Cubot burst back to life at the end of last year with the release of their uber slim Cubot X17. Just how good is the slim mid ranger? Keep reading our full Cubot X17 review to find out.
Cubot launched two slim phones at the end of 2015, in this review we are going to take a good long look at the Cubot X17 with metal chassis, alloy rear panel and 2.5D curved display.
Cubot X17 Review – Design
Take a look at the photos below. Two of those phones are from OnePlus and Vivo the other phone is from Cubot. It’s not just in the photo that the Cubot looks similar to the more expensive Vivo or OnePlus, but even in the hand the build quality is impressive and just as good as the more up market units.
Like a lot of new phones the Cubot X17 has a 2.5D glass display that adds a nice curve to the very edges of the display. The display itself is a 5-inch FHD panel, above that lives a front facing camera (Cubot claim its 8 mega-pixels), and on the chin capacitive buttons for getting Android the Android 5.1 install.
The curvature of the glass sweeps over the sides to meet the metal chassis. And yes this is a real metal chassis on the Cubot X17, not some coated plastic.
Judging by the weight of the phone (it is a little heavier than the similar looking devices) the metal is steel rather than alloy, but none the less the attention to detail to design and machining of the structure is impressive.
Slender power and volume buttons are located on the right of the phone, a standard USB in the base, SIM tray on the left and finally a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top. My only gripe here are the buttons are a little loose and you can hear a small rattle if you shake the phone, on the other hand the SIM tray is one of the best fitting I have seen on any phone regardless of price.
On the rear the Cubot looks similar to some phones from a year a two ago (if you remember some of the earlier Vivo phones the Cubot is going to look familiar). The silver area of the phone is alloy, while the white areas are plastic.
The top left side of the X17 is where a protruding main camera resides (Cubot’s specifications say it’s a 16 mega-pixel camera). There is also a dual LED flash and single external speaker.
Keep in mind the Cubot X17 can cost anywhere from 109 Euros to 130 Euros and the build quality and design look even better. There are a lot of Chinese smartphone makers who could learn a thing or two about Cubot’s design and build.
Cubot X17 Review – Hardware
With a great build there must be something lurking away in the hardware to upset the phone right? Well not really. Sure I’m not a big fan of a the Mediatek MT6735A 1.3Ghz processor, but really at this price the CPU is on the mark (UMi, Elephone, Bluboo are all offering the same).
Really at this price you can’t complain with what Cubot are offering for the money and the further you delve into the spec the more surprises come along. RAM for example is 3GB, and the display is a JDI sourced FHD model (1920 x 1080) while similar phones might have a HD panel.
Storage is 16GB, but if you can live with just one SIM card you can also add a micro SD card to increase space.
While the 1.3Ghz SoC isn’t the most powerful found in a smartphone, it does give the Cubot X17 access to GSM, WCDMA and LTE networks. I tested the phone on Vodafone in Spain with LTE, for those of you wondering if it will work I have listed the supported bands; GSM: 850/900/1800/1900mhz, WCDMA: 900/2100mhz, FDD-LTE: B1/B7/B7/B20.
As the Cubot X17 measures only 6.5mm (I measure it at 6.9mm) there isn’t an awful lot of space inside the body, but there is just enough room to squeeze in HotKnot (similar to NFC), OTG, and Bluetooth 4.0.
Oh, and there is a 2500mAh battery. In my time with the Cubot X17 I was averaging just over 3 hours of screen on time. Obviously the small battery, high amount of RAM and FHD display are supping the juice just a little too fast. The X17 isn’t designed for power users though, and with a bit of tweaking you should be able to get more from the battery and easily get through a day of use.
If I had to complain about something it would be the external speaker is weak. Anything over 3/4 volume and it starts to crackle.
Cubot X17 Review – Performance
Just looking at the phone you can tell the Cubot X17 isn’t designed for hardcore gaming. This is a phone that wants to go to fancy clubs and show off its slender body, perhaps pass on a phone number or two via Hotknot? But what kind of review would this be if we didn’t run benchmarks? So here they are.
Cubot X17 Review – Camera
While the system in the Cubot X17 is mostly a stock ROM, Cubot’s engineers have had a crack at adding a few more features to the camera application. Upon opening the camera you will see that it looks almost normal, save for the little camera icon in the corner.
Press this icon and a list of colourful camera features pops up for you to choose from. Options are panorama, multi angle view mode, motion track mode, PIP (picture in picture), Live Photo and intelligent beautification. The camera app also supports HDR, gesture capture, smile capture and focus tracking.
This being a budget phone I wasn’t expecting much and it’s not surprising that the F2.2 rear sensor struggles for low light photos (even the LED flash doesn’t help much). In brighter conditions you can get better results.
Cubot X17 Photo Samples
Cubot X17 Review – Gallery
Cubot X17 Review – Specifications
|Sim Card:||Dual SIM (micro and nano)|
|Memory||16GB internal storage
Supports micro SD cards
|Chipset||CPU: Quad-core Mediatek MT6735|
|Screen||Display Size: 5-inch JDIResolution: 1920 x 1080
|Camera||Rear Camera: 16 mega-pixel (interpolated)Front Camera: 8 mega-pixel (interpolated)|
|Network and Wireless Connectivity||GSM: 850/900/1800/1900mhz,
|Battery capacity and life||2500mAh battery|
|Size||Dimensions 143.4 x 69.4 x 6.1mm|
Cubot X17 Review – Conclusion
As I said earlier in the review, it really is hard to fault the Cubot X17. It is an affordable phone built to a really high standard. The hardware is well thought out with the standout equipment for me being the FHD display and 3GB RAM.
The Cubot X17 is aimed at people who want a stylish device and good day to day performance. Cubot have thrown in great build quality, and some nice hardware to boot. If $118 is your budget then the Cubot X17 should be considered. Those of you in the UK can pick the Cubot X17 up from their authorised Ebay store but at a slightly higher price.