Only weeks after the original Cube T8 was released, Cube, the dominant Chinese brand in making tablets with smartphone functions, introduced the enhanced version – the T8 Plus, which features a more vibrant Full HD IPS display, a more powerful octa-core processor as well as better cameras. It is made to woo buyers with a higher demand for specs and performance, buyers whom the T8 just failed to impress.
Cube T8 Plus specifications
•OS: Android 5.1
•Display: 8-inch IPS, 5-point multi-touch
•Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1200 (16:10)
•CPU: 64-bit MT8783 octa-core processor (8 cores of Cortex-A53)
•CPU Frequency: 1.3GHz
•RAM / Storage: 2GB / 16GB
•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
•TDS: band34, band39
•WCDMA: band1, band5
•TDD: band38, band39, band40, band41
•FDD: band1, band3, band7
•Camera: 5MP back camera, 2.4MP front camera
•Extend Port: TF Card Slot, SIM Card Slot, Micro SIM Card Slot, Micro USB Port, 3.5mm Headphone Jack
•Weight & Size: 354 g / 215*122.9*9.85mm
The Cube T8 Plus looks almost identical to the original T8: a widescreen display which dominated the front panel, a relatively small bezel around the screen, rounded corners, and a metallic rear side.
There is an earpiece on the front panel, right above the screen, which means you won’t have to plug in a headphone or use the built-in speakers for phone calls. You can also find a 2.4MP front-facing camera, a light sensor, a proximity sensor on the front.
The rear side of the tablet is a combination of plastic and metal, which reminds us of the LG G Pad 8.3.
There are a 5MP main camera and an LED flash, some branding, and a single rear-facing speaker on the back.
The only physical buttons you will find are the power/standby key and the volume rocker, both hosted on the right side.
Like the original T8 and other Cube T series tablets, the T8 Plus is a very promising slate when it comes to connectivity. On the top side of the tablet you will find a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro USB port which supports USB on the go.
Once you remove the plastic lid on the rear, you will find a Micro SD card slot which supports cards up to 128GB, a Micro SIM card slot and a full-size SIM card slot. Both SIM slots support dual 4G network (TDD and FDD). Unfortunately, we didn’t find the Micro HDMI port, which was one of the main reasons we fell in love with the original T8. The absence here feels somewhat unacceptable.
At 9.85mm, the T8 Plus is not thin by today’s tablet standards, still I would say it is an okay thickness as I didn’t really feel much more burden with the T8 Plus than with my super slim Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, although it is noticeably thicker. Also, the T8 Plus feels very solidly constructed, There is no sign of unwanted gaps in the casing or wobbly buttons.
Like the original T8, the T8 Plus comes with two color options: the white version has a white front and a silver rear, while the black version has a black front and a blue rear. The black version does have a more premium feel to it, but the white version is made for those who hate the feel of black technology.
Screen and sound
One of the major improvements from the original T8 is the screen. As the T8 Plus sports an 8-inch IPS display at Full HD resolution, with a pixel density of 280PPI, a huge leap from the 189PPI of the original T8. Although it is still not the highest, especially when compared to the crazy sharp display found on the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and Tab S 8.4, it beats the sharpness of the iPad Air series (264PPI) and the LG G Pad 8.3 (273PPI).
As you could imagine, icons and images are so crisp and lifelike that they look painted on. The Cube T8’s display even looks as sharp and clear as the screen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, almost impossible to tell the difference in PPI with your bare eyes.
Also, color imaging is natural and precise, it is more than vivid and vibrant for an entry-level tablet. The same goes for the contrast, which offers very pure white tones and extremely dark black. The viewing angle on the T8 Plus is also very wide, and it offers amazing brightness even suitable for outdoor usage.
As for the device’s speaker, I was pleasantly surprised by how loud and rich the single rear-facing speaker sound. To my non-audiophile ears, I didn’t detect much tinniness, and found it perfectly acceptable for watching YouTube videos and listening to FM radios. But if you really want to experience the soundstage and instrument separation in music, and the boomy effects of adction movies, I would recommend an external audio system such as a headphone or a set of speakers.
System and Apps
Like the original T8, the Cube T8 Plus ships with Android 5.1, which is also the latest version of Android OS. While the T8 runs stock Android skin, with almost none customizations on top, the T8 Plus has been skinned with some unique features.
You can choose to switch running applications between full screen and floating windows. You are also able to run several applications in floating windows in the foreground, and even pin apps on top by tapping the small “pin app” icon.
However, if you expect the multi-tasking feature of the T8 Plus to be as refined as the Qslide App of the LG Optimus UI or the phone mode feature on the REMIX OS, you will certainly be disappointed. All apps can be switched to floating windows on the T8 Plus, but not all of them can be usable in windows, some applications just show a small proportion of their interface, and are not really responsive to our tapping. Also, the windows are not resizable at all, making the multi-tasking a less useful feature than it could have been.
There is a small triangular icon at the bottom left of the screen, by tapping it you can bring up a small screen of applications you often use, you can even add more apps to this screen.
Other than those features, the T8 Plus still keeps the head to toe stock Android Lollipop feel which most users would prefer.
Like all Cube’s Android tablets powered by the MediaTek processor, the T8 Plus also support OTA, making firmware upgrade much easier for average users.
Another major improvement of the T8 Plus is the 64-bit MT8783 Cortex A53 octa-core processor and 2GB RAM. While the improvement in smoothness isn’t that obvious, as the T8 is already quite fast thanks to its lower resolution screen, the improvement in benchmarks is quite evident.
The T8 Plus was returned some pretty impressive benchmark scores. It notched 33,608 in Antutu Benchmark, which is on par with the score of the Snapdragon 800 powered Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4. It also got 2,525 in Geekbench3, and 24,195 in Quadrant, pretty amazing results for an entry-level tablets.
In the more graphic-focused 3D Mark Ice Storm tests, the T8 Plus handily beat the original T8, but still lags behind major Android tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 and the Google Nexus 9.
In the real world use, the T8 Plus proved itself capable of handling almost everything with ease. Image-heavy websites rendered quickly, video playback was extremely smooth.
Thanks to great compatibility of the Mali-720MP3 GPU, most graphic-intense games loaded fast and ran at acceptable frame rates. Some of my favorite 3D games such as Virtua Tennis and Zombie Woods ran at even higher frame rates on the T8 Plus than on My Snapdragon 805 powered LG G3 Cat6.
Even with a bright, Full HD IPS display, the T8 Plus was still able to deliver a battery performance on par with the original T8. With an average of 3 hours’ screen time, the tablet can easily last more than 2 days on a full charge.
In our standard cngadget battery test, we loop a 1080P video with 50% of screen brightness and 50% of volume from its built-in speaker, the T8 Plus lasted 7 hours and 9 minutes until auto-shutdown. It is definitely no match for the battery performance of high-end tablets such as the iPad Air 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S, but still quite decent.
As another tablet from Cube’s famous T series, the T8 Plus can be used as a smartphone. It supports both TDD and FDD 4G networks, and there are two SIM card slots on board to enable dual standby. Other smartphone functionalities such as voice call, SMS, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Radio are also included.
Although we would not recommend anyone to use an 8-inch tablet as their main communication device, but it is nice to know you have a backup once your smartphone runs out of juice.
The T8 Plus has a 2.4MP front-facing camera and a 5MP main camera with auto-focus support and LED flash. Both cameras are quite basic, but they are capable finishing the tasks which they are meant for. The front-facing camera is nice enough for video-chatting via Skype and Wechat, while the rear-facing camera could snap some photos for Facebook and Instagram updates.
Photos taken with the main camera
Price and Availability
The T8 Plus has just been released, and is isn’t publicly available yet, not even in the domestic Chinese market. It is now open for pre-ordering on Ali-express.com for $136.8, but there will be an promotional event on Oct, 8th, when Cube will offer an awesome discount for the T8 Plus.
The Cube T8 Plus brings a lot of important improvements over the original T8. With a stunning Full HD IPS display, amazing performance, decent battery life, great build quality, full phone functionalities and a relatively low price, it is definitely one of the best entry-level Android tablets out there.