The Ulefone Armor 21 stands as a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to delivering reliable quality and durability. Over the years, Ulefone has garnered consistently positive feedback from users, reinforcing its reputation for producing rugged smartphones that can withstand the rigors of real-world use.
The Armor 21 smartphone comes packed with an array of features that cater to the needs of adventurers, outdoor enthusiasts, and individuals working in demanding environments. The introduction of night vision cameras takes the device’s photography capabilities to new heights, enabling users to capture clear and detailed images even in low-light conditions.
The device’s longevity is addressed through its substantial 9600mAh battery, ensuring extended usage time between charges. This is particularly crucial for those who spend extended periods away from power sources or who rely on their devices in locations where charging opportunities are scarce.
In terms of ruggedness, the Ulefone Armor 21 carries the IP68/IP69K and MIL-STD-810H certifications. These credentials attest to the device’s resilience in the face of various challenges, from water and dust exposure to shocks and drops. The reinforced housing, shatterproof glass, and waterproof seals collectively contribute to the phone’s ability to thrive in environments where traditional electronics would falter.
Ulefone Armor 21: Video Review
|Ulefone Armor 21
|6.58 inch, IPS LCD, 120Hz, 1080 x 2408 pixels, 401 ppi
|Mediatek MT8781 Helio G99
|Memory Card Slot
|microSDXC (dedicated slot)
|Side-mounted fingerprint, accelerometer, proximity, compass, gyro, barometer
|64 MP (wide) + 24 MP (night vision)
|16 MP (wide)
|Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
|GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
|Li-Po 9600 mAh
|176 x 81.6 x 18.1 mm (6.93 x 3.21 x 0.71 in)
|400 g (14.11 oz)
|IP68/IP69K dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)
Ulefone Armor 21: Design
The Ulefone Armor 21 maintains its design lineage from the previous generation, notably carrying over the aesthetics of the Armor 16 Pro. With a generous 6.58-inch screen, the phone is a sizable companion, measuring 176 x 82 x 18 millimeters and weighing a substantial 400 grams. Its heft imparts a solid and substantial feel when held, underscoring its rugged and durable nature. The primary material of choice is robust hard rubber, an ideal choice for a phone meant to withstand demanding environments. To reinforce its construction, metal rails are thoughtfully integrated along the sides, enhancing both its durability and grip.
A defining feature is the conspicuous 122-decibel loudspeaker positioned on the rear, accompanied by an eye-catching LED ring. This speaker module extends significantly beyond the phone’s contours, enveloped on either side by a constellation of cameras, a flash, and an infrared unit. The intelligent placement of the lenses in the shadow of the speaker not only ensures a unique aesthetic but also offers an added layer of protection against scratches and potential damage. Other elements on the back include the charging station contacts and a loop attachment point.
The right side of the device plays host to the power button, which also doubles as a fingerprint sensor for convenient unlocking.
Directly above this is a textured volume rocker, providing tactile ease for volume adjustments. Meanwhile, on the left side, the familiar and utilitarian additional button resides, offering customizable functionality for various tasks.
Just above this button is the tri-SIM slot, its design optimized for easy access without the need for a SIM card ejector tool—a user-friendly enhancement.
Notably, the lower left portion accommodates the attachment point for Ulefone’s separate endoscope camera or microscope modules, amplifying the phone’s utility and versatility. An equally important inclusion is the front-facing notification LED, a simple yet practical feature.
Continuing with the phone’s well-thought-out design, the USB-C 2.0 connector resides at the device’s bottom, accessible through a rubber plug that also conceals the headphone jack. Meanwhile, the top of the device houses an infrared (IR) remote control, catering to users who appreciate the convenience of controlling their devices remotely.
In terms of ruggedness, the Ulefone Armor 21 boasts impressive certifications. With IP68/IP69K and MIL-STD-810G military specifications, this smartphone is engineered to endure the challenges posed by water, dust, and harsh conditions. This comprehensive protection ensures that the Ulefone Armor 21 is not only a capable device but also a reliable companion for those who rely on their smartphones in demanding scenarios.
The Ulefone Armor 21 features a 6.58-inch FHD+ IPS panel with a resolution of 2408 x 1080 pixels, delivering a pleasingly crisp pixel density of 401 pixels per inch (ppi). This level of clarity ensures that images and text appear sharp and vibrant on the screen.
One of the standout features of the display is its high refresh rate of 120 Hz. This elevated refresh rate contributes to incredibly smooth animations, enhancing the overall fluidity of the user interface. Notably, the system is designed to dynamically adjust the refresh rate, intelligently lowering the frame rate when necessary.
The display is punctuated by a subtle and minimalistic drop-shaped notch, which is elegantly integrated into the design.
Display performance reaches an acceptable level of 500 lux. This means that the phone can be used outdoors where sunlight is present. However, in direct sunlight, the display reaches its limits, although still readable.
When it comes to color reproduction, the Ulefone Armor 21 excels by rendering colors accurately and naturally. Although the contrast and black levels might not reach the heights of AMOLED displays, they still offer a useful level of vibrancy and detail. Additionally, the display’s settings can be customized to suit personal preferences.
The responsiveness of the touchscreen is noteworthy as well, as it can recognize up to 10 touch positions simultaneously.
Ulefone Armor 21: Performance
The Ulefone Armor 21 stands out not only for its rugged design but also for its powerful internal hardware, including the MTK Helio G99 processor. This rugged smartphone is equipped with an impressive 8+8GB RAM and 256GB ROM configuration, ensuring that it can handle demanding tasks with ease.
At the heart of the Armor 21 lies the MTK Helio G99 processor, an octa-core powerhouse designed to deliver a blend of performance and efficiency. This processor features two high-performance cores (Arm Cortex-A76) clocked at 2.2GHz and six power-efficient cores (Arm Cortex-A55) reaching speeds of up to 2GHz. This balance between performance and power-saving capabilities ensures a smooth and responsive user experience, whether you’re multitasking or tackling resource-intensive applications.
The graphics processing unit (GPU) is the Mali-G57 MC2, operating at 1GHz.
With 8GB of RAM onboard, the Armor 21 delivers exceptional multitasking capabilities. Additionally, the phone employs a virtual RAM expansion feature, which essentially utilizes a portion of the device’s storage as additional RAM.
When it comes to gaming, the Ulefone Armor 21 ensures a superior experience with no need for compromises. Its powerful processor and capable GPU ensure that games run smoothly and without noticeable hitches, catering to mobile gamers and users who demand optimal performance.
OS and more
The Ulefone Armor 21 comes pre-installed with the Android 13 operating system, providing users with the latest native features and optimizations. In the 256GB ROM version, users still have an ample 232GB of space available for their personal use after accounting for the space occupied by the native system.
Ulefone has taken a practical approach to software, ensuring that the device is free from unnecessary bloatware and intrusive apps. Instead, the system includes a useful selection of tools and options, allowing users to customize their experience according to their preferences.
A notable feature is the inclusion of a “Smart Key” located on the left side of the Armor 21. This button can be customized to perform specific functions based on user preferences. For instance, a single press can activate the underwater camera mode, while a double press can turn on the flashlight. Furthermore, a long press can trigger the Zelloo app. For users who desire additional flexibility, the “Smart Key” can be configured to open other applications such as WhatsApp, Gmail, and Google Assistant.
The device’s aesthetic appeal can be further customized with the “Infinite Halo,” a LED light circle around the loudspeaker that can be personalized to display various patterns and colors.
Ulefone has equipped the Armor 21 with an array of sensors to enhance functionality. These include an electronic compass, gyroscope, and air pressure sensor, which collectively contribute to accurate orientation and navigation. The device also supports Bluetooth 5.2 for efficient connectivity and NFC for convenient payments via Google Pay.
Another standout feature is the built-in infrared transmitter, allowing users to utilize the smartphone as a versatile remote control for various devices.
The inclusion of an FM radio adds a layer of entertainment and convenience, especially when coupled with the device’s built-in loudspeaker.
Ulefone Armor 21 takes a pragmatic approach to camera setup by offering just two lenses on the back.
The main camera boasts a substantial 64MP sensor (Sony IMX686) with a wide ƒ/1.9 aperture. This combination allows for detailed and sharp photographs, with colors being rendered beautifully.
The camera offers various color modes, catering to different preferences. The “tasteless” mode, for instance, provides rich and vibrant colors.
Close-up shots are captured with admirable quality, retaining clear details and accurate colors. The camera manages to capture both shadow and bright areas with satisfactory detail, although there is room for improvement compared to higher-end smartphones.
It’s important to note that the Ulefone Armor 21 is an outdoor-focused rugged smartphone, situated in the mid-price range, and not primarily aimed at photography enthusiasts.
The dedicated night vision camera, with its 24MP sensor (OV24A1B) and paired with two infrared LEDs, excels at illuminating scenes in low-light conditions. This feature is particularly effective indoors, but it also proves its usefulness for capturing subjects at a distance in outdoor settings.
On the front, the device offers a 16MP selfie camera (Sony IMX481) with a ƒ/2.2 aperture. However, the results from the front camera might be a tad underwhelming. The images lack clarity and the color rendering is not as accurate as one might hope. As such, selfie enthusiasts might find themselves somewhat disappointed with the front camera’s performance.
A standout feature that instantly catches the eye on the Ulefone Armor 21 is its impressively large speaker. The speaker’s volume outperforms that of standard mobile phone speakers by a significant margin. The manufacturer boasts a power output of 3.5 watts.
When it comes to sound quality, the mono speaker on the Armor 21 proves itself to be remarkably convincing. Beyond simply achieving higher volume levels than other smartphones, this speaker manages to maintain sound clarity and quality. Notably, it is capable of rendering bass relatively well, adding depth to audio playback.
An engaging feature is the halo ring surrounding the speaker, which showcases dynamic RGB colors that sync with music playback, creating an immersive visual experience. In addition, this ring also displays the charging status of the device through animation.
A critical aspect of the Ulefone Armor 21’s usability lies in its substantial battery capacity of 9600mAh. This colossal battery ensures that the device can function autonomously for up to three days without requiring a recharge, based on typical usage.
Charging the Armor 21 is facilitated by its 30W charging capability, delivering a balance between charging speed and efficiency. Given the significant battery capacity, it’s understandable that longer charging times are necessary to fully replenish the device. Approximately 38% of the battery can be charged in 30 minutes, 82% in around 80 minutes, and a complete 100% charge takes about 2 hours.
Ulefone Armor 21: Conclusion
The Ulefone Armor 21 encapsulates the brand’s commitment to crafting rugged smartphones that excel in durability, performance, and functionality. With a legacy of consistently positive user feedback, Ulefone maintains its reputation for delivering reliable quality over the years.
While the Ulefone Armor 21 doesn’t compete with flagship phones, its comprehensive set of features, rugged design, and solid performance make it a compelling option in the mid-price range. Whether for outdoor enthusiasts, adventurers, or those working in demanding environments, the Armor 21 embodies Ulefone’s dedication to providing a reliable, capable, and enduring smartphone companion.