Cube i6 Air 3G Dual OS Review

The Cube i6 has been out for a while, it was the first 9.7 inch Retina display tablet to feature an Intel “Bay trail” Atom CPU, seeing the success Teclast and Onda have had with their dual boot tablets, Cube adapted the i6’s bios to now support a dual boot setup. As a result the i6 Dual OS was born.

Now the 3rd, 9.7″ retina display Intel powered tablet reviewed here on TechTablets, this is Cube’s take on what a good 9.7″ dual boot tablet should be like. Without any real additional cost to Cube, they modified the bios set up to accommodate a Android and Window’s set up using Insydes bios switching bios tech. Let’s have a look and see the 3rd dual boot addition to the 9.7″ camp is the best to date?

Photos:

Hardware & build:

The Cube i6 Air 3G comes in black, yes black! I’ve was getting a bit tired of all the white only dual boot tablets, so it’s nice to have a change here. The qaulity and build of the i6 is one of the best I’ve seen in a Chinese iPad Air clone. Metal buttons, nice strong joins where the metal rear housing meets the front touch screen and an overall solid feeling micro sim and sd card slots. No complaints in terms of the build, it feels good in the hand. The top right of the i6 is where you’ll find the 3.5mm jack and micro usb slot for charging and OTG use. The Cube i6, however lacks an HDMI port. A shame really since this is something the competing Teclast X98 Air 3G has. Personally I like to have the option of hdmi output, rather than no port at all.

The right side of the tablet near the top is the power on and volume rocker buttons, they are made of metal and no cheap plastic which I saw on both the Teclast X98 Air 3G and Cube V919 Air 3G, a nice touch.

The bottom and left sides of the tablet are free of ports and buttons. The Cube i6 isn’t the slimmest dual boot 9.7″ tablet at 9.8mm thin.

Storage:

Storage at the time of writing this review is a 32GB eMMC drive, no 64GB option as of yet. The drive is a Toshiba eMMC with decent speeds. Much better than the “BWIN” 32GB eMMC encountered in my X98 Air 3g. You can see the Crystal Mark scores below and how the i6’s drive compares to other eMMC’s on various Chinese tablets reviewed.

cube i6 emmc speeds

The 32gb Toshiba eMMC posted some respectable speeds.

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Screen:

The high res “Retina” LG 2048 by 1536 pixel IPS panel as used by many Chinese tablet manufactures now, good colours and blacks. But not as punchy and my Onda V919 or Teclast X98 Air 3G with the same panel. There is a slight grain to the panel as if Cube have applied a anti reflective coating to the IPS panel.

It goes however stand up much better in sunlight than my Teclast X98 Air 3G. So it seems it does offer some positives. It’s not a deal breaking move, but it’s definatly noticable compared to a iPad Air, X98 Air 3G or any other 9.7″ retina screen tablet. Why Cube have done this beats me, maybe it reduce the reflections? But pointless considering the touch panel is still going to be super reflective.

The screen is a little less brighter than my Teclast Air 3G, but only marginally so.

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Ports, Connectivity:

A single micro usb, 3.5mm jack, microsd and micro sim slot are present on the Cube i6. The micro sim slot has a nice slide out tray which is a nice move on Cube’s part, much nicer than the normal sim card sized slot on the Teclast X98 AIr 3G.

BT 4.0 and Wireless N 150mbps 2.4Ghz are present. The same Realtek chipset I’ve seen on all of these Atom powered tablets. WIfi performance is solid, no disconnections or issues here. Streaming “Skyrim” from my tower PC worked well without too much lag or stuttering, it faired much better than my X98 Air 3G at streaming.

Bluetooth keyboard and mouse worked well without a hitch.

 

3G speeds very average, I found I could only get around 1mpbs downloads compared to my X98 Air 3G. Might have been a network issue at the time. See the below video on this issue.

Operating Systems, Windows:

Windows 8.1 Bing that activates is shipped out on the Cube i6, 2GB of ram is good enough for IE11 internet browsing, movies, videos even at 4k playback is smooth. Light office tasks and gaming and with a keyboard attached via usb or bluetooth you can even write up a review like this.

The systems benchmark scores are only slightly lower than the Z3736F  found in the Teclast X98 Air 3G and Onda Air 3G. The Z3735F @ 1.8ghz in the Cube i6 Vs their 2.13 doesn’t really make for much of a difference in the real world accept for a slightly higher in single thread benchmark scores. See how the Cube i6 faired in the below charts.

http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/2104897

cube i6mgeekbench

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Android:

The Android rom contains no bloat what-so-ever! Well some would call Facebook bloat, no Chinese apps to be found anywhere. It’s a delight to see, and the experience is very Nexus 10 like or how I remembered it to be. So a very original Android rom. PlayStore was working out of the box and there is a Wifi updte system for OTA updates in place, and at the time of writing this review there is no update available or needed it seems. The rom is stable, and I encountered zero issues. Antutu benchmarked at almost 32k, so not a bad score for the chipset.

Gaming:

Games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, ran 20-30 frames per second, which was just playable, not a bad feat on a tablet like this (Try doing that on the iPad!) Team Fortress 2 was very playable, and Asphalt 8 Airborne ran just fine.

Real Racing 3 was smooth and very playable (See the above Android hands on video)

Battery life:

The Cube i6 has a 8000mAH battery, just shy of the 8500mAH unit in the Teclast X98 Air 3G. The 500mah difference is nothing and not even noticeable. The Cube i6 scored some decent times and even bettered the Telcast X98 AIr 3G under Android. No doubt it was the lighter rom that helped.

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Audio quality:

Playing an MP3 over the loud speakers at the rear I found the volume to be okay, the sound quality from the twin speakers is tiny and lacking bass completely. The 3.5mm jack’s output is clean and without any annoying hiss or interference. Listening to Mp3’s via my headphones sounded great. Oh and remember that this jack only outputs stereo audio, there is no microphone input. So leave the iPad and Android mic remote headsets for your other devices.

Camera:

Just like the other dual boot tablets reviewed here, 2 megapixels up front and an auto focus 5MP shooter on the rear. Good for skype and the rear takes a decent shot in good lighting. But forget about low light photos here. Outdoor distance shots seemed to look a bit washed out loosing some of the detail. Keep a digital camera or good mobile phone camera around for any real photography.

Conclusion:

Cube have come up with a high quality dual boot tablet, that switches between operating systems much quicker than the likes of the Teclast X98 Air 3G. The Android rom is one of the best I’ve used, it’s so lightweight no bloatware in sight and a very stock nexus rom look to it. The tablet is only slightly let down by a lack of Hdmi output, no 64GB option and the strange choice in going with a matte screen coating behind a glossy glazed touch screen. If it wasn’t for the last two points, it would be safe to say the Cube i6 is the new king of the 9.7 inch retina dual boots. Unfortunately, Cube didn’t bother to better the Teclast X98 Air 3G. But they sure came close to doing so.

Buy this Product

Good

  • Exelcent build qaulity
  • Fast OS switching
  • Bloat free Android Rom that's Nexus like
  • Decent cameras for a tablet
  • Great thermals, runs very cool max 65 degrees C
  • 3G and GPS with GLONASS support

Bad

  • No HDMI output
  • IPS Display has a matte coating
  • No 64GB eMMC option
7.9

Good

Design and Build - 8
Performance - 7.5
Sound - 8
Screen - 8
Battery Life - 8

41 Comments

  1. For Durability Chuwi vi 10 pr x98 ii or cube i6? which one good?

  2. Hi… For Better Durability Which One Should I chose? Chuwi vi10 or teclast x98 ii or cube i6?

  3. You misspelled the following

    Exelcent build qaulity.

    It should be Excellent Build Quality

  4. Hello Chris,

    Great great detailed review ,

    Thank You for updating us with so much information about this tablet . I just recently bought this and it’s working fine and is exactly as your review .
    I have an issue about earphone sound . When I plug normal earphones or headphones it works like a charm , the only problem that I have is that when I connect my earphones with microphone , Xiaomi pistons 2 & 3 or any other with microphone it distorts and give a bad sound . IF I press the ”PLAY” button in the earphones the sound becomes clear and normal .
    I suppose it has to do with the earphone jack maybe doesn’t support microphone or it’s software problem ?
    Can You please help me ?

    Thank You in advance ,

  5. Hello, So, which you recommend? The Teclast x98 Air II dual or the Cube I6 dual?

    • Air II because the screen doesn’t have that anti glare layer on it under the glass like the cube i6 has. Build quality is better however on the Cube i6.

      • But unfortnatelly, TECLAST x98 don’t have gps. So, the winner is Cube

        • X98 Air 3G has GPS

          • Hi Chris

            Based on your linke to goodbang X98 Air 3G, it actually 2 models where one has GPS and one does not, although both are the same model X98 Air 3G.

            Now it seem like Cube i6 Air 3G does comes with GPS, but it does not have a micro-HDMI port. Will the Micro-USB to HDMI converter adapter works with this tablet?

  6. Hey Chris and great review!
    I just ordered mine from GeekBuying and looking forward to get it on my hands.
    Just a few questions though..Will Windows 8.1 be upgraded to 10?
    Also because I didn’t order the default bluetooth keyboard geekbench was offering for this tablet,do you have some good alternate below 50$? Or a keyboard case I wouldn’t mind actually.

    Thanks in advance and again great reviews!

    • Cube claim it will have a free upgrade to Windows 10. I recommend this keyboard https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WqwbCutey0 I use, it’s only $29 and comes with a stand (it’s case) logitech quality too.

      • This is actually a really flexible and nice one,I wonder how I missed that video while browsing your channel the other day!I will go for that one thanks!!As for windows I guess we wait and see

        • My i6 arrived eventually today after 21 days..Tablet is great apart from a tiny little thing…it doesn’t charge…at all 🙁 I live in Greece/Europe. I used their chinese charger with their adapter,also my charger which has the same specs like their specifications on geekbuying..
          AC Adapter, 100-240V
          Charging Voltage DC 5V 2A

          but still I didn’t see progress..It shows the indication that it charges but it won’t go higher than 3%..any ideas on that issue?Does any other brand or model has that same issue? I would hate to send it back to china and wait double the time to have it fixed 🙁

          • Try turning it off and letting it charge overnight. If that fails try another charger. Still no luck after that, you must have a bad port or battery issue etc.

          • I have the same issue with my cube i6 air. I used to switch off the machine and do the charging.

          • Good morning..Before I went to sleep I had it turned it off and it charged 8% in about 30m I had it connected to the 5v 2a charger they sent me from geekbuying..That was relieving. I opened it and logged on windows and let it charge overnight for about 7h (i left just google drive to sync a few stuff i wanted) and it’s now at 37%.. I will let it charge this night now while closed and see if it’s any difference.. In anyway it seems a slow charging to me and I guess I will try a european 5v 2a charger without an adapter and see if that changes much..

            I do a little research and people were saying on forums that we should be getting 5v 2a chargers for most chinese tablets..For example on my charger 5v 1a I had it couldn’t open or it was charging very very slower than the other..I am not sure what’s the case but seems that their default charger does the trick so far..even if it’s for a 30% increase in 7h..

            I will update with what I find..

            • Make shut it’s completely shut down and it will cahrge fine. If it’s in use it might not have enough juice to keep up the charge.

          • I went and got a new european charger 5v 2a and let it charge while on standby. It charges now up to 100% (From 4%) overnight and seems great..Turning it off should provide better results so yeah from now on I will keep testing it that way.. My major initial concern is gone though..Anyway…great tablet I am already in love with it 🙂

  7. I’ve been looking for a dual boot and will buy the i6 after watching your videos. Will it recognize a 128 GB micro SDXC?

    Can both OS’ read the same files on the SD card?

    • 64gb in Windows, I can’t remember if my 128gb worked in it, I think it did. Android didn’t like the 128gb card. if you format it to fat32 both OS’s can read it.

  8. Dear All
    Please be good enough to get me the English ROM for cube i6 air 3G dual boot since my android os gave me trouble and had to factory reset. Now I got only Chinese in my android os side.
    Thanks heaps!

  9. Dear Sir,

    My friend have received his X10HD 3G 64GB tablet (1.07) and Google Play Store was inaccessible. I have search in the net and found the below method:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=58021736&postcount=2

    After root with vroot application and edit build.prop, reboot and erasing cache everything goes well. But after turning off and turning on it was stuck at the logo screen whenever android is selected. I presume it is stuck on boot loop. Any idea how to resolve this strange problem? The Windows segment is not affected.

    For your information; there are several other peoples which have the same problem.

    I will wait to your reply.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Sounds like a bad build.prop is stopping it from booting up. You’ll have to adb push a new build.prop or flash the rom again. Look on XDA forums for how to push a build.prop over from adb shell.

  10. I have recently bought a cube i6 air dual boot and its a fine machine with customer satisfaction. However I have found few lags in both os:
    1. The clock of the windows os does not sync after booting and I had to manually sync it. So got to install a third party soft for auto sync with the internet.
    2. It accepts only up to 4GB of pen drives. Any thing greater than 4GB does not connect in both os sides.
    3. The Bluetooth devices sync with the android os do not auto connect after boot. They have to be unpaired and re paired for next use. I think need a os update which is not available for the moment.
    If any body knows how to correct this please be good enough to help me.

  11. Hi, thanks very much for reviewing this interesting tablet. I was wondering how feasible it might be to use it with a DisplayLink USB dock – is the OTG port USB 3.0? Sorry if you mentioned this and I missed it.

    • No, unfortunately it’s USB 2.0, I wanted to test an Pluggable DisplayLink USB dock

      • Hmm I suppose USB 2.0 might work, since Plugable got 4 external monitors working on the Dell Venue 8 Pro. I wonder whether their special charging dock for models which have only one usb port (for charging and data) would work with the i6…

  12. I noticed in some places the Cube i6 is specified as having built-in GPS. Does your i6 have built-in GPS?
    I ordered the Cube iWork 8, with one of the main reasons being that it was advertised as having built-in GPS. I was disappointed to discover that it in fact does NOT have built-in GPS.

  13. I reached out to geekbuying.com inquiring about the grainy film being located between the LCD and the touch screen on the Cube i6. It took a couple messages to fully describe the issue, but they finally replied stating:
    “Thanks for your email. We have noticed that the device has the film you mentioned.”
    I was disappointed to hear this, as I was planning on ordering one from there. Hopefully this information helps someone else.

    • Thanks for the comment. Yes the film is something Cube are adding ontop of the screen to help cut down the glare. But it’s really stupid they do this. Next to the X98 Air 3G or Onda v919 it’s noticeable. But I don’t think it’s a deal breaker personally.

      • Hi Chris, maybe Cube wanted to copy the Apple iPad Air 2, which comes with an anti-reflective screen (the iPad Air 2 screen looks great!). Cube tried but unfortunately could not do the same. We could have used a matte anti-reflective screen protector, if reflection was an issue. Anyway, too bad..

        I wanted to know if the TF card slot supports Class 10, SDHC 32 GB micro SD card? Because in a video on Youtube, one guy stated that his Samsung SDHC 32 GB micro SD card does not work in the Cube i6 Air.
        Thanks 🙂

  14. Thanks for the reviews Chris! It’s really valuable information.
    Can you tell us if these tabs are coming with 32 bit or 64 bit Windows?

    • 32bit, but the CPU is 64bit capable, but the issue is the uefi bios is bit 64bit.

  15. Great review. Drop the 3G, Upgrade it to 64GB, and I’ll buy two. I don’t mind the matte coating so much… I had a matte screen protector for a long time on my phones. Is it just grainy, or does it distort the colors as well? One of my matte screen protectors had a terrible grain that introduced an almost rainbow effect on the screen… that would definitely be a deal breaker.

    Of course, I already pulled the trigger on a Teclast X89. I decided to start smaller, but I still wanted the retina display. Maybe with that I’ll be able to hold out for the new chips/features… if my wife doesn’t steal it from me first. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t take forever/they actually have it in stock. Can’t wait to offer to let people use my tablet. “Yeah, it’s that new iPad mini that runs Windows….” Muahahaha!

    I’m also looking at the Teclast X90HD… the X10’s little bro. My wife likes the white tablets/phones. Then there’s the 64GB Chuwi V89 with the 1920 x 1200 display for under $200… *sigh* too many options.

    • Thanks, it’s a slight grain to the display when comparing it to my X98 Air 3G. It’s defiantly not a deal breaker. I love the Cube build and I agree, I would happily trade the 3G for 64GB of eMMC. I hope Cube wise up and add a 64GB option like Teclast did. The X89 looks great, now it’s coming out with dual boot too, and that display is 324 PPI so really nice and sharp. I might pick one up later to review, just really waiting now for the next gen of Chinese tablets, the Atom X5’s.

      • Been doing some research on the “grainy display” that you noticed on the Cube i6… at first I was thinking it might have to do with using an IGZO IPS panel, but it may not be a normal thing. There have been other reports on Cube tablets of having two of the same model, and one has that effect while the other is clear.

        Have a look at this thread about the Cube Talk 9X: http://www.freaktab.com/showthread.php?13885-Cube-9x-u65gt&p=238945&viewfull=1#post238945

        Seems like Cube may have some QA issues despite their outstanding builds…

        • Thanks for the info, so it seems that my unit has the grain. But not all are effected by it. It’s really stupid.

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