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While the roll-out of Windows 10 hasn’t been without its hiccups, the platform is winning over even the most determined holdouts. Part of the reason for this success is the way that Windows 10 works so well with a variety of hybrid tablets.
Easily one of the best Microsoft Surface alternatives on the market is the Cube i9. The latest iteration continues the ongoing refinement process with encouraging results.
Layout and Aesthetics
Measuring 302.9mm by 194.9mm by 9.15mm and weighing roughly 970 grams, the Cube i9 is a fairly standard Windows 10 tablet in terms of dimensions. Thanks to its magnesium alloy body, the Cube i9 is a sturdy customer that resists flex to a surprising degree.
A 2MP front camera and a 5MP rear camera grace the outer skin without marring the aesthetics of the device.
Horsepower, Storage & Display
Beneath its fetching exterior, the Cube i9 packs a lean yet mean Core m3-6Y30 CPU with an Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU, 4GB RAM of RAM and 128GB of storage. The display is a 12.2-inch touchscreen model with 1920x1200 resolution featuring a 16:10 aspect ratio.
Thanks to its 200Hz refresh rate, the i9’s screen is remarkably resistant to flickering regardless of viewing conditions.
OS, UI and Included Software
The version of Windows 10 that ships with the Cube i9 is effectively stock. There aren’t any lousy bloatware programs and all of the usual favorites like Edge, Cortana, Groove and the Microsoft Office suite come standard. Xbox Live is particularly robust and responsive thanks to the advanced silicon of the Intel Core m3.
Hardware-based TPM 2.0 features are enabled by default for superior security.
Networking and Peripherals
On the connectivity front, Cube i9 owners get a full-sized USB 3.0 slot, a USB 3.1 Type-C port and a microSD reader. Wireless options include the expected Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi. The optional magnetic keyboard is essentially a Surface Type Cover 3 in terms of looks and functionality.
Using the add-on dock, the i9 can be used in tablet, laptop or presentation mode.
Performance in the Field
Despite the incredible power efficiency of the Core m3-6Y30, the i9 does quite well in the more popular benchmark tests. Under PCMark 7, it notches a solid score of 4,240. In the demanding Cinebench R15 benchmark test, the i9 produces an impressive result of 73 points.
Thanks to dual 5,000 mAh batteries, it can manage up to 10 hours of FHD video playback under the right circumstances.
Cube i9 Pros and Cons
On the plus side, the Cube i9 boasts terrific build quality, an eye-catching design and excellent ergonomics. The display is one of the best you’ll find in the hybrid tablet arena and Windows 10 takes full advantage of its superior resolution.
The main drawbacks are the lack of a stylus and the fact that the keyboard dock isn’t included by default.
The Ideal Cube i9 Buyer
In light of its mid-range price and versatility, the Cube i9 is a great tablet for a broad cross-section of consumers. It can act as a business productivity machine, a gaming platform and a home theater system all at the same time.
If Windows 10 is your preferred operating system, the Cube i9 is a compelling alternative to the m3-powered Surface Pro 4.