The Taste of White Cherry – Cube Dual Core Tablet “U9GT3” Review
Cube is well known in China for its cost-efficient digital products, since its entrance into the android tablet market in 2010, it has published dozens of MID products, among which there are U9GT, U9GT2, U30GT. Most of its products have done quite well in the Chinese market.
U9GT3 is a rather wordy successor to the popular U9GT and U9GT2, it is Cube’s sixth dual core android tablet after U30GT(Pea), U20GT(Wall-nut), U30mini, U19GT(Sunflower), U23GT(Snow Pea), U9GT4, and is named “Cherry” after the explosive role in the famous PopCap Game “Plants vs Zombies”. Unlike most android tablets which use WSVGA or WXGA displays, Cherry has a very different 8 inch XGA IPS display that is very nice for web-browsing and E-book reading. I recently received the 127USD device for product review, and I am now sharing what I’ve found with you guys.
Cherry’s front and back design is quite similar to that of iPad2, an XGA IPS display surrounded by bezel which comes in either white or black, a silver battery cover to its back, except it is much smaller in size (200mm*155mm*9.59mm).
The most noticeable difference comes from its side design, which adopts a “razor sharp” concept that allows the thinnest part of the device to be as slim as 1mm.
However, “razor” proves to be little more than just a concept, the actual body depth of this tablet is 9.59mm, which is a shade slimmer than Galaxy Tab 2 P5100 (9.7mm), but feels quite porkier than Galaxy Tab 8.9 (8.6mm) and the super slim iPad Mini (7.1mm).
Cherry offers a feature set that is quite similar to its rivalry products. The first thing you will notice is the XGA IPS display screen, which offers great vibrant colors and desirable brightness.
Whether watching videos, surfing the web or using android applications, the screen can provide a user experience that is remarkably like using a full-sized computer.
While I expected to see notable pixilation in full screen, the reality is that the image remains sharp with great color saturation. Although the 4:3 display isn’t recommended as a video player, one of the selling points for it is E-reading, the 8 inch screen offers as much as 35% more vision field than 7 inch screens.
Unfortunately, cherry doesn’t have a rear camera, and the 0.3 mega-pixel is okay, though far from ideal for video chatting through QQ or Skype. The device offers internet access through Wifi only, and Cube doesn’t seem interested in making a cellular version of it.
U9GT3 has 16GB internal storage, which is quite generous in comparison with lots of other Chinese tablets which only provide 8GB storage. And a TF card slot which supports cards up to 16GB could accommodate the majority of users.
Besides, Cherry also offers on its body a charging port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a reset hole, a micro USB data port, a speaker gate, a power/standby switch as well as a volume rocker. But according to my experience, the data port isn’t that scientifically designed, the wire can go off the tablet very easily. Also the speaker is quite low in volume, which is quite common in Chinese tablet products from MP4-turned-tablet-manufacturers. And unlike most dual core tablets made in China, Cherry doesn’t have an HDMI port, possibly due to its low price.
Cherry ships with not the latest version, but the most mature version of Android: Ice Cream Sandwich, and adopts a WIN8-like user interface that is exquisitely designed by Cube, it offers five home screens including a Start home screen, a social networking home screen, a gaming app home screen, an office app home screen, and a home screen of other favorite applications. Even the application drawer has been designed very metro-like, and all the shortcuts and widgets will change to cubes once they are dragged onto the home screens to fit the screen interface.
At the bottom of the screen, you'll find a permanent control bar that includes virtual back and home buttons, as well as an icon that brings up a list of open apps, which can be closed with a swipe to the right.
Meanwhile, tapping the lower right part of the screen (with the clock, Wi-Fi, and battery indicators) brings up the notifications box, which includes quick controls for turning on/off Wi-Fi, quiet, and screen rotation lock, among other features, plus you can access the brightness setting on the fly and tap into the full Settings menu.
As is mentioned above, Cherry has an XGA IPS display to its front which offers vibrant colors and great brightness.
At the heart of the device, Cube has provided a peppy Rockchip RK3066 Dual core 1.6G processor (GPU: Mali-400MP4@399MHZ) and 1GB DDR3 RAM. Although it does not blow anybody out of the water as many tablets have already come to the era of quad-core processor and 2GB RAM, it still provides plenty of power to run the device smoothly over a wide variety of applications.
According to numerous benchmark tests, Cherry did better than most dual core android phones and tablets. What should also be noted is that in the Quadrant Benchmark test, Cherry has beaten Transformer Prime in test scores.
Cherry features a 4500mAh Li-Polymer battery that offers about 8 hours of on-Screen usage on a charge, Actual battery life will, of course, depend on how we use the tablet. and variables like high brightness and heavy downloads or streaming will zap the battery a little quicker, but we found it comparable to seven-inch competitors. According to my test, Cherry offers 6.5 hours of video playback (50% screen brightness, Wifi off, full volume), better than most of its rivalry products.
Unfortunately, Cherry doesn’t support battery charging under shutdown state, but it doesn’t necessarily result in low charging efficiency, a full charge only takes 3-3.5 hours, while the charging input is 5V-2A.
6.Internet and Connectivity
Tablets are popular choices for sofa surfers, allowing for large screen browsing without the hassle, heat or weight of a laptop. The XGA IPS Screen makes Cherry even more of a surfer favorite, 4:3 display shows much more webpage content than similar sized wide-screen devices.
But here also lies the biggest issue of Cherry: the Wifi connectivity of the device is quite poor due to its metal back cover.
According to my test, cherry’s data reception is almost as good as Galaxy Tab8.9 while it is placed closely to the signal source (within s meters) without strong signal blockers, and thanks to its better processor, it performed even better than Tab on web browsing.
Yet once it is placed 5 meters and a wall away from Wifi tethering, its data reception is much poorer than that of Samsung Galaxy Tab.
A stock Android browser and a UCWEB browser come preinstalled on Cherry, both offering up tabbed browsing, offline reading and thumb-nailed bookmarks which can be synced to your Google or Sina account.
RK3066 is arguably the best processor for video fans, it supports almost all video formats to at least 1080P. Hardware decoding of all kinds of videos is also the key strength of this China-based Chip Maker in comparison with industry leaders such as Samsung, QUALCOMM, and Texas Instrument.
In my test, Cherry has no problem playing any Full HD video, no matter what format it is. The only problem is that with the 4:3 display, a great percentage of the screen will be wasted during video playbacks as most videos come in widescreen.
As is mentioned earlier, Cherry is born for E-reading fans, while B&N’s Nook tablets and Amazon’s Kindle Fires all bundled with wild screens and are not ideal for browsing and E-book reading. Cherry, on the other hand, provides an 8 inch XGA screen which is quite comfortable for readers. IPS display’s brightness and vibrant colors also contributes to my joyful experience reading with Cherry.
The Dual core Processor Cherry embodies is powered by Mali-400MP4 as its GPU, the same with Samsung’s famous Exynos 4410 and Exynos 4412, and can be seen as a guarantee for high performance and great compatibility for gaming. According to my actual test, Cherry doesn’t disappoint, almost all games can be played smoothly on it.
Priced at $127, Cube U9GT3 is one of the best android devices below $150. The tablet is solidly built and it doesn’t look cheap by any standard. Similar to most tablets made in China, Cherry has lots of desirable aspects, but also many defects.
The 8 inch XGA IPS display is one of the biggest talking points on Cherry, which is ideal for E-reading and browsing;
The tablet adopts a solid build and is quite well made, showing no cheapness at all;
The delicately designed Metro UI is also a plus for this tablet, and allows Cherry to stand out from its competitors;
The powerful RK3066 dual core processor with Mali-400MP4 guarantees Cherry’s high performance on everything from video playback to gaming;
@$127, it is one of the most cost-efficient devices on the market.
Wifi Connectivity is Cherry’s Achilles' heel: data reception can be much poorer than other internet devices while there are signal blockers;
At 470 grams, it is notably heavier than most similar sized tablets, mainly due to its metal back cover;
Battery life is notably shorter than market leaders such as Galaxy Tab and Nexus 7.