Recently the Chinese manufacturer has launched a new rugged phone, but this time it is a slightly different model than what we are used to. The CUBOT Quest, in fact, aspires to be a rugged sportsman, therefore to be mistreated without hesitation during training or your excursions outside the city. But what exactly does it mean to be a rugged sportsman? If you want to find out ... well you just have to take a look at our review of the new ultra-resistant smartphone.
CUBOT Quest Review
The sales package of the device looks like a black hardcover, with some colored textures and a youthful appearance. Inside the box we find the following equipment:
- CUBOT Quest;
- wall charger 5V 2A;
- USB / USB Type-C cable;
- pin for the SIM slot;
Design and construction
The first thing that catches your eye as you look and hold the rugged phone in your hand is the company's willingness to emphasize the sporting soul of the device. The back presents in fact a series of icons that show us some of the activities that can be accompanied with CUBOT Quest: running, cycling and rowing / swimming. The smartphone has a fairly classic look for this type, with square lines and materials (polycarbonate) that already give a sense of solidity to the touch. The red lines that run through the shell are a very pleasant aesthetic touch.
Overall the aggressive design is what you'd expect from a rugged phone, but our Cubot knows how to surprise us. The dimensions are of 157 x 73.7 x 10.8 mm for a weight of suns 180 grams. And in brackets the body would be 8.8 mm thick at the thinnest points. In short, even if it is a model of resistance, we are able to have dimensions and weight within the norm, a detail that should not be underestimated. And here the device is perfect to accompany us during the race, on the bike and even during a swimming session.
Frontally we find the notification LED, the sensors, the ear capsule and the selfie camera. The lower edge houses the main microphone, while the secondary one (for noise reduction) is moved to the back cover, next to the speaker. The back continues with a fingerprint reader, the dual main camera with Dual LED Flash and the brand logo in plain sight.
The lower edge houses the USB Type-C charging port while on the right we have the Power button and the volume rocker. On the opposite side there is the hybrid slot for the two SIMs (or for a SIM and a memory card) and a physical button that can be mapped to your liking (we'll talk about it later in the Software section).
For the sake of completeness we emphasize the presence of certification IP68: the smartphone is totally waterproofed and does not run any risk if immersed in water (up to 3 meters deep for up to an hour). In our brief immersion tests the device did not report any damage but as always you do not rely completely on the IP certifications of smartphones because no manufacturer guarantees a total absence of contraindication.
On board the Quest we find an IPS panel from 5.5 inches diagonal with resolution HD + (1440 x 720 pixel), report in 18: 9, 293 PPI and a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protective glass. It is a discreet solution, with colors that are sometimes too saturated and not very faithful (they tend to overload a lot), but with good viewing angles.
Unfortunately there are no settings to change the display and color calibration. However, this is not a very serious loss: we are still talking about a model made to resist and - above all - to be used outdoors. In this case we have excellent visibility in the sun, detail to be taken into account for "sporting" use.
Hardware and Performance
A chipset is enclosed under the rugged polycarbonate shell MediaTek Helio P22, octa-core solution with a maximum frequency of 2.0 GHz. To accompany the SoC we have 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory expandable up to 128 GB through microSD. Although there is nothing unusual on paper, we advise you to activate the developer options immediately and lower the animations to 0.5x. This will slightly improve the user experience, very much think of his.
In fact, the device is often clumsy, as if the navigation in the interface, the opening and closing of the app were down in tone. There is an atmosphere of general slowness but fortunately - by taking advantage of the developer options - it will be possible to improve things a little. Moreover, with the most intense (and prolonged) activities there is a slight increase in temperature, even if it is not anything invalidating.
The graphic part is based on the GPU PowerVR GE8329 but let's start immediately in the fourth: the CUBOT Quest is not a smartphone for gaming (nor does it want to be). Casual games will do more than good but moving to multiplayer titles (albeit light) like Brawl Stars ... get ready for sudden drops in frame rates and a not-so-satisfying experience. Away the heavier titles, at most playable with the graphics settings to a minimum.
CUBOT Quest Review - Benchmark
The software with which it arrives CUBOT Quest is based on Android 9 Pie, with security patches updated to February 2019. An applause at the interface, which pure Android lovers will particularly appreciate; the company's customizations are reduced to the bone, with no invasive additions and an atmosphere almost completely stock. A few points less for the cure for the updates, a defect that could make the shrewd users turn away from this point of view.
Security relies on fingerprint reader rear, quick to unlock (but not lightning, be clear) but not very precise. Often the release is difficult and the display will need to be turned on to make the fingerprint reader operational. The Face Unlock, on the other hand, it is a merely software feature but one that knows its stuff; in the dark it will be possible to use the light of the panel to illuminate the face.
Il physical button on the left edge can be customized in Settings, Custom Side Key. By default we have the Camera with a short press, while a prolonged one will call up Google Assistant. You will only be able to get started with the quick click and choose the app that best suits you.
In Settings, System, Gestures it will be possible to set Scroll up on the Home button, in order to call up the Activity Manager. A second swipe will give you access to the App Drawer. Unfortunately there is no option to disable the navigation bar and exploit the gesture.
The photographic sector offers a Dual Camera composed of a Sony IMX486 sensor (as specified by the official page) from 12 mega-pixels with opening f/1.8, accompanied by a secondary 2 mega-pixel module dedicated to depth of field. Present the PDAF autofocus and a Dual LED Flash. But how did our rugged sportsman behave in photographic tests?
The shots taken during the day and with a good light can give some small satisfaction (and well-defined details), but overall it is impossible not to notice a strong tendency to overexposure, with almost “burnt” photos (missing a hair) and a color rendering uninviting. The colors are artificial and lacking in freshness, although - we repeat - in the right conditions it is possible to take some satisfying images out of the cylinder.
In low light conditions the game gets tough, maybe even too much. The images lose many details, we have some defects in the focus (which is not very efficient) and lens flare in abundance. The shots are pasty and the mode Night it doesn't help at all: actually seems almost no change to the immortalized scene. As for the mode Portrait it is a simple blurred effect (it is possible to increase and decrease the intensity) that frames the subject in the foreground, with a final effect to be forgotten. Much more precise the shots with bokeh effect obtained manually, with well-blurred outlines.
Unfortunately the selfie module from 8 mega-pixels he didn't convince us that much. The images are not very detailed and overall it is not possible to talk about social usage. In the evening, the defects are accentuated by the lack of satisfactory natural lighting, with even less marked details. In short, useful for casual shots but certainly not the case to point to the social side. The smartphone is able to record Full HD video with stabilization ICE CREAM but even in this case the results are not particularly convincing.
Connectivity and audio quality
Connectivity side, the rugged phone does not miss anything. We have Wi-Fi 802.1.1 a / b / g / n Dual Band, Bluetooth 4.2 and the support NFC for the most demanding. GPS / A-GPS navigation did not cause any problems, both on foot and by car, proving to be fairly stable and precise.
As mentioned a few paragraphs ago, the smartphone hosts a hybrid slot dual SIM with support LTE. Good navigation in 4G, even if with some drop in more closed environments. Audio on call remains acceptable and with adequate volume.
On the audio side we have a single speaker placed in the lower left corner of the back cover, a decidedly tricky location. The quality is not the best and from the audio point of view the rugged phone will surely not be your best friend. This is indeed croaking and slightly distorted in the higher passages while the volume is certainly not the best.
Autonomy relies on a large battery from 4000 mAh, which allowed us to benefit from little more than 3 hours and minutes 30 of display turned on with a particularly intense use. With a little more thrift and less pretense it is possible to go well over the 4 hours of display on. Obviously these are purely indicative values: although not free from defects (certainly not a battery phone) the CUBOT Quest he was able to take us at the end of the day and in some cases he even resisted for a couple of days.
We have reached the recharge complete from 0 to 100% - and this is a sore point - well 2 hours and minutes 56, with the 5V 2A charger supplied. Lentino, even if an obvious problem recharging in the dead moments of the day or during the night.
CUBOT Quest Review - Price and Conclusions
Il CUBOT Quest it is a smartphone that keeps its promises: it is a rugged enough handset and carrying it around - maybe even during sports activities and excursions - will certainly not be a problem. From this point of view the device hits the mark but nevertheless it does not shine. The fact that the side button can be remapped to your liking is certainly an advantage, but beyond this and other small software gems the sense of heaviness wins during use.
Moreover the photographic part has not proved particularly convincing even if maybe, during a trip out of town in the light of the sun you could capture some good moments without worrying about water splashes, accidental falls and so on. We say that certain faults can be resolved by the price of our rugged phone. After all, 126 € isn't bad for a device that you can't abuse!
If you need a rugged light and compact but above all economical, then the CUBOT Quest will do for you. If instead you bet on a forklift in a generic sense, or a more satisfying user experience, you will have to bet on something else. Do you belong to the second category? Then take a look at CUBOT X19 (here you find our review), a device that could represent a good compromise between performance and price.
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