This year, the market has taken a shift from the traditional 16:9 to 18:9 displays. Initially, 18:9 screens were reserved for the premium segment — phones that cost more than $500. But things have changed in the past couple of months, with many budget phones adopting this new display aspect ratio standard, in the hopes that it will give it an edge over others. The Cubot X18 is one of these offerings, featuring a tall 18:9 aspect ratio on a 5.7-inch screen. While the display is one of its biggest selling points, the phone does offer decent overall specs making it worth spending $119.99, at least on paper. But how does it fare in real life? That’s what we try to find out in this review!
Cubot X18 Review: Design
The first thing you notice about the phone is that it’s unusually tall. If you have never used an 18:9 phone before, note that it will take some time to get used to it. However, in terms of handling and one hand operation, things are easy, as the limited width helps you to hold the phone firmly. So, despite its large 5.7-inch screen, it’s only as wide, say as a 5-5.2-inch smartphone. The screen takes up a significant portion of the front, much higher than traditional phones.
The body is made out of plastic, which is of good quality. There’s a solid frame that goes around the phone for rigidity. The buttons lie on the right side of the phone and are decent. The back is removable, so you can replace the battery as well. This also helps the company provide 2 x MicroSIM and 1 dedicated MicroSD card slots.
The overall built quality of the device is good, but I personally feel that the dark blue color on the phone is a bit disappointing. On most occasions, you would mistake it as a black color model and it doesn’t really pop out like the blue on the Doogee BL5000.
Also, the back is a fingerprint magnet and it’s not really easy to clean it to perfection. That said, the corners are curved and the overall design is non-slippery, giving a firm grip. The placement of the fingerprint sensor at the back was perfect for me. It’s not the fastest sensor I have seen, but it’s as good as most fingerprint equipped phones in this segment.
You have no physical buttons on the front, so navigation is through the on-screen buttons. The MicroUSB port and speakers lie at the bottom, while the headphone jack is located on the top.
Apart from the boring blue color shade, I m happy with the overall design of the Cubot X18, including its taller than usual form factor.
Cubot X18 Review: Display
Coming to the screen, which is the highlight of the device — the Cubot X18 features a 5.7-inch 1440 x 720p display with 2.5D glass on top. As I mentioned earlier, this makes it an 18:9 aspect ratio phone. Note that for such a large screen, the resolution might seem too low, but it doesn’t reflect in reality. The screen quality is okay and saturation levels are decent. It might not be the best display in this segment, but it’s good enough for everyday use. But to be honest, the aspect ratio is the only unique thing about the display.
For example, let’s compare the X18’s display with that of the similarly priced Redmi Note 5A. It’s obvious that the saturation levels are not as good as the 5A but it’s not too bad either. Check out this comparison and decide for yourself.
Cubot X18 Review: Performance
The overall performance is fluid, which isn’t surprising given that we have seen MT6737T prove its worth in the low-end market. You don’t have any bloatware, just plain vanilla Android 7 experience. Apps open up quickly and things are smooth on most occasions.
Gameplay is also fine. Games like subway surfer run without any glitches and even higher graphic games like Asphalt 8 run well with occasional glitches.
Benchmark Scores are not really great. The phone scores just around 37500 on AnTuTu & 639 &1700 in Geekbench tests which is similar to SD425, but as I have mentioned before, the real life performance is good and that’s what really counts end of the day.
Cubot X18 Review: Camera
The camera is decent but nothing out of the ordinary. You get the same kind of grainy pictures that you would expect from a budget chinese smartphone. One area where it lacked was the amount of details in each picture, but for basic social media photos, the X18 should work. The phone managed to capture images with sufficient lighting along with good colors. But night time photos were less than impressive as I struggled to capture blur free images. On most occasions, the camera produced blurry photos at night, which was disappointing. You can clearly see that the images are blurred in the samples from here.
Also, when it comes to the front camera the pictures are grainy and it’s hard to get a decent steady shot from the front shooter. The only good thing going for this phone is that you get a front-facing LED flash to light up your selfies.
Cubot X18 Review: Connectivity
The speaker quality is decent. It’s sufficiently loud and punchy.
Connectivity is good, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi-, GPS all work well. Call quality is also pretty good. So, no real issues in this department. The battery is decent, and moderate usage should give you about a day’s use on a single charge. But personally, I would have expected better battery life with the efficient Mediatek chip powering the device.
To wind up, the Cubot X18 is a great option only if you are looking for an 18:9 display on a budget. Other than that, the phone doesn’t have much to offer. You can get better options at a similar price, especially after the new Redmi 5 models hitting the market at a slightly premium price tag.
The Cubot X18 offers an 18:9 display at just $115. Apart from the display, everything else is average about the phone, which doesn't help it stand out from the crowd.