This Android smartphone does impossible things for the iPhone

Estimated read time 6 min read

This Android smartphone does impossible things for the iPhone

The Ulefone Power Armor 18T is an exceptional smartphone.

I like a lot of things Apple does, especially my iPhone 14 Pro Max. I have it in my hands practically all day. But I still use an Android phone.

Why? Because it can do things that my iPhone can’t do.

My previous favorite Android phone was the Ulefone Armor 9. I have used it a lot in the last two years. Not only is it my device of choice when I need a device capable of withstanding the most difficult environments, but it has interesting functions such as a thermal camera and the possibility of connecting an endoscope.

I used the thermal imaging camera a lot, less the endoscope. But there are times when he was very useful to me too.

The Armor 9 has been updated with the new Power Armor 18T. It’s a beast of a smartphone!

Technical characteristics of the Ulefone Power Armor 18T

  • MediaTek Dimensity 900 5G Chipset
  • 6.58-inch FHD+ screen, 1080 x 2408 resolution at 120 Hz
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • 12 GB of RAM + 5 GB of virtual memory expansion
  • 258 GB of ROM + 2 TB of expansion by microSD card
  • 108 Megapixel rear camera + 5 megapixels in microscope mode
  • Front camera of 32 Mpix
  • FLIR Lepton 3.5&#13 Thermal Camera;
  • 9600mAh battery, 66W super fast charging, 15W wireless charging, 5W wireless reverse charging
  • Expansion ports for endoscope and supermicroscope
  • 5G Network
  • WiFi 6
  • Satellite systems GPS (L1+L5 dual-band), Glonass, BeiDou, Galileo
  • Certifications IP68, IP69K (high pressure water jet from various angles), military standards MIL-STD-810G
  • Built-in software tools: compass, level measurement, flashlight, hanging chart function, altimeter, magnifying glass, alarm bell, plumb line, protractor, sound level meter, pedometer, mirror, barometer…
  • Biometric face and fingerprint sensors
  • Android 12

Robust to wish

The Ulefone Power Armor 18T is a highly rugged smartphone designed to withstand the most violent shocks. It meets a whole series of standards, including IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810G. This means that it can be immersed in water to depths of up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes, exposed to high-pressure water jets and steam cleaning, and fall from a height of 1.2 meters. It also resists dust, acid spills and low-pressure environments that can destroy other smartphones.

It is a robust smartphone. I know this, because mine was exposed to rain and ice, was thrown into the mud, fell out of the tailgate of my truck and was left outside by forgetfulness during a thunderstorm…

Tough, rugged, yet still stylish

Solid, robust, but always elegant

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET


The Power Armor 18T is equipped with an Arm Cortex-A78 processor clocked at 2.4 GHz and a Mali-G68 GPU. This is enough power for the device to always work smoothly. This processor is combined with 12 GB of physical RAM and the possibility of adding 5 GB of virtual RAM for difficult times.

I found that 12 GB of RAM was more than enough and I didn’t feel the need to increase this capacity to 17 GB.

But the faster processor, the increase in RAM and the doubling of storage capacity are all elements that I really appreciate in this update.

The power is provided by a huge 9600mAh polymer lithium-ion battery, which is charged via the USB-C port or wireless charging. Wireless charging is a big improvement for me, because it means that I don’t have to open the waterproof flap of the USB-C port if I’m outside in bad weather conditions.

The camera

The 108-megapixel rear camera with a huge 1/1.52-inch ISOCELL HM2 sensor produces very good photos, even in standard resolution. I have played with this camera in various conditions and it is good. It does not equal an iPhone Pro Max, but it is still very good for a smartphone that costs only a fraction of its price.

Power Armor 18T camera array

Power Armor 18T Camera

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Do you really need 108 megapixel photos?

On closer inspection, I can see some minor differences between the standard photos and the high resolution photos. But I have to admit that I’m happy to stick to standard photos, unless I need an image that I might have to edit heavily or crop.

The 32 megapixel front camera is also quite good, although I’m not sure that we really need that many megapixels for the lens in question. Because it is difficult to see real improvements compared to cameras with a much lower megapixel count.

But the number of megapixels helps to sell, and as the sensors are getting cheaper and cheaper, the number of megapixels will keep increasing.

My favorite features

On one of the sides of the Power Armor 18T there is a port for an endoscope. The Ulefone endoscope (sold separately) has a 2-meter cable and is IP67 compliant. It is an ideal tool for penetrating into areas where you cannot put your eyes, and it is a great tool for engineers. There are a bunch of USB-C endoscopes, but the fact that this one does not occupy the USB-C port is convenient.

The borescope port

The borescope port

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

For me, the real star feature is the FLIR Lepton 3.5 thermal camera. With a resolution of 160 x 120 and a temperature range of -10℃ to 400℃, it is an extraordinary diagnostic tool for technicians.

The thermal camera has a resolution four times higher than that of the previous generation of thermal cameras, which makes it possible to obtain higher quality, sharper and more detailed thermal images.

The thermal camera is the flagship function of this phone

The thermal camera is the flagship function of this phone.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

You can check the overheating of components, heating, ventilation and air conditioning problems, heat or cold leaks from doors and windows to the outside, and much more.

Yes, you can get a separate thermal camera for a smartphone, including for an iPhone, but nothing beats having one built into your phone, ready to use.

For me, it’s the function that kills.

In conclusion

At € 600, the Power Armor 18T is not cheap at all, but after using its predecessor for two years, then this one for a few weeks, I am convinced that this device can be amortized. It is the ideal smartphone for outdoor workers, engineers and rescue workers looking for a robust smartphone that does not compromise on power, performance and display quality.

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