The Cheapest Tablet with 3G Phone and Internet - the CUBE Talk 7 Review

Ever since the success of its first tablet with full phone functionalities: the Talk 79, CUBE seems determined to add more to the “Talk” line. The Talk 5H and the Talk 7 have already been on sale for some time, and the 9-inch Talk 9 will soon join the hype.
The brand new Talk 7 is made to take on the Lenovo A1000, which has similar specs in both the hardware and functionalities. The price of the Talk 7 is also a lot lower, at RMB499 ($82) it is arguably the cheapest tablet with 3G phone and internet access.
The right:

RMB499 ($82) seems pretty low-priced for a tablet with full phone functionalities, and could easily draw some attentions from budget-tight customers.
The compact and small bezel design is really nice for a device that you would be carrying around all the time, and it is much easier to hold right up to your ear than the Lenovo A1000.
The performance of the new MT8312 dual-core processor is impressive, the smoothness of the Talk 7 is something you would normally only enjoy on a flagship Android tablet.

The wrong:

The 7-inch TN panel almost ruins all the fun about the slate.
Cameras are just too poor for a device that can be used as a smartphone.

Key Features:

◇7 inch TFT display at WSVGA resolution (1024X600 pixels)
◇Weighs 320g, 191.2*106.5*9.9mm in size.
◇MTK MT8312 SoC., 1.2GHZ dual-core Cortex-A7 processor, Mali-400MP2 GPU, 1GB RAM
◇Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
◇4GB of built-in-storage, expandable by TF card
◇VGA front-facing camera; 2.0MP rear-facing camera
◇Stereo speaker
◇Bluetooth V4.0
◇GSM/WCDMA, full phone functionalities.
◇FM Radio
◇USB on the go
◇MicroSD card slot
◇Standard 3.5mm audio jack
◇1080p video playback
◇3000mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery, 5-6 hours battery life

First Impressions

The Talk 7 reminded me of the first tablet I ever had: the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000, although they do have many differences in both hardware and software, the concept is almost the same: tablet with 3G phone and internet access.

Design and Build

First thing you will notice about the Talk 7 is how small it actually is, at 191.2*106.5*9.9mm it is only slightly bigger than the Samsung Galaxy Mega (167.6 x 88 x 8 mm), tinier than most of the 7 inch 3G tablets such as the Lenovo A1000 (199*121*10.7mm) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab2 P3100 (193.7×122.4×10.5mm), which it is in direct competition against. I myself was born with small hands, but it is no effort for me to hold the Talk 7 in one hand.

The front is of course dominated by a 7-inch capacitive screen with relatively small frames, the white color of the bezel gives it an artistic look. Above the display you will also find a VGA front-facing camera and a telephone receiver, which is quite useful for phone calls. The MIC is on the lower left corner, just where it needs to be.

There are far fewer connectors than the PIPO M7pro tablet, which I tested a few weeks ago. You will only find a micro USB port useful for charging and data transmission, a 3.5mm headphone jack an SIM slot (Micro SIM) and Micro SD card slot covered in a small piece of plastic guard along the edge. The absence of HDMI port is rare for a CUBE tablet, but think of it as a phone then you will understand. The number of hardware keys are also kept to the minimum, only a power button and a volume rocker were found on the right edge. The Talk 7 measures 9.9mm in body depth, which is not thin by any of the current tablet standards, but the extra thickness actually gives the device a more solid hold and feel, compared to those super-slim Samsung tablets, which always make me worry that they could be broken in halves when there’s enough force. The plastic shell doesn’t give the tablet a cheap feel. On the contrary, the frosted craftwork of the back is really nice, preventing the Talk 7 from being another fingerprint collector. Display and Sound As you can guess from its name, the Talk 7 rocks a 7-inch display at the resolution of 1024*600, the same as the Lenovo A1000, which equates to 169 pixels-per-inch, and puts it in front of the iPad mini and the CUBE Talk 79 in terms of pixel count. However, the TN panel used by the Talk 7 has pretty lousy color saturations and contrast ratio compared to the IPS and PLS displays we are now accustomed to see on Chinese tablets. And since it is not a wide view angle LCD, you would notice obvious color distortions watching from certain angles. Compared to the disappointment that comes with the display, the Talk 7’s sound quality is actually very good. The internal AAC speaker does produce some nice punch to the sound, and the volume is high enough for you to enjoy gaming and videos without the eager to reach for a headphone.