UPDATE – Nov 12, 2016: I found another store on AliExpress with the same device! It’s a bit higher price but will still be a very affordable review unit and has shipped. I’ll do an unboxing and first impressions as soon as it arrives!
UPDATE – Nov 8, 2016: I received communication that my order via AliExpress for a review unit would need to be cancelled, with the details from the vendor being that the factory stopped production and would not be supplying stock. I am researching further to verify this detail.
The relatively unknown Chinese manufacturer Cube (resembling where Huawei was several years ago), today released the hardware specs to their massive 6.98″ Windows Mobile 10 Phablet that they previously released photo’s of back in July.
Specifications in Review:
Screen Size: 6.98″
Resolution: 1280 x 720p
CPU: Qualcomm 220 (MSM8909) – Quad Core 1.3 GHz
Ram: 2 GB
Storage: 16 GB
Micro SD: Supported up to 128 GB
WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n
Cameras: 2.0 MP Front / 5.0 MP Rear
Battery: 2850 mAh
Cellular: Dual SIM 3G/4G – MicroSIM & NanoSIM
Dimensions: 187.7mm x 97.7mm x 7.6mm
Along with announcing the specifications today, Cube released the phone for sale, although only from limited sources like Spanish AliExpress, which at the time of writing is already listing the unit as not available or out of stock, at least at the cheaper $185.00 CDN price point, which is lower than the otherwise reported $300 USD price estimate. The good news is, I decided to order one from this source this morning while it was still in stock, and for now my order is showing as pending shipping, so I don’t expect it’s a “cancelled” sale, simply limited early stock, but we shall see! When it arrives I’ll do both a written and video review of the unit!
The phone (can you call it a phone at this size, or even a phablet?) from the pictures provided at least appears to look fairly well put together. Reading reviews and commentary on Cubes other Windows and Android tablets and phones on various sites seems to lay out that the build quality can be expected to be reasonable, but not likely top of the line. From other hardware they produce it sounds like it can be expected for the camera to be of outright poor quality, and battery life/capacity may be hit or miss.
On the listed specifications themselves, the phone is decidedly an entry level device, but so was my Nokia 520 back in the day, and it was a solid budget phone. The processor is an older Qualcomm 220 chipset which is still decent as a quad core 1.3 Ghz spec, memory is set at 2 GB which is healthy for Windows Mobile 10, and storage is a pretty basic 16 GB onboard, but at least it allows MicroSD expansion up to 128 GB, which Windows Mobile handles well. The final key spec for my attention is the screen resolution of 720p, which for a modern phone seems low on such a large screen. I expect the screen will be better than most predict, after all, my Satellite TV provider signal is still just compressed 720p video up-scaled to 1080p projected onto a 100″ screen, and it looks stunning, so the lack of 1080p screen might be less significant.
For the price, I am looking forward to testing out this unit in Canada and giving out an honest review of the hardware. Pictures are for the most part limited to the official pictures I’ve added below, pending more of these units getting into the hands of tech media and reviewers to show off. I’ll add pictures myself as part of my review when the hardware arrives…sometime.