Each of us at least once in our lives dreamed of a smartphone that is not afraid to drop and does not need to be charged every day. There is nothing easier – dozens of Chinese manufacturers produce hundreds of devices protected from water, dirt and cold.

Alas, most of them have nothing to boast of, except for the parameters on the box. A capacious battery and a weak platform do not guarantee high autonomy, and a rubberized case can lead to even more damage – some “defenders” jump perfectly, finally becoming unusable.

I got Ulefone Armor 3. A good replacement for my second device in the face of Blackview, although not without questions.

I bought it myself on Aliexpress, so it’s not advertising.

Seriously protected body

Secure smartphones have become perhaps the most complex among all existing gadgets. Protecting a fragile hardware from external influences is more difficult than adding a super processor, a hundred cameras, or a stadium-sized screen.

But it is the “strength”, the resistance of the device to external influences that largely determines the user’s qualities.

Ulefone has been creating cool rugged smartphones for years, trying to combine modern technology and a utilitarian working appearance necessary for protection. Something succeeds. For example, our hero today Ulefone Armor 3.

Designed specifically for harsh operating conditions, it is closed on the sides with a thick rubber strip that protects both the sides and the main area, forming a rim.

As a result, falling flat on a flat surface will not lead to fatal consequences – everything will remain intact.

Metal inserts are not created for the sake of beauty: a compartment for SIM cards is hidden under the main one. To get there, you need to unscrew the bolts with a complete screwdriver.

Despite this clumsy system, the Armor 3 is fully protected from dust and moisture according to the IP68 standard thanks to rubber gaskets both around the contour and under each removable screw.

The rear surface is covered with durable corrugated plastic (polycarbonate – does not flow, does not burn, does not melt), which improves the grip of this very large and heavy device.

Work gloves or winter mittens will not become a serious obstacle either – it is really comfortable to hold, does not slip.

In addition, plastic takes a hit: the smartphone meets the army standard MIL STD and remains fully operational after falling from the height of the human palm.

That is, up to 1.4 meters on any surface.

Good screen to see

If it does not fall screen down, there may be problems. Unfortunately, no one has come up with anything better than the synthetic sapphire glass Gorilla Glass. Therefore, to protect Ulefone Armor 3, they chose it in the most stable third revision.

However, they did not deviate from current trends: instead of a more reliable technology with an air gap, a modern bright 5.7-inch IPS-matrix with FullHD + (2160 × 1080) resolution, made using OGS technology, was used.

Despite the need to equip such smartphones with hardware control buttons, here are the usual “screens” on a vertically elongated matrix.

Brightness in 450 lumens Enough to work under the bright sun. Color, contrast are normal – they do not reach the flagships, but they do not hurt the eyes either.

Oleophobic coating present, but you can only notice it by removing the regular film. Besides, the quality is so-so.

Why “defenders” are not a panacea

Unlike earlier protected devices in the spirit of CAT S60, Ulefone Armor received less brutal equipment.

The hardware navigation buttons have been replaced with touch ones, the tray cover is insulated with thin gaskets on the screws and along the contour, the plug of the only connector is rather modest, not reinforced.

But there is a spare (spare screws are also included in the package).

And all because, in fact, internal protection plays a much larger role – even an open tray will not lead to serious problems if it does not fall under a stream of water or sand.

metal frame will withstand even a serious blow, rubber inserts will make you spring. That is It’s impossible to break Armor 3as well as spoil it with vibration (which ordinary smartphones are afraid of).

If you don’t hit it with a screen on a sharp ledge, then the only salvation will not be Gorilla Glass, but one of the complete films (one is already on the screen, the second is included).

Otherwise, nothing good can be expected: a broken screen will let water through (protection is only along the contour).

Weak platform for undemanding

As a platform, economical Ulefone engineers chose not the most popular and not fresh for Armor 3 Mediatek Helio P23 (MTK6763T) with graphics core MaliG71-MP2.

Until recently, this processor was considered a direct competitor to Qualcomm’s mainstream processors, but today it is clearly inferior to its competitors in all respects, except for power consumption.

However, it is enough for the operation of the system, basic applications and simple tasks: surfing, reading documents, working as a navigator. (For aesthetes, there is a 3W version with a processor P70 for almost the same money.

All of them are more sensitive to the amount and speed of memory (in any version of the smartphone 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory) than to the speed of a single core. Therefore, there are no lags, there are no slowdowns in interfaces or problems with any applications.

You can also play, but overheating occurs quickly enough: the design is not optimized for long loads. In addition, in the most demanding games (PUBG, Asphalt), you have to lower the graphics settings to medium.

Full set of interfaces

With communication, the situation is exactly the opposite: despite the mass of shielding elements of the case, network reception is surprisingly tenacious and stable.

There are no fashionable calls via LTE, as the fastest 4/5 generation protocols. However, from the supported gangs (all that are available in Russia, the CIS countries and Europe), Armor 3 squeezes everything out.

Only 1 SIM card works at a time, the second is in standby mode (standard scheme). However, there is a separate slot for memory cards.

And the smartphone is equipped NFC, working in 2 directions – both for recording and for receiving. All payment systems work, Troika is read and written.

Navigational opportunities are represented by a full set of GPS, GLONASS, Baidou. Works quickly and accurately.

Perhaps, flagship devices can only envy the response speed: a cold start takes only 20 seconds.

Autonomy that surprises

Ulefone Armor 3 boasts one of the most capacious batteries on the market. whole 10 300 mAhplus or minus a couple hundred. Record! That’s just…

Well, as usual: small brands do not know how to optimize, so there were no amazing numbers. Whether the processor let us down, or problems with the modem, but only iPhone users will see Armor.

In Wi-Fi video playback mode at medium brightness, the battery runs out after 17 hours. Surfing on LTE spends it for 11-13 hoursdepending on the quality of the coating.

Games and other graphics-heavy workloads are the most painful: the battery drains in 8-9 hours of continuous use, even if external cooling is used (the processor is far away, almost useless).

However, a mixed load allows the device to live more than 3 days away from the outlet, of which at least 15 hours is the time of the working screen.

For fast charging, Mediatek Pump Express is used, which allows you to replenish supplies in 3 hours from a native charger, or half in an hour.

Cameras and sound. Yes, and okay

The developers did not fall for the multi-camera fashion, leaving the only 21-megapixel Sony IMX230 sensor with f / 1.8 aperture. Well, the decision turned out to be correct: the pictures are bright and clear.

But only in the daytime or in good light. The software part let us down – no night mode, no other frills of artificial intelligence.

But a double flash with colossal brightness shines better than a flashlight, and does an excellent job of lighting at a distance of up to 10 meters.

The front camera also uses a single 13-megapixel module. Pretty good for an ordinary “Chinese”. “Sebyashki” come out worthy of social networks.

In addition to the standard purpose, the cameras “moonlight” as a measuring tool. So, with the help of the main smartphone, it turns into a square-level, and the front one can count the pulse.

She does this, however, not very accurately. But it is no worse than the average Chinese-made bracelets, even taking into account the first revisions of the Mi Band.

Week together. General impressions

I really enjoy a huge Blackview BV9600 as a secondary smartphone, so a heavyweight like Ulefone Armor 3 does not seem like a novelty to me.

However, Armor 3 is one of the the heaviest and largest devices in its class. It does not add to its attractiveness and a fairly ordinary platform in conjunction with an IPS-matrix.

Therefore, after its device, a clear downgrade was felt. However, their prices are also very different – but the real use practically equalizes each other.

A huge, heavy smartphone turns out to be quite convenient if use additional accessories from the delivery set: a hand strap, a holder for the handlebars of a bicycle. In some cases, the box will please with a brutal metal clip.

Side Scanner in the case of a secure smartphone, it turns out to be much more convenient than the classic arrangements. Right under the middle finger. Fast and accurate. As well as the smartphone itself in the tasks corresponding to the class.

Likewise with everything else: Armor 3 is a pleasure to use. But not in ordinary life, only when a really tenacious apparatus is needed. He has nothing more to offer.

The difficult choice of a secure smartphone

Summing up the impressions and the results of various tests, Ulefone Armor 3 turns out to be an excellent rugged smartphone. Only 19 thousand rubles – and no more fears for a fragile gadget, because of which you can be left without communication.

But here’s the problem: the company has an Armor 3T with a walkie-talkie, which costs only a couple of thousand less and will definitely keep you connected in the most remote places from civilization.

For handy craftsmen and builders, the extremely reliable CAT S50 or S61 with a bunch of additional chips will be much more interesting. Blackview tops with AMOLED screens and Qualcomm under the hood are great for geeks.

But they are all more expensive. And those that are cheaper are noticeably worse not only in terms of parameters, but also in terms of workmanship. Therefore, I can safely recommend Ulefone Armor 3 for purchase.

A suitable smartphone for those who know why and where one is needed.

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