My favorite Android phone can do things my iPhone can’t, and it just got a massive upgrade

My favorite Android phone can do things my iPhone can’t, and it just got a massive upgrade

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET

I love all things Apple, especially mine iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s in my hands most of my waking hours.

But I’m still using an Android phone.


Because it can do things my iPhone can’t.

My former favorite Android phone was Ulefone Armor 9. I was Using this a lot for the past two years. Not only was it my go-to phone when I needed something that could withstand the harshest environments, but it had great features like a thermal camera and the ability to connect binoculars.

I have used a thermal camera a lot. An endoscope isn’t much, but there are times when that is also very useful.

Well, Armor 9 has been upgraded to the new one Power armor 18 t.

It’s a beast of a smartphone.

Technical specifications Ulefone Power Armor 18T

  • MediaTek Dimensity 900 5G chipset
  • 6.58-inch FHD+ display, 1080 x 2408 resolution running at 120Hz
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • 12 GB RAM + 5 GB virtual memory expansion
  • 258GB ROM + 2TB microSD expansion
  • 108MP rear camera + 5MP macro microscope
  • 32 MP front camera
  • FLIR Lepton 3.5 Thermal Imager
  • 9600mAh battery + 66W Super Fast Charging + 15W wireless charging + 5W wireless reverse charging
  • Extension ports for binoculars and supermicroscopes
  • 5G support
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • GPS (L1 + L5 Dual Band) + Glonass + BeiDou + Galileo
  • IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD-810G certified
  • Built-in software tools include Compass, Gradienter, Flashlight, Clipboard, Altimeter, Magnifier, Alarm Bell, Plumb bob, Protractor, Audiometer, Pedometer, Mirror, Barometer
  • Face ID and fingerprint biometrics
  • Android 12

Bumpy as it gets

Externally, the Power Armor 18T is a very tough smartphone that is built to take a beating. Meets a whole host of standards, including IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810G, which means it’s a pleasure to be immersed in water at depths of up to 1.5m for 30 minutes, subjected to high-pressure water jets and steam cleaning, dropped from a height 1.2m thick, it resists dust ingress, shrugs off any acid spills, and is happy to spend time in low-pressure environments that can ruin other smartphones.

also: Top 5 durable laptops

It’s a powerful smartphone. I know, because my car has been in rain and sleet, fallen in mud, knocked out of my truck bed door, and left outside in a thunderstorm when I forgot about it while reviewing it.

Tactile, rugged, but still elegant

Tactile, rugged, but still elegant

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET


At the heart of the Power Armor 18T is a 2.4GHz Arm Cortex-A78 CPU paired with a Mali-G68 GPU. This is enough power to keep the phone running super smoothly at all times. This is paired with 12GB of physical RAM and the option to boost this with 5GB of virtual RAM when the going gets tough.

I found 12GB of RAM to be more than enough and didn’t see the need to increase this to the full 17GB.

also: I put my Apple Watch Ultra in Tough Mudder

But the faster processor, more RAM, and double the storage are all things I really appreciate about this upgrade.

Power is provided by a massive 9,600mAh lithium-ion polymer battery, which charges via USB-C port or wireless charging. Wireless charging is a huge upgrade for me because it means I don’t have to open that waterproof cover on the USB-C port if I’m outside in bad weather.


The 108MP rear camera featuring a 1/1.52″ ISOCELL HM2 sensor produces some really good photos, even at standard resolution. I’ve played with this camera in a variety of conditions and it’s fine. The iPhone Pro Max isn’t quite as good, but it’s still very good for a smartphone that’s a fraction of the iPhone Pro Max’s price.

Power Armor 18T camera range

Power Armor 18T camera range

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET

Need 108MP photos?

I can see some slight difference between the standard and high-resolution images if I look really closely, but I have to admit that I’m happy to stick with regular images unless I need one that I may later need to edit heavily or crop a lot.

The 32MP front camera is also good, but I’m not sure if we really need that many megapixels in a front camera because it’s hard to see real-world improvements over cameras with much fewer megapixels.

also: The best rugged tablets

But megapixel counts help sell, and as sensors get cheaper, megapixel counts will go up.

My favorite features

On the side of the Power Armor 18T is a port for an endoscope. The Ulefone binoculars (sold separately) Features a 2-meter cable, and is IP67 rated. This is perfect for tucking into areas where you can’t get your eyeballs in, and it’s a great tool for engineers. there Plenty of USB-C perspectives are availablebut the fact that this device doesn’t use a USB-C port is helpful

borescope port

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET

The real star of the show for me is the FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal imaging camera. With a resolution of 160 x 120 and a temperature range of -10 – 400, this is an amazing diagnostic tool for technicians.

The thermal camera has four times the resolution of the previous generation of thermal cameras, providing better, clearer and more detailed thermal images.

The thermal camera is the great feature of this phone

The thermal camera is the great feature of this phone

Adrian Kingsley Hughes/ZDNET

Check for overheated components, HVAC issues, doors and windows leaking precious AC heat or cold outdoors, diagnose vehicle problems, and more.

Yes, you can break up Thermal cameras for smartphonesEven iPhone But nothing beats having a device built into your smartphone ready to go.

For me, this is the killer feature.


At $699, Ulefone Power Armor 18T It’s not cheap by any means, but after using its predecessor for a couple of years, and then using this one for a few weeks, I’m confident this will be something that will pay for itself. It’s the perfect smartphone for outdoor workers, engineers, and first responders looking for a rugged smartphone that doesn’t compromise when it comes to power, performance, and display quality.

#favorite #Android #phone #iPhone #massive #upgrade

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