The Cube i10 is a budget entry level Atom Z3735F Bay Trail powered 10.6″ dual boot tablet. It a has an optional keyboard/case dock that converts it into a 2 in 1. The i10 ships with Windows 8.1, which is upgradable to Windows 10. Android 4.4.4 is the current Android version shipping and it’s not known if Cube will be releasing an Android 5 ROM. So far I haven’t seen any Android 5 roms from Cube yet.
With the release of the next generation Cherry Trail tablets now arriving, is the i10 a bit too late coming or still worth it for a cheap dual boot 10.6″ inch tablet?
What’s in the Box:
1 x Cube i10 dual boot 10.6″ tablet
1 x USB to microUSB cable.
No charger or OTG adapter, but most resellers will add this to the box.
Hardware & build quality:
The Cube i10 uses the popular quad-core Intel Atom Bay Trail Z3735F, this Soc can turbo up to 1.8Ghz when need and has Intel Gen7 Graphics onboard. 2GB of single channel 1333mhz Ram and a 32GB eMMC flash drive for storage.
The build of the i10 is mostly plastic apart from the rear of the tablet which is covered with a brushed metal finish.The outer edges of the tablet are plastic painted with a metallic grey finish. It’s fairly resistant to fingerprints and smudges, but I notice that it’s rather easy to damage the paint job which exposes a black plastic underneath the paintwork.
The tablet has a slight flex in it and the build quality is decent, but not as good as the full metal unibody housing Cube have used on previous models like the i6 and i7 Stylus.
Keyboard dock: (Optional)
The Cube i10 has an optional keyboard dock which doubles as a stand and case for the tablet. Unfortunately, I don’t have one on hand as I didn’t order one of the official Cube keyboards for the i10. Because my Chuwi Vi10 keyboard works just fine with the tablet. But if you want to get some serious typing done and make the tablet more productive I highly recommend getting the keyboard for it.
Screen and touch response:
The i10 has a 1366 x 768 IPS panel, it’s not the sharpest screen by today’s standards with a PPI of only 147 it’s clearly no retina display. If you look close enough you will see individual pixels. But under normal use I find the sharpness is fine within Windows, however in Android things look a little blurry, but this is more to do with a bad DPI setting in the build.prop. This panel is the same one Microsoft used in the Surface RT (The first generation) it has good colors, contrast, and blacks. The screen also has a decent brightness of 321 cd/m2.
The i10 comes wit ha 32GB eMMC, my unit has a NCard brand of eMMC which has good speeds for an eMMC 4.51 spec drive. See the chart below on how this eMMC compares to others.
Ports & Connectivity:
On the i10 you have plenty of ports, they are all situated on the left side of the tablet. From the top to the bottom, DC in for charging the tablet. 3.5mm headphone jack, full sized USB 2.0 port, mini HDMI output, microUSB 2.0 port for charging/OTG and below the plastic flap which hides the microSD card slot. I’m not much of a fan of microsd or sim card slots behind plastic flaps, in my experience over time this flap could break off as the rubber that attaches it to the main tablet house can wear out and break.
Windows & Performance:
The i10 runs Windows 8.1 as it was released just before Windows 10 started to roll out. You get 15.8GB of free space on the eMMC drive on first boot of Windows 8.1 Bing . Overall the experience in Windows is great, it’s quick and 100% stable. I never had any BSOD’s, lock-ups, freezing or anything of the sort. Moving about in Windows is quick and windows load up fast. I can’t help but feel that 1366 x 768 has something to do with this. It’s a good match for the Atom Z3735F and Z3736F.
Here are the usual set of benchmarks I run on these tablets I review, the Atom Z3735F scored well, notably the 3Dmark scores which were some of the highest seen on this chipset. Geekbench 3 scores were on par with other Z3735F tablets.
Links to benchmarks:
3DMark Windows App scores:
Android Rom and Experience:
Switching over to Android is easy, just running the Android icon in the taskbar will present you with the following OS switcher:
The Android Rom on the Cube i10 suffers from the same issue the Chuwi Vi10 has, the DPI setting for the Rom doesn’t seem to match or scale the screen resolution as good as it could. As a result, the screen and text look blurry compared to Windows. Free space for the user is only a measly 2.58GB as the bulk of it has been allocated to Windows. So if you want to download and install a few large games like Real Racing, Mortal Combat X and Modern Combat 5 you’re plain out of luck. You will only have space for 1 or 2 of the larger games.
The Rom is Android 4.4.4, it’s light with very few Chinese bloat apps and you can just uninstall them, it also includes Cube’s own Ugame app which has a huge catalog of tops games you can download. I have no complaints with the performance of the Rom, no stutters or lag, things ran very smooth.
I ran a few benchmarks on Android to get an overall idea of its capabilities. The AnTuTu 5.7.1 score of 34781 quite good for an Atom Z3735F, helped of course by that 1366 x 768 screen.
Popular Unreal engine games like Mortal Combat X and Batman will run perfectly on the tablet with an Unreal Epic Citadel score of 55.9 FPS average. This means games will be smooth and stutter free.
The battery cell in the Cube i10 has a total capacity of 6600mAH, this somewhat less than the Chuwi Vi10 which has a 7800mAH capacity or the Cube i6’s 8000mAH. As a result, the battery life comes is a little short when compared to other dual boot models. With WiFi on and the screen set to 40%, I managed just 5 hours and 07 minutes. This about an hour less run time than my Chuwi Vi10.
Heat and throttling:
After running benchmarks and gaming for over an hour the Atom Z3735F SoC peaked at 79 degrees, this a tad warm, but nothing to worry about as it didn’t throttle. I have seen these chips hit 88 degrees (Onda v116w) and slow due to throttling, but this wasn’t the case here.
Changing up the Cube i10 via the micro USB or PC jack takes approximately 5 hours from 6% battery and turned off. If you charge it while in use you can easily add another 3 hours to this figure. This, unfortunately, it’s the norm for these tablets. The current is restricted via the USB port and charging via the DC port isn’t any faster as the current is still limited to 5volts and 2A.
The rear of the Cube i10 has two let and right speakers. I found them to be average at best, the sound output from these tiny speaker grills is low, without any bass and hardly any midrange. Nothing comes close to my Surface 3 front facing speakers in terms of sound output quality on a tablet. The Chuwi Vi10 speakers are much better than the i10’s I found.
Audio output via the 3.5mm headphone is loud and clear, there is the faintest of static on the line that is only audible between tracks.
The front camera is a VGA unit, just think of camera phones in the early 2000s. It’s bad and even for video chat, it looks very pixelated and hard to make out any details. At least people can see you on video. The rear two-megapixel camera has a fixed focus and takes awful photos. It does at least handle video better than the front facing camera. It would be wise to use your mobile phone for taking an images and not the tablet. You can see what I mean in the below samples:
While the Cube i10 comes in a little late as a Chuwi Vi10 competitor, it is priced lower and does offer an alternative to the Vi10. Like the Vi10 Android feels like more of an afterthought with a blurry Rom and hardly any user space to make it practical. The tablet does however, offer a stable and fluid Windows 8.1 experience. If you don’t need a decent cameras this isn’t a bad buy if you get the keyboard dock with it and turn it into a two in one tablet / PC with keyboard. This could just be the last Bay Trail Atom tablet I review as everyone starts to shift over to the new Cherry Trail Atoms.