The Cube Talk 8 and U27GT Review

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Reviews' started by fashionluo, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    There is no shortage of 8-inch tablets available today. From budget to high-end, from Android to Windows, you won’t have trouble finding something. Eying for the market craze over 8-inchers, Cube recently released not one, but two new 8-inch Android tablets: The Cube Talk 8 (U27GT-3G) and the U27GT. As the name would suggest, the two have similar design and specs.

    Main specs

    • Android 4.4.2
    • 8-inch 1280*800 IPS screen
    • MediaTek MT8382 Quad Core 1.3GHz (Talk 8) / MediaTek MT8127 Quad Core 1.3GHZ (U27GT)
    • 1GB RAM + 8GB ROM
    • Cameras: 0.3MP & 5.0MP (Talk 8) / 0.3MP & 2MP (U27GT)
    • 3G / Phone (Talk 8)
    • OTG support
    • Micro SD card support
    • Bluetooth
    • HDMI (U27GT)
    • GPS function / FM Radio (Talk 8)



    Design and Build

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    Both the Cube Talk 8 and the U27GT lack the understated class of the latest Galaxy Tab S and the sheer premium feel of the iPad Mini, with details such as a glossy white plastic back panel and rim feeling dated and unappealing.

    As ever with Cube's designs, though, the Talk 8 and U27GT somehow feel sturdy and well-built despite their cheap and ugly appearances. You can imagine them surviving a fair few drops with scarcely a scratch to show for it - though I didn't put this to the test.

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    These two 8-inch tablets are clearly intended to be held and used in portrait mode first and foremost. The orientation of the Cube branding and the boot screen animation tell you as much, as does the way the tablet sits comfortably in a single handed grip when aligned this way.

    Keeping with Google's reference Nexus designs, the Cube Talk 8 and U27GT don’t have any physical controls in the front, which means you will need to use the virtual controls in the status bar for “Home”, “Back” and “Menu”. And the only way you can wake the display is by pressing the power button on the top edge.

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    You will find a VGA front-facing camera on the upper bezel of both tablets, but the Talk 8’s front panel also hosts an earpiece, a proximity sensor as well as a light sensor along with the camera.

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    All the hardware controls and connectors are hosted on the top edge of both tablets, including a 3.5mm audio jack, a Micro USB data/charging port, a volume rocker and the aforementioned power/standby key. The U27GT has a Mini HDMI port, which allows you to connect the tablet to a bigger screen. The Talk 8, unfortunately, doesn’t have HDMI on board.

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    Both tablets weigh 360 grams, which is significantly heavier than the more premium Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (298g), and could be a challenge to one-handed grip for a long period of time.


    Display and Sound

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    The 1280*800 display of these two 8-inch slates may seem underwhelming compared to the Full-HD or Quad-HD displays we’ve seen on the flagship tablets of similar size. But viewing angles, color saturation and contrast ratios are all excellent thanks to the IPS technology.

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    Sound quality on the Cube Talk 8 and U27GT is fine through a decent set of headphones. The speakers are pretty loud, but the lack of clarity and stereo effect is still very much present.


    User Interface and Apps

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    If you know anything about Cube, you know that when it comes to software on their tablets, there isn’t a lot of proprietary software along with the stock Android interface. A set of Google applications and the Cube application store are the only preinstalled apps on both the Talk 8 and U27GT.

     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  2. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    Performance

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    Both tablets use MediaTek solutions, the Cube Talk 8 runs on a MediaTek MT8382 quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz, while the U27GT runs on a more powerful MT8127 quad-core chipset, also clocked at 1.3GHZ. The main difference between the two is GPU. The Talk 8 features Mali-400MP2, which is a little bit underwhelming compared to the Mali-450MP4 in the U27GT. Both tablets are equipped with 1GB of RAM to help with multi-tasking.

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    For everyday tasks, the specs are suitable for both tablets. Flicking through homescreens is smooth, web browsing is quick and applications launch with little issue. Only when the CPUs are pushed to their limits should you begin to see signs of a struggle.

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    Running the gaming benchmarks, the Talk 8 scores a 2351 in the Ice Storm Extreme test putting it behind the U27GT (2362). In the Ice Storm test it scores a 3121 placing it around the performance of the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0.

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    The Talk 8 musters up a 17,242 score in the AnTuTu benchmark, very much the same as the score notched by the U27GT (17,368).

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    The Geekbench 3.0 benchmark, meanwhile, gives the Talk 8 a score of 1176 and the U27GT a score of 1,090, both are pretty respectable.

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    Other Benchmark results and comparisons

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    Benchmark score is one thing of course and running “Asphalt 7” there’s little signs of lag on both the U27GT and Talk 8.

    The Talk 8 does struggle a little bit to run “Need for Speed 17”, but the U27GT doesn’t have the same problem.


    Connectivity

    Both the Talk 8 and the U27GT have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 on board. The Talk 8 tablet is promoted more as a complete device, which has both phone and tablet qualities. Thankfully, the voice-calling feature on the Talk 8 lives up to the expectation. The call quality was good and the tablet was able to latch on to cellular networks even in weak signal areas which came in handy at times. Besides, the Talk 8 also has some other useful features such as GPS and FM Radio, making it more of a phone than a tablet. Both models come in 8GB, with a Micro SD card slot available to expand the storage.


    Cameras

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    I am not a massive fan of the idea of taking pictures with a tablet, to put it mildly, but if a manufacturer is going to include a camera it had better be decent. While the U27GT doesn’t have a decent rear-facing camera, the Talk 8 does.

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    What we're talking about here is a 5MP camera with no flash assistance. Like the rest of the Talk 8's specs it feels somewhat lacking from the get go, but the auto-focus system proves to be surprisingly accurate. The colors of the shots are obviously not as vivid as those come from a compact camera or high-end smartphone, but it is sharp enough for Facebook posts.

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    As for the U27GT, it is totally a different case. Photos taken in broad daylight can be pretty noisy, and part of the image can feel a little bit twisted.

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    The VGA front-facing camera on both the Talk 8 and U27GT is no match for the 2MP auto-focus camera found on the Cube Talk 9X, but they will get the job done being used for video-chatting, just remember to do it in sufficient ambient light.


    Battery Life

    Both tablets pack a 4,500mAh Li-Po battery, which is pretty respectable for their size. Along with the power-efficient MediaTek Solutions, it really gives them a solid battery performance. In my video playback test, the Talk 8 loops a 720P video for 8 hours, 41 minutes until it automatically shut down due to battery drain, and the U27GT had a similar test result (8 hours, 13 minutes). Although still nowhere near the performances of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (11 hours, 32 minutes) and the iPad Mini 2 (11 hours, 49 minutes), they both better most of the direct competitions such as the PIPO U8T (7 hours, 25 minutes) and PIPO T6 (6 hours, 19 minutes).

    Both tablets can take you comfortably through 8 hours of mixed real-life use. After some benchmark tests and online video playback for 3 and a half hours on the U27GT, I was pleased to find that I was still left with 57% of battery.

    Both of them are pretty fast chargers, too. An hour of charging added 31 per cent (from 5% to 36%) on the Talk 8, which is as good as I’ve seen in any Chinese tablet. If you do find yourself briefly short on power, it won’t take long to add enough to keep you going for a few hours or more.


    Verdict


    The Talk 8’s retail price in China is RMB599 (USD99), and the U27GT at an even lower at RMB499 (USD85), pretty appealing to people with a tighter budget. The phone call functions and 3G access the Talk 8 has on board could be useful and decisive for some, but the significantly stronger graphic performance of the U27GT may also woo quite a number of potential buyers. With competitions such as the Chuwei VX8 and Colorfly G808 3G piled up, it remains a mystery whether they would live up to Cube’s expectations.
     

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