Cube T7 Hands-On Review

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Reviews' started by fashionluo, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    The Cube T7 is arguably the most anticipated tablet from a Chinese brand. Not only is it the first Android tablet to feature the 64-bit MediaTek MT8752 octa-core processor, it is also the first tablet with dual 4G support – LTE & TD-LTE. Is it capable of continuing Cube’s dominant success in the category of tablets with phone functions, we are eager to find out.

    Cube T7 main specs:

    OS: Android 4.4
    Display: 7-inch IPS, 5-point multi-touch
    Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1200 (16:10)
    CPU: 64-bit MT8752 octa-core processor (eight cores of Cortex-A53)
    CPU Frequency: 1.7GHz
    GPU: Mali-760MP2
    RAM / Storage: 2GB / 16GB
    Function: WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS, OTG, Miracast, FM Radio
    WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
    GSM: band2, band3, band5, band8
    TDS: band34, band39
    WCDMA: band1, band5
    TDD: band38, band39, band40, band41
    FDD: band1, band3, band7
    Camera: 5MP back camera, 2MP front camera
    Battery: 3500mAh
    Extend Port: TF Card Slot, SIM Card Slot, Micro USB Port, 3.5mm Headphone Jack
    Weight & Size: 280 g / 192*113*9.3mm


    Design and build

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    The main design element is the size of the tablet, as the T7 is the first high-end 7-inch tablet we have seen from Cube. It's almost like holding a phone because the device is so small and slender – holding it one-handed is a breeze. The silver frame looks great and we like the rounded curves of the cover.

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    The device doesn't have a metal rear cover like those bigger flagship tablets from Cube, instead it has a delicate plastic rear cover which matches that of the iWork 7. This may not look quite as impressive but provides much better grip.

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    Like other 3G and 4G tablets from Cube, the T7 has the minimum number of ports and buttons. The only physical controls you'll find are the power/lock key and the volume rocker switch on the right hand side of the slate (when held in portrait). The 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro SD card slot are on the top side of the tablet, while the Micro USB port is located on the bottom side, as the T7 is a tablet which has full phone functionalities, there is also a SIM tray slot on the right side.

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    It is obvious that Cube has already given up on the SIM tray lock design we’ve seen on its previous higher-end 3G tablets, which requires the users to use an awkward removal tool to pull out the SIM tray, and now leaves a more convenient opening for us to be able to pull out the SIM tray with our own fingers.

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    The tablet weighs 280g, not much heavier than many of the large phones, long period of one-handed operation wouldn’t be much of a problem. However, at 9.3mm, it isn’t a slim tablet by today’s standards.

    It's hardly a game changing design, but it is functional and we've seen many worse looking tablets in our time - we're just pleased Cube hasn't gone bezel crazy here. There's just enough to hold the T7 without fingers encroaching on the screen, and that's all we ask for.

    Excellent build quality has been maintained with no signs of unwanted gaps in the casing or wobbly buttons. The only thing we can really mark it down for is a lack of premium materials such as aluminum, but that also comes down to personal preferences.


    Display

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    The Cube T7 sports a 7-inch display at an impressively-high 1920x1200 resolution, and we would've been delighted. But not only do we now have a delightful 323 pixels-per-inch IPS display to look at, it's also a really great panel overall.

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    Compared it down next to the lower-end models such as the Talk 7X Octa, the T7 is notably brighter, has higher contrast and is of course more crisp thanks to the Full HD resolution. The "gapless" display technology used here makes images appear to float on the surface.

    In everyday use, the display looks fantastic no matter what we're using the T7 for. Text and images are clean and easy on the eyes, and color reproduction is as accurate as leading LCD panels out there. Tablets are more likely to be viewed by multiple people at once, it's also important to note that the display doesn't distort images or wash out at even obscure viewing angles.

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    We tried to use the T7 outdoors, and the glass-covered display still performed quite well, aside from some unwanted glares.

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    Only when we laid the T7 side by side with some flagship smartphones and tablets (The iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4) did we begin to notice some weaknesses of the 7-inch display – the color temperature was a little bit too warm, the black is not too deep, etc.
    With that said, it is still the best 7-inch screens we've ever laid eyes on, period.
     
  2. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    Sound

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    The T7 rear-facing speaker is very loud, but tinny. It is acceptable for streaming clips on YouTube, but you would want to plug in your headphone for music and action movies.


    System & UI


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    The T7 runs Android 4.4.4 out of the box. Customizations have been made to some of the icons, other than that, you have the pure feel of Android Kitkat.



    Performance

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    The Cube T7's beauty is more than skin deep: its 64bit MT8752 octa-core processor, coupled with two full gigabytes of RAM, is an agile performer.

    Benchmarks

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    You can spend a day sifting through benchmarks, which tend to place the T7’s performance notably higher than the Nexus 7’s and the LG G Pad 8.3’s, or you can simply spend a few hours using the device. It’s fast, it’s capable, and it’s powerful. This is one of smoothest experiences I have ever had on an Android tablet, period.

    Apps and Browser

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    We did have a few performance hiccups and just one hot reboot while testing every app we could think of, which is expected on pretty much any mobile devices you use today. And I believe it was more of a problem of the Android ecosystem other than the processing power the T7 could bring to the table. Other than a couple of app freezes, the T7 was surprisingly stable, most apps worked quite ideally on the slate.

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    Browsing webpages on a 7-inch display is definitely better experience than always trying to zoom and drag on your phone, the T7 remained pretty responsive even while we were opening dozens of image-heavy websites at the same time.

    Multimedia

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    Cube's own video app as well as the Google Play apps are on board. Cube's video app is clean and simple; it doesn't muck around with extra features like ifive's apps do, for instance. The tablet had no problem playing video up to 1080p in various formats, including H.264, MPEG4, WMV, and even an MKV file with high-quality audio. The tablet also had no problem with a range of audio formats including MP3, AAC, and WMA.

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    If you are not used to keeping media files in your tablet, you can always turn to YouTube for tons of videos online.

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    There's no video out; if you want to show video on a TV, you'll have to do it wirelessly through Miracast with the aid of something like a Netgear Push2TV adapter. Because there's generally a line of sight between your tablet and the TV, I saw perfectly smooth video streaming over Miracast.

    Gaming

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    The T7 features the Mali-760MP2 GPU, which is powerful enough to run even the most graphic-intense games from the Android ecosystem. And I haven’t experienced any lags or hiccups in playing the games that I normally play on my Snapdragon 800 powered LG Optimus G Pro2.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  3. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    Connectivity

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    The T7, like other tablets from Cube’s Talk series, is a tablet with full phone functionalities. That means, besides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, you also have features such as GPS, FM Radio, Phone call functions, SMS and mobile data access. What really sets the T7 apart from other 3G or 4G tablets is that the T7 is the first tablet ever to support both 4G LTE and 4G TD-LTE, with only one SIM slot.

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    Because of the T7’s relatively small footprint, holding it to your ears to make a phone call isn’t going to be too awkward, although it still looks a little bit strange.


    OTA Upgrade

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    The T7 is one of the few Chinese tablets which support OTA upgrade, which makes firmware update much easier for users. During my three weeks with the T7, it already received three wireless upgrades. Although I barely noticed any differences after each update, but kudos to Cube for assuring us with its ongoing after-sale services.


    Battery

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    Likely for reasons of weight and thickness, the T7's only packs a 3500mAh non-removable battery, which is less capacity than most higher-end 7-inch tablets on the market. With a high-resolution and extremely bright display and a faster processor, we were initially quite worried about the T7’s battery life, but the test results and the experiences in daily use changed our minds.

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    In our standard cngadget battery test, which entails looping a video at half-brightness with the normal amount of background actions running (i.e., push email, Twitter syncing, WiFi/GPS enabled), places the T7 at 7 hours and 33 minutes, which ranks in the middle of our list in standardized testing. That's pretty much on par with the run time we got from LG's G Pad 8.3 and the Colorfly G808 3G. In actual usage, too, the T7 lasted through a weekend with light to moderate use. So, unless you plan to sit and stream movie after movie, you should be satisfied with its longevity.


    Cameras

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    I’m all for ignoring a tablet’s camera, as after all, it’s probably the device’s least-functional component. But I know there are people actually having fun taking pictures with tablets, I’ve seen that a lot in China. The T7 has a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera, both of which are not bad. The front camera is fine for video chatting, and the main camera is sharp, when you have good lighting. It records smooth 720p videos and takes nice pictures. The stock camera app also has some useful features, like night mode and HDR.
    With that said, they are still just tablet cameras, so don’t expect anything extraordinary, below are some samples:

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    Conclusions

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    The T7 represents not only how far Cube has come over the past few years, but also how much Chinese Android tablets have grown. Just two years ago, Cube, along with many other Chinese manufacturers, was still making tablets with not much more functionalities than a blown-up MP4 player; today, they’ve released some of the best Android tablets on the market. And that’s saying a lot in December 2014— the dark days of oversized, bogged down Android tablets are behind us, and we finally have a market filled with capable, gorgeous tablets. Android tablets are finally useful, supplementing your smartphone with a device large enough for books, magazines, movies and games, yet small enough to through in your bag, and the T7 is the cream of the crop.

    I’ve never met a Chinese Android tablet that’s more capable, more gorgeous, or easier to use. Its lightweight and delicate design is the ideal balance of size and portability, and that 7-inch display is simply stunning. The 64-bit octa-core processor and 2GB RAM easily generate enough power to smoothly run any Android applications, no matter how demanding they might be.

    A lot of Chinese manufacturers can call 2014 a good year, as many were revitalized by Intel’s ambitious invasion in Shenzhen and Microsoft’s free Windows 8 authorization for smaller tablets. But for Cube, 2014 was great. It found itself on top of the second-tier Chinese brands, after years of stumbling and trying to find its way into the public eye. Today, the company is producing several of the best Android tablets on the market. Will it become as financially successful as Xiaomi and Meizu? Probably not. But cheers to Cube for fighting the good fight. .

    Pros
    • Nice design and build quality
    • Lightweight and durable
    • Perfect size and footprint
    • Top-of-the-line display quality
    • Full phone functionalities


    Cons
    • The camera is still very much a tablet camera
    • Lacks the premium feel of flagship tablets
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014

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