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Cube Talk 9X Review - Best Tablet Ever from a Chinese Brand

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By jupiter2012, Senior Member on 20th June 2014, 04:55 PM
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The Good:

IPS Retina display
Gorilla 3 scratch-proof touchscreen
Beefy octa-core CPU @2.0GHZ
Robust and premium design
Excellent speakers
Solid battery life
Only priced at RMB1199 (USD195).


The Bad:
A little heavy
A full charge takes up to 7 hours
Some of the MicroSD cards don’t work on the 9X
No HDMI output.


Key features

9.7" IPS capacitive touchscreen of 2048 x 1536 px resolution
MTK MT8392 Chipset (Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A7, Mali-450MP4 GPU)
2GB of RAM
Android OS v4.4.2Kitkat
Quad-band GPRS/EDGE/HSPA
Voice call support
16GB of built-in memory
8MP autofocus camera with LED flash, F2.0 aperture.
720p video recording @30fps
2MP front-facing camera with auto-focus
AAC stereo speakers
Wi-Fi 802.11, Wi-Fi Direct, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth v4.0
USB host (dongle required)
Micro SD card slot
Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
Infrared port
GPS with A-GPS support;
10,000mAh Li-Po battery


Talk 9X’s Design – The Power of Slimness



With its slim, metal body and cool paint job, the Cube 9X is easily one of the best-looking tablets from a Chinese manufacturer. Its metal construction helps make it feel rather premium and luxurious when you pick it up, as do the skinny bezels and the all-glass front. There's no flex in the metal back panel or any unpleasant rattling from the buttons, which makes it feel like a sturdy piece of kit.


Top: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (7.8mm) Middle: Cube Talk 9X (7.5mm) Bottom: Acer W700 (11.9mm)

I, like many people, was actually skeptical of Cube’s early promotion claiming that the 9X was less than 8mm thick. Only after holding it in my hand did I believe it was actually true. Measuring at 237*170*7.5mm, the 9X is really a compact device.




The front is dominated by a 9.7-inch IPS screen, with relatively small bezel. A 2mp front-facing camera sits comfortably above the display, perfect for video-chatting and selfies.




There are no physical buttons on the front of the device, but around the sides you'll find the standard volume and power buttons as well as the micro-USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack. There's a microSD card slot which allows you to expand the 16GB of built-in storage, typical Android.


The micro-SIM card tray was mounted on the right side of the tablet, but to open it you would need the eject tool which can be found in the retail package.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an HMDI port on board. Although it’s no surprise as HMDI has never appeared on any of the Talk series tablet, I really hoped that cube could offer more for this high-end device.





On the back of the slate you will find an 8mp camera along with LED flash. The chassis is made of aluminum alloy, which gives the tablet a very sturdy and premium feel, but also gives the tablet some unwanted extra weight.


Display and Sound



The 9.7-inch display has a 2048*1536 resolution, which gives a pixel density of 264 pixels per inch, as high as it really needs to be on a tablet.


I found the 9X's display to be extremely crisp, with sharp edges around icons and a comfortable clarity to small text in Web pages. It's bright too, countering most of the glare from my office lights, once you crank the brightness up at least.

I can say with certainty that it's easy to read under a grey cloudy sky, although it would struggle more against the midday sun.



Colors are vivid as well, and it has amazing viewing angles, making it a great all-round display for browsing the web pages, watching HD videos and gaming.


As for the device's speakers, I was pleasantly surprised by how loud and rich the stereo speakers sound. To my non-audiophile ears, I didn't detect much tinniness, and found them perfectly acceptable for listening to music tracks. I wouldn't replace your best Bluetooth speakers with them of course, but they'll do in a pinch.



Systems and software



The 9X arrives running the stock Android 4.4.2 Kitkat operating system, which is pleasantly up to date. Knowing its own limitations in developing customized Android, Cube has kept the 9X’s interface 100% Android.


Preinstalled applications have also been kept to the minimum, but you could still find an entire set of useful Google applications. Google Play and Google map work perfectly fine on the 9X, I have already installed dozens of applications from the Google Play app.


Performance



Inside, the Cube Talk 9X has a octa-core Mediatek MT8392 CPU at 2.0GHz, as well as 2GB of RAM. These specs powered the 9X to some of our best formal performance numbers for an Android tablet.


[/CENTER]

We compared the 9X against a range of tablets from the market-leading manufacturers, including the Google Nexus 7 (2013), the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 edition), the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.4 Pro, and the LG G Pad 8.3. We found that the 9X performed powerfully across the board.













As can be seen from the table and screenshot above, the Cube Talk 9X stands up well to the market-leading flagship Android tablets in synthetic benchmark tests such as AnTuTu, Geekbench, Quadrant and CF-Bench. Its Vellamo and 3DMark scores, meanwhile, though not the highest, were very respectable as well.


In the real-world use, the Talk 9X performed like a boss most of the time. Handling everything from browsing through the home screens to some of the most graphic-intense games with ease. I did have encountered some lags and hiccups here and there, but the overall experience was pleasantly smooth.


Video Playback was also very smooth, as the tablet breezed trhough most of the 1080P video I threw at it. Only a few clips of which audio did not work while playing with hardware decoding, choosing software decoing mode instantly sovled the problem.
[



Connectivity



Bluetooth 4.0, 3G (WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/GSM), wireless display, FM Radio, GPS and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi are all on-board.


With an SIM card inserted, you can even use the 9X to make phone calls and send short messages. There is no earpiece on the tablet, so whenever you make or receive a phone call, you have to either use a headset or the speakers.


As for Wi-Fi reception, The Talk 9X is at least as good as my Samsung Galaxy Tab, if not better. Even at 10 meters and a few walls away from the router, it can still establish a pretty solid connection.


The only issue, potentially an annoying one for some, is that the 9X failed to mount some of the MicroSD cards. I tried 2 Samsung MicroSDs, neither of them worked on the 9X. But the Sandisk and Kingston MicroSD cards worked perfectly.


Camera



Let me be clear once more: I would never advocate actually using a tablet to take photos. It just doesn't make sense, when a smartphone could do a better job. If all you had was the 9X, however, it would work in a pinch.






I used Auto mode for most of my tests, which is what most consumers are likely to do. The rear 8-megapixel camera takes reasonably good shots -- my sample pictures looked crisp and colors appeared accurate and lifelike, even beat the snaps of many low-end smartphones.


Even when I tried to use the camera in low light, the photos remains nice, with some reasonable drop in sharpness.


Shot in total darkness, with LED flash on.

Only in the really dark environments, images looked fuzzy and grainy, and I had to hold the tablet super still in order to get a shot that wasn't too blurry. The LED flash didn't help matters either, as it often resulted in shots that were blown out.


The 2-megapixel front-facing camera is the best I have seen any Chinese tablet. With that said, it's alright for selfies and the occasional video chatting, but I really wouldn't use it for anything else given the resolution.


Surprisingly, though, the 9X records pretty decent 720p video. It captures motion smoothly enough, and it records ambient sound quite clearly.

Battery life


The Cube Talk 9X packs a 10,000mAh battery, which is a huge bump over the 5,300mAh battery of its predecessor (Talk 9). In our standard battery test where we play a video on loop with 50 percent brightness while having notifications for email, Facebook and LinkedIn turned on, the 9X lasted for 8 hours and 13 minutes. That's substantially less than the iPad Air, but handily beat the battery life of most of the Android tablets

With moderate use -- by which I mean talking to friends on Whatsapp and Wechat, browsing the web pages and watching some YouTube Videos -- the tablet easily lasted through a whole day. I left it mostly idle throughout the weekend, and the battery only dropped less than 10%.

But there was a small issue, it normally took more than 6 hours to finish a full charge and this could sometimes be pretty annoying, especially for people who hope to get a decent percentage of refill during lunch hours.


Verdict



One or two small niggles aside, the Talk 9X is a very promising tablet. The screen looks great and the refined design feels like a meaningful and long overdue step forward for Cube. The octa-core MT8392 chipset works like a beast most of the time, and the 8.0MP rear-facing camera is as good as you could ask for from a tablet. The most important achievement Cube has managed to make with the 9X is to make people actually forget about the quality issues which normally keep us from buying tablets from a Chinese brand.

Besides being a wonderful tablet, the Talk 9X can also be used as a phone. Although I personally would never encourage anyone to carry a 10 inch tablet around as her main communication device, the 9X could serve as a nice backup whenever your smartphone run out of juice.

At $180, the 9X is sensibly priced and could potentially serve as an iPad air or Galaxy Tab alternative. If you have enough faith in Cube like I do now, you wouldn't want to miss this slate.

Pros: great screen, super thin, decent battery life, premium materials, nice cameras

Cons: long battery charge time, incompatibility with some of the Micro SD card, the absence of HDMI port.
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2nd July 2014, 03:11 AM |#2  
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I don't know where you got the USD180 from. This tablet retails for USD224 - 254 depending on the 2G/16G or 2G/32G. The processor speed is limited at 1.664GHz.
However with all this said, this is one of the best looking tablet or might even be the looking tablet out there. There also some problems with the micro SD self ejecting sometimes and you cannot write to uSD card using 3rd party apps like file commander or solid explorer. Recognizes my 64 GB samsung usd pro card with no problems.
The only way is to use the bundled file manager app. Other than that tablet is fast and is good buy. Need to root. Definitely the best Chinese tablet out there for now.
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4th July 2014, 05:49 AM |#3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssingaram

I don't know where you got the USD180 from. This tablet retails for USD224 - 254 depending on the 2G/16G or 2G/32G. The processor speed is limited at 1.664GHz.
However with all this said, this is one of the best looking tablet or might even be the looking tablet out there. There also some problems with the micro SD self ejecting sometimes and you cannot write to uSD card using 3rd party apps like file commander or solid explorer. Recognizes my 64 GB samsung usd pro card with no problems.
The only way is to use the bundled file manager app. Other than that tablet is fast and is good buy. Need to root. Definitely the best Chinese tablet out there for now.

$180 is the retail price in China, u can find it on tmall.com.

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4th July 2014, 06:05 AM |#4  
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Thanks but do they ship to international buyers.



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4th July 2014, 07:25 AM |#5  
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Wow. 10" tablets are a bit larger than I prefer, but for that price, and I'm not MediaTek's biggest fan, but those are some impressive benchmarks. I might have to give one a shot.
6th July 2014, 07:31 PM |#6  
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This review was incredibly useful. Thank you very much! Just ordered one Cube Talk 9x for my self.
7th July 2014, 01:17 PM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirio

This review was incredibly useful. Thank you very much! Just ordered one Cube Talk 9x for my self.

@mirio, can you share where did you order from and what price in USD?
7th July 2014, 06:49 PM |#8  
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Sure, I`ve ordered from China, via AliExpress from this seller - http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cube-...881742165.html - price varies from 236 to 293 US dollars depending on which bundle you choose.
13th July 2014, 12:35 PM |#9  
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What are your thoughts about this vs the Galaz A1 ?

I want a tablet with 3G and not sure on this or the Galaz, as i cant figure out if the Galaz has built in 3G or not as the Cube 9x do have it.

Great review with lots of usefull info, so thank you for using time to do it
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13th July 2014, 01:09 PM |#10  
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Very good tablet.
15th July 2014, 11:08 AM |#11  
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http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2014/...the-big-fraud/

Still looks pretty good.
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cube talk 9x, cube-talk-9x, mali-450mp, octa-core, retina display, u65gt

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