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Cubot King Kong 5 Pro review: Pared-down workhorse

Cubot King Kong 5 Pro smartphone review pared down performance with no bloatware zdnet
  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent

Pros

  • No OEM bloatware
  • Long lasting battery
  • Good continued connection to WI-Fi

Cons

  • No SOS alert option

The Cubot King Kong 5 Pro is strongly reminiscent of the Doogee S86 Pro I reviewed in July. It is a similar size and weight and could be easily confused for the other model if both were on the desk.

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Cubot's latest rugged phone, the King Kong 5 Pro, has a screen size of 6.088 inches with a display resolution of 1560 x 720. Its dimensions are 6.53 x 3.2 x 074 inches (165.7 x 81.3 x 18.57mm), and it weighs 10.9 (309g) ounces. The phone feels well-constructed and solid in my hand.

Inside the box, there is the phone, USB Type-C cable, and a charger. There is also a user manual and a quick start guide.

The King Kong 5 is quite streamlined for a rugged phone. On the right-hand side of the phone, there is the power/unlock button, a fingerprint sensor, and a configurable custom button at the bottom.

On the left-hand side of the device, there is the volume control. The bottom of the phone contains the USB Type-C port, which is used for both charging the device -- and the wired headset.

There are two speakers on the back of the phone, which are loud if the phone is in your hand but are slightly muffled if the phone is lying on the desk whilst listening to music. The onboard sound through the speakers is good.

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The phone has an octa-core MediaTek MT6762D CPU running at 1.8GHz and comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM.

There are two SIM slots, one for the phone, and the other for extended storage with a TF card up to 256GB if you need it.

On the back of the phone, there is a triple camera. The main rear camera is 48-megapixel with a 5-megapixel macro camera and an 0.3-megapixel photosensitive lens. 

The front-facing camera is 25-megapixel. There is a range of modes such as panorama, slow motion, HDR, macro, and night as well as the Bokeh setting.

You can also use the camera to scan QR or bar codes. Image quality is clear and sharp and the shutter lag is minimal.

There are a few tweaks you can make using the face beauty settings such as smoothening out wrinkles, enlarging your eyes, slimming, or brightening your face. With all settings at maximum, it did little to improve my normal selfie -- but it did smooth out a few wrinkles from my forehead.

This Cubot rugged phone comes with an 8000mAh battery which will give you a couple of days' usage before you need to charge the battery.

It is IP68 and IP69K dustproof and waterproof and can survive being submerged in water up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. It is drop-proof too and can survive drops from up to 1.5metres

Like many other phones, the King Kong 5 has NFC, which supports Google Pay. NFC performance is good -- with quick responses to the proximity of NFC-enabled apps.

You can configure gestures, like sliding three fingers downwards to capture a screenshot and unlocking the phone by waving your hand over the screen or mute the phone when taking a call.

You can configure the custom button to invoke any app on the phone. Unlike the Doogee S86 Pro, there is no way to configure an SOS call from the King Kong 5 Pro.

I kept the phone on and connected to my home Wi-Fi for over 160 hours without it disconnecting from any of the WI-Fi access points in my house.

There is little OEM bloatware on the King Kong 5. This is a pared-down phone running Android 11 with little to go wrong. However, I was plagued by WI-Fi connectivity issues throughout the time I used the Cubot X50, both at home and when it was tethered to my old smartphone.

The Cubot King Kong 5 stayed connected to the WI-FI throughout with no disconnection. Both phones are running the same version of the software, too.

You can unlock the phone using Face ID, which works well, or by using the fingerprint sensor on the right-hand side of the phone. You can also configure smart lock so that the device is unlocked when it is on your person, in a trusted place, or near a trusted device.

All in all, this is a rugged workhorse that is waterproof and dustproof. Calls are loud and clear, the onboard speaker is decent, and the screen clarity is good.

For under $190 the Cubot King Kong 5 Pro is a good buy if you like solid rugged phones and do not have the budget for a top-tier model. It certainly fits the bill if you are less than gentle with your devices.