7.9-inch Phone - CUBE Talk 79 Hands-on Review
The CUBE U55GT, A.K.A Talk 79 — mainly a tablet, but also has full phone functionalities. And CUBE is definitely marketing towards people who want to use tablet to make phone calls — just check out their official marketing videos and you will find out. But for most people, its main character is still a 7.9-inch Android tablet, with quad core chipset and a very competitive price point. For the kind of person who might put the Talk 79 to good use, it could be invaluable. But is it any good as a big phone, or a small tablet, or either? Let's take a look.
Talk 79 Specs:
Display Size: 7.9”
Display Resolution: 1024 × 768
Display Type: IPS Display
Processor: 1.2GHz MTK MT8389 quad-core processor
Storage: 16GB of internal storage
Network: WCDMA/GSM, Wi-Fi 802.11n/b/g
Micro SD: No
Bluetooth: Yes, Bluetooth V4.0
Battery Capacity: 4500mAh
Rear-Facing Camera: 5MP
Front-Facing Camera: 2MP
Talk 79’s Retail Package
Inside the box, you will find the Talk 79 tablet itself, along with a USB cable, an earphone, a charger (5V-2A), a user manual, a warranty card and a small tool which helps you to plug out the nano SIM card container.
Talk 79’s Industrial Design
The CUBE Talk 79 provides a minimalist design as the tablet has no face buttons whatsoever, and the only physical buttons you’ll find are the device’s power button and volume rocker, located on the top half of the right side.
On the bottom half of the right side is where you’ll be able to access the Talk 79’s SIM card slot. You could easily pull out the container and put the Nano SIM card in it.
The front of the CUBE Talk 79 features a white bezel around its 7.9-inch screen. The bezel looks to be around a quarter of an inch on the sides of the screen while above and below looks to have a 1-inch bezel. The top bezel is where the Talk 79’s 2MP front-facing camera, light sensor, proximity sensor and its receiver for making phone calls are located.
The back of the slate is where you’ll find its 5MP camera sitting in left towards the top of the tablet. The majority of the Talk 79’s rear is covered in frosted aluminum which gives it a nice premium feel, while a small portion of the top area looks to be a rubberized material which is a bit milk white, giving the tablet a more extinct look.
The bottom side of the Talk 79 is where the device’s micro USB port and stereo speakers are located.
The slate is only 7.4mm thick, and weighs only 360 grams, making it pretty easy to carry around or hold by a single hand.
Talk 79’s Display
The Talk 79 features a 7.9-inch IPS display that has a resolution of 1024 x 768 at 163 PPI, which seems to be the standard display type for tablets this size. The Talk 79’s display doesn’t provide a resolution or experience that blew our socks off, but it is able to produce some nice, vivid images when looking at high-resolution pictures or videos. Including IPS into the Talk 79’s display means you’ll be able to view whatever is on the screen at nearly all angles. In our real-world testing, we noticed the image continued to be visible at extreme angles, all the way up to when the Talk 79 was being held nearly completely at its side.
Left: Apple iPad mini, Right: CUBE Talk 79
The contrast ratio, the color saturation and the brightness of the 7.9-inch panel are all quite satisfactory, I wouldn’t lie and say it is as good as the AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, but it is still on par with the display of the iPad mini and most other similar-sized tablets.
The way the auto-brightness is handled is less visually pleasant. The adjustment is not as accurate as those big brand tablets I have used. Thankfully, a brightness slider is on hand in the notification bar.
Talk 79’s Performance
The CUBE Talk 79 features a 1.2GHz MT8389 quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, which aren’t really impressive specs. Considering CUBE is selling the Talk 79 for RMB999 ($163), we can see why they had to skimp on some specs in order to offer a budget-friendly 7.9-inch Android tablet. With that said, let’s see how the Talk 79 performed in our performance tests. Antutu V3.3 is an overall system performance benchmark which takes into account everything the Android device has to offer, including its CPU, GPU, and storage. The majority of Android devices tend to fall into a comparable performance footprint, which means unless you need to do something very specific with your device, like gaming, then you can expect a similar performance across the board.
In our Antutu benchmark, the Talk 79 scored a 12662, making it an average Android tablet by today’s standards. We’ve seen current-generation Android smartphones with double the scores of what the Talk 79 delivered. Again, CUBE created the Talk 79 as an Android device aimed at first-time tablet owners or budget-minded consumers, so you shouldn’t go into it expecting some mind-blowing benchmarks.
In the Geekbench test, the CUBE Talk 79 only scored 1,336, far behind the 2,068 the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 delivered.
In the Vellamo benchmark, the Talk 79 snatched a 1,455 and a 422 respectively in HTML5 test and Metal test, not outstanding, but still pretty decent.
The Talk 79’s CF-bench score is average among quad-core devices.
The GPU of the Talk 79 is PowerVR SGX544MP running at 286MHZ, which is approximately 2.5 times as capable as SGX540@302MHZ, and should deliver some decent graphic performances.
In the Nenamark2 test, the Talk 79’s score is at the bottom of our chart. But I personally would not believe that the Talk 79 is less graphically capable than an ATM7029 powered device.
The An3D Bench XL and 3D Mark scores are generally more close to reality.
Somehow the Talk 79 cannot finish the Quadrant 2.1.1 test, so we will have to skip this usually important benchmark.
As telling as benchmarks are, I feel there’s value in a device’s perceived performance as there’s nothing more important than how you feel when you’re using a device. In terms of perceived performance, the Talk 79 was very responsive when jumping from application to application as I was able to fire up IMDB, click on a video link to have it open in the browser and have the video playing after it was done buffering in just a few seconds. Clicking on a notification of an incoming email, then launching Gmail was also quick.
Talk 79’s Cameras
The CUBE Talk 79 has dual cameras, the front facing camera is 2MP, and the rear-facing one is of 5MP and has auto-focus support. When it comes to video chatting via Skype, the front camera handily gets the job done, but you’d better expect nothing more. The rear-facing camera can deliver some decent photos while the lighting is right, but still, it is no match for the 5MP camera on a low-end phone.
Talk 79’s Connectivity
The Talk 79 has everything a smartphone should have, and since it uses the MTK SoC., everything works just fine. The addition of GPS module and Bluetooth V4.0 betters the experiences in using the slate. Even the Wi-Fi reception is pretty good on the Talk 79. The only issue I have with the slate is that it uses Nano SIM card, which is really a huge inconvenience for non-iPhone5-users like me!
Talk 79’s Battery Life
This has been a tricky one to gauge. As much as I've tried to use the Talk 79 as my daily driver, for reasons discussed elsewhere, that didn't quite happen. One thing's for sure though, you're looking to at 1-2 days of average use between charges. The 4500mAh battery CUBE claims will offer 6 hours of video playback and 330 hours of standby time.
In my actual test, the Talk 79 loops a 720P video for 8 hours, 6 minutes (50% brightness, 50% speaker volume) and streams an online TV show for 5 hours, 27 minutes.
The combination of 28nm process of the MT8389 chipset and a decent-sized battery should have resulted in a more excellent longevity. The Talk 79 just lets me down a little bit, especially when compared to the ICOO ICOU Fatty2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, both of which could give a 10+ hours’ run time.
Although the Talk 79 can be charged under a shutdown state, charging it is by no means a fast experience. Charging the tablet from 0% to full takes about 4 hours
Exquisite design and solid build.
Decent and stable performance, excellent in gaming.
Full phone functionalities.
No Micro SD card slot, no HDMI.
Nano SIM card.
I really want to like the Talk 79, and in some respects I do. For the price, this is a very competitive device with slim design, decent performance, Jelly Bean, and full phone functionalities.