only handle about 2 hours of intensive 3D gaming. The battery also gets quite warm during 3D gameplay, so much so that the phone actually displayed a warning message about the battery heat!
Thankfully the situation isn’t so bad for other types of usage. You can watch a movie, stored on the phone, for around four hours. The phone can stream YouTube videos for around three hours. You will be able to listen to locally stored MP3 files for around 48 hours on one charge and the device has a 3G talk time of around 12 hours, the 2G talk time is likely to be longer.
The rear-camera has an 8MP sensor and uses software interpolation to generate 13MP pictures. The pictures are quite remarkable for the price of this device. The camera takes vibrant pictures and works well for quasi-macro shots, I was able to get a good focus lock on objects even when quite close. The flower picture below demonstrates this the best. The built-in camera app includes features like face detection, HDR, continuous shooting and panorama. Overall I was impressed.
Here are a few shots from the camera:
The phone runs Android 5.9.1 Lollipop. That version of Android doesn’t exist in either an official or unofficial capacity, so my only guess is that this is a custom build for these devices and to differentiate it from other builds the software engineers at Doogee (or maybe at MediaTek) bumped the minor version number up to 9. In terms of functionality the phone is certainly Android 5.1 and I didn’t find any compatibility issues during testing.
One difference from stock Android and Android 5.9.1 is the launcher. It isn’t clear if the launcher is the stock one from Android, however it looks different. But, it could just be a different icon pack. 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.
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
Competition at the low-end of the smartphone market is certainly heating-up. Nokia’s range of Android-based phones start at $120, and the newly announced Moto E costs just $130. At $140, the Doogee Homtom HT6 is more expensive than both Nokia’s and Motorola’s offering, but it is cheaper than the Moto G. With a 5.5 inch 720p HD display and a quad-core processor the HT6 is superior (in terms of specs) to the Nokia X or the Moto E, and the bigger display gives it an advantage over the Moto G. However the large battery could be a deciding factor for some users.