Long story short, I’ve been using my iPhone 7 for three years. It was a perfectly working fast phone with great battery life still in excellent condition until one day… It crashed and did not turn on, and when it did, it was stuck on the apple logo. I took it to just about every hardware store only to be told it had some internal damage that required it to be sent off without a guarantee that it will be fixed. This was around September time, I had the intentions of selling my iPhone 7 and buying the newest iPhone Xs and let’s say, that did not happen.
To make matters worse, I had a trip to Thailand and South Korea in a few weeks and could not afford to drop a hefty price on a flagship phone. Phoneless, I had to make a choice – Buy a smartphone on a budget. Buying an old used iPhone was not an option. It would be slow with a degraded battery, and since iPhones tend to keep their value, I would only probably get a 2010 iPhone 5 for 100 euro which isn’t worth it.
Android was the only option and to be honest I’m not an android guy, but I had no choice. With a 100 euro budget. I saw 2018 android phones with decent specs, but they did not have a high-res screen. To me, as an artist who looks at my phone while drawing a high-res screen matters. I came across the Cubot Cheetah 2 on Amazon. The specs were great for the price, and it has a full HD screen. I needed a fast, reliable phone to bring with me on my trip. And decided to get it, one month later, was it worth it?
The design of this product had me shook. For the price, the design and build quality feel premium for the price. It’s a bit thick and heavy coming from the iPhone 7. The back and corners are rounded, making it comfortable to hold. But to reiterate, it is a heavy phone at 188 grams, that is a lot of weight for a smartphone, and It took a while to get used to.
The Cubot cheetah 2 has a removable back cover, except, you can’t remove the battery. But I will say its very convenient to be able to remove the sim card without having to find a SIM removal tool like I did with my iPhone.
While the back of the phone is made from plastic, the edges are entirely from metal which I must say is a nice touch. The rear camera comes out a bit from the back but unlike my iPhone its not made from sapphire so its prone to scratches if you don’t use a case. On the front of the phone, there are two capacitive buttons that don’t light up and a physical home button with a fingerprint scanner. The home button does require some force to press, but you get used to that after a while.
The Cubot Cheetah 2 has a beautiful, bright and sharp Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS display. Much better than I expected. Colors are somewhat accurate, although whites tend to have a strange purple tint.
The display is perfectly visible under direct sunlight thanks to the provisions for 16 backlights it has under the screen which improves brightness by 30%. The phone comes with a screen protector which I took off as I’m not a fan of them, but you might love that for protection.
The Cubot Cheetah 2 comes with a MediaTek MT6753 CPU, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage which can be upgradeable with a micro sd card. I don’t play games or run intensive apps. I mostly use my phone for social media, media, photography.
User experience wise, its speedy, apps open quickly and without any stutters most times. With 3gb ram multitasking is great, I can leave apps open in the background and jump back where I left off. Sometimes I have to close a few background apps to get the device to its fast speedy self again.
The Cubot Cheetah 2 can accommodate one Micro SIM, one Nano SIM and a microSD card (up to 128GB). Although, I would’ve preferred 2 Nano SIM cards as Nano SIM is the norm with most phones these days.
GPS signal is good, it can sometimes lag on Google Maps, making it inaccurate for a few seconds which can be annoying, but when it’s not lagging it usually works pretty well.
Volume is pretty bad at first, but when you turn on “BesLoundess” in the sound enhancement section of volume settings, it does some magic to the speakers that make it crazy loud.
I have mixed feelings about the battery. Yeah its 3000 mAH, yeah it can last nearly a full day on light use and about 5 hours on heavy use. But boy does this thing take forever to charge. It gets only up to 5V – 1A. Even if you use higher wattage chargers, the phone still limits it to 5V – 1A. Because fast charging is not included, here you are waiting 4-5 hours for your phone to charge. If you forget to charge this thing overnight, it can be a big problem.
The fingerprint scanner is accurate, and I would say it works 95% of the times. Simply laying your finger without actually pressing the home button is a nice touch I like on the device.
As a photographer and as someone coming from the iPhone 7, the camera is not great. But I wasn’t expecting a fantastic camera, but for a 16-megapixel camera and 12-megapixel front camera, it is disappointing. Now as someone who has a DSLR camera I’m not missing out on a lot, except for times I want to take selfies or pictures for Snapchat or Instagram story. I have to bring my old 5th gen iPod Touch with me everywhere to take photos for social media. That’s how bad it is when an iPod touch is better.
Now, without being overly critical, It does produce sharp photos, and an okay white balance, but that’s pretty much it. The camera app also loads quickly, but taking shots have a slight delay especially with HDR activated. The dynamic range is what kills the camera, its almost as if it doesn’t have any. Tap to focus on an underexposed area, and the whole camera goes crazy bright and laggy, tap to focus on an overexposed area, and it goes pitch dark. And don’t get me started on the front camera which is okay but almost non-existent in low light.
For a budget, last minute choice to use for a temporary time, the Cubot Cheetah 2 has been good to use. Yes, there has been ups and downs, and I mean a lot of downs. But overall, if you’re looking for a secondary budget phone or you had your main phone broken like me with no money to drop on a flagship The Cubot Cheetah 2 is undoubtedly a smartphone to consider. And for that price, you can’t go wrong with it.