Budget category is the range where less companies play with these days. Everyone wants to sell expensive phones and get higher margin. But this is the space where Cubot brings its offers. The Cubot J3 is one such phone which comes under Rs 10,000 ($100) budget. It has the basic hardware and the lightest Android software that works well enough. This budget smartphone runs with Android Go OS. We used this phone for few weeks and this is Cubot J3 full review.
Build and Design: Cubot J3 is a neat budget phone with plastic build. Back cover of the phone is removable which gives access to removable 2000 mAh battery. The screen comes with a thin protector installed out of the box. In the box, company is also packing a back cover which is great. Design is very simple as volume rockers and power button are on right side. Speaker grill is at bottom and headphone jack plus micro USB port is at top.
Display: It is a entry level basic phone but it has a 5 inch LCD Panel. The panel uses TN technology and has a resolution of 480×960. It is good for normal use as the resolution is SD at 480p. This uses a bit taller aspect ratio which looks good. Even though the screen is big the phone sits very easily in one hand. Brightness is certainly better than expected as it looks good outside as well.
Processor, Memory and Performance
In case of processor, Cubot J3 is using Mediatek MT6580 Chipset that has 1.3 GHz quad core processor. The CPU cores go from 604 MHz to 1.3 GHz according to requirement. In terms of memory there is 1 GB RAM and for storage there is 16 GB space. At the back side of the phone, users can also insert micro SD card up to 64 GB. This is not high specs but for the price being it is reasonable. The phone may not look good if we just see the specification but the real experience is derived from software.
We did some benchmarks and the Geekbench score is 408 for single core and 1114 for multi core performance. The RenderScript score is 875 according to our benchmarks. Raw hardware list is reasonable but we like the experience due to Android Go. It is the main attraction here. Android Go is the lightest Android from Google. It is trimmed and watered down. Currently Cubot J3 runs with Android Go 8.1.0 and it is just one generation old. It can install regular apps but for optimum performance and experience it is better to use Go apps.
There are many Go version of Apps or Lite apps such as Facebook Lite, Twitter Lite, YouTube Go etc. These save space, use less memory and less system resources. This is what all of that ecosystem is meant for. Honestly we all know that this is bare bone phone and it is meant for basic communication and some light work.
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The camera section is also very basic here. At the back side there is 8 MP camera with LED flash that is placed vertically at the top left of back side. However it can record videos at 1280×720 resolution and surprisingly there is EIS. At the front it has 5 MP selfie camera which is decent enough for the price. Quality is normal as expected for the 8 MP sensor. Pictures is well lit situation are satisfactory and usable.
Cubot J3 is quite good in terms of extra feature in our view. There is Notification LED at top side which is fantastic. Almost no phone at this price gives such feature. There is no fingerprint scanner but there is face unlock. Light sensor is also provided which helps in managing Auto brightness features. These kinds of features add a lot of usability and ease to the use. The top glass is also 2.5D which feels pretty good to touch.
Conclusion and Closure
In total, Cubot is giving a neat package with the J3. The phone has quad core processor, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, SD card support, dual SIM card support, removable battery, decent camera and new software. All and all what we saw is a basic smartphone with correct software. Instead of bulky and heavy Android with company’s UI overlay, Cubot has done the best thing with Android Go.
This makes for a super light software environment that is helping the phone with its hardware. Our experience with this budget phone was good and if you are into this territory it is surely worth a look because Android Go gives it a good spin.