Readers may remember that back in 2015, I wrote a review about a $150 smartphone I picked up from Amazon called the Cubot H1. This unit was a cheap Chinese phone, running a low-end quad core SoC and paired with a low resolution screen, which was designed to excel in a single area: battery life. Having a smartphone that could last almost a week was great. Since then, I had never come across the brand at a show, until this year at IFA, where they had a small booth to try and expand into Europe with their new devices.

There were two main devices on display: the Power, which is somewhat of a successor to the H1, and the King Kong 3.

King Kong 3

Unfortunately Cubot did not have this device on display, but this is going to be their new flagship: a high-end Mediatek MT6763T processor (8xA53), IP68-rated device with a 6000 mAh battery and simultaneous dual 4G LTE. This builds on their first generation King Kong (for some reason there isn’t a King Kong 2), with a ruggedized design focusing on the ability for construction workers to drop the phone and for it still to work, hence the King Kong name.

Here are some images of the King Kong (1), as they did have that on display. The King Kong 3 is expected to have a similar design.

If we head on over to the Cubot website, you’ll notice that the webpage for the King Kong line is full of standard King Kong imagery – in actual fact, what looks like direct imagery from the King Kong movie from 2005, just flipped left to right. Now the name is a bit odd (I guess it kind of fits with a durable phone) but it was my understanding that someone holds the license for the King Kong brand? I’d be highly surprised if Cubot was licensing the brand with those rights owners.


So here’s a device that’s more up my street. It looks like a high-end smartphone, with a 6-inch full-screen display running at 2160x1080. It uses the same MT6763T SoC as the King Kong 3, but it offers a 6 GB DRAM and 128 GB storage. It also mirrors the KK3 in that it has a 6000 mAh battery, but it's without the rugged design, so it is actually easier to hold and use on a day-to-day basis.

There is a bit of a sneaky design on the rear, as it looks like it has two cameras, but one of those spots is just the LED flash. The rear camera is a 20MP unit, while the front camera is 13MP. The device does support two SIM cards, although only one can be in 4G mode. Meanwhile there is also a microSD card slot that can support another 256 GB of storage.

The Power is set to hit the street at around $260, which is considerably more than the H1 I purchased back in the day. At the minute I carry around my LG V30, which handily has wireless charging, and an Honor phone for its AI camera, but both of them struggle to get through a full day of my ‘active’ use without charging. I wonder if I can make do with a high-capacity mid-range phone again without all those bells and whistles?

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  • redpen - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    I've got an H1 back when you recommended it, it's been quite the adventure. I don't know if you've ever found out, but the thing had two screen protectors on. It was pretty surprising to peel the second one off to have these scratches I put up with for a year disappear.

    In terms of quality, I've dropped the thing a million times and the screen is fine, and it doesn't pick up scratches like the screen protector. The glue is coming apart, the volume buttons have fallen off, and the power is soon to follow suit. Speakers are toast after a steamy shower. Battery is still great, sometimes I only charge it once a week but then again I only use it as an alarm, and reading material when taking a dump.

    Software side, it's always been laggy, I could barely play fgo, it's on the verge of being usable, definitely not a phone you can go back to after a flagship. I can't wait for this thing to die, but at the same time there's no phone with good software support at the entry price point.

    I'd like to see some investigation done on android one, to see if it really is delivering on the promise, or pushing iffy patches.
  • npz - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    I'm surprised, those games like fgo are hardly pushing any pixels.

    I'm not a heavy user either, but I still have to plug my phone in constantly, previously LG G4, and currently Note 8. I don't use auto brightness and have it set at around 60% but still that shouldn't affect battery life so much given my usage. I have to rely on a portable battery if I travel or am out without my car charger

    Some apps are huge battery drainers like Amazon shopping (always gets me thinking WTF), but even just idling, screen saved/locked, it slowly but constantly drains battery. I already removed all unwanted apps, but it seems many background apps refuse to stay suspended and I guess always periodically do something.
  • jabber - Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - link

    Proper app management is key to battery life. I only keep the apps I use regularly on my phone and this helps big time. I see folks with 200+ apps and they wonder why their phones run flat after 5 hours. If you need an app once a month it only takes 10 seconds to install it again, then delete when finished. I have just 25 apps installed. Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    app rarely run in the background when installed (with the H1 i could use it flat out for 9 hours streaming youtube or twitch or it last 2 days normal use)

    i had the H1 for long time only issue i have with it now is the CPU is really showing its age (60FPS streams was sometimes an issue) and it needs a new battery as its bulging and can't find one anywhere now (works fine apart from it been slow due to slow CPU and failing battery)
  • Diji1 - Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - link

    >there's no phone with good software support at the entry price point

    I don't think you looked very hard.

    Every Xiaomi phone gets updates. My Sharp Aquos S2 gets updates.
  • satai - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    > high-end Mediatek MT6763T processor (8xA53)

    WTF? 8*A53 is high-end?!
  • cfenton - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    Maybe Ian means it's high-end for Mediatek? It's not their highest end Helio (which is the P60), but it's probably second or third. Reply
  • satai - Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - link

    Helio X.. is the higher-end brand (higher considering Mediatek abilities). Helios P.. are their mid-range. Reply
  • Mumrik - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    Unless Mediateks suddenly became as energy efficient as Qualcomms it's still stuck in the same contradiction many of these Chinese monster battery phones are - awesome battery + power-hungry SOC. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Monday, September 17, 2018 - link

    At this point in time, they should start using 4xA55. Reply

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