Cube has been making and marketing Windows tablet/PC convertibles for quite a while now, and the Mix Plus is the newest addition to their high-end Windows tablet line. With the latest Intel kabylake Core-M 7Y30 processor under the hood, this slate is designed to replace the Cube i7 Book.
Cube i7 Book Main Specs
OS: Windows 10 Home
Screen: 10.6-inch IPS, 10-point multi-touch, IGZO
Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
CPU: Intel Kabylake Core-M 7Y30
CPU Frequency: 1.61GHz (Base clock) 2.6GHZ (Turbo clock)
GPU: Intel HD 615
RAM / Storage: 4GB LPDDR3L/ 128GB SSD
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
WiFi: dual band (2.4Ghz & 5Ghz), WiFi hotspot
Camera: 5MP back camera, 2MP front camera
Battery: 7.4V, 4,300mAh
Ports: Micro SD Card Slot, Micro USB 3.0 Port, USB Type-C port, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, DC Charging Port
Size: 273*172*9.6mm, Weight: 686g, Color: white front and silver rear
The Cube Mix Plus has the same packaging used on other Windows tablets from Cube. Inside the box you will find a wall charger, an OTG adapter (Micro USB 3.0 to full USB 3.0), a warranty card and a user manual.
Cube didnt bring anything new in the design of the Mix Plus. The front is dominated by a 10.6-inch IPS display, with relatively big bezel around. We all love the small bezel design of the Huawei Mate Book and Samsung Galaxy TabPro S. But when we use the slate as a standalone tablet, we do need the bezel to rest out fingers on. Cube has changed the color of the front bezel to white, but unfortunately, this color choice doesnt give the tablet a wanted premium look, instead it feels very plasticky and cheap.
The slate has an Aluminum rear side, which is now coated in silver. Unlike the anodic oxide coating we normally find on high-end smartphones and tablets, the coating on the Cube Mix Plus rear side doesnt offer much resistance to scratches.
Many high-end Windows tablets released in the recent two years only come with a single USB Type-C port, but the Mix Plus still offers a slew of ports and slots. On the left side you will find a headset jack, a Micro USB 3.0 port, a 3.5mm DC charging port and a Micro SD card slot which supports cards up to 128GB. There is also a USB Type-C port which can be transformed into a full USB port or an HDMI port, or both if you have the right adapter. I used the type-C adapter for my Macbook and it works fine with the Mix Plus.
The keyboard port can be found on the bottom side of the slate, the docking mechanism is the same as what was found on previous Cube models such as the i10 Premium and i7 Book.
You can also find the stereo side-facing speakers on the right side of the tablet.
A power button and a volume rocker sit comfortably on the top side.
Unlike new generation Windows tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S2 and Huawei Matebook, the Mix plus still feels like a product from the past. Improvement in design from its predecessor is basically nowhere to be found. The slate itself measures 273*172*9.6mm, and weighs 686g light enough for one-handed use with a stylus. As the tablet has a metallic build, it feels very solid, and could survive some pressure or even occasional drops. With the keyboard base attached, the total weight comes to 1.1 kilograms, not really much lighter than a regular ultrabook.
Display and sound
The Mix Plus sports a 10.6-inch full HD IPS display. Although not as exciting as the AMOLED panel on the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, it is still quite decent and offers a lot in terms of sharpness, colors and viewing angle.
At 350 nits, the brightness of the panel may be way more than enough for ordinary indoor use, but if you want to use the tablet in a park under direct sunlight, you will struggle. Personally, I do think that a 10.6-inch display is a little bit too small for a convertible if you want to harness some real productivity. A 12-inch display like the ones found on the Surface Pro 4 or Lenovo Miix 4 definitely makes more sense for office tasks.
The sound quality is a mixed bag. Although the Mix Plus has no problem driving headphones to an ear-splitting level, the built-in speakers simply do not deliver. Not only are they on the quiet side, the sound also lacks punch and layers.
I always need my Bluetooth speakers or headphones when I listen to music or watch movies.
Like the i7 Stylus and i7 Book, the Cube Mix Plus comes with five distinct input options. Theres the touchscreen, the optional Wacom Pen ($30), and the keyboard base, which in addition to its keys offers a touchpad, you can also connect the slate with a mouse.
The touchscreen felt great in our tests. The surface was smooth and consistent, as youd expect, and gestures were all correctly registered. Unfortunately, the screen is not made of Corning Gorilla scratch-resistant glass, but only a standard soda lime glass panel, a screen protector is necessary if you dont want any marks on your screen after a long time of using the tablet.
If you want more precision than your greasy fingers can offer, the optional Wacom pen delivers. It makes stylus input quite natural, and works well with the Windows desktop thanks to its built-in buttons. Hover a bit above the screen and youll see a pointer, which makes it easy to avoid accidentally tapping a button or icon.
Drawing and taking notes with the pen is also quite easy, although it isnt as comfortable as drawing on a paper due to the glossiness of the screen, the experiences are still quite similar. The Wacom pen supports 1,024 levels of pressure, so you can easily draw lines with different weight. This makes the i7 Book much more usable as a standalone tablet, as you can actually write things down on it and wont always feel the need of a keyboard for input.
Rotary keyboard base
Keyboards for tablets are always somewhat uncomfortable to use. I have personally struggled to find my normal typing pace with the Surface Type Cover and the stock Bluetooth keyboard for the Acer ICONIA W700. However, the keyboard bases for Cube i7 and i7 Stylus were actually more comfortable to type on than average tablet keyboards, but they were also thick and heavy.
The rotary keyboard base designed for the Mix Plus is identical to the one for the i7 Book, the only difference I can find is the color. In my opinion, this keyboard base is extremely well designed. Not only can it instantly turn the tablet into a laptop, you can also use it as a stand to support the tablet in many different modes.
With the keyboard base connected, the screen can be adjusted from 0 to 120 degrees. Although the keyboard base still doesnt quite measure up to the keyboard on an average laptop, it comes pretty close. The keys are well-spaced, and give enough feedback for touch typists to develop a flow. Of course, certain compromises had to be made to fit a full keyboard into a small base, so dont expect the full laptop experience. The depth of each keystroke is noticeably shorter, which dampens the tactile experience. With that said, this is still one the closest things to a laptop keyboard available for any tablet, and is among the best tablet keyboards weve used.
The keyboard base also features a trackpad, which supports lots of gestures. There are also distinct left and right click zones to mimic the experience of using a mouse. However, theres simply too much resistance for your finger to move around the trackpad comfortably, and you will miss the speed and convenience of a real mouse.
You also get two additional full USB 2.0 ports with the keyboard base attached, one on the left, and one on the right. Which further enhances the usability of the device.
System and apps
The Mix Plus ships with Windows 10 Home and a valid license. Thankfully, the tablet comes with no bloatware, and you dont need to uninstall anything before using it.
You can find a healthy number of touchscreen compatible applications in the Windows Store, and if thats not enough, there are millions of PC applications you can install on the Mix Plus. When it comes to productivity, the Mix Plus easily beats lots of pricier tablets such as the REMIX Pro and the iPad Pro. And the Wacom pen even allows you to use the tablet on more occasions.
The Cube Mix Plus is powered by the latest Kabylake Core M3-7Y30 processor, which is an upgrade of the Skylake 6Y30 processor found in the i7 Book, but is still not as powerful as the i5 or i7 processors used in high-end Windows tablets and ultrabooks, as it seeks to balance performance, efficiency and portability. There is also 4GB of RAM on board to take care of multi-tasking and a 128GB SSD as internal storage.
Our Cinebench R10 CPU scores show just how much horsepower this processor can generate. The single core rating was 5,013, and the multi-core score was 9,949. The Cube Mix Plus can keep up with most Windows 10 tablets on the market right now, and that includes the entry model of Surface Pro 4.
We also ran other Benchmark tests on the Mix Plus, and were returned with some predictable scores. From the numbers, we can tell that the Kabylake Core M3 processor used in the Mix Plus betters the Atom processors used in entry-level Windows tablets in terms of horsepower, but is no match for those Core i-series processors of the same generation.
The benchmark scores are reflected in day-to-day usage, the Mix Plus performs general productivity tasks easily. Performance was so good that we forgot this entire machine was crammed into a tablet form factor, thinking of it instead as a full-blown laptop. Browsing the web and writing were no problem, but neither were more processor intensive tasks such as unzipping a large compressed file. Atom based tablets, including the Surface 3 and the Lenovo Yoga Book, suffered a bit with this kind of tasks. But the Kabylake Core M3 chip is competent, and the 4GB memory allows you to handle a decent amount of multi-tasking.
As fast as the Cube Mix Plus could be in your everyday tasks, it is still a tablet, and cant fully replace a workstation desktop or laptop. There will be lags or stutters while running big applications such as Lightroom or Corel Draw, or during graphic-intense 3D gaming. It is more suited for being used as a portable friend instead of your only personal computer.
The Mix Plus offers a FORESEE O1229B solid state drive, with 128GB of storage space. There is Micro SD card slot to help expand the storage, but you can add no more than 128GB.
The Speed of the internal SSD is generally on par with the drives in most other high-end Windows tablets, and much faster compared to the eMMc used in those Atom based Windows slates. Our AS SSD benchmark showed a read speed of 490.79MB/s, and a write speed of 197.15MB/s.
As with other Core M powered tablets, there are no fans in the Cube Mix Plus, meaning youll never hear it no matter how hot it gets, and it will get quite hot occasionally.
After running a few benchmark tests, Ludashi reported a CPU temperature higher than 80 degrees centigrade, and the rear side of the tablet felt quite warm, and unpleasant for the my hands to hold.
The Mix Plus features a 7.4V 4,300mAh battery, on par with the original i7 Book but is slightly smaller than the battery inside the Huawei Matebook. I test battery life using a looped HD video, playing until the battery finally gives out. Here, the Mix Plus performed slightly below averagestill, at 6 hours, 41 minutes, it delivers pretty close to an all-work-day computing experience.
There are two cameras on the Cube i7 Book, a 2MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera. The front camera naturally takes care of video chatting. I used to say that the rear-facing camera on tablets are not necessary, well, I was wrong. The Huawei Matebook doesnt offer a rear camera, and once when I was chatting with a friends on Skype, and wanted to show him the things I was looking at, I needed to flip the tablet around and use the front-facing camera to do that, and I didnt even know whether I framed what I needed to show because the screen is not facing towards me.
With that said, both cameras on the i7 Book are not good at all. Even when there is proper lighting, Photos can still have a lot of noises. Smartphones of even the lowest end could do a better job at taking pictures.
Priced at $399.99, the Cube Mix Plus is a pretty good 2-in-1 tablet, but the improvements over its predecessor are quite limited. Besides the new processor and dual band Wi-Fi, there isnt really much to talk about. Cube isnt trying to make the Mix Plus more aesthetically appealing than its predecessor, or they are doing it in the wrong way. They are not trying to add more functionalities to the slate, either. Many Core-M powered tablets from other Chinese brands now feature 8GB RAM and 200GB+ SSD, which should be more future-proof, yet Cube still sticks with the amount they offered two years ago when they released the Cube i7, which was also known as the first Core-M powered tablet ever.
With that said, if you want an affordable Windows tablet which could offer more horsepower and speed than Atom-based slates such as the Surface 3 and the Lenovo Yogabook, the Cube Mix Plus is one of the choices you should consider.