Doogee Wowser: The S40's a terrible smartphone, but a passable projectile

How the worst mobe I ever used maimed an American teen

Comment Earlier this year, I reviewed arguably the worst phone I've ever used in eight years of covering tech for a living: the Doogee S40. I've always prided myself on my fairness, but I genuinely couldn't find a silver lining to this appalling waste of rare-earth metals. It had a crap screen, a weak camera, and was frustratingly slow to use.

When a journalist finishes with a review product, one of two things can happen: first, the vendor might ask for it back. That usually happens with big-ticket items, like laptops and ultra-luxe audio kit. But if the device is of a sufficiently low value, or for whatever reason cannot be reused by the PR firm (in-ear headphones, for example), the journalist may be forced to dispose of it according to their best judgement.

In the case of the Doogee S40, which to be fair will set you back about £100, I gleefully pawned it off on my mechanic brother-in-law, thus setting into motion a series of events that resulted in two American teenagers being suspended from school, one with a nasty black eye.

I think my BIL, who was visiting from the US, accepted the solid lump of phone out of politeness, not wishing to offend me. In my head, I assumed that the ruggedised Doogee S40 would be well suited to the prangs and jolts that come with working under cars for a living. Mostly, I wanted it gone.

When he returned home, it sat in a drawer until a colleague of his asked to borrow it. My brother-in-law obliged, only to find out it wasn't compatible with the Verizon network. So, the colleague stole his child's iPhone, which he substituted with the Doogee S40.

Before I go on, I feel I need to paint the scene a little bit. The Doogee S40 is a ruggedised handset, much like the iconic CAT phones. It's big and bulky, with a thick layer of protective rubber coating the outside, paired with a lightning strip of luminous orange. As I described it at the time: "This is a phone you couldn't break, even if you wanted to. And believe me, if you buy it, you'll want to."

Now, kids can be bastards. They're hugely sensitive to difference. If you take a phone to school that looks like it was stolen from a building site, you've effectively given your classmates licence to bully the ever-loving shit out of you. And believe me, dear reader, bully they did.

Fast-forward a few days, and my brother-in-law's colleague was called out of work to pick his child up from school.

It turns out the bullying had reached a nadir, and the child responded by hurling the device at one of his tormentors, which landed smack-bang in his eye, giving him a nasty bruise. Both children were suspended as a result.

The phone, however, survived completely unscathed. So, I guess that's one point to Doogee then. ®

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