With X18, Cubot launches a new model of its X-series. Cubot X16 and X17 were absolute top sellers in the middle-class price range and convinced with a great overall package. Is Cubot X18 able to continue this success? The following review will answer this question.
Cubot X18 resembles Samsung Galaxy S8 in terms of design and it is quite a big phone with a display size of 5.7 inches. It houses middle-class hardware: a quad-core processor by Mediatek with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Additionally, there is a 16MP rear camera and a 13MP front camera. An unchanged Android 7 system is preinstalled. The phone is sold at only 100$.
Design and build quality
In terms of design, Cubot X18 resembles Samsung Galaxy S8. The similarity however consists only in the smartphone’s format, so you cannot say it is a clone of the Samsung device. You instantly notice the big display and the unusual form. Cubot X18 is much longer than other phones with 16cm. Width and thickness on the other hand are on average. Despite the size, Cubot X18 feels still good while holding it in the hand. However, a one-handed operation of the 5.7-inch display is not possible. Below the display you can see a 1.5cm rim, on which you unfortunately cannot find soft touch buttons. The phone uses on-screen buttons instead. Above the display there is a notification LED shining in blue.
The rear can be removed and you have access to the replaceable battery. Next to it, you find two micro-SIM slots and another slot for a micro-SD card.
The smartphone leaves a solid impression and it looks nice. Because it has such a low price, the phone consists completely of plastic. This however does not minimize the positive impression. The plastic rear has a shiny surface and is therefore sensitive to scratches. You should only use the smartphone with the provided protective cover or at least do not put in your pockets with edged things. The fingerprint scanner is located on the rear. It works reliably and unlocks the smartphone in less than a second from stand-by. Apart from that, Cubot X18 does not offer any surprises. Micro-USB port and speakers are at the bottom. Above the display you can find the audio jack. Power button and volume control are located on the right and have a nice feedback.
Cubot X18 is a device for users who like it big. The 5.7-inch display is perfect for media contents. On the other hand you have to accept that the phone is a bit bulky. In terms of design and build quality, the phone can convince despite the low price. The sensitive rear is the only niggle.
With its 5.7-inch display, Cubot X18 belongs to the category “phablet”. The display has a diagonal of 14.4cm and offers enough space for multimedia contents. The 18:9 format is one of the display’s special characteristics. This format makes it possible to maintain a 16:9 format even if the on-screen buttons are inserted. The function works well in practice and there were no distortions. Videos watched in full-screen mode have black frames at the top and bottom.
The 5.7-inch display has only a HD resolution of 1440x720pixels, which could annoy some user, as a high-resolution full-HD panel would have been better which such a big display. However, Cubot X18 displays a good image, which is not as good as full-HD, but it is sufficient for a pleasant use. Pixel density (282ppi) is shorty below the retina value of 300ppi, from which the human eye cannot detect any single pixels anymore. Looking closely, you do notice some single pixels, but it’s not too visible.
The display always shows a good picture. Colors are strong and natural and especially the brightness is very high. Viewing angles are always stable. Cubot X18 houses the MiraVision tool, with which you can customize color temperature and contrasts. Additional features such as SmartWake or a reading mode are not available.
Cubot consequently goes without powerful CPUs, which is why Cubot X18 houses the same processor as its 2 predecessors. The Mediatek MT6737T is a processor of the lower performance range and it is merely designed for using the basic functions of a smartphone. The 4 cores (1.5GHz each) secure a fluent system and short load times with standard apps like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube. Cubot compensates for the low performance of the chipset with an excellent system optimization. This is why X18 runs more smoothly than most other smartphones with the MT6750 chipset, which is used also by other manufacturers in this price range. The 3GB of RAM are for the benefit of the system performance. Thanks to the RAM, the phone does not have problems with several apps in the buffer storage. The RAM’s speed of 2.6GB/s is on average, as is the reading/writing speed of 189/77MB/s.
Cubot X18 is more suitable for watching YouTube videos than for gaming. Standard 3D games like Temple Run or Dead Trigger run fluently, but those who play games more often should spend a little more. Standard apps and the system run 100% fluently.
Cubot X18 runs with an unchanged Android Nougat system ex works. The Google Playstore is pre-installed. The manufacturer did not change the surface, so you have a slim and clear Android. The system did not have any bugs during the testing phase and, considering the rather weak hardware, it has a good performance. Updates are installed with the integrated OTA app via Wi-Fi.
Cubot X18 houses a 16MP rear camera. The camera has a sensor by Sony and an aperture of f/2.2. The pictures look great for a 100$ smartphone. The photos have good sharpness and they look good on a big computer screen as well. The autofocus works fast and reliably and trigger time is pleasantly short. Color representation is sometimes a bit over the top and therefore some pictures seem oversaturated.
The 13MP front camera has a sensor by Samsung. The pictures taken with the front camera can really convince and are clearly better than those of an average beginner selfie-cam.
Cubot X18 is a dual-SIM phone. You can use 2 micro-SIMs at the same time. Moreover, you can also expand the storage with a micro-SD card, but you do not have to go without the dual-SIM function. The following 2G, 3G and LTE frequencies are supported:
3G WCDMA: 900 MHz / 2100 MHz
2G GSM: 850 MHz / 900 MHz / 1800 MHz / 1900 MHz
Voice quality is on average. The sound of the voice is not as strong as with high-end smartphones, but you can be understood well at all times. When using the speakerphone, your partner hears a slight echo. Cubot X18 does not really convince here.
The speaker has a nice sound and it is suitable for watching videos from time to time. However, the sound is a bit tinny and without basses, as it is typical for low-budget phones. On the other hand there are only few distortions. Connecting headphones you get a nice and balanced sound.
Cubot X18 supports Wi-Fi (n-standard at 2.4GHz) and Bluetooth 4.0. The connection is strong. GPS reception is strong as well and makes it possible to use the phone as a navigation system. Cubot X18 has only very few sensors. The phone only houses the standard sensors (proximity, brightness, acceleration), gyroscope or e-compass are not available.
Cubot X18 has a replaceable 3200mAh battery. For a 5.7-inch smartphone, it is just a mediocre size. Thanks to the thrifty processor and the low resolution the manufacturer managed to get a good run time out of Cubot X18. In daily use, the smartphone can be used actively for 4-5hours over the day. Those using their phone only occasionally can get two days of run time as well.
So, Cubot X18 can convince in term of battery life. In terms of charging on the other hand, the phone does a bad job . It takes about 4 hours to charge the smartphone from 0-100%. You should rather charge Cubot X18 overnight.