Chinese tablets have a real reputation for not holding up their end and the Android eco-system. While phone makers are doing well, the tablets are just being left behind, but is the Cube Talk 9X finally something we can look to? Find out in the full Cube Talk 9X review!
Now when it comes to Chinese tablets you will find a lot of cheap stuff on the market right now. Sadly, it is a matter of fact that most of these tabs claim to be the Holy Grail while in fact they are nothing more than half assed devices, with more bugs than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately this is probably the reason why most gadgets lovers aren’t so in love with the whole Chinese tablet market.
Once in a while, there will be a manufacturer who does manage to create a little gem, which works as promised and is well worth the investment.
Again we turn to Cube, who have been doing a lot this year to prove that they are one of the top Chinese Android tablet contenders out their. But is their $192 Cube Talk 9X up to the same standards as their other devices, and more importantly is this a tablet we would recommend?
Cube Talk 9X Review: iPad feeling for the cheap
Xiaomi’s recycled card box trend has taken off, and Cube have used it to package their Cube Talk 9X tablet. The Cube Talk 9X comes in a large box which is typical for Cube and includes some paperwork, a wall charger, a micro USB cable and a SIM tray opening tool. The tablet also comes with a pre applied screen film to help keep away the glare and fingerprints.
Cube made huge promises for the Talk 9X, claiming it to be just 7.5mm thin. We have seen before that Chinese manufactures like to fib a little when it comes to dimensions, but in this case Cube hold true to their word. Holding the 9.7-inch tablet in your hands proves that it does feel thin, exactly 7.5mm with the rear camera, and even tapers off to only 6.5mm. Although thin it is hardly light at 560g, but this is partly due to the large display and party through the use of alloy rather than plastic for the body.
Considering the low-price, the build quality of the Cube Talk 9X is amazing! If you would hold this tablet in your hands without looking at it, you would probably believe you have some Apple device right in front of you. It looks amazing, it feels amazing and it appears to be extremely solid, despite the thin dimensions. Even going through a tough bend test we couldn’t manage to flex it, so no #bendgate issues here!
Cube Talk 9X Review: For indoor use only
Boasting a 9.7-inch IPS OGS panel with a whopping resolution of 2.048 x 1.536, the Cube Talk 9X is really shows what Chinese manufacturers can do on a budget. So on paper we do have a great panel, and for indoor use colors are vivid and the overall image quality is very crisp, but it certainly does lack a little contrast and – more important – brightness. Trying to use this tablet under direct sunlight will seriously impact the readability. Another downside is the digitizer used in here, which isn’t as sensitive as we would’ve liked it to be. Typing on-screen can be a real pain if you as you need to remember to put enough pressure for each tap to properly register.
Cube Talk 9X Review: Performance monster
The Cube Talk 9X comes equipped with a Mediatek MT8392 chipset. This octa-core SoC feature 8 ARM Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.7GHz and a Mali 450MP GPU. Seems familiar? Yes, this SoC is the tablet-optimized version of the MT6592 phone SoC.
To beginning with, we were a little worried, as it seemed unlikely this chipset could handle a 2k screen very well. Luckily we’ve been proven wrong with the tablet working remarkably well throughout the test. The Cube Talk 9X really is a potent tablet and proof that Mediatek know how to make a tablet SoC.
Comparing the performance of the Cube Talk 9X to a similar device running the popular Rockchips RK3188, and well there isn’t much of a comparisons! The Mediatek chip offers a smoother overall experience. It even beats the Onda V989 with Allwinner’s new ARM Cortex A80T!
2GB of RAM means there is no way a bottleneck and offers sufficient memory for pretty much every task you expect of the tablet. This is yet another proof for the fact that software optimization is far more important than an impressive spec-sheet.
Talking about optimization: While Cube did a good job with this in terms of performance, they somehow didn’t in terms of compatibility. The tablet is incompatible with quite a few apps, which is extremely annoying. While some apps that aren’t displayed in the Play Store can indeed be installed and ran through a third party service, the tablet really fails with some important apps like Chrome and Opera, which crash upon loading a website. We hope that Cube is going to fix that with a future software update.
The software part still features some more positive parts though. The most important one probably being the fact that Cube left Android 4.4.2 mostly untouched. They only went for their own launcher, while the remaining items is pure stock. Another nice feature is that there is almost no pre-installed bloatware, leaving you with plenty of free memory thanks to the 16GB of ROM. Not enough? Plug in your micro SD card and you are good to go for more content.
Cube Talk 9X Review: The wireless Allrounder
To find an octacore tablet with 2K at this price is pretty impressive, to find that it packs built-in 3G and a GPS is just plain amazing! With 3G access you can load up Google Maps and use the Cube Talk 9X as a large navigation system, or even a travel companion finding new places of interest. 3G, and full service support means you can even leave your phone at home and use the Cube as a huge phablet making phone calls!
For home and coffee shop use, fast Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, is included which is quite the improvement compared to previous Cube tablets we tested previously which suffered from poor WIFI. And yes, Bluetooth is supported and working fine too and allows you to connect a keyboard for better productivity or headphones for relaxing.
Cube Talk 9X Review: Are you an entertainer?
Having such a huge tablet with a high-res screen, you of course want to use it for some decent video and audio fun within the comfort of your home. As long as you keep this down to 1080p videos and audio enjoyment through headphones, you won’t be disappointed. But please do not expect 4k video playback. The SoC just can’t cater this demand.
Internal speakers are a huge let down, providing lots of distortion and no bass. The only workaround for this are good headphones, or connection to a sound bar, amp etc.
Cube Talk 9X Review: Did we talk about the cam yet?
So far the Cube Talk 9X has delivered a lot for the money and overall has done a good job, so how do the cameras perform? Cube says the Talk 9X comes with an 8 mega pixel rear camera along with an LED flash and a 2 mega pixel shooter on the front. In fact the rear camera only has a real resolution of 5 mega pixels and while the LED flash is nice to have, it isn’t quite bright enough to be of much use. Overall the camera quality on both the front and the rear is acceptable, but nothing more. Don’t expect to take your next vacation pictures with this one. Well, you probably wouldn’t anyway considering the sheer size of this tablet. Overall the camera quality is very similar to the one we’ve seen on the iPad 2.
Cube Talk 9X: A battery to die for
9.600mAh. This is the capacity Cube has squeezed into this extremely thin aluminum beauty. Don’t ask us how they did it, but they somehow did it. Cube advertise that the huge battery is enough for up to 8 hours of operation, and after our tests we can confirm that this is true!
Best of all you can squeeze out even more depending on the usage and how you try to save energy. The maximum we managed to squeeze out of this cell is 11 hours of battery life. Playing games non-stop will result in 5 hours of battery life. Still quite incredible, isn’t it?
Of course you pay a high price for such a high-capacity battery: Charging does take an age. 5 to 6 hours depending on if you use the tablet to charge or if you continue to use it while plugged in.
Cube Talk 9X: Conclusion
If you are looking for a cheap Android tablet which offers some high-end level specs, this one probably is one of the best choices next to the affordable Intel-based Ramos i-series tablets. The Cube Talk 9X offers unbeivable build quality and performance for only $192, which easily makes it one of the best tablet deals from the far-east. It has some bugs for sure, which probably prevent it from being the ultimate solution for everyone, but for us and most likely for a lot of you as well, it still remains a very good large screen tablet with great mobile connectivity..
- Amazingly thin design
- Very solid
- Good screen for indoor use
- Surprisingly good performance
- 3G and GPS support
- Phone calls support
- Large internal memory which is expandable using a micro SD card
- OTG and MHL support
- Very long battery life
- Low price
- Bad screen for outdoor use
- Software incompatibility
- Long charging time
- Bad screen sensitivity
- No dedicated HDMI port
- Bad audio quality (internal speakers)
Thanks to eFox-Shop for providing us with this interesting review device.