The Chinese brand Ulefone has already released quite a few off-road smartphones (equipped with a structure and waterproof components so that the device is isolated from external damage). Usually in its catalogue are top-of-the-range and mid-range off-road smartphones. For once the manufacturer decided to release a low-end model to satisfy small budgets. The Ulefone Armor X3 looks like a classic off-road smartphone. That is to say, it is solid and waterproof. On the other hand, the components integrated into the interior are low quality so that its selling price can be attractive. Let's find out what it takes in the field.
- Compact design
- IP68 and IP69K
- No fingerprint sensor
- No 4G
Ulefone Armor X3 review
The Ulefone Armor X3 phone is delivered in a yellow cardboard box. On the front a drawing depicts backpack characters who are climbing a mountain. The manufacturer printed this drawing to make it clear that it is indeed a smartphone that you can use outdoors during your sports outings or on work sites. He wants to highlight his sturdy side. Once the box is opened you get the phone, doc, power charger and micro USB cable. We clearly saw better content at Ulefone. But well the manufacturer was forced to be cheap on accessories so that the Armor X3 could be sold at an affordable price.
Once in hand, the smartphone surprises with its compact dimensions. It is 158 x 77.3 x 13.8 mm, so you won't need a big hand to interact. On the other hand, it is not a slender model, but it is quite normal for an off-road model. The manufacturer had to use materials to strengthen the body. There is a plastic, rubber and metal set on top. All that is needed for the Armor X3 to resist shocks and falls. The integration of resistant materials is a good thing for its solidity, but on the other hand the phone is heavy. It's 236 grams on the scale. We've seen worse, but it won't go unnoticed in your pants pocket.
We did not notice any assembly defects. Ulefone has done a very good job on this point. The Ulefone Armor X3 is shock and drop resistant and has IP68 and IP69K certification. As a reminder, the protection class (IP) is an international standard for waterproofing. This index classifies the level of protection offered by a material against intrusion by solid and liquid bodies. This means that this model is totally protected against dust, protected against prolonged immersion beyond 1 metre deep and also protected against high-pressure cleaning at high temperature. It will be able to withstand rain, cold, heat, etc. Ulefone points out that the phone has the MIL-STD 810G standard, but generally it is mainly a marketing asset. They do not pass all the different tests of the American military standard.
On the right side of the smartphone are the volume and power buttons. On the left side is the slot for inserting the SIM card and a red button on which you can integrate functions (we will come back to this later). The buttons are all well integrated into the cases, each press is well recognized. The SIM card slot is protected by a rubber cover. This is also the case for the micro USB port at the bottom of the phone and the headphone jack on top. Do not forget to fold down the rubber covers when you are not using the connectors. They are the ones who make the smartphone waterproof.
At the front we face a 5.5 inch screen. There is no notch on this model. There are just the listening loudspeaker, the front camera, sensors and a notification LED. At the back there are the photo sensors centered in the middle vertically and the flash that is placed next to it. A plate stamped with the manufacturer's logo can also be seen. The only thing we regret is that the manufacturer has decided to remove the fingerprint sensor.
The Ulefone Armor X3 is equipped with a 5.5-inch IPS display. The resolution is 1440 x 720 pixels (HD+). The display is sharp and clear, there are no visible pixels. The display quality corresponds well to the IPS standard. The touch screen supports up to 5 contact points simultaneously. It is responsive and fast.
The colour reproduction could be better, but the result is still satisfactory. On the other hand, we regret not being able to modify it with an option. This smartphone is mainly designed for outdoor use, so maximum brightness is an important point. On the Armor X3, it is 540 lux, a lower than average performance. You will be able to read the data displayed on the screen in broad daylight, but the sun can still affect readability. Otherwise there is no particular problem with the screen during our test. The 5.5-inch IPS just does its job, but it should be brighter knowing it's an all-terrain smartphone.
Performance and System
The Ulefone Armor X3 is equipped with the MT6850 processor. It is a model for low-end smartphones. It is manufactured in 28 nm and has four Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.3 GHz. The MT6850 comes with a Mali 400 chip, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM (read speed 50.5MB/s and write speed 61MB/s). His antutu score is 21,894 points. In other words, the Armor X3 is clearly not a power monster.
In addition to a low-end processor, RAM and ROM are slow. So you have everything you need to get a low-powered smartphone. People used to high-performance models can only go crazy using this smartphone. So in fact the Amor X3 is usable, but on the other hand you have to be able to support the loading of applications and web pages. It's functional, but extremely slow. And no need to hope to play the latest 3D games released on the Play store with this model.
The Armor X3 runs on Android 9, however the security patch is not up to date (it was released in May). On the other hand, fortunately the manufacturer has not changed much. The system is similar to what smartphones running Android One or Google Pixel smartphones offer. As a result, Android lovers will not be destabilized. All the usual parameters and options are present. We also found no malware or blotaware on the smartphone.
As mentioned above, the phone is equipped with a special red button. You can assign three functions to it that can be activated with a single press, double press or hold. As a result, you will be able to assign useful functions when you are outdoors. For example, the flashlight. We remind you that the phone does not have a fingerprint sensor. You unlock it by using facial recognition via the front camera. Unfortunately, it is slow and unusable in the dark.
First of all, it should be noted that the second sensor on the back of the smartphone is fictitious. Well, it's no wonder considering its selling price and anyway Ulefone didn't even bother to add a bokeh function in the camera application. So the only sensor is 8 megapixels and unfortunately it doesn't take good pictures. There is a cruel lack of detail, the contours are blurred and the colours unnatural. There is also a problem with white balance. The images are all predominantly yellowish. As for the video, it can only be recorded in 720p and the quality is identical to that of the photos.
The front camera is 5 megapixels and the selfies are sorely lacking in detail. The rendering is less yellowish than with the main sensor, but rather pale. As for the colours, they are not natural. The camera is another negative point of the Ulefone Armor X3. It feels like taking pictures with a smartphone that dates back several generations.
Connectivity and Sound
The Ulefone Armor X3 works with all 2G and 3G frequencies, but there is no 4G. It's really a strange choice on the part of the manufacturer. Why did you choose this processor knowing that it would not be LTE compatible. Today all low-end smartphones support 4G! The Armor X3 offers a hybrid slot. You can insert two SIM cards or one SIM card and one micro SD card to expand the memory. We remind you that it has only 32 GB. Which is relatively low nowadays.
The phone is equipped with an acceleration, brightness, proximity and electronic compass sensor. However, no gyroscope. It can be connected via Wifi (b/g/n) and Bluetooth (version 4.0). There is also the GPS which works normally.
The Armor X3 has a 5000 mAh battery. Our autonomy test with PCMark announces a little over 10 hours. This is a correct performance, but there are many more durable smartphones with a battery of this capacity. You can achieve 2 - 3 days of autonomy in normal use. The phone was recharged in 3 hours with the AC adapter provided in the box. It is not compatible with fast charging and it also includes a micro USB port.
Ulefone has decided to release a low-cost off-road smartphone. Unfortunately, the Ulefone Armor X3 accumulates too many negative points to be recommended. It is strong, resistant, but its performance is poor.
Ulefone Armor X3 Smartphone