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Cube i9 Tablet - Windows 10 and Core m3 Review

Klaus Hinum, Katja Steyrleuthner (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 06/13/2016

Chinese Surface Pro. Cube aims to challenge Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 with a Skylake Core m3-6Y30 CPU, 12-inch touchscreen, aluminum casing and an M.2 SSD. In this comparison report you will find out what concessions have had to be made.

For the original German review, see here.

Cube i9 (i9 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 515, Core: 500-797 MHz, Memory: 932 MHz
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
12.2 inch 16:10, 1920 x 1200 pixel 186 PPI, multitouch, KDC0000, IPS, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-Y Premium PCH
Storage
FORESEE 128GB O1229B, 128 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: headset, Card Reader: micro-SD, Sensors: Kionix KXCJ9 3-axis accelerometer, keyboard dock
Networking
Realtek RTL8723B USB 2.0 (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9 x 303 x 195 ( = 0.35 x 11.93 x 7.68 in)
Battery
38 Wh, 10000 mAh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 5 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Primary Camera: 5 MPix
Secondary Camera: 2 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, 12 Months Warranty, fanless
Released
02/01/2016
Weight
965 g ( = 34.04 oz / 2.13 pounds), Power Supply: 179 g ( = 6.31 oz / 0.39 pounds)
Price
529 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The large tablet leaves a good impression. The aluminum back looks high-quality and feels good. The design is clearly based on that of Microsoft's Surface series. Although the torsional stability is decent, quiet creaking noises are produced when the tablet is twisted. Both build and gap spacing are good; the user will not notice any major cutbacks to keep the price low here.

As with the older Surface Pro 2, the integrated kickstand can be locked in two positions and functioned impeccably in the test.

303 mm / 11.9 inch 195 mm / 7.68 inch 9 mm / 0.3543 inch 965 g2.13 lbs300 mm / 11.8 inch 202 mm / 7.95 inch 9 mm / 0.3543 inch 825 g1.819 lbs292 mm / 11.5 inch 201 mm / 7.91 inch 9 mm / 0.3543 inch 810 g1.786 lbs292 mm / 11.5 inch 202 mm / 7.95 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 1.1 kg2.35 lbs292.1 mm / 11.5 inch 201.4 mm / 7.93 inch 8.4 mm / 0.3307 inch 1.1 kg2.41 lbs290.3 mm / 11.4 inch 198.8 mm / 7.83 inch 6.3 mm / 0.248 inch 693 g1.528 lbs267 mm / 10.5 inch 187 mm / 7.36 inch 8.7 mm / 0.3425 inch 917 g2.02 lbs

Connectivity

Both integrated webcams are actually only suitable for undemanding videoconferencing and photographing bills. Their outcomes are acceptable for these purposes.

Rear-facing camera color accuracy
Rear-facing camera color accuracy
Rear-facing camera sharpness
Rear-facing camera sharpness
Front-facing camera color accuracy
Front-facing camera color accuracy
Front-facing camera
Front-facing camera

All interfaces are situated on the Cube i9's left. The dedicated power-in and the option of recharging the tablet via USB-C are pleasing. However, the HDMI-out incorporated in the USB-C port is a problem. Adapter cables are expensive and do not always function (see review of Dell's docks by Techtablets.com where HDMI and DisplayPort did not function).

Headset, USB-C 3.0 (with HDMI), power-in, micro-SD, USB 3.0, speaker
Headset, USB-C 3.0 (with HDMI), power-in, micro-SD, USB 3.0, speaker

Communication

Sadly, Cube has made some cutbacks in the integrated Wi-Fi module. The user will not find a modern 802.11ac Wi-Fi module, but rather only Realtek's RTL8723B USB 2.0 module. It transmitted at a maximum of 90 MB/s via 802.11n in the test using a Linksys EA8500. The connection often disrupted at the beginning of the test, but was stable later. With 45 MBit/s measured at one meter (~3 ft) from the router in the standardized test, it clearly lags behind current AC Wi-Fi laptops, tablets and smartphones. However, it achieves the usual data rates when compared with entry-level devices.

Security

The Core m3 offers TPM 2.0 features for Windows 10, which are also listed in the BIOS (can be accessed using the connected keyboard via ESC key while booting).

Accessories

Cube offers a Surface Pro-like keyboard dock as an accessory. The linked stylus by Gearbest is only a normal capacitive touchscreen pen. Our review sample does not support pressure levels.

Warranty

Gearbest includes a one-year warranty on its products that also applies to the Cube i9.

Maintenance

The Cube i9's aluminum back cover is fixed by 6 Torx (T4) screws. The tray can be pried off with some skill and a plastic spudger (best from below). However, the plastic bezel could be scratched. After this, it is possible to access the bolted battery.

Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
570 MBit/s ∼100% +1158%
Cube i9
45.3 (min: 39.8, max: 50.3) MBit/s ∼8%
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
24.3 MBit/s ∼4% -46%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
397 MBit/s ∼100% +806%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761 (Hinum)
115 MBit/s ∼29% +163%
Motorola Moto X Play (Hinum)
107 MBit/s ∼27% +144%
MSI CX61 2QC 2970M MS-16GD
45.3 MBit/s ∼11% +3%
Cube i9
43.8 (min: 39.1, max: 50.2) MBit/s ∼11%
Chuwi Hi12
43 MBit/s ∼11% -2%

Input Devices

Keyboard

Cube has preloaded the standard Windows 10 on-screen keyboard in the i9. The generous, 12-inch touchscreen is comfortable to use and offers a decent layout.

The quality of the physical volume buttons and power button are average to good. However, the touch-sensitive Windows key was conspicuous; twisting or touching was sometimes enough to trigger it - probably a hardware bug in our review sample.

Touchscreen

The multi-touchscreen offered a very good accuracy in the test. Although the pen that we also ordered was a conventional stylus that functions on all touchscreens, it proved the screen's accuracy. The lines in Paint were always under the tip of the stylus. The response times were not bad, but not particularly good, either. The touchscreen rarely skipped inputs made with the fingers. This seemed to lessen even further after removing the screen protector applied by the manufacturer. Overall, the touchscreen made a good impression.

Display

The Cube 9 has a lightly roughened surface even without the screen protector
The Cube 9 has a lightly roughened surface even without the screen protector

The 12.2-inch IPS panel is the KDC0000 (ID) model and has a resolution of 1920x1200 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:10. As the microscope screenshot shows, the screen's surface is grainy, but it is not really matte. With an average of 260 Candela, the brightness of our review sample is not particularly high. However, it is pleasing that it does not dim in battery mode. The combination of a glossy screen and 260 Candela is not ideal for outdoor use, but it is enough for use in the shade. Thanks to the low black level, the contrast ratio is good. The backlight can also be dimmed considerably to 6 cd/m², making it possible, for example, to read comfortably in the dark.

The illumination of 77% is not particularly good; the screen visibly darkens from top to bottom. Slight backlight bleeding is also noticeable at the right edge on dark backgrounds. However, that is not annoying during normal desktop use. Our review sample exhibited a small flaw in the background foil that is to distribute the light evenly. Thus, a small brighter spot is seen in the center area - not nice, but probably an isolated case.

Unlike the Surface Pro 4, the touchscreen is not glued directly to the overlying glass, creating a visible space to the front. Although the gap is smaller than, for example, in Chuwi's Hi12 it is still clearly visible.

294
cd/m²
278
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
263
cd/m²
274
cd/m²
229
cd/m²
242
cd/m²
235
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 298 cd/m² Average: 262.6 cd/m² Minimum: 5.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 77 %
Center on Battery: 263 cd/m²
Contrast: 939:1 (Black: 0.28 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.1 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 3.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
76.2% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 57.7% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.25
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA (16, 31)
47 ms * ∼100% -26%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3 (17.2, 28.8)
46 ms * ∼98% -24%
Cube i9 (16.4, 20.8)
37.2 ms * ∼79%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (11.2, 17.2)
28.4 ms * ∼60% +24%
Chuwi Hi12 (11.6, 16.4)
28 ms * ∼60% +25%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0 (10, 15)
25 ms * ∼53% +33%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK (13, 10)
23 ms * ∼49% +38%
Response Time Black / White
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3 (6, 25.2)
31 ms * ∼100% -29%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA (5, 21)
26 ms * ∼84% -8%
Cube i9 (9.2, 14.8)
24 ms * ∼77%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK (11, 8)
19 ms * ∼61% +21%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0 (4, 14)
18 ms * ∼58% +25%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (3.6, 14)
17.6 ms * ∼57% +27%
Chuwi Hi12 (5.2, 10.8)
16 ms * ∼52% +33%
PWM Frequency
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (49)
222.2 Hz ∼100% +11%
Cube i9 (99, 255)
200 Hz ∼90%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3 (50)
50 Hz ∼23% -75%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK (70)
50 Hz ∼23% -75%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
0 Hz ∼0% -100%
Chuwi Hi12
0 Hz ∼0% -100%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
0 Hz ∼0% -100%
Screen
Brightness middle
Cube i9
263 cd/m² ∼88%
Chuwi Hi12
293 cd/m² ∼98%
Microsoft Surface 3
399 cd/m² ∼133%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
355.3 cd/m² ∼118%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
389.2 cd/m² ∼130%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
353 cd/m² ∼118%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
383 cd/m² ∼128%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
342.4 cd/m² ∼114%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
363 cd/m² ∼121%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
300 cd/m² ∼100%
Brightness
Cube i9
263 cd/m² ∼93%
Chuwi Hi12
277 cd/m² ∼98%
Microsoft Surface 3
380 cd/m² ∼134%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
338 cd/m² ∼119%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
392 cd/m² ∼138%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
347 cd/m² ∼122%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
378 cd/m² ∼133%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
315 cd/m² ∼111%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
378 cd/m² ∼133%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
284 cd/m² ∼100%
Brightness Distribution
Cube i9
77 % ∼94%
Chuwi Hi12
89 % ∼109%
Microsoft Surface 3
90 % ∼110%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
91 % ∼111%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
92 % ∼112%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
91 % ∼111%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
92 % ∼112%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
85 % ∼104%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
90 % ∼110%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
82 % ∼100%
Black Level
Cube i9
0.28 cd/m² * ∼85%
Chuwi Hi12
0.256 cd/m² * ∼78%
Microsoft Surface 3
0.49 cd/m² * ∼148%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
0.33 cd/m² * ∼100%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
0.27 cd/m² * ∼82%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
0.44 cd/m² * ∼133%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
0.34 cd/m² * ∼103%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
0.744 cd/m² * ∼225%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
0.03 cd/m² * ∼9%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
0.33 cd/m² * ∼100%
Contrast
Cube i9
939 :1 ∼103%
Chuwi Hi12
1145 :1 ∼126%
Microsoft Surface 3
814 :1 ∼90%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
1077 :1 ∼118%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
1441 :1 ∼159%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
802 :1 ∼88%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
1126 :1 ∼124%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
460 :1 ∼51%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
12100 :1 ∼1331%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
909 :1 ∼100%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000
Cube i9
4.1 * ∼52%
Chuwi Hi12
5.2 * ∼66%
Microsoft Surface 3
1.66 * ∼21%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
4.72 * ∼60%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
3.61 * ∼46%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
6.09 * ∼77%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
4.8 * ∼61%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
5.33 * ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
4.8 * ∼61%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
7.87 * ∼100%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max.
Cube i9
12.1 * ∼68%
Chuwi Hi12
11.4 * ∼64%
Microsoft Surface 3
3.24 * ∼18%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
8.77 * ∼49%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
9.25 * ∼52%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
6.91 * ∼39%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
17.75 * ∼100%
Greyscale DeltaE2000
Cube i9
3.8 * ∼45%
Chuwi Hi12
8.5 * ∼101%
Microsoft Surface 3
2.75 * ∼33%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
6.53 * ∼77%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
3.8 * ∼45%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
6.24 * ∼74%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
2.8 * ∼33%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
5.36 * ∼63%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
5.04 * ∼60%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
8.45 * ∼100%
Gamma
Cube i9
2.25 ∼93%
Chuwi Hi12
2.21 ∼91%
Microsoft Surface 3
2.22 ∼92%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
2.17 ∼90%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
2.16 ∼89%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
2.41 ∼100%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
2.25 ∼93%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
2.12 ∼88%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
2.57 ∼106%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
2.42 ∼100%
CCT
Cube i9
6433 ∼94%
Chuwi Hi12
7048 ∼103%
Microsoft Surface 3
6358 ∼93%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
6707 ∼98%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
5969 ∼87%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
7238 ∼106%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
6676 ∼97%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
7671 ∼112%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
7255 ∼106%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
6856 ∼100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
Cube i9
57.7 % ∼141%
Chuwi Hi12
62 % ∼151%
Microsoft Surface 3
64.4 % ∼157%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
59.37 % ∼145%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
63 % ∼154%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
46 % ∼112%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
41 % ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
57 % ∼139%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
73 % ∼178%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
41 % ∼100%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
Cube i9
76.2 % ∼119%
Chuwi Hi12
82.5 % ∼129%
Microsoft Surface 3
98.8 % ∼154%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
97 % ∼152%
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA
71 % ∼111%
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0
64 % ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet
93 % ∼145%
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK
64 % ∼100%

Legend

 
Cube i9 Intel Core m3-6Y30, Intel HD Graphics 515, FORESEE 128GB O1229B
 
Chuwi Hi12 Intel Atom x5-Z8300, Intel HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), Hynix HCG8E 64 GB
 
Microsoft Surface 3 Intel Atom x7-Z8700, Intel HD Graphics (Cherry Trail), 128 GB eMMC Flash
 
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Intel Core i5-4300U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Hynix HFS128G3MNM
 
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3 Intel Core m3-6Y30, Intel HD Graphics 515, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
 
HP Spectre x2 12-a003ng K3D42EA Intel Core m7-6Y75, Intel HD Graphics 515, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
 
Acer Aspire Switch 12S SW7-272-M3A0 Intel Core m3-6Y30, Intel HD Graphics 515, Lite-On CV1-8B128
 
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Intel Core m7-6Y75, Intel HD Graphics 515, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N Intel Core m3-6Y30, Intel HD Graphics 515, Lite-On CV1-8B128
 
Lenovo Yoga 700-11ISK Intel Core m3-6Y30, Intel HD Graphics 515, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP

* ... smaller is better

The screen's color accuracy is not bad in the state of delivery. Although the grayscale levels are evidently shifted, they do not deviate that much from the ideal. The dE2000 rate of 3.8 confirms this. Primarily the red test rates indicate a clear shift in colors where visible differences can be seen. However, the average of 4.1 is not bad

Grayscale
Grayscale
ColorChecker colors
ColorChecker colors

Unfortunately, Cube uses PWM at a relatively low frequency of 200 Hertz for reducing the brightness. The backlight remains stable only at the maximum brightness of 100% and 260 cd/m². This becomes visible when filming the screen at 120 FPS. The Cube i9 is therefore not a suitable work device for sensitive users. Eye strain and headaches could be the result of prolonged use with reduced brightness.

The screen's response times are good for an IPS panel. However, it is naturally weak compared with gaming desktops (5 ms is desirable here).

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
24 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 9.2 ms rise
↘ 14.8 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 33 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.2 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
37.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16.4 ms rise
↘ 20.8 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 34 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (40.2 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 200 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting
≤ 255 cd/m² brightness

The display backlight flickers at 200 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % (255 cd/m²) and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 200 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

Flickering occurs even at high brightness setting and may have an effect on the user during everyday use.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9439 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Thanks to the IPS technology, colors remain stable from all viewing angles. There is no reason for complaint here.

Performance

The latest Skylake Core m3 processor alongside an integrated graphics unit is installed in Cube's i9. It can fall back on 4 GB (LP) DDR3 1866 10-10-10-28 CR1 in dual-channel mode (according to Everest). The memory fares well with 25000 to 27000 MB/s in the read, write and copy benchmark of AIDA64. Only the latency of 129 ns is weak. The transfer rates are similar to those of HP's EliteBook Folio G1, although the EliteBook's latencies of 112 ns are better. Compared with a Broadwell-based i7-5700HQ in MSI's GP52 with DDR3-1600 (dual-channel), the storage does a good job in the transfer (e.g. 23000 MB/s in read test). However, the normal DDR3 memory is considerably faster with a latency of 71 ns.

DPC Latency: Idle (1h)
DPC Latency: Idle (1h)
DPC Latency: While browsing
DPC Latency: While browsing
FurMark and Prime95 during load
FurMark and Prime95 during load
Cinebench R15 Multi clock rates and temperature
Cinebench R15 Multi clock rates and temperature
USB-C performance with ADATA SSD
USB-C performance with ADATA SSD
4K YouTube: Smooth without frame drops
4K YouTube: Smooth without frame drops

Processor

The processing performance of the passively cooled Core m3-6Y30 is very good, particularly when compared with the common Atom processors. The concept of routing the heat to the aluminum casing via thermal pads apparently functions sufficiently well when looking at the performance over several Cinebench 15 runs. However, tips on how to improve the cooling using a copper piece and thermal paste already exist on the Internet (see the YouTube video by Scott Roebuck).

Cube's i9 lags slightly behind the other rivals  based on the same CPU. Microsoft and Samsung achieved marginally better scores in the multithread test and considerably better scores in the single thread with their premium tablets.

The first run benefits from the first seconds of high Turbo and the performance remains stable for a relatively long time. However, the performance drops again clearly after about 25 minutes.
The first run benefits from the first seconds of high Turbo and the performance remains stable for a relatively long time. However, the performance drops again clearly after about 25 minutes.
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 32Bit
24.5 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 32Bit
1.77 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 32Bit
0.87 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
192 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
73 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel Core i5-6300U
122 Points ∼100% +67%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
91 Points ∼75% +25%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
90 Points ∼74% +23%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
88 Points ∼72% +21%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
86 Points ∼70% +18%
Cube i9
Intel Core m3-6Y30
73 Points ∼60%
Microsoft Surface 3
Intel Atom x7-Z8700
38 Points ∼31% -48%
Chuwi Hi12
Intel Atom x5-Z8300
31 Points ∼25% -58%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel Core i5-6300U
306 Points ∼100% +59%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
218 Points ∼71% +14%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
206 Points ∼67% +7%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
204 Points ∼67% +6%
Cube i9
Intel Core m3-6Y30
192 Points ∼63%
Microsoft Surface 3
Intel Atom x7-Z8700
134 Points ∼44% -30%
Chuwi Hi12
Intel Atom x5-Z8300
99 Points ∼32% -48%

System Performance

We measure the system performance with PCMark 8 Home Test. Cube's i9 fares well compared with other Skylake-based Core m laptops and tablets. The ZenBook UX305CA is the fastest 6Y30 device in the test with a lead of 8%. Generally, the fastest device is Dell's Latitude 13 7370 with 6Y57 with a lead of 16%. The MacBook 12 and Surface Pro 4 with Core m3 are both outrun slightly (97% and 92% of the performance). The Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N finishes last with just 84%.

Compared with other Windows tablets, the i9 does a superb job and is virtually just as fast as the Latitude 11 5175 with a Core m5-6Y57Chuwi's Hi12, the cheapest rival with a Cherry Trail Atom CPU, achieves only 40% of the performance in PCMark.

The subjective experiences support the measured rates. The Core m3 is noticeably faster than the x5-Z830 in Chuwi's Hi12 or Vi8. There were no performance issues during routine work on the Internet, photos and videos.

PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2628 points
Help
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel Core i5-6300U
2770 Points ∼100% +5%
Cube i9
Intel Core m3-6Y30
2628 Points ∼95%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
2550 Points ∼92% -3%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
2426 Points ∼88% -8%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
2217 Points ∼80% -16%
Microsoft Surface 3
Intel Atom x7-Z8700
1677 Points ∼61% -36%
Chuwi Hi12
Intel Atom x5-Z8300
1039 Points ∼38% -60%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score
Cube i9
Intel Core m3-6Y30
149.9 Points ∼100%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
143 Points ∼95% -5%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
130.7 Points ∼87% -13%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
137.96 Points ∼92% -8%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
112.41 Points ∼75% -25%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
1873 ms * ∼100% -18%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
1770 ms * ∼95% -11%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
1663 ms * ∼89% -5%
Cube i9
Intel Core m3-6Y30
1588 ms * ∼85%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
1556.2 ms * ∼83% +2%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel Core i5-6300U
1178 ms * ∼63% +26%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel Core i5-6300U
29991 Points ∼100% +42%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
21739 Points ∼72% +3%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core m3-6Y30
18464 Points ∼62% -13%
Cube i9
Intel Core m3-6Y30
21179 Points ∼71%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel Core m3-6Y30
18576 Points ∼62% -12%

* ... smaller is better

Storage Device

The installed M.2 SSD provided by Foresee is definitely not one of the fastest SATA SSDs on the market; rather, it is situated at the lower end. However, the Foresee drive can clearly score compared with the eMMC storage chips installed in the Atom tablets (that primarily fail in AS SSD). Conventional HDDs are also outrun by far. Thanks to the accessible M.2 slot, it is also relatively easy to replace the SSD with a faster and larger model.

FORESEE 128GB O1229B
Sequential Read: 337 MB/s
Sequential Write: 208 MB/s
512K Read: 197 MB/s
512K Write: 199 MB/s
4K Read: 18.4 MB/s
4K Write: 56.8 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 22.7 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 116 MB/s
AS SSD - Score Total
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1759 Points ∼100% +492%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
1190 Points ∼68% +301%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Hynix HFS128G3MNM
965 Points ∼55% +225%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Lite-On CV1-8B128
686 Points ∼39% +131%
Cube i9
FORESEE 128GB O1229B
297 Points ∼17%

Graphics Card

3DMark Cloud Gate 20 runs: After a short period of boost clock speeds the performance stays steady for some runs till the next and final drop to 70% of the performance occurs (before half of the runtime).
3DMark Cloud Gate 20 runs: After a short period of boost clock speeds the performance stays steady for some runs till the next and final drop to 70% of the performance occurs (before half of the runtime).

Intel's HD Graphics 515 integrated in the Core m3 is responsible for video output. It clocked at up to 797 MHz in the test, but 500 MHz will rather be the case during prolonged load. As with all Core m devices, the performance depends on the set TDP and the achieved temperatures. As with our processor tests, Cube's i9 cannot compete with other Core m3 premium range devices in the graphics tests. However, it clearly outperforms the former Surface Pro 3 or Atom-based Surface 3.

3DMark 06 Standard
5919 points
3DMark 11 Performance
958 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
4152 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
Intel HD Graphics 520
1402 Points ∼100% +56%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel HD Graphics 515
1206 Points ∼86% +34%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515
1186 Points ∼85% +32%
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
Intel HD Graphics 515
980 Points ∼70% +9%
Cube i9
Intel HD Graphics 515
899 Points ∼64%
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Intel HD Graphics 4400
791 Points ∼56% -12%
Microsoft Surface 3
Intel HD Graphics (Cherry Trail)
494 Points ∼35% -45%
Chuwi Hi12
Intel HD Graphics (Cherry Trail)
299 Points ∼21% -67%

Gaming Performance

Sophisticated games are obviously not the specialty of the Core m3 and its integrated graphics. Undemanding 3D games such as "League of Legends" or the tested "World of Warships" are playable using minimum details.

low med. high ultra
The Witcher 3 (2015) 7.2fps
Dota 2 Reborn (2015) 4825.49.48.1fps
World of Warships (2015) 3223.6fps
Overwatch (2016) 21.7fps
Mirror's Edge Catalyst (2016) 11.4fps
Farming Simulator 17 (2016) 4824.110.1fps
Rocket League (2017) 30.110.7fps
Dirt 4 (2017) 26.6fps
Team Fortress 2 (2017) 483624fps
X-Plane 11.11 (2018) 14.4fps
FIFA 19 (2018) 21 (slow gameplay)fps

Emissions

System Noise

Thanks to the fanless design, Cube's i9 will not produce any fan noise. However, our review sample suffers from audible transistor whining in some load situations. Although this is only audible in very quiet environments, it could annoy some users.

Temperature

The surface temperatures that we measured remained uncritical in all load situations. The temperatures in the extreme test cannot be considered unrealistic. The surfaces almost reached the level of our test while "The Witcher 3" ran (-1 °C/~-2 °F on average).

The internal temperatures also remained uncritical. While running “The Witcher 3", the CPU cores ran at almost 800 MHz and 59 °C (~138 °F) and the graphics unit ran at 450 to 500 MHz and 61 °C (~142 °F). It did not change even after over 40 minutes. The CPU cores reached still uncritical 70 °C (~158 °F) in the Cinebench R15 loop, and initially ran at 2 GHz and later at 1.7 to 1.8 GHz. The internal temperatures were also moderate in the extreme load test via FurMark and Prime5. The CPU clocked at 500 MHz and the GPU at 300 MHz, which are also relatively low.

Max. Load
 39 °C
102 F
34 °C
93 F
29 °C
84 F
 
 38 °C
100 F
33 °C
91 F
29 °C
84 F
 
 38 °C
100 F
36 °C
97 F
31 °C
88 F
 
Maximum: 39 °C = 102 F
Average: 34.1 °C = 93 F
29 °C
84 F
38 °C
100 F
41 °C
106 F
29 °C
84 F
38 °C
100 F
41 °C
106 F
30 °C
86 F
33 °C
91 F
33 °C
91 F
Maximum: 41 °C = 106 F
Average: 34.7 °C = 94 F
Power Supply (max.)  37 °C = 99 F | Room Temperature 21.8 °C = 71 F | Fluke 62 Mini
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.1 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 30.7 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Tablet.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 39 °C / 102 F, compared to the average of 34.8 °C / 95 F, ranging from 22.2 to 51.8 °C for the class Tablet.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 41 °C / 106 F, compared to the average of 34.3 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 29.7 °C / 85 F, compared to the device average of 30.7 °C / 87 F.

Speakers

The stereo speakers installed in the Cube i9 tablet are moderately loud with a measured 74 dB(A), but do not present a homogeneous sound impression. Two very striking peaks are seen at 1k and 8k Hz in the frequency diagram below. A straight line would be ideal. We have added screenshots of the outstanding speakers in the slim MacBook 12 beside it for comparison. They render considerably better basses (low frequencies below 250 Hz), are louder and much more linear.

The audio jack produces a rustling noise. Not ideal for audiophiles, but  less demanding users will not have problems with it.

Cube i9 speaker frequency diagram: No basses and not a linear frequency diagram
Cube i9 speaker frequency diagram: No basses and not a linear frequency diagram
MacBook 12 (2016) speakers for comparison: Considerably better basses and linear playback illustrate what is possible despite a small size
MacBook 12 (2016) speakers for comparison: Considerably better basses and linear playback illustrate what is possible despite a small size
Audio jack with mediocre rates
Audio jack with mediocre rates
External Steinberg UR22 sound card in comparison
External Steinberg UR22 sound card in comparison
Loudspeakers - Pink Noise
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz (9.3)
83.6 dB(A) ∼100% +13%
Chuwi Hi12
77 dB(A) ∼92% +4%
Cube i9
74 dB(A) ∼89%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB (16.2)
71.6 dB(A) ∼86% -3%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

As typical for the Core m, the maximum power consumption was only measurable for a short time. Approximately 22.1 watts were drained from the outlet at the beginning of Prime95. It then dropped to a stable 15 watts. This leads to the interesting situation that the 3DMark 06 graphics test required an average of 18.6 watts (initially also 22 watts for a few seconds, then 18 watts), but an average of only 16.3 watts was needed during maximum load via FurMark and Prime95.

The power supply needs only 0.16 watts on its own. However, 0.7 watts is consumed from the outlet when connected to the device (without charging the battery). This is comparable with the standby rate (0.8 watts). Thus, shutting down the tablet is only worthwhile when it is disconnected from the power supply.

Power consumption while running 3DMark 06 (1st test): 22 watts for short time, then settles to 18 watts
Power consumption while running 3DMark 06 (1st test): 22 watts for short time, then settles to 18 watts
Power consumption while running Cinebench R15 on an external monitor, starting with 15.5 Watt and finishing with 10.5 Watt.
Power consumption while running Cinebench R15 on an external monitor, starting with 15.5 Watt and finishing with 10.5 Watt.
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.65 / 0.78 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.6 / 9.6 / 9.6 Watt
Load midlight 18.6 / 16.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

The battery life is not exactly overwhelming for a tablet of this size. Compared with all other tablets tested, Cube's i9 is third to last (before Panasonic's FZ-M1 and Chuwi's small Vi8 8-inch tablet). The premium rivals have considerably more to offer in this respect. The Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N achieves twice as long a runtime. The power supply or an external battery will have to be taken along on longer trips or work days.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
4h 22min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
5h 38min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 14min
Battery Runtime - WiFi Websurfing 1.3
Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S W700N
525 min ∼100% +100%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
501 min ∼95% +91%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
488 min ∼93% +86%
Microsoft Surface 3
437 min ∼83% +67%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
427 min ∼81% +63%
Chuwi Hi12
405 min ∼77% +55%
Cube i9
262 min ∼50%

Pros

+ upgradable M.2 SSD
+ low price
+ integrated kickstand with two lock stages
+ decent application performance

Cons

- transistor whining particularly during load
- cooling the Core-m wastes some performance potential
- Windows button sometimes enabled when touching the edge or when twisted
- PWM at 200 Hz is utilized for dimming the screen

Verdict

In review: Chuwi Cube i9
In review: Chuwi Cube i9

Cube's i9 is an affordable Windows 10 tablet made in China. The installed Core m3-6Y30 alongside 4 GB of RAM and an M.2 SSD promise enough power. The tablet convinces in the general system and browser performance. However, it falls behind slightly in processor and graphics benchmarks when compared with other m3 devices. The cooling design is probably insufficient. Nevertheless, it can easily outperform Atom-based tablets, such as the much more expensive Surface 3.

Materials and build quality are basically good. But our review sample displayed two flaws that lead to a minor deduction. Although the screen's good qualities are pleasing, the utilized PWM for controlling brightness might disturb some users. Since Cube does not install a fan, the device is actually silent. However, transistor whining is heard in some load situations in very quiet environments.

Overall, Cube's i9 made a good impression. It is a fast Windows tablet for a low price. However, the user should not be sensitive to PWM dimmed lights. Cube's i9 is currently available at Gearbest for around 398 Euros, i.e. 500 Dollars, including shipping. Customs duty should be added to the purchase price (61 Euros/~$69 in our case), as well as potential insurance costs in case of damage.

Compared with Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 (m3), concessions will have to be made everywhere. The screen is inferior, does not offer stylus support, the performance is somewhat lower despite the same processor, and the same is also true of battery life. The casing with its more flexible kickstand also provides more options, and its build quality is better. Ultimately, everyone will have to make their own decisions as to whether the almost twice as higher a price (currently starts at 850 Euros/~$958) is worth it.

Cube i9 - 06/08/2016 v5.1
Klaus Hinum

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
70 / 80 → 88%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
39 / 65 → 60%
Weight
76 / 40-88 → 75%
Battery
81%
Display
81%
Games Performance
50 / 68 → 74%
Application Performance
68 / 76 → 89%
Temperature
90%
Noise
90%
Audio
45 / 91 → 49%
Camera
26 / 85 → 31%
Average
68%
78%
Tablet - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Cube i9 Tablet - Windows 10 and Core m3 Review
Klaus Hinum, 2016-06-13 (Update: 2017-05-23)