Anonymous, 31 Dec 2022I have made some observations about the UleFone Armor 2. They might individually seem trivial,... moreThat's weird that yours is readable in daylight, my Armor 2 is so dim at highest setting I can't see anything in sunlight, I tried auto brightness and it got even darker, so I can't really use as a main phone,
My Armor 2 has a Sandisk 200gb micro sd that works fine, I first tried 2 different 128gb Sandisk's and it said they where coruppted even though both work in other phones fine, Guess Armor 2 is just picky?
Apparently, the device only supports FAT32 and not the exFAT file system on microSD cards.
When I insert a memory card with exFAT that works perfectly well on Samsung devices, the Armor 2 notifies me that the memory card is "damaged" and offers me to "repair" it, which means reformatting it. When I do, obviously after backing up the data, the Armor 2 reformats it as FAT32. That's the file system which has a 4 GB file size limit.
This is disappointing.
I have made some observations about the UleFone Armor 2. They might individually seem trivial, but when put together, they become significant.
The most important thing:
* Charging rate unaffected by use. When used while charging, instead of throttling charging like Samsung does, it just pulls additional power from the wall adapter, like laptops do.
It charges with 10 W, which is not all that much, but at least it remains at 10 W when in use. Meaning if the phone uses, for example, 4 W while being charged, it pulls out 14 W from the charger.
* Battery still performs well after five years, as it should since it is not replaceable. My S7 Edge battery only lasted 3.5 years. Now, the S7 edge does not power on without being connected to a charger.
* Does not nearly heat up as much as Samsung phones while charging (both tested at 10 W for fairness).
* 6 GB RAM is very generous for this price range. The Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship from the same year, 2017, costed more than twice as much and only has 4 GB of RAM.
* High screen brightness. Clearly readable at daylight.
* Since it uses MediaTek Pump Express with 12V, the Armor 2 can accept any voltage from 5 to 12 V for charging. I tested that even 14 volts work, but did not test beyond that since that is unsafe.
* Physical camera shutter button for more photography-like feeling.
* Fast and responsive camera with little shutter lag.
* Feature to let the LED blink all the time in stand-by mode. This is highly useful at night in dark rooms, to find where the phone is. On Samsung, always-on display can be used for this purpose.
* Very strong speaker. One of the two speaker grills is placebo, but the one speaker is very powerful for a device that size.
* Touch screen is responsive and not sluggish, even at cold temperatures, as one would expect from an outdoor smartphone.
* The camera application thankfully always starts on rear camera, even if closed with front camera being last used. I can hardly put into words how annoying it is for the front camera to open instead of the rear camera, and moments are missed.
* Starting camera and capturing photos does not interrupt voice recorder like on Samsung smartphones. Only starting video recording does, where it is actually necessary since Android is apparently unable to let more than one task access the microphone.
* Digital zoom logged in EXIF data
* EXIF data for HDR photos
* Sound recorder application uses time-stamped file names. Samsung uses numbers, so I have to use NLL ASR there for timestamped filenames.
* Front camera supports lossless digital zoom for video recording. Samsung does not.
* Camera does not focus on windshields.
* Power button menu contains "mute", "vibration only", "ringtone on", like Samsung did before 2015.
* File manager remains in current directory after selecting files for moving.
* File manager shows progress and number of files loaded in large directories, rather than just displaying "loading" like in Samsung's "my files".
* File manager allows file names with more than fifty characters, unlike Samsung "My Files" did few years ago, last time I checked. I am not sure whether it changed.
* File manager does thankfully not hide status bar, like Samsung "My Files" did in 2015 and 2016. I need to see the clock when naming directories.
* Videos are not limited to one hour in length! It keeps recording!
* Rear camera has a wide field of view.
* Rear camera has good dynamic range.
* Unlike Samsung, it can save burst shots to MicroSD. However, I rarely ever use burst mode anyway.
* Video recording options are 144p, 240p, 480p, 720p, 1080p. Sometimes the lower resolutions are necessary to save space on long videos such as recording myself handcrafting. I would rather be able to record at a lower resolution than running out of space.
* The 480p option is 720×480, not 640×480. The wider 3:2 format is much more comfortable and does not look like a 1990s television like 4:3 does.
* Ability to save screenshots and audio recordings to MicroSD. They both follow the default storage device set in the settings. Last time I checked, few years ago, Samsung had no option for saving screenshots to MicroSD.
* Double-tap wake up. Much more comfortable than hover wake up (Samsung calls it "air wake-up") due to not happening accidentally.
* When the camera is launched from the lock screen, photos can still have GPS location tags. Not with Samsung.
* Camera setting menu resembles a Galaxy S5-like grid. The viewfinder remains in background and is immediately accessible rather than first having to close the setting menu.
* The exposure value compensation control of camera has a wide range. Wider than Samsung has.
* Screencast (screen video recording) feature
* Shortcut for digitally zoming between ×1, ×2, ×3. The limit using pinch zoom is ×5. Digital zooming is useful if a lower resolution is selected, since it captures from a cropped area of the image sensor, but one has to know the limit for each resolution. This can be calculated by dividing the pixel height of the highest resolution option with at the same aspect ratio by the pixel height of the selected resolution.
The low light video performance is surprisingly good due to variable frame rate. Normally, it films at 30 frames per second, but in low light, the frame rate drops to 10 frames per second to prolong the exposure time per frame, which triples the brightness! That's clever!
It beat many more expensive phones in low light video because those only had constant frame rate at 30fps.
After lots of experience with Samsung phones, here are some observations on the camera of the UleFone Armor 2:
While the camera unfortunately produces somewhat noisy images, even at daylight, at least it launches quite fast and has a low shutter lag. Sometimes, oddly, it has a lag of a few seconds until launched, possibly due to interference from a background process, but it launches quickly most of the times, say 19 out of 20 times.
The dynamic range and exposure setting is surprisingly good. Samsung phones in the past had an annoying tendency to underexpose pictures, forcing the user to compensate using the exposure value feature, but the exposure of the Armor 2 works well.
Tapping into the viewfinder conveniently adjusts both focus and exposure.
The focus is somewhat slow, especially in low light, presumably due to lack of phase detection. However, at least it does almost never focus on windshields like Samsung devices. If a camera focuses on a windshield, the photo is ruined, no matter how high the resolution is. A 108 megapixel photo of a windshield (when not intended) is less useful than a properly focused 5 megapixel photo. 2000s digital pocket cameras even had a "landscape" scene mode dedicated to preventing exactly that! Yet modern smartphones lack it!
Unlike Samsung, the Armor 2 even lets me adjust the exposure value with HDR enabled. Also, the exposure value compensation range is significantly wider than on Samsung phones. However, the camera software lacks manual exposure.
The camera shutter button unfortunately is only single-level, meaning it can not be used for point-and-shooting intuition like on the Samsung Omnia 2 from 2009 (arguably the best phone at its time). But better than none.
The camera is faster launched by double-pressing the power button than by holding the shutter button, since the latter requires a five-second hold. Needless to say, that defeats its use as a quick launch shortcut.
While the Armor 2 lacks slow motion, the third-party camera software "open camera" allows filming in slow motion. It lets me set anything up to 1080p at 120fps, but it only is effective up to 480p at 120fps and 720p at 60fps. The frame rate does not go above that, even if a higher setting is selected. Possibly that is due to hardware limitations. Strangely, the Galaxy S7 with the same GPU (Mali T880) is able to film at 720p at 240fps and 2160p at 30fps.
Burst mode can be disabled by enabling HDR or auto scene detection, though that adds a slight shutter lag.
What makes burst shot especially annoying is that it does not end when releasing the shutter button. One needs to press it again,
Further observation: Strangely, the fingerprint scanner disengages after 16 days and around 10 hours of uptime, which was the most common reboot reason for me (next to the camera server freeze glitch, which occurs on varying uptimes).
I am not sure why that happens, or if it only affects me.
6 GB of RAM is also generous for this price range, especially in 2017. (If only apps could be pinned so they are never closed in background, so they never need reloading.) But I forgot to add few observationsand:
The third-party camera app "Open Camera" has a long shutter delay (around an entire second) between photos, but it can do something the precluded camera software can not do:
That's right! It can record smoothly at 864×480@120fps and 720p@60fps.
Higher settings such as 720p@120fps, 1080p@60fps and 1080p@120fps can be selected, but the framerate is unstable and sometimes stuttering.
I wonder if it supported 240fps at an even lower resolution, if OpenCamera had such option. Or maybe the image sensor offers these options (read by OpenCamera).
But this makes me wonder: Other phones with the same GPU such as the 2016 flagship Galaxy S7 (GPU: Mali T880) do support 2160p@30fps (2.5 years after Galaxy Note 3), 1080p@60fps(Note 3 had that too), 720p@240fps, and smooth 1080p@120fps playback.
The Helio P25 CPU allegedly supports 2160p 4K, according to MediaTek: https://www.mediatek.com/blog/mediatek-helio-p25-expands-the-p20-family (makes me wonder where their MT6795 1080p@960fps plans of 2015 went).
The Armor 2 smoothly plays 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps and 1440p@30fps. 2160p plays smoothly for a few seconds, then may halt completely. Also 1080p@120fps does not play smoothly, despite the same chipset.
Fast charging surprisingly works while using the front, but not the rear camera, except if the elevated voltage (9V or 12V) is manually applied through a KW203 USB multimeter which has shortened data lanes on port 2 (do not try unless you have knowledge about electrical engineering).
The video recording can be paused and unpaused without delay, allowing to create videos with short sections from different locations for fun.
The lossless digital zoom for videos of the front camera can use the full image sensor resolution, while only 1080p equivalent on the rear (meaning no lossless digital zoom if the selected resolution is 1080p). But for photos, lossless digital zoom is supported. For both cameras, the viewfinder itself only supports lossless digital zoom if the ZSL (zero shutter lag) mode is enabled itself, strangely.
The camera flash is brighter during focus than when capturing the photo itself!
In "professional" (not really) mode, the ISO setting only works when ZSL (zero shutter lag) mode is enabled.
While the rear camera's image sensor is not good, at least the camera software (package name: com.mediatek.camera) is very fast (low shutter lag), and low-light performance for video recording is improved with VFR (variable frame rate), where frame rate may be adjusted between 10fps and 30fps to extend exposure time when necessary.
Video recording in daylight has low noise.
Also, the front camera supports lossless digital zooming for video recording, which is a rather rare feature on smartphones.
Photos during video recording have the same resolution as the video itself, making the feature almost redundant.
Protip: Deactivating the zero shutter lag mode in settings may reduce shake blur in low light. Apparently, the software times the capture to a moment with low shake. They should have inverted it and named it "night mode" because otherwise the user asks themselves why they would ever deactivate zero shutter lag.
Another thing to add:
After around two years, the power button started getting unresponsive. One needs to push it very hard.
Usually, a failing non-replaceable battery is the death sentence of a mobile phone. On the Armor 2, the battery terminals are behind the motherboard, meaning that replacing it is dangerous and might inadvertently destroy the phone.
But on the Armor 2, the rubber band and power button failed first.
I searched for a case for the Armor 2, but it did not exist. Possibly the power button and rubber band being exposed lead to these problems. The irony of an outdoor phone.
After almost three years, the rubber band started disintegrating.
But what I highly appreciate of the device is that, while the battery itself charges only at 10 watts (not 18W as advertised), the charging speed is unconpromised regardless of usage, just like on laptops.
In other words: Fast charging and using simultaneously, while my Galaxy Note 8 could not do that. In fact, it throttled total charging speed from 15 down to 6 watts.
But the rear camera of the Ulefone Armor 2 is exceptionally bad. I am not sure if it only affects me, or if it is just a bug. There is significant noise noticable in perfect daylight! My working 2006 Panasonic Lumix makes less noisy photos than the Armor 2. And a 2013 Galaxy S4 also makes noise-free photos at daylight.
BaryPro, 21 Jul 2020I've had this phone for almost 3 years now and It's a great phone.
It... morePros: Fast charging during usage.
Cons: Bogus camera. It has these bugs: https://en.everybodywiki.com/List_of_issues_with_the_UleFone_Armor_2_camera
I've had this phone for almost 3 years now and It's a great phone.
It's very fast, cheap, rugged and it has great speaker and a great battery life.
Bad side is the charging port protector gets broken very easy and then the phone is no longer waterproof, also side buttons gets pressed very easily when the phone is in pocket but you can fix that with the app called "button remaper", also face proximity sensor is very bad and the phone is a bit bulky.
Better version of this phone is Ulefone Armor x5. GREAT JOB ULEFONE :)
I have this great phone since beginning of September 2017 and it is best buy cellphone for me till now (I usualy buy phone every 5-6 mounts because i broke them working my jobs). It is tested on drop test from II floor when he falls me n concrete and nothing happens :). As a worker I can say very resistible phone with all specs Battery, display, water tests, temperature etc.
And about Android above 7.0.0 I think it is impossible to upgrade for now.
P.S All spare parts you can buy and change by yourself if you needed, I change my loudspeaker because I have destroy him with iron dust.
How can I upgrade it to android 8 ?
Do you like more Ulefone Devices?
Sadly, the “18W” fast charging is just 10W.
But: At least, it uses the “spare current” charging method, which means that the charging speed is not affected at all by the usage of the device thanks to it drawing additional current needed to power the device itself from the charger.
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