After a recent review of Onda OBook 20, we were wondering what are further developments in the world of affordable tablets and convertibles. Onda’s dual boot feature was quite intriguing, but being based on Cherry Trail meant the performance was somewhat lagging even behind the Qualcomm Snapdragon processors (in case of Android OS). After some digging, we discovered the Cube i7 Book 2 tablet/laptop. Amazingly, it isn’t all that more expensive than the Cherry Trail-based Obook.
Decision to name the product “I7” in order to bring attention to the processing side would pay dividends if the Cube I7 actually featured Intel’s Core i7 processor. Instead, this tablet uses sixth generation of Core M processors and it doesn’t support dual OS. This is a Microsoft Windows 10 only tablet, and can be considered quite powerful for its dimensions.
Cube I7 Book 2 comes in a compact packaging featuring a power cable, and a USB-A adapter. The chassis materials give this tablet a premium feel in the hands, even though is a little bulky. Still, it weights about the same as the Onda Obook 20 and has the bigger screen. This is quite the advantage for potential users deciding between Cube and Onda. You will also get a screen protector applied on the tablet, front and back. The packaging is flawless and the tablet is secured with thick foam, and the build give good and safe feeling in hand.
Cube i7 Book 2 features 4GB of Low-Power DDR3 memory paired with an Intel Skylake Core M3-6Y30 processor. This processor features two cores with HyperThreading, reacking the clock of up to 2.2GHz with Turbo boost. At the same time, it is consuming no more than 4.5 Watts. Tablet also features Intel HD Graphics 515 processor. On the right side of the Cube i7, there are two speaker grills. Sadly, there are no speakers on the left side of tablet – meaning your hand can cover at least one sound outlet. Given that the speakers are to the right, left side is packed with ports – D/C port for charging, MicroUSB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type-C with DisplayPort, and a USB-A 3.0 port. You will also find standard sockets like MicroSD card slot and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The list of features concludes with a front 2.0 (720p video) and back 5.0 MP camera. Picture quality isn’t that great, but in all honesty – majority of users of this tablet probably already have smartphones that can be used easier.
Cube i7 brings some tangible benefits. It comes with 64GB M.2 SSD (which you could probably upgrade) with 490 MB/s write and 170 MB/s read speed – far cry from the top bandwidth offered by the standard… at a price point which would be higher than the cost of this whole tablet. The 10.6” FHD IPS screen is very crisp and delivers a great response. After some digging we discovered that the Samsung’s IPS LCD screen used in the Cube i7 Book 2 is the same one Microsoft used in Surface Pro 2 (Model LTL106HL01-001). The battery is also great – 4300mAh battery that lasted for around 5 and a half hours at 50% brightness.
Some cons that you will have to face while using Cube i7 Book 2 are overheating and throttling. After few hours of benchmark tablet on 100% usage, CPU heated up to 72 degrees C, which also brings up throttling. In normal use however you won’t really notice it. Your storage options are limited as the Cube only supports up to a 128GB MicroSD card. Next and last bad thing about Cube i7 Book is Audio. I already said that both speakers are placed on right side, so tablet does not offer stereo separation and it’s not particularly loud.
Cube i7 Book have some unique features. You can buy keyboard for it and use it as a laptop. You can also buy stylus if you want to use it as optional extra. It can charge up just under 3 hours, and if you use a good Type-C charger you can reduce it for half an hour. You can’t game on it, but for daily use – a good and cheap device with one of the fastest Core M3 processors. If you’re interested – check Cube i7 Book 2 here, and during the Gearbest’s special Intel promotion you can get it even cheaper. Also there is Storm Sale starting on “Singles Day” (November 11), and you can buy phones, laptops, VR headsets and more for few dollars less.
Even though being on the road meant that I am a laptop kind a guy, if I don’t need much horsepower – will resort to using some lightweight laptop for writing, reading or watching Netflix. As a personal preference, I generally don’t like small displays. After saying that, I must admit that I was pretty surprised when the Cube i7 Book 2 arrived in our Lab. Full HD screen is pretty amazing compared to smaller laptop screens. All of this comes for around $300, not to mention the performance this tablet is getting by featuring an M.2 SSD. Touch sensitivity is very high and it feels even more responsive than Dell XPS 15, for example – it is comparable to some of the latest smartphones. Using this tablet for viewing presentations, reading news, watching movies and even writing some code in Visual Studio, I was stunned. Cube exceeds all my needs, and i will probably keep it because of the practicality that it offers. If you are thinking about purchasing a small and compact tablet that still offers desktop functionality, consider Cube I7 Book 2.