There are still very few octa-core Android smartphones available in the market today and majority of them are actually “China phones,” which are marketed at an affordable price bracket. Of course, the manufacturers of these gadgets don’t have to pay for research and developments like Samsung and other well-known smartphone makers do that’s why they can make their products a lot cheaper.
Nevertheless, an affordable phone that sports an 8-core processor could equal or even surpass a premium smartphone with only 4 cores as far as performance is concern. I was given an opportunity to break in a brand new Cubot X6 sent to us by Chinavasion. And yes, it is an octa-core Android smartphone with 5-inch display. The phone has been with me for over a month now for testing and review.
What’s in the box
- Cubot X6
- Case / cover
- Power adapter
- USB data cable
- USB OTG cable
- Screen protector
- User Manual
The following are Cubot X6’s basic specifications and probably the ones you want to know about.
- Dimensions: 73 x 143.5 x 8.6 mm
- Weight: 164 g
- SoC: MediaTek MT6592
- CPU: ARM Cortex-A7, 1700 MHz
- GPU: ARM Mali-450 MP4, 700 MHz
- RAM: 1 GB
- Storage: 16 GB
- Display: 5 in
- IPS LCD, 720 x 1280 pixels, 24 bit
- Primary Camera: 13MP
- Secondary Cmera: 5MP
- Battery: 2200 mAh, Li-Ion
- OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Cubot X6 is a product of good engineering; it’s slim, elegant and light. It has slightly-rounded edges in the upper and lower parts. In front, the first thing you’ll notice is the elongated earpiece with blue highlight and beside it are light and proximity sensors. On the far-left corner is the front-facing camera. The bottom part is where three soft buttons (Menu, Home and Back) and microphone are located.
In the back, the primary camera steals your attention and LED flash, which could also function as torch or flashlight, is located just beneath it. The bottom portion is where Cubot’s logo is placed together with the phone’s loudspeaker.
When facing the user, the Volume keys are located in the left side while the Power key, right side. The microUSB port, which is used for both data transfer and charging, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is located at the top-most part.
The X6 is available in black and white colors, I got the latter, which is actually more elegant as the white embraces the black portions of the phone.
Screen & Camera
I must say the display is the mediocre part of this phone. While other smartphones sport 1080p resolution, the X6 only has 720p stretched over the 5-inch display that produces approximately 290+ ppi (pixels per inch). But just because I said it’s mediocre doesn’t mean it’s bad because the phone, actually, has a sharp display and natural colors.
Compared to other China phones, this phone has a balanced contrast and brightness. The color remains the same when viewed in an angle and its digitizer works well with normal touch pressure. Too soft touches, however, may not be recognized but it could be because of the protective film that is already installed.
The phone captures pictures at its native resolution of 9.5MP (although you can adjust it to use 13MP) with f2.4 aperture. For an affordable phone like this, the quality of the pictures are actually good and usable as long as you’re in a well-lit environment. The noise becomes noticeable when you shoot in a low-light environment with its flash off.
Audio & Call Quality and Reception
The phone’s loudspeaker is actually very loud that I can still hear the music from ten meters away in an open space when its volume is full. While I’m not so particular about the quality of the audio coming out of the loudspeaker, there is a huge difference between the Cubot X6’s audio quality and HTC One. The most noticeable difference is the absence of bass.
But whatever it’s lacking in its loudspeaker, it compensates with its headphone audio quality. For a phone that doesn’t have any audio enhancer or equalizer, X6 actually produces a well-balanced tone through its 3.5mm headphone jack.
When connected to my Proporta Twisted System Portable Speakers, the mid-range and low tones are in harmony. I tried installing an equalizer to better manipulate the audio and the result was simply amazing. And, you can expect the same thing with its Bluetooth audio streaming.
As to the call quality, X6 still performs well. Phone calls are extremely clear without background haze or interruptions. Voices sounded natural at 65% volume, at 100% voices are still clear but too loud that you can even hear them even if you put the phone away from your face.
When it comes to radio signal reception, the phone hasn’t given me problems yet. Ever since I got it, all wireless connectivity are on; mobile data has always been stable, Bluetooth data transfer and streaming always worked, and Wi-Fi connectivity has always been good.
As part of my testing, I download huge files daily using either mobile data or Wi-Fi and I never experienced having to repeat the same download. In fact, while writing this review I was downloading Asphalt 8: Airborne game, which is 1.3GB in size, and it was successful from start to finish.
This is the most important factor for me. For the phone with 8-core processor, I have very high expectations. Therefore, since the day I received the unit, I put it under extensive use.
The first thing I did was play videos non-stop until the battery was all drained to know if the phone overheats even at normal operation–it did not. In fact, the 6-hour video playback with loudspeaker on didn’t even heat up the phone. The same thing happened with music playback that lasted nearly 12 hours.
The only time that the phone heated up abnormally was when I connected it to mobile data network and let it stream YouTube videos until the battery was dead. The upper portion at the back of the phone, near the camera, was hot enough to cause discomfort when you’re holding it.
Generally, the phone’s responses like opening heavy apps or streaming large videos are buttery smooth. I installed heavy games like Real Racing 3, CSR Racing, Asphalt 8, Angry Birds and tried to run them all together; toggling between these apps is still smooth.
Benchmark shows that Cubot X6 has a total score of 27531, higher than the octa-core variant of Samsung Galaxy S4, although it couldn’t beat the quad-core 2014 flagship phones like the Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 or even the Galaxy Note 3.
This was the benchmark result the day I got the phone with very few apps installed.
Running 3 to 4 or even 5 apps at a time isn’t a problem with phone but since it only 1GB of RAM, it will surely lag or even freeze when you run heavy 7 or more apps at a time. I was able to freeze its operation by downloading a file while running those 3 heavy racing games in the background and at the same time listening to music while editing a photo using Photoshop Touch.
Cubot X6 sports a 2200mAh battery pack, which is considerably huge for a phone that doesn’t have a Super AMOLED display even if it has an octa-core processor. Battery test is the reason why it took me quite a while to write this review. The following data are based on my tests with the screen brightness set to full:
- Music (loudspeaker): 11.5 hours
- Music (headphones): 1.5 days
- Internet (Wi-Fi): 8 hours
- Internet (3G): 6 hours
- Video (loudspeaker): 9 hours
- Video (headphones): 11 hours
- Talk time (2G): 10.5 hours
- Talk time (3G): 7.5 hours
- Gaming (Asphalt 8 / Real Racing 3): 4 hours
- Gaming (light games): 5.5 to 6 hours
- Standby: 4 days
- Charging time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Being the cheapest octa-core smartphone in the market, Cubot X6 surpasses expectations. With its elegant design, powerful processor, huge battery and bright display, it is worth your money. In case you’re wondering how much this phone is cost, well, Chinavasion.com offers it for just $179.85.