Default Cube U35GT2 is a great low cost iPad mini alternative, Android style Review



Cube U35GT2 Review

When I found myself looking for a compact tablet I found a number of potential puchases in the 7 inch category before I ran across the 7.85 Cube U35GT2. I looked at the specs and couldn't believe the price. This tablet was an obvious iPad mini clone but had very similar hardware to my Pipo M9, which I still think is a great tablet. For $150 the Cube U35GT2 seemed like a real bargain. So does it's real world performance live up to it's appearance on paper. Let's have a look.

Spec overview

7.85 1024 x 768 IPS screen
Rockchip RK3188 processor with Mali 400MP4 GPU
2GB RAM
16GB storage with expansion slot
4000 mAh battery

Display

The U35GT2 has a 7.85 inch 1024 x 768 IPS display. The screen is actually quite good all things considered. Viewing angles are descent and it's fairly responsive. Anything more for resolution and I think it would have been too much of a draw on the battery and the GPU would start to struggle.

Software

The tablet comes with Android 4.1 and has been left pretty much as a stock experience. The included launcher isn't too bad and I actually used it instead of replacing it with something from the play store, which is rare for me. It does show a bit of sticking and lag but it's not enough to really complain about. The only issue I found with the ROM is occassionally everything would shift over to the left of the screen. It would sort itself out through normal use, but the bottom line is, it's not suppose to do that.

WiFi

Every device has it's Achilles heal and the WiFi is the Cube U35GT2 's weak spot. The WiFi doesn't suffer from dropouts but is fairly weak.
I tested the 2.4 Ghz WiFi by taking a reading right by the router. I took a second at the furthest point on the upstairs level, and a 3rd at the furthest point in the basement.

- 21 mbps at the router
-2 mbps upstairs level
- 2 mbps basement level

Speaker

The loudspeaker was ok but fairly quiet and thin sounding. It didn't sound bad, it just wasn't very full sounding. If the tablet is in close proximity, I would say it would be loud enough for any application. If you introduce distance, or a lot of background noise you could start to have issues.

Video Playback

I tested the tablets video capabilities using VLC player with a variety of movies, and by using HD YouTube clips, all of which worked flawlessly. The Mali 400MP4 handled itself very well but anything more than 720p would likely create problems.

Web browsing

I used both Maxthon and Dolphin browser to test the web browsing. There were no surprises here as the RK3188 worked just as well here as it does in my 10.1 Pipo M9. The only issues I encountered were once again related to weak WiFi, in the form of slow load times.

Cameras

Cameras in mid to low range tablets are usually a pretty sad affair, and the Cube U35GT2 is no exception. While they weren't as bad as I thought they would be, I wouldn't rely on these cameras to take pics that I would want to keep or show off.





Benchmarks

For tech that is about a year old the scores are still very acceptable. They are no longer anywhere near the upper echelon, but the soon to be released Rochchip RK3288 will see that rectified.

Antutu=19,325



Nenamark 2=63 fps



CPU Prime=2252



Vellamo
HTML 5=1524



Metal=519



Battery

The battery in the Cube U35GT2 does ok, but can easily be run down with heavy use.
I tested the battery by playing movies on it until the battery was under 10%. The on screen time was about 5.5 hours .



Gaming

Less intensive, basic video games like Flappy Bird, Subway Surfers, etc... run with no problems at all. Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8 defaulted to mid range settings due to the Mali 400. At those settings the games ran fine with minimum lag in responsivness. The Mali 400 is certainly not a high end GPU and is much better suited for simple games. I'm glad to see Mediatek and Rockchip putting more of an emphasis on their GPU's in their upcoming products.

Conclusion

This iPad mini wannabe will surprise a lot of people,especially when you take into consideration that it only costs $150. Rockchip are not well known in North America, but after using their processors I can honestly say that I would feel cheated paying twice as much for big name tablets. The Cube U35GT2 has a nice thin feel to it, and is confortable to hold onto even for long periods of time. The software is solid even though it is dated. If you feel you need to update it, there are a few 4.2.2 ROM's available as it has some recognition and support.
Performance as a whole is very good as long as you don't stray too far away from your router.
I've never minded saving some money and still getting a product that works the way I need it to.
Thanks Cube.

Check out my full video review.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yp_w8bqgys