The niche of rugged devices continues to grow, and it is no coincidence that many Chinese manufacturers are directing much of their smartphone business towards this category. Fossibot F102 it is the latest arrival in our hands, an extremely heavy device that definitely cannot go unnoticed.
I am referring to the large central circle inserted into the back cover, almost as if it were Iron Man's shield: in reality it includes a rather unusual gem, yet useful in extreme contexts. I'll tell you about it in the full review.
Fossibot F102 review
Design and Materials
Il rugged smartphone designTo date, it has now adopted a common shape, characterized by rounded corners and metal sides, and Fossibot's F102 fully reflects these distinctive lines. What slightly differentiates the Fossibot F102, in this specific case, is its shape, given the presence of inclined sides which facilitate its grip and manipulation. A good choice, considering that this device weighs almost 500g, which makes it quite massive and potentially even a blunt instrument (I'm joking, of course, but we get the point!).
La button layout is in line with the standards, with the fingerprint reader and the power button combined on the right side, together with the volume rocker, while the SIM slot, a customizable physical button and one for turning on the camping light, on the left side. The fingerprint reader on the right side may not be ideal for left-handed users, but fortunately the phone has well-functioning facial recognition, which is why you won't have any problems or difficulties in unlocking.
Regarding the rear, this is where the main innovations are seen: I am referring to the predominant presence of Camping LED 40 mm wide, an unusual accessory on board a smartphone that with its 300 individual LEDs it can emit up to 495 lumens with only 3W of consumption, illuminating even very large and completely dark environments very well. A gem that, in short, I wouldn't have thought could be so useful but it turned out to be a killer feature.
Otherwise, the underside is pretty standard, with the charging and data port sitting under a sturdy rubber cap marked 'Type-C', though sadly 3,5mm audio input is missing, a feature still highly requested in products of this category.
Overall, despite the considerable weight, the F102 offers a pleasant user experience if you are used to this type of product, plus it complies with IP68/IP69K and also MIL-STD-810G standards, therefore it fully reflects all the necessary requirements in the category.
The impressive screen of this smartphone has a diagonal from 6.58 inches, while the panel is an IPS matrix with Full HD+ resolution and a refresh rate that reaches 120Hz, a significant step forward compared to the traditional 60 or 90Hz displays that often characterize rugged smartphones, although in the latest models we have tested it has almost established itself as standard.
La display backlighting it is uniform, offering finally vibrant and pleasant colors, despite the cheapness of the device. However, Fossibot's software, like that of many other similar companies, is quite limiting in terms of color customization or temperature adjustment, so you won't have much room to maneuver in color management. The touchscreen is good and finally responds well and above all does not have annoying haptic feedback, but pleasantly well-measured.
Hardware and Performance
Once again on the technical sheet of a rugged smartphone we see a processor as the protagonist Helio G99 at Mediatek which, in this configuration, Fossibot has combined with 12GB of RAM, expandable up to 20GB virtually, and 256GB of storage, also expandable via MicroSD if we were willing to sacrifice one of the two slots for the nano SIM.
As you well know, in the rugged sector, attention often shifts from hardware to design optimization, or at least these are the intentions, also because on a hardware level it is certainly not encouraging, but then on a practical level it will not leave you the bitter taste in the mouth, I guarantee it.
Fossibot F102, in fact, represents one of the few exceptions that satisfied me in terms of performance, despite having the hardware that I have just listed, and I won't deny that it almost makes me strange to admit it. Even the gaming experience with my usual reference titles like COD or PUBG is good, with an average framerate always above 50fps.
No lag problems in the interface or slowdowns during daily use. In short, the combination of hardware, 120Hz display and lightweight software have helped make this smartphone efficient. As for connectivity, it is important to note that this model does not support 5G networks, but on the other hand it boasts Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and, obviously, NFC for payments.
At the software level, however, it's always the same story: Android is available in its penultimate release, the 13, with security patches last updated in August, with very little chance of seeing new updates in the coming months, but this is a scenario we've seen before.
The graphic interface of this ROM retains a notable resemblance to stock Android, as already mentioned, but the manufacturer has only made changes, especially in terms of icons and a few graphic goodies.
As for the rest, the smartphone is supplied as standard with the complete suite of Google applications and the Toolbag app, the only "extra" application pre-installed. Following tradition, Toolbag allows you to exploit all the sensors incorporated in the smartphone for "construction site" functions, such as the level, noise analysis, torch, compass and so on. There is also an app that allows you to manage the powerful camping LED installed, in order to enable its switching on with different combinations, including the flashing SOS.
It is very rare to find a rugged smartphone manufacturer that releases specific information regarding the cameras installed on its smartphones, and this is also the case with this one Fossibot F102 of which we know all the details. The lenses installed here, as shown along the back cover, are three: the primary from 108MP Samsung S5KHM2SPO3 with f/1.8 aperture, the secondary 5MP Macro and the Sony night lens 24MP OV24A1B. The selfie camera, however, is one 32MP also produced by Sony, specifically the IMX616.
The images captured by this smartphone, in practice, in my opinion, do not do justice to the hardware implemented by the manufacturer, almost certainly due to software that could have been optimized more effectively. In daylight conditions, the photos produced by the Fossibot F102 are, all things considered, of good quality: it is clear that the lens does an appreciable job, especially when we examine the details of the images and push ourselves into a more advanced crop. The dynamic range is good outdoors, but shows some limitations in artificially lit indoor environments, a situation in which the smartphone struggles slightly to express its full potential.
During the night, as often happens, the photos can lose a little sharpness in lights, especially warm ones, but overall, considering the price range, I am more than satisfied with the images obtained. Night mode photos, on the other hand, are comparable to those of its direct competitors, no more, no less: just sufficient, with the same old limitations. Black and white night photos are average, the use of which is limited to a few real contexts. More than enough selfies, FullHD 1080p videos of fairly low quality, with a definition that is not excellent and above all not in line with the photos which, overall, are good.
In the last two years I don't remember having tried a smartphone with this level of autonomy, but on the other hand with well 16.500 mAh available, it was practically impossible to disappoint expectations. Fossibot F102, in fact, it extremely easily reaches an autonomy of 3 days with traditional use, values that can drop a little if you make excessive use of the powerful integrated LED flashlight, which despite its very low consumption, has an important impact on the drums.
The wall power supply for the device is also available in the package quick charge to 33W, but given the size of the battery itself, approximately 6 hours are still required for a complete 0-100% charge of the device.
Price and Considerations
Fossibot F102 is available for purchase on GeekBuying for a price of around 200 euros, a figure that puts it on par with the entire rugged sector, no more, no less. Among the reasons for choosing this device, we must certainly mention the battery, the best ever tested in recent months, and the integrated LED camping light, a feature which, in fact, makes it unique in its kind.
For the rest, it's a rugged phone like many others: average performance, sufficient cameras and rather basic software, but whoever needs a rugged phone, I'm sure they won't think about all these details.
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