Doogee (Almost) makes the phone we always wanted

MWC 2024: Big battery, thermal camera, and semi-ruggedized

Doogee LogoIt looks like Doogee finally made something really close to the phone SemiAccurate always wanted. There is a backstory to this, and a few other devices to talk about, but we are finally getting close.

Lets start out with the history lesson. For several years now SemiAccurate has been using a phone instead of an SLR because, well, it is more than good enough to do the job we need it to. For even more years, SemiAccurate has been running out of battery charge in daily use, even more frequently at an event or a show. So like everyone in the world we carry around a USB battery to mitigate the issue. For full disclosure we tend to use Anker devices and recently replaced a massive 10K mAh beast with a much smaller Anker 10K power bank to supplement a 5K one. This usually gets us through the day at a show like MWC.

That said it is annoying to carry all these little bricks of high density energy, not to mention the social stigma of the wire while charging. I will wait for those who know me to stop laughing about the social stigma bit. Nice weather eh? How about that local sports team, they sports well this season, eh? Tap tap tap. OK, enough time, back to the point.

For years every time I got in front of a phone designer or exec, I asked them to make me a phone. They would then ask me what I wanted so I would pull out whatever phone was in my pocket and say, “this but twice as thick and stuff the rest with a battery so it would last several days of real world use or a day at a show”. They would immediately respond that no one would buy it because it is too thick. I would then point out that their phone has a case and many have a stand, credit card holder, or other bits so thickness doesn’t seem to be an issue in the real world.

The conversation would immediately turn to weight, basically no one would every carry around such a heavy device. I then asked if they carried a battery pack at the show and the response was nearly 100% yes. Then I ask about the efficiency of a charge from an external battery vs pulling from an internal one. And asked what the combined weight of the phone, battery pack, and cables was. The response was almost universally, “It would never sell”.

So my wants were simple, something with enough charge to last through a day of actual heavy use, at least 3x the capacity of the ~3K mAh that was the norm at the time. Things have since grown to the 4K+ range but so have energy demands. All in all real world use time is getting better but agonizingly slowly. Someone needs to break the mold but no one want to because fashion and consumer idiocy. Welcome to modern engineering cowardice. And welcome to Doogee, the first but not only company I saw at MWC to break this trend.

There were three phones of note Doogee was showing off at MWC 2024, the V31GT, V Max, and upcoming DK10. Of the three the V31GT was the standout in my opinion, the V Max was tempting, and the DK10 could be interesting. Before you run off and look at the specs of these and turn your nose up, they are solidly mid-range phones and will not threaten the latest Samsung or Apple halo device, nor are they priced in the same way. Think half or less, usually much less. Keep in mind the market they are aimed at, not the high end you read about and some of you actually own.

Doogee V Max phone

It is actually much thicker than it looks

This is the V Max, the one that caught my eye initially. It is big, thick, and has all the elegance and fashion sense of, well, me. OK it may not be that bad but neither the kids at the coffee shop who wear white or the kids in the coffee shop who wear black will likely accept you for this phone because it lacks a fruit on the back. Then again if you carried a V Max you could laugh at them when they are scrambling for a charge. For days at a time.

On the spec side what made my jaw drop was the battery. Yes that 27.3mm thickness, not to mention the 540g weight, is mostly battery, 22,000mAh worth. No that comma is not in the wrong place, we do mean 22K mAh or 5+ times what a modern high end phone has. Other than that there isn’t much to stand it apart from the pack, it is just a big, heavy, semi-ruggedized phone with an IP68/IP69K rating.

On the CPU side it has a Mediatek Dimensity 1080 CPU at 2.6GHz max so, again, solid for a mid-range device. Actually this is a 2023 model so it is approaching EOL but that battery means it is still a standout. Triple rear cameras have 108/20/16MP and the front camera is a solid 32MP. Other specs include a 6.8″ 120 Hz screen of unspecified rez, dual SIMs, 20GB RAM, and 256GB flash with an expansion slot capable of supporting 2TB cards. Oh yeah, it is 5G too so everything is basically all there.

So why would you care about this ‘older’ device? Even if you halve the claimed 6-10 days of use between charges, that is pretty amazing. The specs may bring it back down to earth for people stuck on $1000+ phones but again remember that this is not a high end device nor is it claimed to be. The best part is the price, the Doogee store has it for $365 at the moment, down from the original $579, a pretty stunning number. If you don’t think so, go price a 20K mAh power bank from a reputable manufacturer. Oh yeah, the V Max can charge devices either via USB or wirelessly so you can help out the kids at the coffee shop. Or not.

Doogee V31GT phone

As close to ‘want’ as it currently gets

Next up is the V31GT, a phone I am really tempted to buy. It is a ‘small’ battery device with ‘only’ a 10800mAh battery but the same Dimensity 1080 CPU. The ‘tiny’ battery allows for a svelte 17.9mm thickness and the weight drops to a mere 380g. Unlike the V Max, if you are attacked on the hiking trail, this phone will only allow you to fend off small to medium sized bears, you need the V Max to beat back the big ones. That said it is still big and heavy but will probably last for a full day of hard use. If not the V31GT supports 66W fast charge and can bidirectionally charge devices too.

DRAM moved up to 22GB but the flash stays the same at 256GB with up to 2TB expansion available via a slot. The cameras are a bit of a downgrade for the main ones with a twist, a big twist. The three rear cameras are 50/24/8MP with a 32MP front camera backing it up, Sony modules for the big rear and front. That isn’t the twist though, the thermal camera they added is. Since SemiAccurate hasn’t tested one of these, we can’t say how well it works but on paper if you buy a V31GT thermal camera, you get a phone and large battery pack for free.

This is the long way of saying that the V31GT costs $519 at the moment, comparable to the cost of a Flir IR camera module. While we don’t doubt that Flir does a better job, I wouldn’t bet against Doogee’s IR implementation being good enough for most users even if the rez is closer to VGA than 4K. In any case this is a solid mid-range phone with all the goodies, IP68/69K, 5G, dual SIM, and all the rest for a reasonable price. Even if you only carry it as a battery bank and spare camera, why wouldn’t you have one in your travel pack?

Doogee DK10 phone

DK10 is, well, normal

Last up we come to the Doogee DK10, a phone that should be launched in about a week. While the web site just has a teaser, the company had most of the specs and devices shown off at MWC. Once again this device is mid-range but on the high end of it, possibly breaking in to the high end device clique. Then again it is the halo device for Doogee’s 10th anniversary so they pulled out most of the stops.

Starting out with a Mediatek Dimensity 8020 CPU backed by 32GB DRAM and 512GB of flash, again add 2GB with a card, and all the latest goodies. The battery is the main difference to the V Max and V31GT, it is only 5150mAh. Yes this is a normal phone with a normal 12.9mm thickness and a 305g weight. Why do we bring it up? Once again the cameras are solid with 50/50/64/16MP rears, 50MP fronts, but sadly no thermal one here. 120W Quick charge is supported and that may explain why the 5150mAh battery is listed as ‘equivalent’ on the spec sheet but 6800mAh quoted by the Doogee staff at the show. Quickcharge has endurance downsides and overprovisioning is a great way to guard against it while meeting carrier specs. Nothing nefarious about this, everyone does it but Doogee is one of the few that seems to be honest about the standard practice.

Throw in dual SIMs and a design that looks, well, pretty good, and you have an interesting device. Sure the one pictured above has an alligator hide finish rear which isn’t exactly my taste but it does come in black, red, orange and other finishes. Given the halo nature of the DK10, we would expect a few ‘special’ editions with more exotic design schemes like a textured leather look we saw at MWC. Expect the price to be a bit above the V31GT but until March 18 we can’t tell you what it will be. That said it is still a mid- to high end device so it won’t break the bank.

Doogee had several other phones on display like the V20, a ‘normal’ battery phone with some ruggedized features and thermal camera, plus some that go down from there. The only fault we can find is why there is an (Almost) in the title, Doogee didn’t quite make exactly what we wanted. What is that? The big 22K mAh battery, a higher end Mediatek CPU, and a thermal camera would do nicely thank you. Dual SIMs are a bonus as is bidirectional wireless charging. Everything else is there and since the V Max is due for a replacement soon…S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate