The Ulefone Armor 2 is a budget-friendly ruggedized smartphone
Smartphones are fragile pieces of tech. While cases have long been an option to protect what is usually an expensive investment, some people prefer a phone that’s built to sustain damage on its own merit. That’s where ruggedized smartphones come in. While companies like Samsung, Kyocera, and recently Caterpillar have a strong grip on the (admittedly small) ruggedized market, Chinese manufacturers are starting to enter the market. Ulefone looks to capture a bit more market share with its new Armor 2, a mid-tier rugged smartphone with a wallet-friendly price.
The Armor 2 offers some pretty decent specs for its sub-US$300 price tag:
- 5-inch FHD display
- Octa-core MediaTek Helio P25 (4 cores @ 2.6 GHz, 4 cores @ 1.6 GHz) CPU
- Mali-T880 GPU
- 6 GB RAM
- 64 GB onboard storage
- Support for up to 256 GB microSD card
- Fingerprint scanner
- 16 MP rear camera
- 8 MP front camera
- USB Type-C with PumpExpress PE+2.0 fast-charging
- 4700 mAh battery
The Ulefone looks the part of a ruggedized smartphone with an aggressive black trim surrounding a fiberglass, reinforced polycarbonate, and metal hybrid body. Strangely, the display panel is protected by only Gorilla Glass 3, which is a few years old now and offers less scratch resistance than the newer Gorilla Glass 5 seen on current flagships. However, the Armor 2 does carry an IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating, which means that the phone should operate up to an hour in water 1.5 meters (~5 feet) deep. The dedicated shutter button should also allow for easy underwater photography. The device has also been tested in temperatures ranging from -40° C to 80° C.
The Ulefone will be available starting August 22 for $299, but Ulefone is currently running a pre-order sale that prices the phone at $260. Ulefone is also offering a $40 gift bag full of accessories, and Gearbest will ship a “tactical everyday carry waist pouch” if the phone is purchased through their site.
There are certainly better rugged devices out there. The recently announced Galaxy S8 Active from Samsung will continue the excellent Galaxy Active line and should be one of the best rugged smartphones on the market this year, albeit at a pretty penny. For the more budget conscious, the Ulefone Armor 2 might scratch that ruggedized itch without costing an arm and a leg.