In addition to specialists for outdoor smartphones such as AGM or Nomu, almost every Chinese manufacturer now has an outdoor smartphone in its range. While most manufacturers tend to focus on “fast” hardware equipment, Cubot takes a completely different approach. The name Cubot KingKong promises a fat and heavy mobile phone, but the mobile phone is not really powerful like a gorilla. With its low-budget equipment, Cubot aims at outdoor customers who are looking for the essentials and do not want to endanger their “real” smartphone during any activities. For less than 90€, Cubot King Kong comes with a quad-core processor, 2/16GB storage, a 5-inch HD display, an Android 7 system, a robust casing with IP68 certification and even a compass. If you really need 4G LTE, you can stop reading here, everyone else will be surprised what Cubot is capable of in the low-budget outdoor sector.
Design and build quality
First of all a big praise for Cubot, we can confirm the dimensions of Cubot KingKong with 153 x 80 x 15mm exactly. When it comes to thickness especially, the Chinese colleagues like to leave out 1-2mm. Thus, the outdoor monster is neither slim, nor does it offer any great display to casing ratio. On the front, there is similarly much plastic and black glass to see as the display. A screen-to-body ratio of almost 50% secures Cubot the last place in the ranking; joking aside. Left and right to the display, there are 8,5mm bezels, above 20 and below, there are 24mm space. This makes the 5-inch smartphone as big as a 6-inch Redmi 5 Plus, although 5 Plus is even slimmer, but slightly longer. With 246g, KingKong is of course not a lightweight, but compared to other outdoor companions the mobile phone is even quite light.
The Cubot outdoor phone is operated with classic Android sensor keys, which made me happy, because even though they are slowly dying out, I am still a big fan of these capacitive keys. The feedback of the power button and the volume control, which are located on the right, is extremely unpleasant. The keys sit securely in the case, but are very stiff. Otherwise, the design screams OUTDOOR at all corners and edges. The entire casing is made of hard plastic with two metal elements on the left and right of the smartphone. Unfortunately, the Cubot smartphone does not offer really protruding edges to protect it against glass breakage. Several falls from hip height didn’t bother the Cubot King Kong. Unfortunately, Cubot does without a notification LED. Too bad!
A classic Micro-USB connector sits far enough on the surface to accept all common cables. However, I had to unpack my Micro-SIM adapter, which had been in the closet for some time. Cubot KingKong can hold 2 x Micro-SIM and with an extra Micro-SD slot, the storage can be expanded by up to 128GB. To reach the slots, loosen 2 screws on the rear and remove a small cover. A classic jack plug fits together with the Micro-USB connector under a rubber plug at the top. With IP68 certification, Cubot King Kong is absolutely dust proof and protected against continuous immersion. A 30-minute water bath did not bother the device at all.
With a 5-inch display, KingKong belongs to the small representatives of its class, even if the device is on the level of a normal smartphone with 5.5-inch display due to the enormous casing dimensions. The resolution is good at 1280 x 720 pixels and the 294 pixels per inch offer a sharp image. The colours are strong and the brightness is also sufficient for outdoor use. Reflections in direct sunlight occasionally mess up the image. But in principle, Cubot KingKong can be used outdoors. Only the viewing angle stability is not perfect despite the IPS display and white surfaces change colour significantly at lateral viewing angles. The display also has a slight red cast in the standard settings, but this can be easily corrected by a cooler colour setting. The display can be individually adjusted via MiraVision.
The display processes a surprising number of points of contact simultaneously. A total of 10 touches can be detected, which is very unusual for this price range for both outdoor and normal smartphones. Cubot was apparently surprised itself and the marketing department was overwhelmed. On the website, you can now read “10 Points Touch for a Better Gaming Experience”. Cubot KingKong can do a lot, but the smartphone is not suitable for gaming. In any case, entries on the keyboard are accurate, although a small input lag is always retained. For fast typing persons, KingKong is not the best choice, but they are in the wrong price range anyway. As KingKong is known to be a gorilla, the display should also be protected by Gorilla Glass. Unfortunately, it isn’t, but the display is still scratch-resistant. Cubot indicates hardened LONGJI glass and our screwdriver test went smoothly. There were no scratches and even 10 falls didn’t bother the mutant Gorilla.
System and performance
The Android 7.0 system, which is sufficiently up-to-date for this price range, is powered by an ageing MediaTek MT6580 processor. The quad-core processor is so old that it no longer even supports LTE. But Cubot is considered to be the master of the old processor and, thanks to a well-optimized system, it hardly stands out in comparison. The 4 Cortex-A7 cores clock at 1.3GHz and achieve similar benchmarks as the Snapdragon 425 of Redmi 5a. With system performance especially, there is little to complain about, you just have to be patient with Cubot KingKong. 2GB of RAM are available, but the system doesn’t like several tasks at the same time. As soon as 3-4 processes are running in the background, the device slows down considerably. The RAM is slow at 1.5 GB/s and the storage transfer rates (28MB/s) are too low even for the low-budget range.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result
Standard games from the Play Store like Subwaysurf or Temple-Run still run easily. But the Mali-400 GPU already reaches its limits with Snapchat. You can’t do anything with demanding 3D games. The system is completely clean and neither Malware Bytes nor the Dr. Web virus scanner found any threats. Updates are available via OTA directly on the mobile phone, but an OREO update should not be expected.
Cubot KingKong uses a 13-megapixel sensor on the rear and an 8-megapixel sensor on the front. However, both are only the interpolated values; the rear camera has 8 megapixels and the front camera 5 megapixels. Cameras in outdoor smartphones are usually not very good and Cubot KingKong is far from the results of a Meizu M6 or Redmi 5a. The shutter release time is very slow and the focus is not fast either. However, it is still possible to use the smartphone to produce good-looking pictures outdoors that are above average for a 90€- outdoor phone. The colours are very strong and also the sharpness is still okay. However, image noise is always perceptible at the edges and as soon as you take pictures indoors or in less light outdoors, the quality decreases dramatically. Photos with the LED flash, on the other hand, are surprisingly good. The selfie recordings are OK for the price, but nothing more.
Neither picture nor sound is convincing in videos. Instead of 30 FPS, there are often only 20 and the images are shaky. The focus has also visible difficulties with videos.
Connectivity and communication
Because of the old MT6580 processor, Cubot KinKong does not support LTE:
3G: UMTS: 850 MHz / 1700 MHz / 1900 MHz / 2100 MHz
2G: GSM: 850 MHz / 900 MHz / 1800 MHz / 1900 MHz
The call quality is OK, even if the other party sounds somewhat dull. This is probably due to the sealing for penetrating water. However, the position of the microphone ensures that the voice is always transmitted very loudly. The speakerphone cannot be used well due to a strong echo. The reception is strong, as you would expect from an outdoor smartphone.
The WIFI works with n-standard without criticism. Only the 2.4 GHz network is supported and the speed and range are very good. Bluetooth 4.0 does what you expect. The connection to Bluetooth loudspeakers and the hands-free car kit went smoothly.
The internal speaker is placed on the rear panel and is extremely loud. The quality is not that good, however, it is well suitable for notifications and calls during outdoor activities. The jack connection provides a sufficiently high volume and satisfactory quality.
GPS reception is basically an important aspect of an outdoor device and Cubot can also convince here. GLONASS is not supported, but you can quickly find up to 10 satellites outdoors, which determine the position with an accuracy of 4-5m. There were no navigation problems in the car and, as a pedestrian, the compass helps. The latter is not perfect, but works sufficiently if it is calibrated from time to time. In addition, there are the 3 standards sensors: accelerometer, proximity and brightness sensors.
Cubot KingKong houses a 4400 mAh battery and we can confirm this value. The battery size also determines the absurdly long charging time of 4.5 hours. But a battery charge lasts 2-3 days, or one day of hardcore use during an outdoor activity.Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours
In the PCMark battery test, the Cubot device lasted for a good 11.5 hours. Thus, the device is clearly superior to a Nomu S10 Pro or M6. However, the battery life of expensive outdoor mobile phones is not quite comparable. A whole day in the forest or on the mountain is absolutely unproblematic for the KingKong.
Conclusion and alternative
Only 100 USD*
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*Prices include shipping and toll. Intermediate changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs possible. Prices last updated on 21.01.2019