Oukitel WP15 rugged smartphone review

A handset that will divide opinions but can’t be criticized for trying new things

Oukitel WP15 Review Hero
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The WP15 is a truly unique smartphone; those even considering buying it will be acutely aware of its specificities. It is a one-pound smartphone that is one-inch thick and can do 5G that is capable of many tricks and at a price that’s actually quite competitive.

Pros

  • +

    Massive battery

  • +

    5G connectivity

  • +

    Good performance

  • +

    Excellent price

Cons

  • -

    No wireless charging

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Two minute review

Oukitel plans to succeed with a big battery smartphone when others before it, most notably the weird looking Energizer Power Max P18K Pop (opens in new tab) and its 18Ah battery, have failed. While Energizer had the biggest battery we’ve seen on a smartphone, it never went on general sale while the WP15, at least, reached that goal without resorting to any crowdfunding shenanigans.

With a 15.6Ah battery, 5G connectivity, IP68/MIL-STD-180G rating, this is a versatile smartphone that could easily double as an affordable all-weather mobile hotspot (opens in new tab) for busy outdoor teams, albeit one not likely to challenge dedicated 5G hotspots like the Netgear Nighthawk MR5200 5G WiFi 6 portable mobile hotspot router (opens in new tab).

Throw in a very attractive price tag and some high-resolution camera sensors and you end up with a truly unique smartphone that - for the right audience and scenarios- will be a Godsend. On the other hand, its size will divide opinions as you’re essentially getting a smartphone paired with a portable battery charger and glued to a shockproof casing.

The competition is already there - the just announced Ulefone Power Armor 13 has a smaller 13Ah battery and 4G (rather than 5G) but has a flurry of accessories including a wireless charger and an endoscope.

Pricing and availability

The WP15 is available from AliExpress (opens in new tab) for just under $300 at the time of writing. The price doesn’t include local taxes and delivery companies may add an additional levy. As always, caveat emptor (opens in new tab) if you plan to buy this smartphone from China.

Side View

(Image credit: Future)

Design

First, let’s address the elephant in the room; the WP15 is the biggest and heaviest smartphone we have handled to date, although it doesn’t have the largest footprint. At 178.2 x 86.2 x 23.8mm for a weight of 485g (that’s more than one pound in weight), it feels like a brick but its V-shape design combined with the usual 8-side form factor makes it a bit easier to hold.

Rubber Corners

(Image credit: Future)

Oukitel, like most other rugged smartphone vendors, has adopted a conservative design with gunmetal-colored metal and black rubber, giving it the looks of a device that hails from an intergalactic spaceship. There’s some extra precautions - like reinforced rubber corners - added to prevent damage to the screen.

Lanyard Loop

(Image credit: Future)

The bottom of the phone is host to a rubber flap that hides a Type-C USB port and a lanyard connector loop. 

Fingerprint Reader

(Image credit: Future)

On the left of the WP15 is a customizable button and a SIM tray while the other edge contains a fingerprint reader that doubles as the power button as well as a volume rocker.

Rear Cameras

(Image credit: Future)

At the rear are three sensors (a 48MP Sony IMX314, a 2MP one and a 0.3MP one) plus four LEDs arranged in a weird V Shape. The 6.5-inch HD+ display is covered with an oleophobic layer and surrounded by a thick protective rubber frame and has a teardrop 8MP selfie camera sensor bang in the middle. 

Rear of Device

(Image credit: Future)

Hardware

Spec Sheet

The Oukitel WP15 comes with the following hardware:

CPU: Mediatek Dimensity 700

GPU: Arm Mali-G57

RAM: 9GB

Storage: 128GB

Screen size: 6.5-inch 

Resolution: 1600 x 720

Weight: 485g

Dimensions: 178.2 x 86.2 x 23.8mm

Rear camera: 48MP, 2MP, 0.3MP

Front camera: 8MP

OS: Android 11

Battery: 15.6Ah

While the 15.6Ah battery is the unique selling point of the WP15, the rest of the specification is not actually that bad. Most notably, it uses a 5G-capable Mediatek Dimensity 700 which is paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB eMMC storage. 

Wireless connectivity includes NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 5. Note that the phone is charged using a 9V,2A (18W) power supply unit with OTG capabilities which means that you can use it to power other devices as well.

In use

Benchmarks

This is how the Oukitel WP15 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

PCMark (Work 2.0): 8246

Passmark: 6949

Passmark CPU: 3155

Androbench (sequential): 949 (sequential read); 210 (sequential write)

Androbench (random): 102 (random read); 99 (random write)

3DMark  Wild Life Vulkan: 1109

LinPack MFLOPS: 644

The WP15 runs on Android 11 and like all Mediatek-powered smartphones has a number of dedicated apps: GameMode optimizes the device for, well, gaming (not that the WP15 is a gaming beast, far from that), System Manager is a utility suite that seeks to tweak the handset for optimal performance while ChildMode allows the administrator to offer a secure, limited area. Toolbag offers nine tools (Compass, SoundMeter, Protractor etc) while Smart Panel allows you to switch quickly between apps.

As for sheer performance, the WP15’s Dimensity 700 SoC was generally inferior to other devices running on Mediatek’s Dimensity 800 platform. That can be explained by the different core configuration (two large cores supported by six smaller ones rather than four large and four smaller cores) as well as the lower number of graphic cores which impacted compute and video performance overall. Note that the WP15 can run two 5G SIM simultaneously.

Should I buy the Oukitel WP15?

Buy it if:

You want the biggest battery around 

The 15.6Ah battery on the WP15 will be useful not only to keep the smartphone running longer but also act as an emergency battery charger (opens in new tab) for other devices thanks to its reverse charging feature. Shame it doesn’t do wireless charging.

If you want a reasonably priced 5G rugged smartphone 

It is one of the more affordable rugged 5G smartphones on the market as well, which is not a bad place to start. As long as you can live with its bigger-than-average girth. 

USB-C Port

(Image credit: Future)

Don’t buy it if:

You don’t want a big phone 

The WP15 is a huge smartphone, one of the biggest we’ve seen and we truly understand that it won’t appeal to a lot of folks. Just bear in mind that you could buy it in lieu of a 5G mobile hotspot and get something far more versatile.

You want rock-solid after sales support

Oukitel and most of the Chinese rugged smartphone retailers have been very coy about future firmware and OS upgrades. Likewise, warranty is patchy at best with returns.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.