Cubot X18 was one of the most successful low budget smartphones with 18:9 format. The phone was among the best ones in our ranking not really because of the powerful hardware, but rather thanks to the thought-out overall concept. Now, Cubot presented the successor Cubot X18 Plus.
The new X18 Plus is an update of the previous model, regarding hardware as well as design. The biggest differences are summed up in the following chart:
Besides a bigger display, Cubot also used a high-resolution panel, a faster octa-core processor, a bigger battery and the latest Android version for Cubot X18 Plus. Just by judging the data sheet, the successor seems to be an improvement in every area. If this also matches reality, we’ll find out in the following detailed review of Cubot X18 Plus.
Design and build quality
The outer appearance of Cubot X18 Plus is similar to the previous model. However, the smartphone now has a bigger display (6-inch). With the dimensions of 158 x 73.6 x 8.6mm, the device is rather big. I was surprised that the phone felt relatively compact while holding it in the hand, due to the small width. The weight of 182g is also not much higher than that of most other 5.5-inch smartphones. Of course, an operation with only one hand is mostly impossible, but skipping a song in the music player or opening WhatsApp and Facebook can be done without the use of the second hand. X18 Plus is still quite handy, despite its phablet size.
Above and below the display, you find a 1cm bezel. The phone is operated via on-screen buttons, whose position can be adjusted in the settings. Above the display, you find the earpiece, the proximity sensor, a notification LED and the front camera. There is also a classic 3.5mm headphone connection. As it was the case with the predecessor, the rear cannot be removed and consists of plastic, looking like lacquer. The rear is quite sensitive to scratches, which is why you should use the provided protective cover. The SIM tray is located on the left side. One of the SIM slots can also be used for storage expansion via a Micro-SD card.
The buttons have a nice feedback and are firmly attached to the casing. On the rear, you can also find a (fake) dual-camera and the fingerprint scanner. The scanner works reliably and unlocks the smartphone from standby within a second.
Choosing Cubot X18 Plus, you get a visually appealing device with a good build quality. Since the phone consists of plastic, you don’t get a “premium feeling”; nevertheless, the phone has a good quality. If you want to buy this smartphone, you should be aware that it has a rather big size – although the manufacturer tried to keep it compact despite the big display.
Cubot X18 Plus scope of delivery
Cubot X18 Plus’s display has now a full-HD resolution, which the previous model did not have. We think the display upgrade was a good decision. Although Cubot X18’s HD+ display was convincing, the full-HD resolution provides a better image quality. With a resolution of 2160×1080 pixels, the display reaches a pixel density of 403ppi, so it is not possible to detect any single pixels anymore. The display is a traditional IPS display with stable viewing angles and natural colors. It is nice to see how good the panels in the low budget range have become. The image has strong colors and is extremely bright and sharp. In normal light conditions, there are no problems using the phone outside, only if the sun shines directly on the display, it reflects quite strongly. Color representation is quite cool ex-works, which I liked a lot. Unfortunately, there is no tool available with which you can customize the display (MiraVision is missing!). In practice, only few users actually use this tool, but I would have liked it better if Cubot did include this function.
The display glass is slightly rounded towards the edges and provides a nice haptic feel. The glass is also scratch-resistant, although Cubot doesn’t advertise with the name “Corning Gorilla”. A scratch test performed with keys and a screwdriver did not leave any harm on the display. However, the display attracts grease marks quite strongly. With the display turned on, you won’t notice that, but I had to wipe the display clean quite often. The touchscreen registers up to 10 points of contact simultaneously. It is also very precise and therefore perfect for users who type fast.
In terms of display, Cubot does almost everything right. You get a big and sharp full-HD+ display, which convinces in almost every area. The only small niggles are the missing tool for customizing the color temperature and the display’s sensitiveness to grease marks.
Also in terms of performance, Cubot X18 Plus got an upgrade. The phone now houses the MT6750T processor, which is popular among China phones in the lower middle class. Depending on the system optimization, it provides a good speed.
Actually, we have to simultaneously praise and criticize Cubot for using the MT6750T processor. We would have been so happy if Cubot used a more powerful processor, as the MediaTek CPU provides a good performance for daily use, but an Helio P25 or P23 just would have been nicer. On the other hand, we have to praise the manufacturer for the good system optimization. Over the past 6 months, we have tested several smartphones with an MT6750T processor and a full-HD display, and most of them were overtaxed with the high display resolution. The result then was a jerky system and little fun in using the phone in general. Cubot X18 Plus has none of these problems. The phone navigates perfectly fluently and opens apps and websites quickly. I would say that this smartphone runs a lot more smoothly than the recently tested Wiko View XL.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
Despite the good system optimization, the main fields of use of Cubot X18 Plus are simple apps like Facebook, YouTube, and Whatsapp. You can also play games with the chipset, although you have to go without highest graphics settings and the latest games. Those looking for a powerful device won’t choose Cubot X18 Plus, but the phone offers enough performance for average users.
The storage modules are quite big. 4GB of RAM provide enough capacity for multitasking and the internal storage offers enough space for videos, photos, and music, even without the expansion via Micro-SD. The internal storage has a reading speed of 150MB/s and a writing speed of 130MB/s, which is very fast. The RAM has an average speed of 3.8GB/s.
Of course, it would have been nicer if Cubot used an even more powerful processor (like e.g. Helio P25). However, we have to add that the manufacturer has always been a true master of system optimization and therefore, Cubot X18 Plus with the slower CPU runs faster than the more powerful hardware of the competition. Well done!
Another surprise is Cubot X18 Plus’s Android 8 system. Currently, besides Xiaomi Mi A1, there is barely another phone with Android 8. The new system is even hard to find among western manufacturers. We are so happy that Cubot used the new system on its phone. It was also nice to see that Cubot did not install any unnecessary third-party apps or useless additional features. You simply get a pure Android 8 system.
During the two-week test, Android Oreo ran perfectly without any crashes on Cubot X18 Plus. The Google Play Store is pre-installed and works excellently. The new Android 8 functions like the picture-in-picture mode and the improved notification management are available as well. Also regarding the system, Cubot X18 Plus can fully convince.
The camera also got an upgrade, at least on the data sheet; in practice, however, it turned out to be useless. Unfortunately, also Cubot follows the trend of including fake dual-cameras in their phones, so Cubot X18 Plus gets an additional 0.3MP sensor which is supposed to support the 20MP main camera on the rear. The extremely low resolution already lets suspect that it won’t be a real dual-camera. As always, the second sensor is only a dummy.
Also the 20MP main camera is not a masterpiece. The pictures are acceptable, but there exist much better cameras in this price segment (e.g. Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus, Vernee Mars Pro, Cubot X18). All photos have a slight grey tinge and colors appear faded. This effect is probably caused by the too high number of megapixels. The single pixels on the sensor then do not get enough light. There is a reason why Samsung and Apple do not use more than 13MP in the cameras of their flagships! With all the criticism, the manufacturer could improve the image quality with a future update. After all, our test device is an early sample whose software is probably different than that of the devices in the real sales. If need be, we’ll update the review regarding this matter.
Update April 4, 2018: Meanwhile, the manufacturer did improve the camera software. Close-ups now have a better sharpness and Cubot X18 Plus now produces decent pictures. Unfortunately, the focus problem with long shots still exists. Most images taken from distance are still not sharp. (The test images were taken with the current software).
The front camera, on the other hand, does a better job. In good light conditions, it takes photos with good sharpness. Colors would be a bit warmer, but overall, the pictures are convincing for a low budget smartphone. With less light, the photos are more or less useless, but this is perfectly normal considering the price segment.
Furthermore, there are brightness, proximity and acceleration sensors as well a fingerprint scanner. All other sensors are missing, there is neither an e-compass nor a gyroscope available. Bluetooth 4.0, as well as WiFi with b/g/n standard, are supported, too. The reception of both is perfect.
Cubot X18 Plus is also suitable for replacing a navigation system. The position is determined reliably via several satellites after a short period of time. Pedestrian navigation is, however, a bit difficult due to the lacking e-compass.
The internal speaker is typical for the lower price range. It is sufficiently loud, but the sound is quite tinny and listening to music is not really fun. It is however sufficient for watching a video. You get a better sound when connecting headphones to the device.
Cubot X18 Plus’s battery has a capacity of 3200mAh. As the Cubot device now has a bigger display, it got a bigger battery as well. In practice, Cubot X18 Plus has a good battery life. Watching a 1-hour full-HD YouTube video with medium brightness consumes 15% of the battery. Gaming consumes about 20%. These values are on average. The consumption in standby, on the other hand, is impressive: the phone only consumes a low percentage overnight. Cubot X18 Plus lasted easily for one day with a display-on time of 3-4 hours. Those who rarely use their phone may also get 2 days of runtime.Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours
Cubot X18 Plus is fully charged in 2 hours with the provided adapter, which is a good value.