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1.8GHZ Quad Core + FHD display - in depth Review the CUBE U30GT2

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jupiter2012
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Tablet 1.8GHZ Quad Core + FHD display - in depth Review the CUBE U30GT2


The CUBE U30GT2 has actually been on sale for quite a while now. The ten inch tablet runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), with 1.8GHz quad-core processor, the display’s resolution is WUXGA (1920 x 1200). It has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It is 9.6 mm thick, comes in black & white.

For:
1. The High-resolution screen rivals the iPad4's display in sharpness and clarity.
2. Extremely powerful, Apps launch quickly, 3D games run smoothly.
3. Excellent battery life, probably the best among all Chinese slates with FHD or Retina displays.

Against:
1. A littile bit heavy and porky.
2. Outdoor visibility is still unsatisfactory.
3. The rear-facing camera is really not much more than just decoration.


Key Features

◇10.1 inch 16M-color super IPS display at WUXGA resolution (1920X1200 pixels), 224PPI
◇Rockchip RK3188 SoC., 28nm quad core 1.8GHZ Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400MP4 GPU, 2GB DDR3 RAM
◇Stock Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
◇32GB of built-in-storage
◇2MP front facing camera, 5.0MP rear-facing AF camera
◇Stereo speakers
◇HDMI TV-out
◇Bluetooth 2.1
◇Anti-rolling frame
◇USB host
◇MicroSD card slot
◇1080p video playback
◇7200mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery


First Impressions


The CUBE U30GT2 feels like a solid tablet. I really fancy its white plastic chassis, which makes me forget how much a fan I am of the feel of black technology.

Contrary to my worries before receiving this slate, the RK3188 SoC. seems to support the FHD display very well, tasks from scrolling image-heavy webpages to running graphic-intense games were all handled with ease. And the tablet remains incredibly responsive while running several big applications at the same time!


Design and Build



The CUBE U30GT2 uses the kind of design which most large-screen tablets look like. It’s thinner than its predecessor, the dual core U30GT, at just 9.6 mm. It is also a little bit lighter at just 659 g, but still way too heavy for single-handed use. There’s sufficient amount of bezel on either side of the screen, so you can use it in any orientation comfortably.


A 2MP front-facing camera sits comfortably in the middle of the bezel above the display, which can be used for online video chatting. The intelligent light sensor, which helps the tablet to automatically adjust the display brightness, is located on the upper left corner of this flagship slate, covered by the sticker.


All the keys and connectors are hosted on the left edge. You will find a power button, a volume rocker, a mini HDMI port, a MicroSD card slot, a 3.5mm audio jack and a 2.5mm DC port there. The metal frame around the edges looks very cool.


The stereo speakers are hosted on the middle of the right edge, which is not reasonable at all, as they are easily covered by our palm while we are holding the tablet with both hands.


The back of the U30GT2 is ABS plastic, which is not only good-looking, but also very durable. The UV coating process also helps with avoiding the feel of plasticky or cheap. The 5MP AF rear side camera and a LED flash sits on the top-left corner, but don’t get excited too soon, the quality of the shots is nowhere near images coming from a 5.0MP cell phone camera.


Display and Sound


The LCD-backlit IPS display on the U30GT2 is a lot better as compared to the MVA screen on the U30GT. The full HD resolution (1920 x 1200) at that size offers a decent pixel count of 224 PPI. This is not too far off from Apple’s 264 PPI on the iPad4, which means you won’t notice a huge difference between them in everyday use. The display is bright and text is sharp and crisp; perfect for web browsing or catching up on your TV shows. The viewing angles are wide -- so wide, in fact, that you can easily watch a movie with the tablet placed face-up on a table in front of you (not that you'd need to do this ever). The display also has a screen guard protecting it, just like the other CUBE tablets, but I left it alone this time.

The brightness of the display is decent, but not amazing as the one on PIPO M9, which can boast 600nit brightness. While I am using the U30GT2 outdoors, the screen glare sometimes overpowers whatever's on screen.

Like many other CUBE tablets, the U30GT2 comes endowed with ACC speakers, which make for some loud, though not exceptionally rich sound. Just keep in mind that the speaker is located on the right edge, which means if you are holding the tablet with both hands, any songs and movie dialogue will sound muffled.


Performance


The CUBE U30GT2 packs an 1.8GHz quad-core Rockchip chip (RK3188), which is built on Cortex-A9 frame and 28nm process, paired up with 533MHZ quad core Mali-400MP GPU and 2GB of DDR3 RAM. Although this is not the first tablet I've tested this setup, it is truly the first one with FHD display, and it didn't disappoint—the U30GT2 scorched the benchmarks, recording some of the highest scores I've seen across the board. The 16,413 overall Antutu benchmark score handily beat the 10,401 notched by the Onda V973 and approached the 18,000-20,000 marked by the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and Asus Padfone Infinity, both of which use Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 APQ8064 quad core chipset.


High CF-Bench and Vellamo HTML5 scores confirmed anecdotally speedy Web browsing performance during day-to-day use, while Nenamark2 frame rates were among the best I’ve seen. From rapidly switching between multiple running apps to playing graphically intensive games like NFS17, the U30GT2 handled everything I threw at it easily. Sliding between widget-loaded home screens and scrolling down media-heavy websites was smooth, with very rare choppiness.


The U30GT2’s benchmark score compared with other tablets with quad core processor.


The tablet has 32GB of internal memory with the option of adding up to a 32GB microSD card, which will suffice the need of majority of users. If that’s not enough, you can always connect an USB disk or mobile hard drive to the slate via OTG.


Software


The U30GT2 isn’t skinned with CUBE’s much loved yet also much hated Win8-like interface, instead it uses the original launcher of the stock Android 4.1.1. There are indeed some very cool and useful preinstalled applications, but none of them actually developed by CUBE, and you can find them in Google play or any third-party app market.


Multi-media


Media playback is solid with the U30GT2 and it breezed through anything I threw at it, including MPEG-4, RMVB, and MKV files at resolutions up to 1080p. The sound the speakers produce is of relatively high volume and nice quality.

Also, the U30GT2 has HDMI support, you can output the display to much bigger monitor and TV screens in Full HD resolution via an HDMI cable, enjoying movies and funny videos with friends and family.


Communication


New tablets should have an easy time in the connectivity test. However, many voices spoke out about the poor WLAN performance of many of CUBE’s slates. This was not really the case for the U30GT2, as I am pleasantly surprised with its Wi-Fi reception.

The U30GT2 uses 802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth 2.1. A version with a 3G module has not yet been announced by CUBE. In my standard Wi-Fi reception test, the U30GT2 beats most Chinese tablets in test results:




Cameras


There are two cameras on board here, a 5-megapixel F2.8 rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The rear camera disappointed in my tests, with noticeably grainy images in both indoor and outdoor settings. Images are moderately sharp, but the U30GT2 struggles with dynamic range, blowing out highlighted areas and losing detail in shadows. You can record video at 480p resolution, but I'd use it as a last resort—video is shaky and riddled with image noise. The front-facing camera is serviceable for Skype calls, but not much more. This, however, is pretty typical of most tablet cameras.


Battery


The U30GT2 packs a 7200mAh battery. In my battery rundown test, which loops a video with screen brightness set to 30% and Wi-Fi turned off, the U30GT2 lasted 10 hours, 38 minutes. That's pretty impressive compared to the Onda V973's 8 hours, 5 minutes and the Nexus10's 8 hours, 47 minutes on the same test.




During testing, I also noticed the U30GT2 seemed to charge faster than competing models, a full charge only took about 4 hours with its bundled 12V-2A charger. But, contrary to most other Chinese tablet products with RK3188 chipset, the U30GT2 cannot be charged under a shutdown state. And I believe this is gonna annoy quite a number of people.


The competition


With a 1920 x 1200 screen and a $204 starting price to match, there's little question that the CUBE U30GT2 was intended as a cost-efficient device. By now, most Chinese tablet makers have lowered the price of their goods, leaving the U30GT2 with only a handful of competitors in the 2-hundred-dollar range. Starting with the obvious, there's the ifive X2, which sports an 8.9-inch, 1920*1200 PLS screen, along with a RK3188 processor and 2GB of RAM. All told, these are similar specs, except ifive's model costs $40 less and runs a slightly more skinned version of Android. As it happens, I am in the process of testing one now, but not quite ready to post my impressions and benchmarks results. In the meantime, then, it's at least safe to say that the X2 sits in the same class as the Infinity U30GT2 and is definitely worth your consideration, although it is beaten by the U30GT2 in internal storage (16GB: 32GB).

Within the same price range there’re also the Yuandao N90HD, the Aoson M33 and the PIPO M9 Pro, all of which pack a Retina display and the same RK3188 set-up, posting serious threat to the U30GT2’s market share.

It's also worth noting that the U30GT2 could face competition from within the CUBE line: the U30GT1 has already been on sale for a couple of weeks, at only $169 it is very likely to draw lots of users’ attentions away from the U30GT2.


Conclusion


The U30GT2 is a truly impressive tablet. It's exquisitely designed, exceedingly fast, and has a sharp full-HD display. Throw in extras like anti-rolling frame, built-in Bluetooth, expandable memory, and dual cameras and you have a seriously loaded Android tablet.

If you want arguably the fastest Android tablet with a full HD display for under $250, the U30GT2 is the way to go, since it is much more pleasant to use than those Allwinner A31 powered tablets with Retina displays. But my suggestion remains with the PIPO M9, as a standard resolution still has much better compatibility with most applications.
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EatingPie
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Default Price Incorrect - Or Changed?

Hi.

Nice review. I like that I can compare it to your Pipo review.

Question: you state that the cube can be found for around $200.00 or so. Where was that? I realizes prices can change, but your review is just a few weeks ago, and the typical price is around $250.00. The U30GT (version 1) goes for around $200.

Thanks!

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mkm00235
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Hardware is good, but the rom is poor. it is always the problem of china tablet.
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jupiter2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EatingPie View Post
Hi.

Nice review. I like that I can compare it to your Pipo review.

Question: you state that the cube can be found for around $200.00 or so. Where was that? I realizes prices can change, but your review is just a few weeks ago, and the typical price is around $250.00. The U30GT (version 1) goes for around $200.

Thanks!

-Pie
The price that I presented here is turned from the retial price in China (RMB) to USD according to the exchange rate, the actual price in your country or some online stores might differ.
 
EatingPie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jupiter2012 View Post
The price that I presented here is turned from the retial price in China (RMB) to USD according to the exchange rate, the actual price in your country or some online stores might differ.
Ah, so they cost less when in China. Makes sense. But a road trip across the Pacific to save $50.00 is probably out of the question for me at this point.

BTW, can U30GT2 do chroot and run Linux distros like Ubuntu under Android? I use LinuxonAndroid and it made the process really easy on my Nook HD+... and it left me wanting for speed, which is why I'm interested in the UG30GT2.

Thanks.

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antooonn
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The best review i've ever read. Thank you mate!!
 
jupiter2012
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The best review i've ever read. Thank you mate!!
Thank u for your support!

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eljefewatson
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Default Screen on/off power button no workee

I just got the Cube U30GT2 in the mail earlier this week. You're right, it's got a bit more heft to it, but not so bad, just a tad heavier than my Galaxy tab 10.1. However, unlike that tablet, the U30GT has lots of options for connecting things, micro USB, micro SDHC, micro HDMI. My tab 10.1 couldn't do any of those.

On the bummer side, the momentary power button, screen on/off doesn't seem to be working. The tablet is new with all the wrappings on, but that button is slightly busted. It will reboot the tablet, but won't turn the screen on or off. I worked around it for now with a screen always on app, and screen off app. I also discovered plugging or unplugging the power cord from the tablet also turns the screen back on. But aggravating. I have yet to succeed at getting the attention of the seller (androidtablet.com).

The price was middle of the road: $250 or so. But that's terrific compared to a Galaxy Tab or other recent tablet.

---------- Post added at 08:40 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:34 PM ----------

I forgot to mention, I read lots of reviews online for the Cube U30GT2 before popping for it. Most rated it as one of the currently best Chinese tablets, and not withstanding the power button issue, I tend to agree. However, all of the Chinese Android tablets seem to suffer from weak wi-fi signals, and in my table at least, this is true.

I tested my Galaxy tab laying right next to the Cube tablet. The Galaxy was able to knock out 10mbs on my wi-fi router from my family which is 15 feet or so away. The cube tablet only hit 2 to 5 mbs. Mind you, I couldn't tell much of a difference when hitting youtube, but it is a distinct disadvantage. I'm going overseas next month and the weaker reception could mean I won't get reliable wi-fi reception in the hotel.
 
user30000z
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Looks good.
I have the previous one and it's great .
Recommended.
 
obscuresword
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Looks OK. Just wished they opted to put a slightly better GPU in it. The Mali 400 is good for phones but for a tablet that had a 1080p + display needs a bit more power. However, this is a good bargain considering it's original nexus 7 price tag.

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Devices I currently take care of:
Samsung GP 4.0 (CM11 [4.4.3]w/ Impulse R7)
Pandigital Supernova (UberNova 0.1 w/Google Play Mod)
Sister's LG Optimus F3 (Rooted)


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