Cubot is back with a smartphone that instantly caught our interest. Cubot Magic resembles Honor Magic in terms of design, but with a price of 80$ it is placed in the beginner section. Of course, you cannot expect a miracle in terms of performance, but the smartphone offers a nice equipment for the price. It offers a 5-inch HD-display, a current Android 7 system, a 13MP camera, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.
Find out how Cubot Magic does in the test in the following review.
Design and build quality
Cubot Magic shows at first glance that a premium looking smartphone doesn’t have to be expensive. The phone’s front is made of rounded off 2.D glass and besides the 5-inch display it also contains 3 soft touch buttons and the front camera at the top. Without any doubt, Huawei Honor Magic has been the model for this smartphone, but the bezel-less design could not be copied. When the phone is turned off, it seems to have no bezels, but once it’s turned on, you notice a 4mm bezel at the sides and 1.6cm and the top and 1.9cm at the bottom. Even though Cubot Magic is not a bezel-less smartphone, they copied the rounded off glass. This improves the phone’s look as well as the haptics. The frame as well as the whole casing is made of plastic. Power button and volume control have a nice feedback. Audio jack and micro-USB port can be found at the top. There is also a notification LED.
Cubot Magic is not thin with 9.6mm, but length (146mm) and width (71mm) are pleasantly compact. With 164g, the smartphone has a mediocre weight. The rear is removable, which makes it possible to use the dual-SIM function and storage expansion at the same time. The 2600mAh battery is replaceable.
Rear as well as front side are black. This looks simply great, but it has one big disadvantage: since the rear is made of very smooth plastic, it is not only sensitive to fingerprints but also to scratches. Therefore, you should use Cubot Magic only with the provided cover or at least not put it in your pocket together with your keys. The nice look goes at the expense of mobility and durability.
Cubot Magic houses a 5-inch HD-display with a HD resolution of 1280x720pixels. This results in a pixel density of 294ppi, which creates a sharp image. Full-HD resolution is not necessary for a 5-inch display and you cannot expect it in this price range. The phone has a common IPS panel with good viewing angles and strong colors. In terms of image quality, Cubot Magic can convince despite the low price. Color representation is balanced and the display has a high maximum brightness. The smartphone can be used well outside, but in direct sunlight, the display reflects strongly.
The manufacturer does not advertise with especially hardened glass on their website. In the test however, Cubot Magic shows to have a hard display as the test with a screwdriver did not leave any scratches. The touchscreen can register up to 5 points of contact simultaneously, which is an advantage. Compared to older touchscreens, Cubot Magic provides a sufficiently precise and fast operation. There is a minimal input lag, but that doesn’t disturb the operation.
The display provides MiraVision as a special feature. The tool allows you to customize color temperature, saturation and contrasts. Furthermore, there are functions for gesture control, but they are mostly unnecessary. Smart-Wake is not available.
Cubot Magic uses a Mediatek MTK6737 quad-core processor with 4×1.3GHz. It is supported by a Mali-T720 GPU. Further, the phone houses 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The processor’s performance is suitable for people who are merely interested in using the basic functions of a smartphone. WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube run perfectly and you can even play simple 3D games. However, the processor was not primarily designed for gaming.
The big RAM makes operating the phone easier. A rather slow CPU like MT6737 with only 1GB of RAM is quickly reaches its limits and the phone becomes slower. Cubot Magic does not have this problem. You always get a decent speed. If you open certain apps and demanding websites it can take some seconds, but the speed remains the same even with several apps opened at the same time. The speed of the memory modules is on average. The internal storage is neither really quick nor really slow with a reading/writing speed of 140/50MB/s. The RAM’s speed of 2.2GB/s is quite normal for a low-budget phone.
Cubot Magic is not suitable for power users with the beginner quad-core processor and the big RAM. However, if you’re a smartphone newcomer or a user who is primarily interested in using basic functions, the smartphone offers a good performance. The big RAM is great especially when several apps are used simultaneously.
Cubot Magic has an unchanged Android 7 stock system. Props to the manufacturer, as they don’t cram their smartphones with a confusing user interface. Instead, the only pre-installed apps you find are the Google apps. The Playstore allows you to download any app you like. Updates are installed via Wi-Fi. Experience shows that Cubot does a nice job there and provides its devices with software updates for a decent time. The Android security patch from August, 5 (at the time of the test) is also up-to-date.
Concerning the system, Cubot does not make any mistakes. You get a smooth Android 7 system without any bloatware. Exemplary!
On the rear, you can find the dual-camera setup with a 13MP and another 2MP camera. Normally, you cannot expect too much from dual-cameras in the lower price range. This holds true also for Cubot Magic. The second camera does not have any function. If you cover it with your finger you can still use all “dual-camera functions”. In order to create the bokeh effect, the software simply adds a blurred circle and the 2x optical zoom is in reality just a digital zoom. Fortunately, the camera can convince with standard images. For a smartphone for 80$ you get good sharpness and color representation. Pictures are often overexposed, but this is better than a missing sharpness, which you normally find in this price range. The trigger time of half a second is on average and the autofocus works reliably.
The front camera has a resolution of 5MP. In order to improve image quality in low light, a front flash has been added. Sadly, the selfies’ quality is not convincing. No matter if taken in good light or in bad light, the pictures lack sharpness. The front camera is therefore merely suitable for video telephony.
Cubot Magic is a dual-SIM smartphone. You can use two micro-SIMs simultaneously. In addition, there is a micro-SD slot for storage expansion. You can use dual-SIM function and storage expansion at the same time and the battery is replaceable as well! Cubot Magic supports the following frequencies:
GSM 850 MHz, GSM 900 MHz, GSM 1800 MHz, GSM 1900 MHz, W-CDMA 900 MHz, W-CDMA 2100 MHz, LTE 800 MHz, LTE 1800 MHz, LTE 2100 MHz, LTE 2600 MHz
Reception is on average, I could use 4G even down in the basement. Voice quality is also good. The voice is transmitted clearly, but the sound of the voice is not as good as it is with high-end smartphones. The speakerphone works well and there is no interference.
Furthermore, the phone has a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth 4.0. Reception in the Wi-Fi network is good even three rooms away from the router and you get 20Mbps. Same holds for the Bluetooth module, which maintains a stable connection over 10 meters. The internal speaker has a surprisingly nice sound. At full volume there are some distortions, but the sound is distinctly more balanced than you would expect from a beginner smartphone. Connecting middleclass headphones to Cubot Magic, you get a good sound for listening to music.
Cubot provides brightness, acceleration and proximity sensors. The phone does not offer a compass or a gyroscope. Navigating via GPS worked perfectly and reliably, but you notice the missing e-compass when using pedestrian navigation.
Cubot Magic houses an average 2600mAh battery. Thanks to the thrifty processor and the small display with HD resolution you still get one day of run time. In the PC Mark battery test, Cubot Magic lasts 6 hours. One hour of watching YouTube videos with medium brightness consumes 18% of the battery. You can use the phone for 3-4hours a day, depending on how much power the used applications need. This is definitely sufficient for a beginner smartphone.
The battery is charged with a standard 5V/1A power plug. It takes about 3.5hours (quite long) to charge the battery, therefore, it is best to charge it overnight.