Cubot Max review
Here we have another member to our family of overgrown phones. The minimalists nightmare. Those with a desire for universal device are rejoicing and putting aside their smaller tablets. Six inches is enough to comfortably read some article without the fear of losing your finger from all the scrolling. So does reading at night which is more enjoyable thanks to the automatic adjustment of color temperature. And I think that gamers will rather play some games under their school desk on a bigger display.
Add some things like a proper battery capacity, almost complete LTE frequencies, low price, decent performance, pleasing design, established brand and the latest version of Android. What´s more to ask for?! Maybe only that a phone of such bigger dimensions wouldn’t slip out of hand and make an outstanding ,,Spider Art“ on the display.
ABOUT CUBOT COMPANY
On a very well designed official web site www.cubot.net you can learn about this Chinese company Shenzhen Huafurui technology which owns the brand ,,Cubot“ and that it employs about 200 people. In 2016 this company has released 15 phone models so far which is a fairly good production speed. It also offers two Smart Bands and one Smart Watch in their portfolio. On the website you can also find a number directly to the salesman (his name is Rick) and you can try to squeeze some discount out of him. Well that’s a nice surprise for me. Some Chinese brands are so mysterious that one doesn’t know whether the company doesn’t exist only in Matrix, but Cubot made a good impression with its transparency and openness.
CUBOT MAX SPECIFICATIONS
display 6” IPS, HD resolution 1280 x 720, 2,5D curved glass
processor: MTK 6753A 1,3 GHz Octa-core + Mali T-720 GPU
RAM: 3 GB
ROM: 32 GB
4G LTE: B1, B3, B7, B20
13MPx rear camera f/2,0 with double LED flash
5 MPx front camera
OS: Android 6.0
Battery: 4100 mAh
Dimensions: 83,5 x 164,5 x 8,95 mm
weight: 216 g
Color variants: silver, black, gold (our sample piece)
dual SIM + slot for memory/SD card (> 128 GB), OTG
PACKAGING & UNBOXING
No idea what’s normally inside the box, for we’ve got only a pre-production sample to review. Only the fully functioning phone, which is a positive thing to say for sure.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
What Cubot can do for sure is design. Display fills up 71% of the front panel (while it’s not cut for the sw buttons) and the glass has a pleasing 2,5D curvature. I really like the back cover, which is stretched a little bit over the sides just as we can see with some Xiaomi models. No trashy frames to be worn out over time. The back has an original pattern and thanks to that it’s less prone to fingerprint smudges and it makes the phone less slippery. The whole cover seems to be very durable and flexible (e. g. in comparison with the iNew U9 Plus). At first it looked like the cover is sealed tight and the SIM slot is missing, but after I managed to remove it I noticed a gap for a nail in the lower right corner. The cover holdsup very good even after repeated taking off/putting on.
The phone is easy to grab and hold ,thanks to the rounded edges. It wasn’t so hard to use the phone with one hand only for short period of time. The device weighs only 216 grams which is corresponding to its dimensions and battery capacity.
The build of the device is flawless. The phone is firm and it doesn’t bend. The cover does not creak and fits perfectly. Buttons have satisfying height and clear, silent response.
But it’s a shame they tried to save money on sensory buttons backlight and the notification LED is also poorly visible. Only in absolute darkness you can notice that something is going on. The headphone speaker is recessed into the display in a bit of an odd manner and I think this space will eventually fill with dust. On the other hand the botom speaker is located on the chin of the device and so you are not covering it when you are holding the phone in landscape mode. The lens of the camera sticks out a little bit and so there is a danger of scratching the protective glass.
Audio 3,5 mm jack makes it a bit harder to plug headphones in but it holds them perfectly. It’s located on the upper edge of the smartphone just like microUSB port.
Given that you can remove the cover from the phone, Cubot kept the classical layout of the innards. So we can fully enjoy 2 micro SIMs and microSD (up to capacity of 128GB) together. The 4100mAh battery is also possible to remove.
Cubot Max is not a rocket. In comparison with the other beasts from the smartphone family in the Antutu test, we get about one third of their power – the phone got almost 40 000 points.
But if you don’t desire the latest games with ultra details on, you will be satisfied with this device. Asphalt Nitro went alright without lagging.
Octa-core processor MTK 6753A clocked at 1,3GHz will do the job and Mali–T720 GPU can handle the HD resolution. Three GB of RAM will ensure smooth running even with multiple applications open at once.
When under load the phone is slightly heating up. But it can withstand a bit of heat, it survived and remained functional even when it had been ,,roasted“ for the whole day in a car when it was 30°C outside.
Thanks to the IPS technology the display demonstrates good readability from any angle which doesn’t change much in the sunlight. In comparison with the slightly worn AMOLED on my Samsung white looked a bit yellowish. On the contrary in the dark Samsung took back the lead and Cubot showed unconvincing cold colors.
I would have also appreciated lower minimum brightness, it burns my eyes out at night. But what is really positive is the feature of switching between warmer and colder colors for day and night. Just automatic switching wasn’t working well and the brightness setting is bit hidden in the Settings.
Again money were saved on the display resolution which is a shame, because for such large display only HD feels a bit lacking. The manufacturer doesn’t state if the display has some protective surface so a protective film is necessary.
Digitizer worked without any problems. All the tapping around was precise and very comfortable on this six inch display. Waking up by double-tapping was also quite reliable.
Android 6.0 (64bit) with launcher just like Nova launcher – meaning app drawer with icon shortcuts.
This pre-production piece came with pre-installed GAPS apps – so the only thing I needed to do was enter my Google account and everything started working by itself. And the two extra apps were easily uninstalled. The question is what the retail phones will look like when released.
No spontaneous restart occurred to me during the review. Everything is running smoothly, consistent with the HW kit. What was really user-friendly was immediate rotation of the screen and that is exactly the thing that makes working with a phone either a piece of cake or a nightmare.
Following the recent standards, when you swipe down from the top edge of the screen the notification will show up and when you swipe again you get the basic icons for brightness setting, WiFi switch, GPS, BT, etc… I have never found a way how to adjust the screen to my liking – not that it’s too much needed though. When you click on the battery it will show a battery usage. The blue icon is then for saving your own number.
For one-handed controls Cubot doesn’t add any extra tool. The only thing you can turn on in the settings is making the dial pad smaller and sticking to the side during the dialing process.
But the system has a set of smart gestures that works even when the phone is turned off (You can start he device by double tap, or using specific gesture to start a specific app), or changing the background (using two fingers) or taking a screenshot (using three fingers). The system also offers smart motion support , when by moving the phone you can for example, answer a call, automatically dial etc…
The device also provides a possibility of scheduled turning off and turning back on. (but remember you have to enter the PIN manually anyway , it’s a phone not a magic box).
The battery has a 4100mAh capacity which is just about right, because the phone is not too heavy but still can last for about two days of active usage with ease. With medium to light usage the phone lasted for four day, which is awesome. When I left it turned on for the whole day with FM radio on it lasted over 9 hours SOT.
System also correctly checks the battery status and offers an option for performance optimization to save the battery.
What is annoying is the charging time. The device doesn’t come with any special ,,speedpump“, so charging half of the battery with 2A charger took almost 3 hours.
But it‘ kinda balanced out by the feature that when you get to zero battery and then plug it to the charger, the device automatically turns on (not like the iNew U9 Plus).
LTE with my carrier was running perfectly even in our hills and the LTE frequency coverage is almost complete for an European user: B1, B3, B7, B20. Only B8 (900 Mhz) is missing.
WiFi and BT performance was spot on. Only once I encountered that the device didn’t connect back to WiFi when it was available again. Signal strength and sensitivity is comparable to my older Samsung Note 3 so very good.
GPS is great, surprisingly the accuracy exceeded even Samsung Note 3’s results with which I’m more or less satisfied. First fix without data usage happened in 41 seconds, repeated attempts in mere 2 seconds.
What can be attributed to the pre-production sample status is a problem with connection to the computer via USB. Neither MTP protocol nor the ancient USB connection (recommended for XP) were working , only downloading the photos worked fine. Even connection of external flash drive via cable did not work correctly, you could read from the drive, but you could not upload anything. In the end I had to use a program My Phone Explorer which allowed me to access to memory of the device using a WiFi. Personally I think that official product won’t suffer from these problems.
Pictures from the camera with an unknown sensor with 13Mpx resolution are just mediocre like most of the cheaper devices from China. This means that in good light you will be satisfied, especially when you make more images and then choose the best one. But in low light you can just put then phone in your pocket and forget about taking pictures altogether. The amount of noise is unbearable and dual LED flash is more useful as a flashlight than actual flash (it can barely reach one meter ahead).
You can check out the original pictures in here.
The same goes for making videos. The colors are faded and there was no option for automatic focusing. While exposition was handled perfectly, when you zoom onto something further/closer you have to tap onto the thing you want to focus on.
Default application for camera is user friendly and the only thing that was missing was automatic focus when making video as mentioned.
The sound from the speaker is adequately loud, just missing the bass line of course and the sound is kinda blended. Connecting headphones can slightly improve it but it’s still far from perfect and even equalizer in the default app won’t help. Nevertheless the audio output will satisfy a non-demanding customer.
Calls went fine to the full satisfaction on both sides. Voice was easily recognizable and heard.
Cubot Max is a good phone which will serve its owner well. There were some bugs, which I think will be resolved until the release – namely the not working drivers for connecting the device to PC. Battery and GPS have shown some very good results which was a pleasant surprise. Pure mediocrity comes to my mind when I remember the camera performance and sound output of the phone. Money was also saved on the display (only HD and the absence of protective glass). But for those who want a bigger device and don’t want to invest a lot of money, the Cubot Max is a reasonable choice.
The only downside is not working MTP and OTG (USB transmissions), but I believe that final version won’t have these problems.
We would like to thank the Cubot company for providing the review sample for us . You can buy the Cubot Max for example on Gearbest flash sales now for about 130 dollars.