Cubot Note S Unboxing and First Impressions

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Earlier this week, we mentioned that the Cubot Note S will be launched globally in Nairobi on February 12th 2016 and will be available exclusively on Kilimall. The Cubot Note S has been described as a super budget phone which is something that is appealing for the wider African market, especially young people and first time smartphone buyers. In as much as we want cheap phones, we also expect some good quality devices, something that Cubot is aiming to deliver with the Note S. As we said, partnering with Kilimall will ultimately cut the costs of this device offering it at a very competitive price. The price and the seemingly good quality of this device will definitely shake up the budget smartphone market that currently exists.

In the box

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The Cubot Note S comes in a pretty compact, smooth, plain white box with a quote on the side “Stop following, take the lead”, something that they hope the Note S will inspire maybe? Inside, we get the Note S, a clear TPU case with a misty back, a quick start guide, power brick and USB cable.

Specs

Display: 5.5 inch HD IPS 1280 x 720 pixels (267ppi) 2.5D touchable display creating smooth curved edges into the phone.

Processor: MediaTek MT6580, Quad-core processor clocked at 1.3 GHz.

Memory: 16 GB Internal storage (expandable via microSD), 2GB RAM.

Camera: 8MP Samsung rear camera with LED flash with face recognition, burst mode, HDR and panoramic view. 5MP front facing camera with intelligent beauty.

Operating system: Android 5.1 Lollipop.

Battery: Removable 4150 mAh Lithium battery.

Network: 3G/GSM and 2G/WCDMA.

Connectivity: Wi Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0

Others: Dual-SIM (microSIM), FM Radio

Colours: Matte black, pearl white and champagne gold

Thoughts

One thing that I’ll be quick to mention is the premium feel of this device. Its build quality feels and looks awesome and well thought out. The materials do not feel cheap or flimsy. It has a minimalistic, smooth to the touch (not the slippery kind) plastic rear with cut outs for the camera, LED flash and speaker grill. It has a metallic edge all around the device that gives it a strong, premium look and feel with smooth curved edges all around. They have employed a 2.5D one glass solution whereby the edges of the screen curve into the phone creating a unified fluid feel. I must admit that I love holding this device in my hands and I should note that it has some weight on it because of the huge battery but it is well balanced giving you a steady firm grip.

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Display wise that 5.5 inch HD screen offers a bright and sharp display which is pleasant but if you look closely you can pick put individual pixels as it stands at only 267ppi. I wish it was a Full HD screen but I have to remember that this is a budget phone with a couple of compromises, but I am not complaining. The colours look bright and I feel like the phone is using up the 5.5 inch real estate quite well. I can live with this screen.

Another sacrifice on the device that is unfortunate is the lack of support for 4G LTE which is a shame because this is where we are headed, but I am sure as more and more people switch to 4G then phone manufacturers will surely make it a standard, even on budget devices.

The battery is what I’ll be keen on when using this device. It has a huge 4150 mAh battery to support the 5.5 inch screen and performance of the Cubot Note S. It will be interesting to see who this fares with extensive and heavy use. Will the battery last for 2 days? Only time will tell but it should come somewhere close. One thing I have noticed is that it takes quite a while to charge up, which can be a bit frustrating if you in a hurry, but if it takes longer to discharge then I think it should be acceptable.

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I’ll be using this phone for a while and hopefully by the end of the period I’ll have answers to the questions I raised above. Overall, I like this phone from the get-go. It looks good, it feels good and works pretty well. Be sure to check out for the full review of this device in the coming weeks.

You can pre order the Cubot Note S on Kilimall  now as you wait the February 12th launch date.

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