While most small manufacturers bombard the market with low-budget smartphones without LTE, Cubot finally wants to set new standards in the price range below 100$. The Cubot Note Plus serves this purpose. It offers a high-resolving 5.2-inch FHD display, but is not exactly a “Note”. Instead, Cubot presents the device as a camera smartphone with a 13 megapixel sensor on the front and 13 megapixel sensor on the rear. The further equipment consists of a USB-Type-C connection, space for 3 cards (2 x SIM + 1 x micro-SD), a replaceable 2800mAh battery, 3/32GB memory and an LTE-capable MT6737T processor.
Design and build quality
The Cubot Note Plus weighs 165g, but despite its plastic casing it is not exactly light. For a device with a 5.2-inch display, the dimensions of 73mm width, 149mm length and 9.4mm thickness are perfectly OK. The bezels are 3.5mm. The plastic rear also covers the sides and is removable. Below you will find two micro-SIM slots and one micro-SD slot. The memory can therefore also be expanded by up to 200GB when using dual SIM. The 2800 mAh battery can be changed easily if necessary.
The Cubot Note Plus does not create a premium feeling when holding it in the hand, but there are no obvious defects in the build quality. There aren’t large gaps or inaccuracies. The smartphone is available in light blue, gold and black. Our black version has a shiny back that is sufficiently easy-to-grip. Cubot provides a silicone protective cover in the scope of delivery. An EU-compliant 5V/1A charging adapter and the corresponding USB-Type-C cable are also included. Power button and volume control are firmly placed on the right and provide noticeable feedback.
The Cubot Note Plus is controlled by the 3 classic, in this case non-illuminated Android sensor keys. The buttons are clearly marked in silver. An RGB notification LED pulsates discreetly in blue on the right top side. The LED can be deactivated in the options menu, but the color cannot be set. It would have been desirable to assign different colors to different apps. As an extra feature, there is an LED flash on the front in addition to the normal flash on the rear. In practice, both are not bright enough to achieve advantages. There is an fingerprint sensor, what is atypical for the low-buget area. It unlocks the Cubot Note Plus reliably from standby within 1-2 seconds.
The rear camera protrudes almost 1mm from the rear and the fingerprint sensor below can be reached perfectly with the index finger. Another special feature is a modern USB-Type-C connection. The Cubot Note Plus is a very well-built smartphone in a plastic casing. The rear cover remains removable and the battery can be easily replaced. It is also nice that you can use dual SIM with simultaneous memory expansion. The haptic impression is also impressive due to the slightly rounded display glass. The discreet design is another clear strength of the 90$ smartphone.
Cubot uses a 5.2-inch FHD display with 1920 x 1080 pixels. This results in an enormous pixel density of 424 pixels per inch and all content appears razor sharp. If I would say that you see a clear difference to the HD display of a Redmi 4a, then I would unfortunately have to lie. But maybe my eyes just aren’t good enough either. With Mira-Vision, the display can be customized, although the standard is absolutely convincing. The colour representation is accurate and not too strong. White is really white and the contrast is very good for an IPS display. The maximum brightness is also sufficient for good readability outdoors, with the display strongly reflecting in direct sunlight. Scratch-resistant glass is not explicitly mentioned, but a short treatment with the screwdriver leaves no damage. The viewing angle stability is excellent.
Gliding over thedisplay surface works well and the glass is slightly rounded at the sides (2.5D glass). The 5-point touch screen ensures precise inputs which are also implemented promptly. The Cubot Note Plus convinces with a sharp, colour-coordinated display with an accurate touch screen, even for fast typing people.
System and performance
Cubot is back with an almost unchanged Stock-Android 7 system after not having had a good experience with its own launcher in the past. The Android vanilla system runs smoothly and stable, without serious bugs. Only CPU-Z did not want to start and was terminated promptly. An MT6737T with 4 x 1.443GHz clock rate ensures trouble-free use of basic functions. The 64-bit processor is supported by 3GB RAM and a Mali T720 GPU. This allows simple games from the Playstore to run smoothly and even most 3D games can be played. Only with the most demanding ones like Asphalt 8 the Cubot Note Plus doesn’t get along anymore, but it doesn’t have to for this price either.
Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result
It is sometimes interesting what the Cubot Note Plus achieves compared to other low-budget smartphones in the benchmarks. In Antutu, it scores the highest score with 39000 points. Also the 32GB internal memory is impressively fast with a reading/writing speed of 187/77MB/s. The RAM with 2600 MB/s is on average. The heat development is also low with games, but the battery consumption is immense. After one hour of gaming, the phone consumes 30% of the battery. The Cubot Note Plus is a fast low-budget smartphone for standard tasks. Those who can do without demanding games and mainly do standard tasks will have no problems with the performance offered here. The 3GB RAM also provide enough potential with simultaneously opened apps.
Cubot houses 2 x 13 megapixel sensors (front and rear camera) in Note Plus and advertises with a resolution of 16 megapixels (interpolated value). Initially positive is the absence of a useless dual camera, which does not deliver good results in the low-budget sector anyway. The rear camera is able to produce colour-coordinated and sharp photos, which are among the best in the low-budget range. Only the dynamic range is occasionally overstrained and the image is then slightly overexposed. Videos can be recorded in theory, but the result is not very good. In the options menu you can even find the item EIS (electronic image stabilization), but even then it doesn’t get any better. If you occasionally want to take a few photos and send them via Whatsapp, you will be able to get useful shots out of the Cubot Note Plus. At the edges there is a little lack of sharpness and as soon as less light is available, the photo quality quickly deteriorates. Macro shots are also taken in high quality.
We really like the selfie camera. Here, Cubot brings results that can even compete with significantly more expensive devices. The selfies are sharp and detailed and almost always succeed with the right skin tone. The results are not a comparison with the recently tested Cubot R9, which is in a similar price range.
However, in a direct comparison with the Redmi 4a, Xiaomi is the clear winner in terms of sharpness and number of details.
Connectivity and communication
The Cubot Note Plus supports LTE, which is still a special feature in the low-budget range. Due to the currently so popular MT6580 processor, LTE reception sometimes doesn’t work perfectly. The reception is strong and constant. 2G is covered worldwide by quad-band, at 3G there are only 900 and 2100MHz. The call quality of the Cubot Note Plus is excellent. You are well understood and hear the caller loud enough through the auricle. The speakerphone can also be used and delivers good sound.
The Cubot Note Plus’s speaker is located at the bottom right and delivers surprisingly good sound for the low-budget sector. It lacks depth as usual but music remains clear and even loud. The volume is lower than usual via the jack connector, but the sound is also clear and clean.
The range for WiFi reception is good, just as the data throughput at a distance of 10-15m. n-standard in 2.4GHz networks (300mBit) is also supported. At first the Bluetooth had some problems with the connection to the car radio, but after 2 days the automatic connection worked however problem-free. A permanent connection with Bluetooth boxes was also no problem. An FM radio is also available when headphones are connected. The radio reception is strong and the quality very pleasant.
GPS reception of the Cubot Note Plus is sufficient for car navigation, pedestrians have to do without a compass. Otherwise, only the 3 standard sensors (acceleration, brightness and proximity sensor) are installed in the Cubot Note Plus.
BatteryBattery lifetime Result Unit: hours
The Cubot Note Plus has a 2800mAh battery and we can exactly confirm the capacity in the test. It takes 2.5 hours to charge the smartphone from 0 to 100%. Unfortunately, you cannot expect more than one day of use from Cubot Note Plus at the moment, as a lot of battery power is needed in standby mode. It should be a system problem and could be solved by an update. The Cubot Note Plus loses a full 20% battery overnight. In the PC Mark battery test, however, it delivers a usable value of 6 hours. Of course, this is not the phone for intensive users so those should rather look for smartphones with large batteries. Average users will have no problems to get through the day with the Cubot Note Plus. With 3-4 hours of DOT (time with display switched on), the device had to be charged every evening.
Conclusion and alternative
Only 110 USD*
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*Prices include shipping and toll. Intermediate changes of prices, ranking, delivery time and costs possible. Prices last updated on 22.01.2019