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CUBE WP10 Review: This is not the tablet you're looking for

The CUBE WP10 is the only Windows 10 Mobile 'tablet' on the market right now, but don't buy it.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on both phones and tablets, which I'm sure many of you already knew. I wouldn't blame you if you didn't know that, however. We've only ever really seen Windows 10 Mobile on phone-sized devices, and you'll be hard-pressed to come by an actual tablet powered by Windows 10 Mobile on the market. This is odd to me, as several hardware makers have unveiled tablets running Windows 10 Mobile over the last year, yet none of them appear to have made it to market.

Well, almost none of them. One tablet called the CUBE WP10 is a 7-inch tablet/phablet you can buy on the internet right now, powered by Windows 10 Mobile and rocking relatively low-end specs. It's by no means a high-end device, but that didn't stop me from buying one and getting it express-shipped over so I could go hands on as soon as possible. That was several weeks ago, however, so how has the tablet held up?

Snapdragon 210 Powered

CUBE WP10: Specs

  • Display:
    • 6.98-inch HD display
    • 1280 x 720 resolution
    • IPS
  • Processor:
    • Snapdragon 210 Processor
    • 2GB RAM
    • 2850mAh battery
  • Storage
    • 16GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Micro-USB
  • Camera
    • 5 MP autofocus rear camera
    • 5 MP fixed-focus front camera

It's not great

CUBE WP10: Full Review

The CUBE WP10 is the first, and as far as I'm aware, the only Windows 10 Mobile tablet on the market today. It's available for sale for around $120 from online retailers such as GearBest, but I wouldn't recommend buying one. As you'll come to see in this review, the CUBE WP10 gets more wrong than it does right, which is unfortunate, to say the least. I was so looking forward to giving Windows 10 Mobile a go on tablets, but this attempt by CUBE is simply not something I can recommend to anyone.

Before we dive into the good and bad, however, let's lay down some groundwork for what this device really is. The CUBE WP10 is actually a phone, with cellular connectivity meaning you can stick a SIM in it and take phone calls. So in reality, it's more of a phablet than a tablet, but I hate the word 'phablet,' so we'll stick with tablet throughout this review.

Even though the CUBE WP10 is a phone, I've actually been using it purely as a tablet throughout my use, meaning my review is coming from a tablet-only standpoint.

Surprisingly well built

CUBE WP10: Design and Hardware

One thing the CUBE WP10 does get right, and surprisingly so, is its design. It doesn't feel bad at all in hand, and in my opinion, it certainly fits the bill as a $400 mini-tablet. It's rocking glass on the front and back, with metal surrounding the sides, which means it doesn't creak or feel cheap at all. I was honestly surprised by how nice it feels in the hand, especially for its price tag.

The CUBE WP10 comes in a glossy white color, which looks nice enough. There aren't any other color variants as far as I'm aware, with the white/silver model being the only one available online. All in all, I can say I'm impressed with the design of the CUBE WP10, but this is the only area in which the CUBE WP10 stands out. The rest is down hill from here.

Let's move around to the screen, which is nothing special to begin with. It's a standard HD IPS screen, so you can clearly see pixels especially at 7-inches. Considering this is a low-end device in the first place, this is to be expected. It's a bright screen that at this price tag I can't fault... unless the screen actually sat where it's supposed to.

I kid you not, the screen on the CUBE WP10 is in the wrong place. It sits below the viewable area by just a few pixels, leaving a noticeable gap at the top of the display and cutting off the bottom of the navigation bar and apps. This appears to be an issue on all CUBE WP10 devices, and is something I can't seem to fix.

It appears to be a software issue, as the actual LCD is positioned correctly with the frame of the display. Windows 10 Mobile just seems to think that the viewable area is slightly below where the LCD is, and it's super annoying. Because of this, the touch calibration is off a noticeable amount. For example, when drawing in Fresh Paint, the paint comes out below my finger rather than right under it. It's terrible.

Disappointment all round

CUBE WP10: Windows 10 Mobile

The main reason I found the CUBE WP10 so interesting to begin with was because it was powered by Windows 10 Mobile, and I was curious to see how the operating system would work on a tablet-sized device. To my dismay however, CUBE have done absolutely no optimization to Windows 10 Mobile at this screen size. At 7-inches, you'd expect Windows 10 Mobile to scale accordingly even at a resolution of 1280 x 720. Windows 10 Mobile on the CUBE WP10 makes no attempt at even pretending it's on a tablet. It simply blows up the standard 4-inch phone UI.

Trying to scale the UI with the built-in display size option in Settings basically made no difference and was still scaling the UI poorly at 7-inches. Windows 10 Mobile should scale well at this screen size, but on the CUBE WP10, it doesn't. Apps display as if they were on a 4-inch device, the multitasker doesn't show you 4 apps at once, and they keyboard isn't movable or snap-able to either side of the screen, as it should be at 7-inches.

You can, once lowering the display scaling to its lowest possible setting, enable the 4-column wide start screen you'd expect on a tablet, however, this doesn't change the experience anywhere else such as within apps. They still show up as if they were running on a small phone, rather than a 7-inch display. Disappointing.

So why is the experience not more optimized for 7-inches? Is this Microsoft's fault or CUBE? I can't know for definite. However, I'm fairly certain it's more CUBE's fault than Microsoft's. It looks like CUBE has done little-to-no optimization to their Windows 10 Mobile install, meaning the OS is just defaulting a lot of settings that I assume are customizable by hardware makers.

If you thought that was bad, then get a load of this. The CUBE WP10 doesn't get any updates. None at all. The Insider Program does not support it and as far as I can tell isn't getting any updates from the Production branch either. It's stuck on 10586, meaning you're left out in the cold when it comes to apps that require the Anniversary Update or newer.

Based on the display being in the wrong place, the OS scaling poorly at 7-inches and the device not being supported with any updates, I can't recommend this device at all.

What could've been

CUBE WP10: Done Right

The CUBE WP10 is abysmal out of the box, it's not something I can recommend to anyone, and I'm sure you agree with me given the issues above. However, this is Windows after all, meaning things can be tweaked with and "hacked" to work. So I did just that.

I Interop Unlocked my CUBE WP10, and with help from a few knowledgeable contacts, was able to force the CUBE WP10 onto the Anniversary Update, and enable a more tablet-scaled UI similar to that on the HP Elite x3.

There's nothing I could do about the operating system showing up slightly below the LCD, so I had to make do with that, but I was able to fix basically everything else. This made the experience far more enjoyable on the CUBE WP10, and I was finally able to experience Windows 10 Mobile on a tablet with a much more bearable UI scaling.

So how is Windows 10 Mobile on a tablet? It's exactly how you'd expect Windows 10 Mobile to be, except apps are much more fledged out and the user-experience has room to breathe. You can see much more content on screen at once, and apps scale to display more elements rather than hiding them in hamburger menus and whatnot.

The experience makes sense on a tablet, as it's essentially a simplified version of Windows 10 with powerful Universal Windows Apps. Similar to how the iPad is over, say a Mac, a Windows 10 Mobile tablet is the experience you want from Windows on a small device compared to a fully-fledged PC.

Battery life is pretty good. I can get through about a day using the tablet constantly. As it's a tablet, however, you probably won't be using it all the time. From light use, I can get through a day or two before needing to charge it again.

Unfortunately, there's still no true multitasking with 2 apps at once like on the iPad and some Android devices, but if Microsoft continues to work on Windows 10 Mobile, I wouldn't be surprised to see this show up at some point, especially if Microsoft is serious about Windows 10 Mobile on tablets.

But that's the problem, I don't think Microsoft, or anyone for that matter, are serious about Windows 10 Mobile on tablets. In fact, I'm not sure if they're serious about Windows 10 Mobile at all.

Over the last several months, you'd be right to feel hard done-by by Microsoft as a Windows 10 Mobile user, as it seems slowly but surely, less and less attention is being paid to the platform. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Windows 10 Mobile tablets are going to take off anytime soon.

Get a full Windows 10 tablet

CUBE WP10: Conclusion

So, what are my thoughts on the CUBE WP10? I think it's pretty obvious; I can't recommend this device based on the out-of-box experience and the fact that it isn't supported by updates officially or via the Windows Insider Program. Along with the odd LCD issue causing some of the content to be cut off at the bottom of the display, and the lack of optimization to the OS displaying at 7-inches, the CUBE WP10 feels more like a prototype rather than an official product you can buy.

If however, CUBE had put a little more effort into the WP10, and actually made it so the device is supported with updates and did scale the OS correctly, this would be a fantastic mini-tablet for Windows 10 Mobile fans. Forcing the more tablet-friendly scaling on the CUBE WP10 made the experience so much better, to the point in which I actually enjoyed using the device in bed in the evenings, to watch content and browse the web/email.

It's much more lightweight than, say, a full Windows 10 tablet, meaning they can be sold for cheaper with lower-end CPUs and not have to give up performance in the process. I was able to use apps like Office, Twitter, Edge and more on the CUBE WP10 and switch between them all quickly and easily without anything slowing down. The same can't be said on low-end tablets that run full Windows 10.

It's a shame because I had such high hopes for Windows 10 Mobile on tablets. It seems however that hardware makers aren't interested, and the ones that are (or, 1 in this case), don't seem to be doing the best they possibly can.

I think the future of Windows 10 on tablets lies with Windows 10 on ARM now anyway, and with upcoming updates to the Windows Shell, perhaps we could see a more tablet-orientated UI make its way to ARM tablets instead. I'm still hopeful, as that's all we have left as Windows 10 Mobile fans.

If you must buy a Windows 10 tablet right now, I'd suggest getting one with full Windows 10 and just using tablet-mode, albeit that experience isn't as good as Windows 10 Mobile's experience when optimized correctly.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

68 Comments
  • Whew...
    Thanx for the update.
    So glad I didn't buy one of these now.
  • Agreed. I had been on the fence for a while. Waiting on the Akyumen now, I guess. :(
  • Hefty price tag though. You can a Surface for that price.
  • I have a NuVision 7 inch tablet and honestly Windows 10 is horrible on that too.  Windows 8.1 should be standard for these types of devices.  Windows 8.1 had a "TRUE" tablet mode.  Windows 10 iteration is just poorly done.  And Edge is woefully, stupidly, horrendous on this size screen.  It should be the touch version you find in 8.1.  I really don't think some people realized how great 8.1 was.  Microsoft surely had that one correct.
  • But.... But... The start menu! =P
  • Repeat.
  • I bought one and I have no regret. Its a 7" phone for $120. I am using it as my main phone for the past 3 weeks. I use it to surf, to watch YouTube and to read Manga.  My phone also don't have the out of alignment problem i could see the Windows logo fully with enough gap so the writer might have got an earlier production model. I did not simlute the phone into Elite but rather a Dual Sim 950XL. Its running the latest firmware. To me I actually think the Default scaling is more comfortable for my eyes. People will better eyesight may like to scale it differently. Overall, I am happy with my $120 purchase. I rather spent less to sample W10 mobile than to paying the full price for a Microsoft retail phone.
  • I love reading honest, and straight forward reviews. I completely forgot about this device, now I see why. What a painful experience. smh. Nicely done Zac!
  • Having to "hack" to get updates is sad to read.  Also I have grown to dislike the 16:9 format for tablets.  It is so uncomfortable.
  • Wow. Thanks for this. It's a shame.
  • Great article! I have been debating buying one of these to use as a phone and replace my 640XL. Did you just use interop and vcreg to make it think its an Elite X3? Once you updated it, it actually looks pretty nice. Also did you use it at all as a phone? How was it for calls and texts?
  • I tested this in Canada, and if your in North America as a whole, your biggest hurdle will be it not having the majority, if any, of our 3G, 4G, or LTE Wireless bands. I'm working up my own review and mostly have to agree with Zac, I've managed through the same hacks to make it a decent little tablet, but the LCD thing is annoying.
  • I am in the US but very close to Canadian border (Buffalo) so I would probably run into the same issues with bands. That is a shame. Guess I'll stick with what I have.  :(
  • Yeah scott.   I found this as well when looking at some lumias like the 930.   No Lte.  No deal.  
  • Too funny.  Down vote because of no Lte.    No deal.   Pathetic fanboys
  • Nokia fanboys haha
  • I know. Just because the device did not have LTE in the band I needed, I did not buy it. I was going to grab a couple of them. Awesome devices besides not being able to work on my network so NO DEAL....instant down vote. So I am supposed to buy a device, I can't use properly on my network JUST to buy a windows device? YEAH>>>>NO!
  • Shame, I was excited about something like this
  • I think the days of treating Windows 10 Mobile as a seperate OS / product are over.  I believe Microsoft wants to get to the point where it's just Windows 10.  If you choose to run it on a mobile-sized device with mobile capabilities, go for it - and the "shell" will adjust accordingly.  But it will be just Windows 10. 
  • yes, but also there will not be any phones, as it needs high powered hardware, like rumored surface phone but there may not be regular phones with w10m eventually
  • haha, so 99% of actual WM users will not be allowed to update to the "final product" a.k.a W10? Nice idea
  • and that wouldnt be the first time for MS :)
     
  • I pretty much use your app exclusively. Going to the website via phone is horrible for me. I wish I could read all the articles from the app alone.
  • My problem is that because the app is set to open web links, pressing that link does nothing other than reload the link. Frustrating, I will just guess what is wrong with this tablet
  • This article like others has a link that says "click here to read further or post comments" on my idol 4s running 15014. The link is broken for me and the website is also not working on my edge browser. Oh well, I need to roll back anyway because of nagging Bluetooth issues.
  • Click the link and the OS will present you with 2 options.
    The first has a blank name
    The second is edge. Today I tried the first option and it returned me to the app, and the full article opened! Try it.
  • That screen did not appear when I was on 15014. I rolled back to release preview and now i see the screen you referred to. It works now, thanks
  • That is a really great review... And a great exemple of why Microsoft has to do hardware to showcase great hardware and great software...
  • My Lumia 640 is an example :)
  • Running Windows 10 on ARM, legs or even head won't make any difference without content. Just changing the architecture doesn't do anything to bring in developers or buyers. The much touted UWP didn't do it why would this be any different?
  • Killing Lumia was a mistake.
    Now there's nothing to hold the tiny market share as a fill-in before the next product (Surface phone or Win on ARM, or whatever).
  • I think it will create history. I guess this will be the final stage of unification. Microsoft is making a universal adaptable skin.
  • I think it will create history. I guess this will be the final stage of unification. Microsoft is making a universal adaptable skin.
  • I think it will create history. I guess this will be the final stage of unification. Microsoft is making a universal adaptable skin.
  • I think it will create history. I guess this will be the final stage of unification. Microsoft is making a universal adaptable skin.
  • Wow, good to see an honest adnission. "But that's the problem, I don't think Microsoft, or anyone for that matter, are serious about Windows 10 Mobile on tablets. In fact, I'm not sure if they're serious about Windows 10 Mobile at all." Glad you didnt bring bots n bridges to the discussion  
  • You can still find the L1520 on the net. Still loving mine.
  • The 1320 is also pretty good. And the 640XL
  • love my big red too
  • Love all three of those phones. :)
  • Except for the display/touch registration issue, most of the negatives make this a potentially a good device for an older person. It's large screen and resolution settings mean that tiles and text are large, making them easy to see. I could imagine my mother using this to see the time, weather, and other basic info without having to do anything (i.e., not even having to touch it). A pill minder app could show which medications are needed next and when. Tiles for key contacts could be pinned to make it easy to call us. Plus, the device is dirt cheap. I wonder if they can fix the display/touch registration issue through a software update.
  • As I have a Cube WP10, I would be interested to see what changes you did to it after unlocking it. ​But I think it is very usable as it is. A new firmware for it which fix the issues would be great, but I don't think they will ever do.  
  • I suppose that expectation generally pre-defines experience. Or so it seems here. I bought the Cube WP10 to give to my father-in-law as an off-line GPS device. I was bummed out about it being stuck with anniversary update, so I also hacked it and downloaded the latest insider build. I also had to change country and language packs, but it does quite a nice job as a free GPS and a pleasantly-sized device for browsing the internet.  In fact, I actually go to it first when I want to look something up from the comfort of my den recliner. Bigger than a phone, but without the delay and OS burden of my laptop.  I have yet to use it as a phone. And, perhaps more significantly, I have yet to give it to my pa-in-law. Remember, I picked up this dual sim, expandable memory device for about $100. It has met expectations, and then some.  I do anticipate that I will brick it one day, with an incompatible update.
  • I think you can install full Windows 10 on this device after it supports ARM. That may solve this problem. Although, it will be difficult to get the drivers I guess.
  • Not much chance of that. Win 10 on ARM will supposedly only run on Snapdragon 820 and higher CPU's (835 is the reference design).  
  • Thought they said 835 and up? The 820 was only for a demo
  • Just the 835. Even if say HP elite X3 could Would need a whole new install from mobile to w10 for ARM
  • 2012- Yeah. my Lumia 520 is still going strong despite endless crashes and resets. The one and only smartphone i ever had (surprise surprise!)
  • If it had decent specs (at least a 617), it would totally have made for a good tablet-only experience.
  • This device was never a consideration.
  • I caught an eye when Cube first announced it was coming. Went to their site looked at the spects, and then never read up on it again..until I read this article just now I avoided it.  Glad I did.  Why are these Chinese OEMs doing W10M like this?  Any ideas?
  • Hmmm, I've been using an 8 inch tablet made by Digiland (DL808W) that I got as a gift with Windows 10 installed on it. It is pretty low end and not the fastest. It has a Intel Atom CPU QUAD CORE with 1GB RAM and 800 x 1280 resolution display - 32GB internal storage. Had no problems updating it to the Anniversary update and currently using the latest cumulative update. Do not have problems with scaling like was mentioned with the CUBE. Because the 1GB of RAM as mentioned you won't get lighting speed but it moves around pretty good. It think it works best in tablet mode but having been using it out of tablet mode because that's what I prefer. The display resolution is not the best but for the price I think the tablet is good running on Windows 10.
  • I have the same tablet. My only concern is the not so smooth touch screen, things jitter a lot. It's real smooth with a mouse though. Good tablet for It's price.
  • Agree with the touch screen but I haven't seen any jittering though, I will have to try the tablet with a mouse. Thanks
  • it running w10m
  • Off topic, but can anyone help me . I havent been able to download language keyboards after the latest Win mob 10 update on my Lumia 735. I cannot also download windows insider app. Its stressing me out now. 🙁
  • So this is yet more electronic junk not worth buying. I am sick of companies making more junk for the landfill. This could have been good, but when do more than puting an OS on a rsndome device...
  • Why does some of the articles show "Click here to continue reading or post comments" in UWP (mobile) app?
  • Without a landscape start screen W10M on a tablet is nonsense anyway
  • https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NhGyoUfRJEE
    How come you never give an example of the media experience. I wouldn't consider buying a larger device at this price point for any thing else but. Netflix, YouTube, and mobile sports apps, would be ideal for those dimensions. I would find, if displayed properly, this to be a spot on price for a glorified mini monitor.
  • This phone is a full fledge W10M device capable of running the latest Microsoft issued firmware so the media experience is similar to any other Lumia device. I using it for Metrotube, Manga Blaze, VLC so everything work well as it should. WP10M is becoming more and more stable with each Microsoft firmware release. I also have many Android phones but I like the W10M start screen so Cube is primary phone for now. Do note that LTE is supported on Band 1800/2100 only which happen to be my telco band so the phone is fast and responsive to me. The sound is coming from the ear piece loud speaker which is only loud enough for bedroom movie watching but not quite enough for outdoor. Another positive is the stereo jack is able to provide a detail, transparent sound with tight low quite to my surprise. I thought the OEM might have cut corner on that too but well I happy with the sound it provide to my Mi Headphone. http://xiaomi-mi.com/headphones/xiaomi-mi-headphones-goldblack/
  • Thank you for that response I'm really
    considering buying that tablet in spite of bad update.
  • http://techzerker.com/2016/12/cube-wp10-windows-phone-enable-windows-upd... Interloop hack to covert it into a Dual Sim Lumia 950XL which enable you to receive all the Microsoft update. Buy from the source to avoid OEM putting suspious provisional file, for warranty and newer refresh model. http://www.cube-tablet.com/cube-wp10.html
  • Guys, What about this one? http://www.lazada.com.my/microsoft-wise-pad-w7-4g-lte-16gb-windows-10-gr...
  • I'm using one and in general I'm very happy with the purchase as I knew very well its pros and cons before it. Except its know issues (mainly LCD alignment and lack of firmware update and support for OS upgrade, which are most annoying), it's a good phablet for basic usage of phoning, internet browsing, and reading. With the good metro file manager, I can stream multi-GB sized movies over LAN from my file server. I'm not a game fan at all, so i'm not concerned about that part (but remember from a review, it can still do some games ok). i mainly use it for pdf/book reading and i find it serves the purpose extremely well and it fits into almost all standard pockets (of mainly male clothing) very well. even with the (temporary?) downturn of UWP apps, i have most apps i need and they ornament a good start screen. I would recommend this to anyone not too fussy about the aspects it falls short of and with a similar expectation of the device to mine.
  • I'm using one and in general I'm very happy with it as I knew very well its pros and cons before the purchase. Except its know issues (mainly LCD alignment and lack of firmware update and support for OS upgrade, which are most annoying), it's a good phablet for basic phone, internet browsing, and reading purpose. with the good metro file manager, i can stream multi-GB sized movies over LAN from my file server. I'm not a game fan at all, i'm not concerned about that part. i mainly use it for pdf/book reading and i find it serves the purpose extremely well and it fits into almost all standard pockets. even with the (temporary?) downturn of UWP apps, i have most apps i need and they ornament a good start screen. I would recommend this to anyone not too fussy about the aspects it falls short of and with a similar expectation of the device to mine.
  • Just a quick update my cube W10M is now on OS build 14393.953 production release. Cheapest 7" phablet I have bought that well worth the 100 odd bucks.
  • My cube just updated to14393.1066. No sure what the underhood changes are but W10M are much more stable than when i first use it. Should have launch the platform at this stage of development. They would have a much better shot of higher user acceptance.