The Cube T7 and T9 have enjoyed great reception from the users, and now Cube introduces a new slate from the T-series to the world – the Cube T6. Like the T7 and T9, the T6 has 4G access and phone functions. However, unlike the other two models which have some advanced features and were once marketed as flagship tablets, the T6 is really just an entry-level slate with a TN screen, some low-end internal specs as well as a RMB399 ($64) price tag.
Cube T6 Specs
OS: Android 5.1
Display: 6.98-inch TN, 5-point multi-touch
Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600
CPU: 64-bit MT8735 quad-core processor (4 cores of Cortex-A53)
CPU Frequency: 1.0GHz
RAM / Storage: 1GB / 8GB
Function: WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS, OTG, Miracast, FM Radio
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
GSM: band2, band3, band5, band8
WCDMA: band1, band5
FDD: band1, band3, band7
Camera: 2MP back camera, VGA front camera
Extend Port: Micro SD card card slot, Micro SIM Card Slot 1, Micro SIM card slot 2, Micro USB port, 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Weight & Size: 240g / 191*99*9.5mm
Design and build
The main design element is the size of the tablet. Although the T6 is just one of the many 7-inch tablets we have seen from Cube, it is certainly the smallest. It’s almost like holding a phone because the device is so small and slender – holding it one-handed is a breeze. The silver frame looks nice, so does the rounded curves of the cover. However, the proportions of the slate looks extremely weird and lanky, I would prefer if the bezel was a little bit bigger.
The T6 has a plastic rear cover which matches that of the Cube T7 and T9, as well as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S. It may look better than the plain plastic back from the U25GT and Talk 7X, and provide better grip than the metal chassis, but it still feels cheap.
The T6 has the minimum number of ports and buttons. The only physical controls you’ll find are the power/lock key and the volume rocker switch on the right hand side of the slate (when held in portrait).
The 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro USB port are on the top side of the tablet, while the Micro SD card slot, and the two Micro SIM card slots can only be accessed after removing the cover on the top.
The tablet weighs 240g, not much heavier than many of the large phones, long period of one-handed operation wouldn’t be much of a problem. However, at 9.5mm, it isn’t a slim tablet by today’s standards.
Decent build quality has been maintained with no signs of unwanted gaps in the casing or wobbly buttons. The lack of premium materials such as aluminum is hardly unexpected, given the $64 price tag attached to it.
Display and sound
Here comes the greatest weakness of the Cube T6: a 7-inch TN display at the resolution of 1024*600. Taking the price of this tablet into account, we wouldn’t mind a low-resolution display if they are giving us a PLS or IPS panel to look at. But a TN display is really something we cannot tolerate, especially when lower-end tablet such as the U25GT ($32) are now featuring a Samsung PLS display.
The nice thing is that the TN panel on the T6 looks better than those seen on the tablets released in 2011, as it has better color saturation, brightness and contrast. But when compared to better LCD panels such as MVA, PLS and IPS, which we are already accustomed to see on smartphones and tablets, the TN panel doesn’t have equally wide viewing angles. The colors appear distorted especially when looking at the display from the left and right (in landscape). Generally the response time of the TN display is also not as short as that of the IPS or PLS displays, but that’s much more difficult to notice than the viewing angles.
Compared to the disappointing camera, the rear-facing speaker is one of the few areas where the T6 unexpectedly impresses. It is loud enough to hear in a quiet room, although the sound quality is not as good as that of high-end slate such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4. I was okay with the sound the speaker produced while watching YouTube videos, but I was still in desperate need of connecting the T6 to my Monster Clarity HD Bluetooth sound box or plugging in one of my Astrotec headphones whenever I was listening to music.
System and apps
The Cube T6 runs the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop OS, with light customizations on top. Preinstalled applications are kept to the minimum, and you can uninstall most of them without rooting the device.
Although there remains a dearth of tablet apps for Android, especially when you compare it to the wealth of high-quality apps made for the iPad. 7-inch tablets don’t really suffer that much as almost all phone apps still work brilliantly on this smaller tablet screen.
The Cube T6 is powered by a 64-bit quad-core 1.0GHz MediaTek MT8735 processor with 1GB RAM. It is now the new basic setup for a tablet with 4G and phone functions. As the processor is quite new to us, we need some benchmarks to evaluate the T6’s real horsepower and see where it fits in the spectrum of tablet performance.
Antutu V5.0 returned a score of 18,583, putting the T6 behind most of the budget smartphones and tablets released recently, and Geekbench 3 reported scores of 477 single-core and 1,336 multi-core, which is not good, but decent. The CF-bench test resulted in a score of 17,911, and the Quadrant Advanced gave the T6 a mark of 9,248.
In the more graphic-focused 3D Mark test, the T6 was returned 3,329 in Ice Storm and 1,682 in Ice Storm Extreme, which are expected for a tablet in this price range.
In real day to day use, apps open swiftly, video playback is smooth, and Web browsing doesn’t disappoint. However, running too many applications simultaneously in the background could cause significant slowdowns. Having two browser windows open, for instance, makes both load at a slower clip, while the virtual keyboard can take a moment to pop up.
I did also notice some compatibility issues of the GPU, as some of the 3D games weren’t able to run on the T6, and a few graphic-intense games such as Zombie Wood and Asphalt 7 ran at a very low frame rate. Luckily my personal favorite: Virtua Tennis, Crazy Cars and Banana Jungle were very smooth.
Like other tablets from Cube’s T series, the T6 has 4G access and full phone functionalities. While the higher-end T7 and T9 supports both FDD and TDD, the T6 only supports FDD-LTE, but it is not really an issue for people who don’t live in China, as TDD-LTE is currently only used by China Mobile.
Voice calls worked as fine as it was on my HTC Desire, and I could easily pair it with a Bluetooth headphone. Wi-Fi reception was also nice as I had no problem streaming online music and videos several meters and a wall away from the router.
The T6 houses a 2,600mAh Li-Po battery, which is less capacity than in most of today’s smartphones. With varied usage including frequent e-mails, some video, a few games and a good deal web browsing, the T6 lasts 6 hours on average, which was pretty good given the battery capacity. In our standard cngadget battery test, where we loop a 1080P video with 30% screen brightness and 50% volume, the tablet lasted 8 hours and 35 minutes, much better than other entry-level slates.
The rear camera is quite simply bad and can’t really do much either in photo or video mode. It is funny that Cube even gives an LED flash to this low-end tablet, instead of giving it to the more capable T7. The front webcam will do the job for online video chatting, as long as you’re in good lighting; otherwise the lags quickly add up.
Photo by the rear camera
This T6 doesn’t really impress in almost every respect. The only exceptions are the OS and 4G access, as the Android 5.1 brings a lot of new nit features to the table, and the 4G voice call and data can really be quite useful on some occasions. With that said, the TN screen is still something that should not be used on a 2015 tablet. According to Cube, an enhanced version of the T6 will be released soon, and the new slate will feature a much better PLS display and possibly a larger battery.
Overall, the T6 is a reasonably priced budget product that can handle the basics, but because of the display I would still suggest that you wait for the enhanced version.