Cubot King Kong CS: A rugged mobile phone at a rock bottom price

Cubot King Kong CS review a rugged mobile phone at a rock bottom price zdnet
  • Editors' rating
    7.6 Very good

Pros

  • IP68 dustproof and waterproof
  • No added OEM extras
  • Parental controls to restrict screen time

Cons

  • No NFC
  • No fingerprint unlock

I am impressed by the simplicity of the Cubot King Kong range of rugged phones like its predecessor the King Kong 3. Cubot also has the ultra slim line rugged Cubot Quest, and non-rugged Cubot x19.

The King Kong CS delivers an entry-level phone for under $100. You can get it for under $90 on Amazon and under $76 on AliExpress. And you get a decent phone for your money too.

This is an IP68 rated waterproof and dustproof phone with a nice aspect to its 5-inch screen. Inside the phone there is a MediaTek 6580 quad-core 1.3GHz processor, 2GB RAM, and 16GB ROM. It is running Android 10 Go edition, security patched to March 2020.

The King Kong CS has a 4,400mAh battery which means it will last for more than a day of standard app usage. There are two micro SIM cards so you can add additional storage to the phone.

The micro USB and headphones ports are on the top of the device. Make sure you open the cover using the microphone end of the cover -- not the other end -- to avoid damaging the silicone cover.

I like the stripped down Android UI with no OEM added extras. This gives you the option to customise the phone as much or as little as you want to.

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There is a digital wellbeing icon which enables you to use app timers, set bedtime, and there are other tools to keep track of time spent on screen.

This is useful if you spend far more time than you need to scrolling through social media apps such as Facebook or TikTok.

You can also set up parental controls to help you keep track of your child's screen time or supervise the phone remotely using the Google Family Link app. You can also add restrictions to Google services, app approvals, or set content filters on Google play.

You can use your face to unlock the screen in addition to a PIN, or use smart lock to keep your phone unlocked when it is at home, or in your pocket. The King Kong CS does not have fingerprint unlock.

The gesture settings are limited to the three-fingers screenshot gesture and the phone does not have NFC. The only option you have for connection -- apart from Wi-Fi -- is Bluetooth.

The phone is a little slow to respond if you are used to octa-core phones and use apps heavily, but if you want a basic phone, you will not notice the lower performance much.

DuraSpeed is on by default which boosts the performance of your foreground app by reducing background app activity. I have seen this a few times on devices with quad-core processors as it helps to boost performance.

The camera on the King Kong CS is 13MP with 4:3 aspect ratio or 8MP with 16:9 aspect ratio. The front camera is 8MP (4:3 aspect ratio) or 5MP (16:9 aspect ratio). There are basic adjustments after taking an image, but no frippery or beautifying filters that are in some other mobile phones.

All in all this is an entry level phone with the added advantage of it being durable and rugged. And at under $100 it will satisfy the roughest of handling without too much drama. It is well worth the price.

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