Cubix Cube 2 hands-on: big in value and size, small in price

In Phones by Ramon Lopez3 Comments

Cherry Mobile has always been at the fore of introducing mobile devices for all pockets, and the slew of recent additions to the popular Flare line of smartphones is more proof of this. What the company has in store for online shoppers, however, may be one of its most beloved yet. The Cubix Cube 2, which is the second device to come out of Cherry Mobile’s Cubix sub-brand, will be available online at Lazada Philippines starting today at noon for a low, low price of P4,999.

And for the price of a pair of Nike basketball sneakers, you’re looking at a big-screen Android handset with impressive specs for the price and even more impressive hardware and build quality, which are often the first casualties when manufacturers aim for a lower price ceiling. In the company’s words, the Cube 2 is a “big upgrade” over other phones in the same price class, and I would be foolish to bet against that claim.

Cubix Cube 2

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Design-wise, the Cube 2 doesn’t exhibit much flair, with its glossy, glass-like rear panel and curved top and bottom edges that remind me of 2013’s Huawei Ascend P6. Beyond the obvious attempts at making it standout in an Android landscape where tons of cheap-looking phones have already come and gone, there isn’t too much to write about the Cube 2 from an aesthetic standpoint.

For the price of a pair of Nike basketball sneakers, you’re looking at a big-screen phone with impressive specs and even more impressive hardware and build quality.

But what it does have going for it is that it’s shockingly well-made, especially when you consider what you’re paying for. I’m told the device is held together by a rigid aluminum frame while the 5.7-inch screen is fronted by Corning Gorilla Glass for added protection. The construction contradicts its low price, and the Cube 2 is easily the best-built, sub-P5,000 phone I’ve used, without exception.

Cubix Cube 2 (6)

I also love the idea of a 3.5mm headphone jack cover doubling as a pin-shaped tool for accessing the Cube 2’s two micro-SIM card trays. The Ascend P6 previously touted that feature as well, in case you didn’t know.

A word of caution, though: While it may be a boon for those who occasionally need to swap out SIM cards, the cover is small enough to lose so I definitely recommend keeping it inside your pocket when you’re using the headphone jack. The Cube 2 also supports wireless charging, which makes nightly recharging easier and free from the hassles of short cables.

The Cube 2 is easily the best-built, sub-P5,000 phone I’ve used, without exception.

But perhaps the best attraction of the Cube 2 can be found on the part of the phone that makes up most of its front surface area. I’m referring to the massive 1080p IPS display, which has enough pixels to render text and graphics crisply, not to mention the screen renders colors with great fidelity. The result is a viewing experience that you likely won’t find anywhere else in the bargain basement.

The internals of the Cube 2 adhere to the basic rule of building a budget phone that doesn’t behave like one: Instead of going with a newer but slower processor, Cherry Mobile’s original design manufacturer has opted to stick with an aging, octa-core chip and paired it with 2GB of RAM, along with 16GB of non-expandable storage. For most users, the 3,500mAh sealed battery should easily last a day of moderate use.

The massive 1080p IPS display is crisp and renders colors with great fidelity. The result is a viewing experience that you likely won’t find anywhere else in the bargain basement.

There’s nothing wrong with opting for older (and likely heavily discounted) silicon, especially if it delivers on the performance front — and to be clear, the MediaTek MT6592 SoC inside the Cube 2 is no laggard in the speed department.

But what I do find a bit worrying is the limited amount of storage available on the handset. “There’s no microSD card slot here,” is quite possibly the last thing you’d want to here from someone talking about a phone that’s built for light to moderate gaming and video consumption. You may also be disappointed to find out that the device ships with Android 4.4 KitKat instead of Lollipop.

Cubix Cube 2 (5)

Given my brief time with the Cube 2 I wasn’t able to test the cameras much, but it seems like the handset will be able to keep up with the competition, and even more so when it comes to shooting in low light. Both sensors are backside-illuminated, meaning they gather more light than those that don’t have the imaging technology in place.

What I do find a bit worrying is the limited amount of storage, not to mention the Cube 2 ships with Android 4.4 KitKat instead of Lollipop.

Overall, I have to say I’m really impressed with the Cubix Cube 2. What it is and what it is capable of given its price tag should excite anyone who wants a big, inexpensive phone that doesn’t compromise on either build quality, display, or core specs.

I could rattle off a list of phones that offer a great smartphone experience, but very few, if any, come with a full-resolution display that spans at least 5.7 inches across and retails for a price that makes no sense for companies not named Cherry Mobile.

Cubix Cube 2 (7)

Cubix Cube 2 specs (Price in the Philippines: P4,999):
* Dual SIM
* 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592 processor
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 5.7-inch OGS IPS display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, backside-illumination
* 8-megapixel front camera with backside-illumination
* 3,500mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4

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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 15 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between. His latest addiction is the comments section of viral Facebook posts.