This Smartphone makes HEAT VISIBLE (Ulefone Armor 9 Review with FLIR Thermal Camera)

Published on September 29, 2020
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This is the arma 9 a rugged smartphone from chinese manufacturer ulefone i know what you’re thinking a smartphone review on maker’s muse what’s going on well i’m hopeful this huge device could be the perfect phone for makers with a rugged waterproof design huge battery life and built-in thermal imaging camera among other things let’s get started [Music] how’s it going guys angus here from makers muse i first saw this device reviewed by naomi over on her channel when they were running a kickstarter for it and it instantly caught my attention as almost the antithesis of what other modern smartphones have become instead of making slight fragile devices out of glass and metal ulefone is known for their rugged designs but this one does a few more tricks than the others reviewing smartphones isn’t something that happens very often on this channel i want to be clear that i’m approaching this phone very firmly from a usability standpoint as a tool that’s also a phone so if you’re chasing deep dive tech specs and processor benchmarks you might want to look elsewhere for the review your phone sent over the device as well as an accessory case and an endoscope attachment yep an endoscope for real we’ll get to that in a little bit it’s pretty clear from the start what market ulefone is targeting with the packaging definitely very different to the minimalist designer boxes of more familiar brands and rocking that construction yellow and aluminium tread plate vibe in the box you’ll get the phone a curiously chunky sim tool a spare glass screen protector because this device already comes with one pre-installed instructions more instructions more instructions oh for the thermal camera and a warranty card you also get this funky red usb-c charge cable and mine came with an eu charger so that’s useless to me but they do also include usbc adapters and a lanyard in case you’re like somehow worried about dropping this phone for some reason the first thing that strikes you about this device is just how massive it is it towers over my old iphone 6 measuring 168 by 82 millimeters and well he thick 16 millimeters with nothing else no case or anything and it weighs a hefty 324 grams it’s probably the largest phone i’ve used in recent memory the design of the phone for sure is polarizing with huge rubberized corners over dark gray anodized aluminium sides and a raised plastic rim around the whole front’s face to protect it and this somehow accentuates the giant bezels even more there’s a notch for the camera and on the back there’s another huge slab of rubber and another raised rim that protects the camera array but hey at least doesn’t have a camera bump but it does have this lanyard point just jutting out the bottom which annoyingly prevents the phone from resting flat in addition to the usb-c port this phone has a headphone jack yay sd card slot or you can use dual sim if you like for expanding the 128 gigabyte onboard memory and all of these ports are sealed against water and dirt ingress with rubber stoppers or in the case of the sd and sim tray it’s a metal tray that requires the use of that unusually thick sim tool remember to lever it open don’t try to use your fingernail here you’ll just break it now having a waterproof device is fantastic but i have to say opening and closing this usbc grommet for charging every night is a real pain and i feel it’s going to break off sooner rather than later which will probably make the phone no longer waterproof so most nights i actually just put it on the bedside table and don’t bother charging it why well the battery in this phone is a monster 6 600 milliamp hour to see just how far this would get me i charged up one night and then just went about my day and then the next day and the next this phone easily got me three days of regular use and didn’t seem to slow down this means you can pretty much just watch youtube all day and not worry about finding a charger and it even works as a battery bank for lesser more puny battery phones which is just crazy like almost every other modern phone this one has a fingerprint scanner mounted on its side and while it works fine and it’s pretty fast it’s totally useless to me this is because it’s probably the first phone where i’ve realized there’s actually severe usability differences if you’re left-handed which i am check it out my fingers just fumble over where the scanner is and trigger it too many times and then it locks the scanner out but even if you’re right-handed it’s unusually low to get your thumb onto it and it’s easy to miss so i’m not quite sure if i didn’t put it at the top on the side here and the sim tray lower you can unlock with the front camera and your face if you like though but well that isn’t really secure at all but it sure is convenient now i’m more focused on the usability of this phone as a tool for makers but i will go over specs quickly it has 8 gigabytes of ram and the helio p90 octa-core chipset this device feels nice and snappy with what i think is a fairly stock implementation of android 10. it has a 1080 by 2340 pixel ips display and it has really good clarity and viewing angles and it can go really bright so it’s perfectly readable outdoors decent specs all around but it’s certainly no crazy flagship or one of those crazy gaming phones with 240hz refresh display screens and such but can your gaming phone do this let’s be real the main reason people are going to be buying this phone is for the built-in thermal imaging sensor from fleur back in 2017 i bought this ruggedized phone the cat 60 which as far as i know was the first smartphone to pack a built-in thermal sensor but the device was so slow and gutless it was almost unusable this though it does what i had always hoped the sensor is accessed through the my flow app which has a few handy modes such as photo video time lapse and curiously the ability to stream direct to youtube i don’t know where this would be useful but it’s pretty crazy when in video mode the sensor does stutter on occasion but overall it’s an incredibly useful tool for all kinds of applications for example in this shot you can see heat from outside creeping into a room due to poor insulation something i had never noticed before until i pointed the floor at it a lot of people are actually confused as to the actual sensor in this phone so i reached out to ulefone to confirm which one it is and they said it’s the fleur lepton 2.5 which has an 80 by 60 pixel resolution which is then overlaid over the regular camera image sensor and they overlay the images so it’s not crazy high resolution like some of the more commercial flow implementations but it’s really decent considering this whole device is under 500 us the main shooter isn’t too bad either it’s a 64 megapixel samsung sensor which is kind of marketing wank but it’s fairly capable i got some good shots out of it it does have some sort of ai built in but don’t expect crazy ai enhanced photos like you’d get off a google pixel or an iphone it doesn’t really hold up to those flagships but i felt the photo quality was more than enough for my day-to-day use one thing i will mention here is by default it has this stupid watermark which puts on your phones to be like oh i was taken with with an armor 9. who would ever want that but thankfully you can disable it in the settings there’s other modes in the camera app like knight and bokeh but they aren’t all that great because again it’s basically all down to the post processing not so much the sensor these days and even my two year old find x my oppo find x takes way better artificial bokeh shots than this one does and unfortunately as you can see the rear camera for video is just garbage especially that focusing every time you move like blips in it’s just no good the front-facing camera is a basic 5 megapixel affair but it also has this other setting called face cute i do feel face cute okay let’s check out that endoscope attachment you can already buy usb endoscopes for smartphones for quite cheap it’s nothing new this is the first phone of my knowledge to have a dedicated mounting system for one and this one is also ip67 rated which means it could be submerged in up to a meter of water for up to an hour without damage it has a tiny array of white leds for illumination and a tiny screwdriver and fasteners for attaching to the phone which i feel will get lost pretty much instantly it’s really kind of fiddly to attach which is a little bit disappointing i was hoping it would just snap in place and then be able to just unclip quickly but there it is so let’s test it out just kidding here’s a better use case this is my 89 toyota corolla sex spec it’s a project car i’ve been tinkering away with for a little while and i figured it’s the perfect test for this phone’s features it drips dirty looking oil and i’m not sure if it’s from the previous leaks i’ve already fixed or others i’m yet to find so let’s use this endoscope to take a look now i had really high hopes for this endoscope but i have to say it’s pretty terrible it’s only hd so 720p the frame rate is so low that it’s just almost always blurry because it’s so small it does move just a little bit and because the frame rate is like 9.5 frames a second or something it just always seems to blur and on top of that it always seems to be lens aberrations flares and just bad objects all around this is a real blow to me because i was really hoping this would be good and actually useful but you can barely make out the oil filter here let alone any leaks and where i should be looking to work on my car but let’s just say in some ridiculous universe this phone still isn’t rugged enough for you well check out the case this thing takes an already huge device and makes it just plain massive made from rubberized plastic it adds such girth that i can barely hold onto the device with it on the giant clip and carabiner included seems to suggest is for mounting the device in extreme environments but not something i’m going to daily with that’s for sure however even without the case there’s no denying this phone is massive so who was it even aimed at well as i mentioned i’ve been after a rugged phone with good features as a maker and thermal imaging since i tried the cat 60 a few years ago and i was left wanting more i stuck with that phone for a year but i found the poor battery life unusable camera and sluggish user experience made me actually step backwards to my iphone 6 from 2014 until i upgraded eventually to the oppo two years ago and honestly most people will stick to phones like this flagship devices that are powerful made from delicate but pretty glass but if you want a device that won’t explode after you drop it once onto concrete from your pocket then maybe a rugged device is more your thing billophone has since released the arma 9e which is a cheaper version of this device with identical specs but it lacks the thermal camera and if you’re just after a rugged phone that might be for you but that however doesn’t excite me as much as this device does for a certain range of people who work outdoors or in brutal wet and messy environments this phone is going to be perfect for them i was brainstorming a few random ideas where this device and its range of features like a thermal imaging camera could be illegit handy and these are just a few industries and uses i thought of having something this powerful in your pocket is a pretty big game changer and i’m sure there’s many more i haven’t even thought of some of the usability choices are questionable like the attachment method for the endoscope leaving the pins open during normal use don’t like that and the inconvenient fingerprint scanner means i just don’t use it and this damn shortcut button could be so useful all i wanted to do is use it to take the photos like be the shutter release button but it has to be volume down i can’t reprogram it i can just make it open the photo app so that’s a little annoying it might be improved in future firmware updates but here’s the big question will i stick with this phone will i daily this massive phone the arma 9 well i think so i’m going to stick with it for at least a few months and i might give you guys a quick update after that i’ll be honest even though it’s huge it’s and it’s a little bit chungus it’s not too obtrusive in your pocket but you’ll definitely notice it if you like to wear skinny jeans or have shallow pockets that’s for sure if you’d like to pick up an arma 9 there’s links in the video description and full disclosure ulefone sent me this phone free of charge for purpose of review this video has been my own opinion and thoughts with no copy approval given if you want to learn more about this device i highly recommend going checking out naomi’s review of it because she also has experience with other modern rugged smartphones and their various quirks and features and if you enjoy this video maybe consider subscribing again don’t expect phone reviews very often on this channel but it’s my aim here on makers news to empower your creativity through technology and i thought this device fitted that criteria nicely thanks for watching guys bye.
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