Large battery and solid performance in a seemingly durable package, but is it worth the high price? Find out in this Ulefone Armor 11 review.
Ulefone Armor 11 Review: Expensive Bugs
What You Need To Know About The Ulefone Armor 11
Ulefone Armor 11 5G (8GB / 256GB): $ 579 / £ 499/
At $ 579 the Ulefone Armor 11 is on the high end when it comes up to robust Android devices. The device comes in a single option: 8 GB of RAM with 256 GB of storage, and there is no way to expand the storage via a microSD card. It also only comes in black.
The device I tested came with Android 10 with no option to upgrade to Android 11, despite Ulefone claiming it plans to update later this year. obsolete at the time of going to press (July 2021).
Aside from the operating system, the Armor 11 has a single bare USBC connector, a SIM card slot on the bottom of the device, and a single power-on speaker on the back. Please note that this phone does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. However, Ulefone includes a 3.5mm USB-C dongle in the scope of delivery. Finally, the Armor 11 has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and a smart key on opposite sides.
The scope of delivery includes a USBC charger, a plastic lever for the waterproof SIM card slot, a screen protector made of glass and two waterproof USBC connector seals.
What is good?
The 2 GHz processor in the Ulefone Armor 11 holds up surprisingly well against more expensive alternatives, and the Armor 11’s actual performance was excellent. Moving around in and around menus, various apps, and some light games was a breeze. some stutter here and there, but that was mainly due to the stick launcher; Switching to a third-party provider solved this problem. I was particularly impressed with the performance of games in heavier titles like PUBG Mobile and Genshin Impact. The Armor held its own in both games and offered a simple gaming experience with minimal delay only in very high action and demanding scenes.
The battery performance is another strength of the Armor 11. In my tests, I averaged eight to nine hours of screen time. The 5200 mAh battery easily lasts for two full days. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent standby time on this device. I don’t have an exact metric for this, but the phone lost about 1% every few hours in my tests. As a result, the phone would last the night with only 3% battery drain. Keep in mind that this great feat is largely due to the lower resolution screen that comes with its own set of problems. The Armor 11 comes with an 18W fast charger and I was able to charge the phone from 0% to 100% in 90 minutes. In addition, the Armor 11 supports 10W wireless charging.
What’s not so good?
While I was impressed with the outstanding performance and battery life of the Armor 11, there are a number of issues with this rugged phone. The Armor 11 advertises a rugged design with IP68 / IP69K water and dust resistance (the latter one is notch above the more traditional and highest IP68 rating given to a device). It specifically protects against pressure in the immediate vicinity and high temperatures. Even so, despite this rating, I didn’t have much confidence in the durability of this phone. The body is made of plastic and rubber with aluminium edges, but they are very light and almost plastic-like. Ulefone confirmed that the screen has no functions. Gorilla Glass but forgot to answer our questions about who made the glass.
The ports on this phone feel open and exposed like other rugged devices like the Doogee S96 Pro. Don’t get me wrong, the phone looks rugged, but I’m not entirely sure that the device can withstand harsh environments. the long term. For example, I dropped the phone on the floor several times and while everything seemed fine, the impact almost always resulted in the screen opening an application or menu. The phone comes with a MILSTD 810G certification, but even that didn’t give me confidence that the phone would last (and it’s a step below the latest MILSTD 810H standard).
In addition, the “waterproof” SIM card slot is too easy to remove with your finger. With other rugged devices, it is almost impossible to open the SIM card slot without a plastic pry tool. It doesn’t have a rubber cover on the device, which means the water seal is on the actual connector. Ulefone includes a couple of waterproof seals in the box, but these are small and incredibly easy to lose. They also protrude from the port and are not seated flush. I’m afraid I can’t see the actual consumers wearing these. In addition, the back is made of a seemingly thin plastic that seems to crack easily when dropped on a hard surface. Possibly the only durable part of this phone is the rubberized sides, which are thick and absorb quite a bit of shock. The bottom line is that this phone looks sturdy but feels cheap and doesn’t build a lot of confidence in terms of durability.