Cubot S308 Review
As I take a look at the current Chinese mobile market I see a large number of phone makers. Some have already made a name for themselves and some are new. One name that I keep seeing is Cubot. From what Iíve seen they offer decent specs and even better pricing so I decided to give one a try.
I ordered the Cubot S308 from Pandawill using EMS shipping. The ordered processed very quickly and was shipped in a very timely manner. Due to the quick handling on their end, the parcel actually arrived the same day as something I had ordered days earlier in China and had shipped via EMS. When the phone arrived it was well packaged to ensure it wasnít damaged during transit.
Inside the box was the S308 phone with a screen protector already installed, a spare screen protector, a flip case, the manual, a micro USB cable, a wall adapter, as well as the adapter needed for North America. All bases covered and at a very low price point. All the accessories can really add up, so having them come with the device is a nice touch.
You can check out the unboxing video below.
- 5″ 720p display
- Mediatek 1.3 Ghz MT6582 quad core SoC
- Dual SIM
- 2 GB RAM
- 16 GB storage
- 8MP rear and 5 MP front camera
- 1800 mAh battery (2000 mAh)
- Android 4.2.2
Check out the full video review below.
The Cubot S308 measures 142 x 73 x 8.2 mm and weights 154 grams. Despite the sharp angular design the phone is fairly comfortable to hold.
The top of the phone has the microUSB port as well as the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The right hand side of the device has the power button directly below the volume rocker.
On the top left of the device you have the 5 MP front facing camera.
On the bottom right is the speaker, and at the top in the center is the 8 MP main camera.
The S308 features a 5 inch 1280 x 720 IPS LCD with 294 ppi. In screens smaller than 5.5 inches I really like the use of 720p. In most cases it still looks really nice and saves battery life.
I was really impressed with the 720p display on the Cubot S308. It is bright, vibrant and responsive. Viewing angles were also very good. Good start for a budget device.
While the Android 4.2.2 based ROM for the S308 isnít anything out of the norm, it is fairly stable. Out of time I spent with the handset it only randomly rebooted itself once. Other than that I didnít experience any lagging or serious glitches. Boot time was a quick 22 seconds, and for those of you that like the plain easy to navigate ROMís that are found in many Chinese devices, that is exactly what youíll find here. For those that like to customize, you can always visit the Google Play Store to help you with that. Speaking of which, the Play Store comes pre-installed which is always a good thing.
The Cubot S308 uses 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi. I took a speedtest right by the router on my basement level. Then a second on my main level about 24 feet away, and a third at the furthest point of my main level about 48 feet away.
Router= 74.37 mbps
Main floor/mid point=20 mbps
Main floor/ furthest point=7.46 mbps
This handset did a good job with itís Wi-Fi as I was able to use it anywhere within my house.
While not outstanding the S308′s call quality isnít bad either. Simply put, it gets the job done.
The speaker is located on the bottom right side of the back of the Cubot. I wasnít expecting much other than something acceptable for general media. What I found surprised me. While the speaker isnít anything more than average in regards to how loud it is, but it does give some descent performance. I listened to a few ringtones and was surprised at how the speaker picked up on the base tones. I decided to put it up against my Huawei Mediapad X1 and found that the Cubot S308 actually picked up and separated the bass tones better than the X1 in regards to ringtones and many types of music. Donít get me wrong, overall the X1 has clearer, cripser sound but it also costs more than twice as much.
My only gripe is that the speaker does seem to distort quite easily in media with lots of mids and treble such as hard rock/heavy metal, which is unfortunate.
Overall, pretty good job on the speaker Cubot. Especially on a budget device.
Iíve already established that the Mediatek MT6582 quad core is more than capable in regards to playing all types of media, even in basic phones with 1GB of RAM. The Cubot S308 has 2 GB of RAM and did a great job with online video clips, YouTube, and various movie formats. Everything played smoothly with no stuttering what so ever. I used the stock video player as well as VLC and got good results with both.
The Mediatek MT6582 quad core is the little brother to the MT6592 octa core. Iíve commented many times before that the octa core does a great job web browsing, but the MT6582 is no slouch either. Along with the 2 GB of RAM and less strenuous 720p display to S308 loads and moves between pages fairly quickly. I would say that even for those that do a lot of browsing the Cubot S308 is up to the task.
The Cubot S308 has a 5 MP front facing camera that handles videos calling and selfie duties. The 8 MP rear camera does an a fairly good job. This surprised me a little because to be honest I wasnít expecting much out of the camera. The area it struggled in the most was with lower lighting situations. Thatís not to say the shots were terrible but it simply canít compare with the higher end phones, that have higher end cameras. In well lit environments the camera works like a charm. The focus is pretty quick and it works well. Overall the photography that comes out of this phone surpasses much of the competition at this price.
The Mediatek GPS has been proven to work well in several devices but the real deciding factor and praise or blame in regards to performance lies with the phone maker. If they try to save a few dollars or donít think components through it can cause issues. So the story remains the same with the question always being asked ďDoes the GPS work?Ē
In airplane mode the device took several minutes to get itís first cold lock.
I tested the S308 with Google Maps with data and Navfree without data. In both cases the GPS was usable but very slow to adapt to any changes in regards to route.
If you need basic GPS then the phone is fine, but if you want a super responsive machine that can adjust instantly then the GPS is just not up to the task.
The Cubot S308 is a budget device running a Mediatek MT6582 quad core. The phone isnít going to rank with the elite flagships because it isnít intended to. What it can do is give good performance to the average user.
This puts the device in the ballpark of the Nexus 4 and Samsung S3.
As you can the scores mark the phone that runs at the level of technology from a couple of years ago. That being said phones like the Nexus 4 and Samsung S3 are still capable phones, and so is the S308.
With a 2000 mAh battery powering a 5 inch 720p display and Mediatek MT6582 quad core youíd figure the phone would do alright with battery life, but it doesnít. I tested the phone by putting it in a video loop using VLC and setting the brightness to auto. The phone lasted just 2 hours. The phone does alright on standby and drains at a reasonable rate, but when the screen is on the battery disappears quickly. Perhaps it is a software issue and an update would fix the problem, many descent phones have needed a tweak to get the battery life running at itís full potential. As it stands now light users or those that just use the phone for emergencies should have little problem, but if you use your device a lot you will likely find a top up charge or two in order.
For basic games the MT6582 that is found in this phone is just fine. If you are a very picky, serious gamer it will probably disappoint. The phone will play pretty much anything on the market but the quality is reduced to low levels with more demanding games. They are playable, just not as smooth as high end devices. Of course, this phone costs a fraction of the price, so I feel it does a good enough job to get a thumbs up.
- Very well rounded in itís performance
- Good display
- Better than expected loud speaker
- Stable ROM
- Descent cameras
- Great price
- Screen battery life
- GPS could be better
Overall the Cubot S308 is one of the better devices I have tested at this price. I was curious yet a bit skeptical about Cubot as a brand but I can say that I was impressed with the phone other than the weak battery which is the phones biggest drawback. I would love for Cubotís next device to be a higher end phone, perhaps with a MT6595. If they were to include much better battery life, adjust the GPS, but keep the overall good feel of the device all while keeping it at a low price, they could be one of those few companies really shaking up the Chinese phone scene.