Doogee S98 looks and sounds more like a secret agent gadget than a smartphone

If your phone looks like a tank and is built like a tank, you might as well use it to fight the bad guys, right?

Almost all smartphones these days are made to look classy and stylish, either appealing to grownups who want to look professional or younger audiences who want to be more expressive or any intersection of those two. There’s a certain class of phones, however, that were designed to be tough and endure potentially dangerous situations, marketed at companies and workers that also have to endure those same environments. These ultra-rugged phones are often anything but pleasing to look at, no matter the marketing spiel. A new phone in that category is turning the formula on its head with a design that is eye-catching and even attractive, especially when you consider how it almost works like a prop straight out of a spy flick.

Designer: Doogee

There have been phones that attempted to bring a second display on their backs, often for the sake of having a way to view notifications even while the phone is face down on a desk. In truth, these smaller screens are advertised as a better way to take selfies since you can use the mightier cameras on the back of the phone and still see your face. There have been a few iterations of this idea over the years, but Doogee’s latest rugged phone is probably the most tasteful of them all.

Instead of a large camera bump on its back, the Doogee S98 has what is practically a circular smartwatch flanked by cameras and an LED flash. It functions the same way as other second screens, except it actually looks good in that position rather than something that feels simply tacked on. It gives the phone an almost futuristic vibe, or cyberpunk given its rather think skin.

The phone’s specs are nothing to write home about, which isn’t surprising considering how most rugged phones like this are often underpowered. It does have one particular feature that makes it unique and, at the same time, ironically uninteresting for most consumers. It has a 20MP night vision camera, which fits that secret agent theme. Of course, it has real-world applications in industrial and security fields, which is where the phone is headed anyway.

The Doogee S98 is unapologetically rugged in features and appearance, and it refreshingly embraces that with an interesting twist. While most phone makers will be content to just leave things like that, the company has given the phone’s design a bit more thought, resulting in a product that rises above the rest in a good way. The phone won’t sell like pancakes in the mainstream market despite those features, but it will at least make its owners the envy of their peers. At least until the next rugged phone manufacturer designs to copy or even one-up Doogee.