Cube iWork8 3G Dual OS Review

The Cube iwork8 3G Dual OS is an updated version of the Cube iwork8. Now sporting a micro sim slot and 3G 900Mhz/2100Mhz modem and a large capacity battery. The original iwork8 had only a 3500mAH battery which just wasn’t enough, Cube corrected this error and opted for a larger 5000mAH battery. Android 4.4.4 and Windows 8.1 Bing are the installed operating systems on this entry level tablet.

Photos (Pictured with optional Cube BT keyboard):

Hardware & build quality:

Like the other dual OS 8 inch tablets tested here, the chipset is Intel’s Z3735F Bay Trail. It can turbo up to 1.8Ghz and has two 1GB memory dimms running at 1600Mhz in single channel. The tablet has all the ports on the left side, which include a d/c in charging jack and your standard micro usb port with data support. The HDMI port is the mini HDMI type and not the more commonly used micro hdmi port. I prefer this mini port over the micro as it’s stronger I feel and would hold up better than the mini ports.

Cube doesn’t include an OTG adapter or even a charger in the box. You go get a USB to d/c cable to charge the tablet, so if you have a mobile phone charger that uses a USB port as it’s plug out, then your in luck. I used my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to charge the tablet and this worked without any issues. 5V, 2A is what’s required. I found that the PiPo W3 and W3F charger d/c jack is the same and this chargers. So can also be used if you wanted to order one just for the iwork8, then this is the one to get.

The iwork 8 3G is completely plastic with a textured white matte rear housing that doesn’t show finger prints or smudges, but would show dirt and muck after a while on the white textured rear.

Build quality I would rate higher as than the Chuwi Vi8, even slightly higher than the Teclast X80h that did have a few creaks in the joins when the was in your hands. The iwork8 doesn’t exhibit this trait. Overall a good build, if plasticy feeling.

Screen and touch response:

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The 1280 x 800 pixel IPS panel with a hardware ID of BP080W, MFG date of 2014 is an unknown brand of IPS screen used. I couldn’t find who made this one. It seems to be a different panel to the one see in the Chuwi Vi8 or Teclast X80H, colors are vivid and vibrant with great viewing angles. Blacks look good to. The brightness is a deent 349 cd/m2 making it the brightest 8 inch panel tested so far here. Although the resolution is on the low side, on an eight inch tablet it still looks good and sharp enough.

The touch response is great and I have no complaints on the response or accuracy. Some things, like closing a window sometimes take two goes with a 8 inch screen. But this is normal on any 8 inch windows tablet.

The Windows scaling is set to 125%, but you could get away with 100% at this resolution without having to worry about scaling issues.

Storage:

We have a 32GB eMMC onboard, 12.6GB is free to the user in Windows and only 3.73 GB’s are available in Android. The eMMC speeds are good enough, nothing special, but not slow for a eMMC 4.5 spec unit.

Cube iwork8 eMMC speeds

Ports & Connectivity:

The wireless and Bluetooth like all these Atom tablets is handled by Realtek. It’s a 2.4Ghz 150mbps Wireless N card. And you have Bluetooth 4.0. Using both BT and Wireless at the same time will limit your throughput on the wireless side. This is an unfortunate side effect of both the BT and WiFi running on 2.4Ghz. Sadly, No 5 Ghz wireless support on this card when you really need it.

I had no connection issues in both OS’s, good speeds and no limited connection issues. It was stable and worked well – No complaints here.

Unlike the Chuwi Vi8, I had no issues with the HDMI port and since the Cube iWork8 Dual OS has a d/c charging input this free’s up the micro USB 2.0 port for data use. Something you can’t do on either the Teclast X80h and Chuwi Vi8 8 inch dual boot tablets.

3G benchmark, I don’t have good signal for my house so never get good speeds. But this a good 3-4 times slower than my Note 4 on 3G.

Cube iwork8 3G speeds

Cube iwork8 3G speeds

As the tablets name suggests, it has 3G support. The micro sim slot is on the back of the tablet and in an odd move from Cube is not supported in Windows for whatever silly reason. So 3G works only in Android, I don’t understand why Windows cannot access this same hardware and make use of it? You also can’t make any phone calls as the Android rom doesn’t have a dialer or phone app. 3rd party apps might work, but I didn’t try this as I didn’t have the need to make a call on the tablet.

The Micro Sim is inserted this way.

The Micro Sim is inserted this way.

And clicks in flush within the iWork8. Check your network supports 900Mhz or 2100Mhz 3G bands.

And clicks in flush within the iWork8. Check your network supports 900Mhz or 2100Mhz 3G bands.

Dual boot switching:

Switching over the OS, is done in three ways, either from the first boot screen or within each operating system. This is much faster than Teclast’s system which doesn’t allow you to directly switch over within the OS, you have to reboot and use the boot selector. The the iwork8, you can select within sya Windows Android and the machine will reboot itself into Android without you having to select it.

Here you can select to reboot into Windows from Android.

Here you can select to reboot into Windows from Android.

Windows & Performance:

The iwork8 3G has Windows 8.1 Bing installed, it lets you install language packs without any issues unlike some of the Chinese 8.1 Pro versions. IE11 works great loading pages quickly without any slow downs and scrolling is iPad / Tab smooth within IE11. Chrome and Firefox on the other hand were a little slower and loading in too many tabs in Chrome would begin to slow things down somewhat.

Over all Windows works surprisingly well on this configuration, better than you would think.

Windows Benchmarks:

Overall the benchmark scores the iwork8 3G produced were around the same as other Z3735F powered tablets, the PCMark 7 score was a bit lower than others, which might have been down to throttling.

Geekbench 3 score 779 Single | 2198 Multi thread

PCMark 7: 2161

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Android:

The iWork8 ships with Android 4.4.4 Kitkat, Play Store did not work for me first attempt, that was until I ran the OTA wireless update system. After two updates, Google Play worked without any issues. The rom comes bloat free or if there was anything, you could uninstall them all without needing root access.

Make sure you run the OTA updates or Play Store will not work!

Make sure you run the OTA updates or Play Store will not work!

The Cube iwork8 3G has a very stock looking rom.

The Cube iwork8 3G has a very stock looking rom.

Overall the rom is very light and so is the stock launcher, a vanilla Android feel to it which is what I prefer personally. Not like the heavy custom launcher Teclast used on the X80H and X98 Air 3G. The rom is quick and I had no stutters or lag. 160 DPI is used, giving the screen and icons a sharp look within Android, so no blurry icons like I’ve seen on other tablets that run with higher DPI setting that tend to make the screen look blurry due to scaling things up.

I did however encounter an issue when using my headphones I could not increase the volume past the hearing damage warning screen. This pop up screen on tapping okay would still deny me higher volumes! Music therefore has to be listen to in Windows, bummer!

Android Benchmarks:

For those that need to see the benchmark numbers, the iWork8 3G did really well, helped by that 1280 x 800 resolution.

Gaming:

All games from the Stores, both Play and Windows work fine and are 100% playable. Since you have a USB port and if you do have an OTG adaptor handy you can use your own Xbox controller or other usb controller which is great. I find store games are the best for tablets of this size and the chipset. But even older PC games, like Counter Strike Global Offensive, HL2, TF2 and some new ones like LoL, Dota 2 were all just playable on low settings of course.

 

Battery life:

The Cube iwork8 3G thankfully has an increased battery size over the older iwork8, now with a 5000mah battery, the tablet is good for around 5-6 hours of medium to light use in Windows. And about 5 hours of screen on time in Android with the brightness set to 40% wifi on and doing light activities. In Windows I almost got 6 hours before the unit powered off on me, I thought this wasn’t to bad.

When gaming the chipset will burn through your battery at a much quicker rate having all 4 cores at maximum speeds, so you can only manage about 3 hours or less when gaming. Might pay to bring along a charger or a portable usb battery pack.

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Heat and throttling:

Under anything but gaming the iwork8 3G doesn’t throttle or get overly hot, however when gaming and pushing the system hard. The little tablet hit a hot 88 degrees and according to HWinfo32 (Below) the Atom Soc throttled to keep the temperatures for exceeding 88 degrees.

This had an effect I believe on the 3Dmark scores coming in less than other Z3735F tablets tested in Windows. However in Android the iwork8 scored very well.

Cube iwork8 temps throttling

Audio quality:

The two rear speakers on the Cube iwork8 3G aren’t anything amazing, but they do the job. At full volume they distort, but are 10x louder than the extremely weak Chuwi Vi8 speakers. Audio quality over the 3.5mm jack unfortunately suffers from the all to common static and buzz. It’s only heard between on screen keyboard taps or MP3 tracks, but nonetheless still annoying for those (like myself) that like clean audio output.

In Windows the headphone jack has enough power to deliver a loud ear damaging audio output, so people driving huge beats headphones or the like will be happy there, just be prepared for a little low volume hiss in the silent parts that’s all.

Cameras:

Nothing special here in the camera department, 2MP shooters, both front and back with a fixed focus. Decent enough for video chat like apps Skype and the like. It’s Here are some camera samples below:

Conclusion:

When I think of the three other 8 inch dual boot tablets tested, the Cube iwork8 3G is one of the better ones. In ways it bets the Chwui vi8 with it’s brighter and better looking IPS panel and the sim card slot is handy, if it just wasn’t limited to Android only. Then there’s the d/c jack, which is great. You can charge the tablet faster than using a micro usb port and the port is free to use while it charges. The port placement is thought out to, allowing you to connected up every port without any port conflicts. And the speakers are decent, better than that rubbish the Chuwi Vi8 has, it’s biggest complaint. Oh and video chat users will like the 2MP front camera which is 100 x better than the Chuwi Vi8’s 0.3 MP camera…

However on my unit, it ran hotter than the Chuwi Vi8, PiPo W4S or Teclast X80h in Windows and as a result the performance suffered a little when it came to gaming. But strangely Android was unaffected and produced some high 3DMark scores.  So is it the best dual boot 8 inch budget tablet? Depends on your needs, want a brighter screen, need built in 3G and don’t mind slightly slower 3D performance in Windows? Then this is your dual OS 8 inch tablet. Otherwise take a look at the Chuwi Vi8 or Teclast X80H.

Buy this Product

Good

  • Charges via d/c input which allows USB use simultaneously
  • Decent, bright IPS panel for an 8 inch tablet
  • 3G sim slot for mobile data (Android only)
  • Good port placement, spaced out nicely
  • 2MP front facing camera is better than competitors 0.3MP
  • Light Android rom with a stock Android launcher

Bad

  • 3G only works in Android and no calls in Android
  • No charger included, just a USB to DC charging cable
  • Faint audio hiss present over the headphone port
  • Runs hot when gaming
7.5

Good

32 Comments

  1. I’m pretty sadden as the tablet shuts itself down after a year of use. It first starter shuting down when inserting sim card. Now it’s down again. Battery still charged. Too bad! Quality control on this tablet no good.

  2. There is a magnificant russian forum for the iwork8 3g where they have made this device what it should be.

    If you have a device with a serial number starting i13gd… you need this bios: http://4pda.ru/forum/index.php?showtopic=663380&view=findpost&p=45602678 to make the 3g card work in windows. I flashed mine with the geekbuying bios and lost 3g. However, to get you have to sign up in Russian. I eventually figured it out with a lot of back and forth to google translate. If Chris reads this, it’d be great if he could set an iwork8 3g download folder to put this in.

    The Russians have also uploaded a windows 10 home install that uses wimboot so you get heaps more free space in windows. They report 14GB. No login required for this one: https://yadi.sk/d/g_m1dIOBkodzn

    They have also made a rooted android install so you can move apps to the sdcard. No login required for this one either: https://yadi.sk/d/5zao756jkfhMg

    Of course both these in Russian, so make sure you know how to change the language to English before you install!

  3. btw how long the battery last ? because mine only last 4 and a half hours :/ is it normal ?

  4. I didnt like Android OS.
    I managed to wipe Android OS but when tried to merge partitions of this tablet,something went wrong. Now, I cannot load any OS.
    I can acces only BIOS(aptio utility set utility)
    Please,help

      • Ι have already done what you said,with no result.
        I downloaded win 8.1 from the internet,made a bootable windows usb stick and managed to install Win 8.1 OS.
        When I tried to install Intel drivers,something went wrong and the tablet couldnt boot,at all.
        After that,I made a change on BIOS settings and now the tablet turns on without booting.It powers on(the little lamp on right corner is on) but nothing happens(no OS,no BIOS)….just a black screen.I tried everything with buttons and keyboard.
        I have to reset BIOS,,,but how?
        Thanks

    • This one’s bios smashed my mobile internet in windows.

      If you have a device with a serial number starting i13gd… you need this bios: http://4pda.ru/forum/index.php?showtopic=663380&view=findpost&p=45602678 to make the 3g card work in windows. I flashed mine with the geekbuying bios and lost 3g. However, to get you have to sign up in Russian. I eventually figured it out with a lot of back and forth to google translate. If Chris reads this, it’d be great if he could set an iwork8 3g download folder to put this in.

  5. I mean Chuwi vi10 dual OS.

  6. Will you test the iWork 11 and the Cube i10 ? The last one is the one that I really want to know about. It’s seems to be at least equal to the chuwi i10 but at a bit cheaper price and with office 365 included.

  7. I’ve never tried any of the brands you’re testing, except cube. And I do think the iwork speakers are terrible. I’m comparing to the 8″ tablets I’ve used.

    The vidaa 8 pad – dolby sound
    The dell venue8
    Mi Pad – who’s speakers are unbelievably awesome.

    On another note, I really enjoy your site.

  8. Did anyone who owns one of these have the same issue with the headphone volume in Android ?

    • I don’t have an issue when using headphones. The issue I have is when you’re not using headphones. With the volume all the way up it’s not loud, although you can hear it, but it’s just poor quality sound. In fact in my opinion, it’s terrible quality sound.

      The tablet sounds fine with headphones. And pairs well with the cheap emerson bt headphones I have. As well as auvio, proscan, and creative bt speakers.

      I haven’t gotten around to installing viper4android. That might help with sound quality and volume when using the tablet’s speakers. But, honestly, I don’t hardly ever use a tablet’s speakers.

      Hope that info helps.

      • They aren’t the best speakers, but still miles better than the other 8 inches I have tested like the Vi8 and W4S.

  9. I forgot to mention the micro usb case I’ve had for about 2 yrs. It’s had heavy use and still going strong, but is starting to show some wear on the edges. The bluetooth case I’ve had about a year. It’s still working fine.

  10. can you confirm that this tablet have gps or no ? does sung google maps worked for you ?
    and can you charges the tablet using micro usb port and dc at the same time ?

    • Hi, No GPS on this tablet. You can only charge it over the d/c jack. And google maps works using your wifi and cell towers to get location, so it’s not accurate.

  11. Thanks for having this great site.

  12. Chris, you seem to prefer the Cube iWork8 3G to the Teclast X80h which I agree with. I have found differing info on the sizes of the two (some 10mm differences!) and I cannot see anywhere to buy the Cube case (with corner supports) or the Cube keyboard, both shown under #3 at http://www.51cube.com/en/ProductShow.asp?ID=310&pageview=pro allegedly the English page!!! 🙂 Do you know anywhere to buy them? Don’t like the other cases sold I have found

    • Hi, sorry not really sure on this one as I didn’t get any cases. You have tried Ali Express?

    • the cube iwork8 3g is only a tiny bit bigger than the dell venue8. It’s the same thickness, just under 1/4 of an inch taller and wider. I have them both. If you don’t care about the camera hole and volume, the iwork fits into the venue case I got off ebay with the 4 adjustable corners. But beware when buying a case with 4 corners. The iwork has a power button on the side corner and the home button on the top corner-same side as power button. they fall pretty much where the plastic corners would fall, pressing them in. You have to be able to adjust those corners, so you can move it off the buttons. There is a case with only 3 tabs also. I have one of those too. It works better. One tab at the top center, and one on each side of the bottom. Doesn’t interfere with any buttons. Just some info on the generic cases….

  13. 3g works fine under windows after the latest OTA update.

    • Thanks, I will check it out and update the review if its working for me.

    • Hi, I have all the latest OTG updates and no luck. Still no 3G in Windows for me.

  14. Sigh… I was super excited until I read it only had 32GB of storage. Do they even give an option for 64GB?

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