I don’t typically review devices in this blog not unless I’m in possession of said devices. This is no exception as two weeks ago I got myself my first Android device in two years after taking a brief hiatus from the platform.
This was an impulse buy prompted by two things: frustrations, or rather impatience, by my current device of two years and two, the sighting of this “ultra cheap” budget Android device by the name of VSun Cube+.
Having taken a gamble by purchasing this phone without finding any
worthwhile review for it on the internet, I thought I might do one for
those of you that are considering getting it.
2018 Update: It would seem the device comes preloaded with adware that’s packaged as the software update app. For that reason I can no longer in good conscience recommend this device or the Vsun brand.
Vsun Cube+ Device Specifications
|The VSun Cube+ (White Variant)|
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
CPU: 1.5GHz Quad-Core Processor (Spreadtrum sc9830)
GPU: Mali-400 MP2
RAM: 1 GB
ROM: 8 GB (5.4 GB Usable)
SD Card Slot (Expandable up to 128GB)
5MP Rear Camera + Flash
2MP Front Camera
Full Function 4G/LTE (with VoLTE)
Dual Sim Card – SIM Card 1 (4G/3G/2G) / SIM Card 2 (2G Only)
Charger + USB Cable
Earphones (with button + mic)
Colour Options: White, Black
1. 4G/LTE Support
By far the biggest selling point of this phone is that it supports 4G/LTE. Not many devices in its price range can boast of this as most of them are still shipping with 3G. Its 4G/LTE mode supports different 4G modes (TD-LTE, LTE-FDD) so it should work with almost any carrier worldwide.
In addition to this it supports Voice over LTE (VoLTE) though at the moment no carrier in my country supports it. So for future purposes and relevancy, this makes for a good investment.
2. Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
The phone ships with Android 6.0 which I know is not the latest but for retail it’s seems to be the “latest”. While looking around for a phone, it was evident that only a handful of devices were running Nougat (7.0) and even then, these were mostly the high end variety. Most devices I saw were in fact running Lollipop (5.0).
Regarding the experience, it’s nearly stock. There’s no bloat here really with the exception of Facebook which you can easily uninstall.
|Stock Homescreen and App Drawer|
Unlike most OEMs nowadays, VSun Mobility does a good job accessorizing their device. You get the usual charger and data cable, but they also throw in some earphones, a hard transparent back cover and a screen guard.
The earphones give some decent audio quality but the build is rather cheap, so you may want to invest in something more durable.
The cover is good enough and much welcomed addition seeing the back cover of the device is somewhat slippery.
The screen guard on the other hand is crap to be honest. Mine started getting scratches on the first day and as of now it makes the phone look a year old or so. Suffice to say, I’ll be getting rid of it soon. If you absolutely need one, save yourself the trouble and get a quality one instead.
The hardware is nothing to talk about (other than 4G) but the fact that the SD Card supports up to 128GB came as surprise. Also, thanks to having no bloat you get 5.4GB of storage in the internal storage which is more than enough for some people.
1. Dual Sim Implementation
The dual sim mode in this device supports 4G/3G/2G on the first slot while the second slot is 2G only. It would really have been nice if the second slot would at least support 3G.
2. Poor Camera
For the price, the camera is good enough I presume. In good natural light, both the front and back cameras takes some decent enough photos and videos. In low light and artificial light however, the photos are dark and with noticeable artifacts. So I guess, if you’re the selfie enthusiast or the budding photographer, this phone is not for you.
3. In Call Speaker
I’ve noticed the in-call speaker in this phone is rather too low. In noisy environments, the maximum volume doesn’t cut it and so it becomes hard to hear the person on the other end. In such situations, you may have therefore to resort to using the earphones which are fortunately equipped with a button and mic or just to using the loud speaker.
4. Small Battery
The advertised battery capacity is 1800mAh though apps report mine at 2050mAh. This should get you by through the day on light to moderate use. With heavy use, such as power hungry games/apps and heavy 4G/Wi-Fi use, I doubt whether it can last a whole day.
Rooting and Customizations
The VSun Cube+ is proving to be quite hard to root for myself. Part of the reason for this is because it’s not exactly a popular device so the demand for this and other customizations are rather low. As such, it’s not just rooting but also installing custom recoveries and ROMs may prove problematic for this device in the long run.
I’ve tried rooting it the “questionable” way using some of the popular one-click root tools (i.e King Root, Kingo Root, SRS Root, Frama Root, Towel Root etc.) but all of them have failed spectacularly.
I take it if you love modding your samrtphone phone this may not exactly be a good fit for you. For that you’re better of going for a more popular brand which is guaranteed to have more support.
So as you can tell from the specs, this is very much a budget smartphone. I got mine for a paltry $40 from an online retailer, though that was a mighty discounted price. The original price quoted was almost double that amount however I doubt it was originally that expensive (clever marketing trick there).
Regardless, for the goods you get on this phone, it’s surprising you get that whole package with that price tag.
And just to make it clear, the SOC from Spreadtrum (the sc9830) is not a bad thing. I didn’t mention this earlier because this is not exactly a device pegged on scoring high points in benchmarks. The performance is sufficient and comparable to other low-end SOCs from their competitors. So don’t frown on the fact that it’s not a Qualcomm or MediaTek.
But of course, with such a price tag some huge compromises are to be expected as observed in the cons. If you can’t live with those compromises, this phone might just be not for you.
For me, well, it suits my needs for now. Hopefully it will last me another 2-4 years like my previous budget Android device which is surprisingly turning 5 years this December. Budget smartphones are really proving to be my thing.