Remember when Xiaomi kicked off the trend for skinny screen bezels with the Mi Mix? Shame it was a limited-run deal. And a little pricey.

You don’t need to worry if you missed out, though. Six months down the line, you can snap up any number of budget alternatives that do the same job. Just about.

Case in point: the DooGee Mix. I’m guessing you’ve never heard of DooGee, but all you really need to know is the Mix is an absolute steal. Here’s what £135 (plus import duty) will buy when you’re not fussed about brand names.

DESIGN & BUILD

Look beyond the screen and the Mix still manages to keep up appearances. It might not use fancy ceramics, but DooGee’s mix of metal, glass and plastic doesn’t feel cheap. A glossy fingerprint magnet, sure, but not cheap - especially in the fetching blue colour seen here.

It feels suitably hefty at 193g, but comfortably sits in your hand thanks to the rounded frame. Doogee has squeezed an earpiece into the top edge, just below the screen, rather than mess about with vibrating ceramic plates - which were all too quiet on the Xiaomi Mi Mix.

There’s room underneath the display for a fingerprint reader, but it doesn’t double up as a home button - you have to switch to the onscreen keys once you’ve got past the lock screen. There’s a headphone jack up top - because Apple doesn’t get everything right, so there’s no point trying to copy them.

The only disappointment is the microUSB port at the bottom - it feels like cost-cutting, even on a phone as cheap as this. USB-C for the sequel, please!

PERFORMANCE & BATTERY LIFE

The MediaTek CPU at the heart of the Mix is the other big indicator we’re dealing with a budget phone. Even with eight cores ticking along at 2.5GHz, there’s a slight delay between tapping an app icon and it springing into life. It’s not massive, but it’s noticeable.

Performance is slightly down on the Snapdragon 625 you’d find in a Moto G5 Plus, but then again, that phone costs over £100 more. Apps and most simple games are perfectly smooth once you’re in them, but more demanding 3D games can’t run at a silky smooth frame rate. Multi-tasking can slow things down a bit too, even with 4GB of RAM behind the scenes.

At least battery life is respectable, if not outstanding. I lasted all day away from the mains, with some web browsing, podcast and YouTube streaming, some light gaming and snapping a few photos. You’ll want to plug in once you get home, or it’ll be dead phone city when you wake up the next morning.

CAMERA

With a 16MP RGB camera paired with an 8MP monochrome sensor, the Mix should be capable of decent photos - which is why it’s a shame the camera app feels a bit hokey. Icons are pixelated, text is too small, and useful settings are buried away in the menus.

Ignore all that, though, and the results are respectable. Detail really is up there with the best budget phones, it's fairly quick to focus, and contrast is pretty good too. Colours are a little on the muted side, but as long as you don’t zoom in to your shots, they’re perfectly usable for filling up your social feeds.

It’s just a shame the Mix struggles so badly with dynamic range - brightly lit skies are frequently over-exposed or blown out completely. The HDR mode doesn’t really help out, either. It’s not a deal-breaker, but you’ve got to be careful with how you line up your shots on sunny days.

SOFTWARE & OS

On the surface, the Mix seems to be running a fairly stock version of Android 7. The icons look familiar, and there’s even an app drawer - a bit of a rarity in phones coming out of China.

A bungee-jumping cartoon cat popping in from the top of the screen, though? That’s definitely not vanilla. Thankfully you can turn it off, but there’s no ditching the news feed hiding just a swipe away from the home screen, unless you install a different launcher.

There’s not much in the way of bloat, just a handy file manager, backup tool and app-doubling second space for using multiple accounts when apps don’t support them.

The one big gripe is the dodgy translation sprinkled throughout the UI. Some settings make absolutely no sense (Smart somatosensory, anyone?) but thankfully these are the exception, not the rule.

Tech Specs 
SCREEN
5.5in, 1280x720 AMOLED
CPU
2.6GHz MediaTek Helio p25 octa-core
MEMORY
4GB RAM
STORAGE
64GB onboard, microSD expansion
CAMERA
16MP+8MP rear w/ autofocus, LED flash. 5MP front
OPERATING SYSTEM
Android 7 Nougat
BATTERY
3380mAh non-removable
DIMENSIONS
144x76x8mm, 193g
Stuff says... 

DooGee Mix review

A quirky, cut-price phone that might not beat the big-name competition, but is guaranteed to turn heads
£135
Good Stuff 
Bezel-busting display
Stock Android - almost
Fantastic price
Bad Stuff 
Cameras aren't all that great
Battery life only average
Dodgy UI translations