Cube i6 Air Remix Hands-On Review

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Reviews' started by fashionluo, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    REMIX OS has proven itself to be the best customized skin for tablets and mini PCs running Android OS. Cube and many other Chinese tablet manufacturers are working closely with Jide Technology to release tablets running this heavily customized skin, and the Cube i6 Remix is just another one of these slates.


    Cube i7 Remix Specs

    • OS: Remix OS 1.0 (on top of Android 4.4.4)
    • Display: 9.7-inch IPS, 10-point multi-touch, IGZO
    • Screen Resolution: 2048 x 1536 (4:3)
    • CPU: Intel Atom Baytrail-T Z3735F Quad-core Processor
    • CPU Frequency: 1.33GHz – 1.8GHZ
    • GPU: Intel HD Graphic Gen7
    • RAM / Storage: 2GB / 32GB
    • Function: WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, OTG
    • WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
    • Camera: 5MP back camera, 2MP front camera
    • Battery: 8,000mAh
    • Extend Port: TF Card Slot, Micro USB Port, 3.5mm Headphone Jack
    • Weight & Size: 500 g / 237 x 170 x 8.8 mm


    Design and build

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    Simplicity. That's really the most defining characteristic of the Cube i6 Air Remix. It may look like an Apple iPad Air, but without the ugly round Home button, it looks much cleaner.

    The front of the tablet is dominated by a 9.7-inch IPS capacitive screen, with relatively small bezel around it. I am normally not a huge fan of the 4:3 aspect ratio for a tablet, but the small bezel makes the Cube i6 Air Remix look very well proportioned. A 2 mega-pixel camera sits comfortably above the display (in portrait), and it’s also easy to spot a light sensor and a proximity sensor on its white bezel.

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    Physical keys, ports and slots are all hosted on the sides of the tablet. A Micro USB port (for charging and data transmission) and a 3.5mm headphone jack are located on the top side, while a power button, a volume rocker and a Micro SD card slot are found on the right side.

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    The metallic rear gives the tablet a premium look, which handily compensates the plasticky feel brought by the white front.

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    At 8.8mm, the Cube i6 Remix is certainly far from being the slimmest tablet out there, but it is still quite compact, and carrying it won’t be much more of a burden than carrying your iPad Air.


    Screen and sound

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    The i6 Air Remix sports a 9.7-inch IPS display at the resolution of 2048*1536px. The screen is extremely sharp and clear, and the colors are rich and vivid.

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    Viewing angles are extremely wide as well, generally as what you would expect from an IPS screen.

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    And the brightness is okay for indoor use, but due to the reflectiveness of the screen it would be nice if it could go a few notches higher, especially when used outdoors.

    I encountered no fixed or dead pixels on my unit, unlike the Teclast P98 Air I reviewed which had two fixed/stuck pixels. I noticed no light bleed on the i6 Air 3G Dual OS’ display, either.

    With that said, this is still far from being the best tablet display we have laid our eyes on. Already spoiled by the Quad HD PLS displays on the SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and the super vibrant AMOLED displays on the SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab S series, the i6 Air Remix’s display could only be rated “good” by our standards now, even though it is better than most of the displays on tablets priced under $200.

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    Unfortunately, the i6 Air Remix’s speaker just doesn’t deliver, the sound from the single rear-facing speaker gate is hollow and tinny, and not loud enough. However, the 3.5mm audio jack has a good loud volume output with plenty of bass and clarity when you have a high-end headphone plugged in.
     
  2. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    System and apps

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    As can be guessed from its name, the i6 Air Remix ships with Remix OS, a heavily customized skin on top of Android OS. The version that the i6 Air Remix runs is Remix OS 1.0, which is based on Android 4.4. Although the 1.5 and 2.0 version of Remix OS have already been released for a while, due to the reason that the Intel Z3735F SoC. is not compatible with Android 5.0, the i6 Air Remix still needs to wait for the upgrade, which is not really guaranteed.

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    Even the seemingly outdated Remix 1.0 brings a lot of improvements over the stock Android OS. For example, the Android navigation bar has become a Windows-like taskbar with pinnable apps, a back button and a home button on the left, as well as a multi-purpose button on the right.

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    The multi-purpose button can be used to switch between full screen and phone size (for multitasking), and can also be used to clear the memory. Running apps in phone size allows multiple apps to run in the foreground, such as holding a wechat conversation while watching an MKBHD video and also posting an article to cngadget.

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    Some right-click menus have also been added to the REMIX OS for better mouse support. This greatly enhances the usability and productivity of the tablet.

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    Swiping down from the top of the screen opens the semi-transparent screen with all the alerts and the most common settings. Swiping up then this screen will be swiped off the display.

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    Icons for the apps currently running will show up in the taskbar. You can switch between running apps by tapping the icons.

    If you’re using a full-screen app, you can hide the taskbar to enhance a full-screen experience. But whenever you need it, you can bring it up by simply double tapping the screen or swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

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    Closing a running application is also extremely easy on the Remix OS. You can drag its icon out of the taskbar, or tap the x icon at the top of the app window (in phone mode), or hit the multi-purpose button to bring up a menu with a “Quit App” option.

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    Apps in phone mode are resized to look like they’re running on a smartphone screen, so they are still very easy to use with your fingers. You can fit 2 or more apps side-by-side in landscape mode. Unfortunately, even in phone mode, the apps are not resizable, so you either find peace with its default size, or you will have to switch the app to the 9.7-inch full-screen size.

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    Although the i6 Air Remix is mainly a media tablet, some applications are customized to offer more productivity. The mail app is designed to work like the email system on Windows 8, with a pop-up writing box. The file manager also offers much more functions than the file app in stock Android.

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    The WPS office suite is very useful for some simple editing, and could easily replace Microsoft Office for Android and iOS, and even the Microsoft Office Mobile for Windows 10, but please don’t expect it to be as productive as the fully featured Microsoft Office on Windows desktop.

    Everything on the i6 Air Remix runs quick and smooth. But if there are too many apps working actively at the same time, loading a webpage or a 3D game will slow down a little bit, and there might be some slight stuttering moving apps around the screen.

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    As a whole, Remix OS, even the outdated 1.0 version, is a huge step forward for Android OS. It lets you do just about anything you could do with a normal Android tablet, but it adds support for Windows-like multitasking, and also many other customized features to enhance productivity.

    Unfortunately, the i6 Air Remix still can’t get the upgrade to the even more refined and more productive Remix OS 1.5 or 2.0, and whether there will be an upgrade is still uncertain.


    Performance

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    The Cube i6 Air Remix is powered by an Intel Atom Bay-trail Z3735F quad-core processor and 2GB RAM, a hardware set-up normally seen on entry-level Windows 8 tablets. Although the Atom CPU fails to deliver powerhouse performance for Windows desktop applications, it does generate enough power to smash any Android applications, including the most graphic-intense 3D games.

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    For readers who are still not familiar with what kind of Android performance the Z3735F processor and 2GB RAM could deliver, you can read our reviews of the Cube i6 and some other dual boot tablets on cngadget. However, we still ran some popular benchmark tests on the i6 Air Remix and got some predictable scores.

    In the real day-to-day use, I found it much more capable of handling big applications or multi-tasking than my Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and many of the entry-level smartphones. Only when there were several big applications running simultaneously did I begin to notice some lags and stutters.


    Connectivity

    Unlike the Cube i6 Air 3G, the i7 Remix doesn’t have an SIM card slot on board, so it is a Wi-Fi only model. But it does offer a lot of connectivity options for its users. It features Wi-Fi a/b/g/n support for internet surfing, and Bluetooth 4.0 is also available for local data transfer. There is a micro SD card slot as well, on top of the 32GB of internal storage.

    The Cube i6 Air Remix also supports USB-on-the-go, and can work with USB storage, USB mice and normal keyboards. Of course, you can always hook up a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard to the slate without relying on the cable connection.

    Unfortunately, the i6 Air Remix doesn’t come with an HDMI port. Although you could still rely on miracast to project the tablet display to an HDTV, the stability isn’t as guaranteed as using the HDMI output.


    Battery life

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    The i6 Air Remix packs an 8,000mAh Li-Po battery and lasted for 7 hours, 24 minutes of video playback in our standard cngadget battery test, which ranks in the middle among all Android tablets.

    In everyday use, I did notice that the battery of the i6 Air Remix dropped a little bit faster than ordinary Android tablets, because I was always running two or three applications in phone mode at the same time. With that said, the i7 Remix can easily work through a whole day on a full charge, and you don’t really need more than that.

    Battery drop during standby has been minimized, nine hours of standby whilst connected to the Wi-Fi and receiving social media alerts left a drain of only 5%, meaning you will never feel the need to ensure that the slate was hooked up to a power supply overnight.


    Cameras

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    The Cube i6 Remix features a 5 megapixel main camera and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, and you can shoot 720p videos with the main snapper.

    The user interface is based on the new generation camera UI. A single viewfinder handles both still and video capture, so you don’t have to switch modes. The camera app is extremely simple, with not much options in either still camera or video camera mode.

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    Although the main camera is capable of producing decent photos when there is adequate lighting, I doubt you will ever really use it. As cameras on your smartphones could do a much better job at taking pictures.

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    The 2MP front-facing camera is good enough for video-chatting on Skype, but it is not the kind of snapper you want to do selfies with.


    Verdict

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    The i6 Remix is a wonderful tablet for the price. For only RMB699 ($108), you get a stunning 9.7-inch IPS retina display, a well-constructed metallic chassis, a powerful Intel processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMc storage and the very useful REMIX OS.

    Unfortunately, running a dated version of REMIX OS is off-putting, and the fact that further firmware upgrade isn’t even guaranteed can definitely keep some potential buyers from digging into their pocket.
     
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