It’s not unusual for a new smartphone brand to enter Nepal. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of Cubot before. Well, let’s start the review of the Cubot J3 with the introduction of the brand itself. Cubot is a Shenzhen based Chinese brand who recently entered the Nepalese smartphone market. The company is mostly making entry-level smartphone catering to the needs of consumers looking to buy a budget smartphone.
The Cubot J3 is the most affordable smartphone Cubot sells at the moment. The price of Cubot J3 in Nepal is Rs. 9,500 and the features it offers is up there with the competition. The USP of the phone undoubtedly is its software. The phone runs on Android Go which makes the phone operation smooth and UI intuitive. But what else does the phone offer? Well, let’s find out.
The Cubot J3 has a generic look but at the same time, the materials used seem to be of high quality. While it doesn’t look premium in any way, it doesn’t look as if it will fall apart in a short period of time. The same cannot be said about other smartphones in this price range.
The phone is made out of polycarbonate (a fancy name for plastic) and it also features a removable back. This is something that we don’t see in any phone today, irrespective of the price range.
On the front, there’s a 5-inch display with a front facing camera on top. Unlike most of the phones where you will find the Micro-USB port on the bottom, the Cubot J3 has it on the top. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone on the top. On the right of the phone, you will find a power button and the volume rocker. The left side of the phone doesn’t have any port or buttons.
On the bottom is where you will find the single-firing speaker which sits beside the microphone to pick up your voice during calls.
The Cubot J3 features a 5-inch TN (non-IPS) 480p display, which in all honesty, doesn’t look all that good. And it has to be the biggest weakness of the phone. While the phone gets decently bright, the viewing angles are horrendous. We expected at least an HD display at the given price point.
That said, not everyone will find the display terrible as I, in particular, am used to seeing Full HD+ and QHD+ display all the time. If you are coming from a bar phone, you may find the display decent but if you are used to seeing IPS HD+ display, the display isn’t going to impress you in any way.
The Cubot J3 performs quite well in this department. Powered by MediaTek MT6580 SoC, the performance of the phone is slightly better than its direct competitors. One reason for the smooth performance of the phone has to be the use of the Android GO OS which is designed by Google specifically for entry-level Android phones. And trust me, the phone feels smooth.
The phone easily handles app likes Facebook and Viber. I tried testing the Instagram app and tried playing Temple Run 2 on the phone and it worked like a charm. With that said, don’t expect to play games like PUBG on this phone as it simply cannot handle it.
The J3 features 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage which is a good combination at this price range. The 16GB of internal storage is better than what most rivals offer.
The Cubot J3 features 2 cameras- one at the back and one on the front. The cameras are decent and something we expected at this price point. On broad daylight, the phone performs nicely. However, as the natural lighting goes away with sunshine, the phone starts to show its limitation. However, using the flash can remedy this problem.
The 5MP front camera on the J3 is decent too. Just like the rear camera, the front camera also performs good on daylight and performs so-so when it starts getting darker.
The software has to be the best part of the Cubot J3. There’s no Chinese phone bloat in here. It’s pure Android and the phone runs smoothly. The hardware and the software pretty much assure that there is no lag or stutter.
The phone runs on Android 8.0 GO edition. The OS is basically a stripped down version of Oreo which manages the resources exceptionally well. Even though the phone has only 1 GB of RAM, thanks to the optimization in the software, the phone runs really smooth. I found it to be true throughout my 5 weeks of using this phone.
Also Read: Xiaomi Redmi Go launched in Nepal
The J3, even though is an Android GO smartphone has some neat baked-in features. One worth mentioning is the inclusion of Face Unlock feature which lets you unlock your phone using the front-facing camera. You can also find some minor tweaks across the UI and also in the settings of the phone.
The J3 is powered by a 2000mAh user-replaceable lithium-ion battery. While the capacity may sound underwhelming, during my usage, I found, that’s clearly not the case. The phone easily lasted a whole day with ease. Even if you are a power-user, you can rest assured that the phone will last the whole day before dying out.
And with the replaceable battery, you don’t have to worry about your phone’s battery replacement. You can do it yourself at home, that too in seconds!
Cubot J3 Review: Verdict
All-in-all, the Cubot J3 is a decent smartphone for the price. While the display leaves you wanting for more, everyone else is on par with what you can expect from an entry-level Android smartphone. The phone is a prime example of how Android Go can improve the usability of a phone significantly.
Again, the price of Cubot J3 in Nepal is Rs. 9,500. At this price, you shouldn’t be expecting too much from a phone. Cubot J3 is undoubtedly a phone worth checking out if you are looking for a phone under Rs. 10,000.