In a market where flagship smartphones are becoming increasingly expensive, finding a budget-friendly alternative that doesn’t compromise on features can be a challenge. Today, we embark on a detailed exploration of the Cubot Note 40, a smartphone that has earned the moniker “the Chinese iPhone 12” due to its striking resemblance. But hold your skepticism, as this isn’t your typical cheap replica littered with subpar components. Priced at a mere $99, this budget-friendly device combines a sleek iPhone 12-inspired design with impressive specs that make it a compelling choice for those on a tight budget.

In this review, we’ll take you on a journey through every aspect of the Cubot Note 40, from unboxing its impressive packaging to diving deep into its design, display, camera capabilities, gaming performance, battery life, and user-friendly features. We’ll explore how this device defies expectations and stands as a testament to what a budget smartphone can achieve in today’s competitive market.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on this journey to unravel the hidden gem that is the Cubot Note 40. Get ready to be amazed by its features, captivated by its performance, and intrigued by its price-to-performance ratio. Let’s discover why this smartphone deserves a closer look and why budget-conscious consumers should pay attention to what it has to offer.

Cubot Note 40 Features

  • Slim Body & Premium Design
  • Unisoc Tiger T606 Octa-Core SoC
  • 6.56″ HD+ Display, 90Hz Dynamic Refresh Rate
  • 50MP Main Camera & 8MP Front Camera
  • Android 13 OS
  • 6GB RAM + (6GB Extended) + 256GB ROM
  • 5200mAh battery
  • Dual 4G SIM

Design and Build Quality:

Upon opening the box, we reveal the star of the show – the Cubot Note 40. Its rear design is reminiscent of premium iPhones, which adds a touch of familiarity and elegance. The textured back panel provides a unique and smooth grip, making it comfortable to hold, even for one-handed use. Making it feel premium despite its budget price tag.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

The device’s design is aesthetically pleasing, boasting a delightful pastel green color that instantly catches the eye. Also, it comes in an array of beautiful and vibrant colors: purple, black, green, or light blue. These eye-catching hues add to the phone’s visual appeal and allow you to choose a shade that complements your style. The back of the device features two cameras, a 2-megapixel macro camera for close-up shots, and a prominent 50-megapixel primary camera.

The Cubot Note 40 is undeniably compact and lightweight. It’s designed to fit comfortably in your hand, ensuring that even during extended use, you won’t experience wrist fatigue. Navigating the device is swift and responsive, quite impressive for a budget smartphone.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Let’s move on to the phone’s frame, buttons, and slots. Starting on the left side, you’ll find the dual Nano SIM card slots. Here, you have the option to insert two Nano SIM cards or one Nano SIM card and a MicroSD card to expand your storage up to a staggering 1TB. Moving to the bottom, there’s a speaker grille, a microphone, and a USB Type-C port.

On the right side, you’ll discover the volume rocker, while the power button is located at the top right corner. It’s worth noting that the Cubot Note 40 lacks a fingerprint sensor, but Cubot has integrated an alternative security measure – Face Unlock.

Display Quality

The Cubot Note 40 boasts a display that’s sure to capture your attention right from the moment you power it on. It comes equipped with a 6.56-inch IPS LCD panel, that offers a high screen-to-body ratio of 87.3% which, despite being budget-friendly, impresses with its vibrant visuals and excellent screen-to-body ratio. The phone offers a 720p display and 269PPI. Despite the low resolution and PPI, the Text and graphic information are very legible. Not always perfect, but quite good.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

One standout feature of the Cubot Note 40’s display is its support for a 90Hz refresh rate. This enhanced refresh rate ensures smoother scrolling and improved overall screen responsiveness. It’s noteworthy that a 90Hz refresh rate in a budget smartphone is a welcome surprise, making the phone stand out in its price range.

The device’s display performance continues to shine when it comes to brightness. With 500nit Brightness, under bright sunlight and studio lighting, you won’t find yourself struggling to read the screen outdoors. This feature is particularly valuable for those who use their smartphones in varying lighting conditions.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Color reproduction on the Cubot Note 40 is commendable, making your content pop with vibrant, true-to-life colors. The display isn’t plagued by issues like color tints or flickering, ensuring a stable, visually pleasing experience. This is especially important for users who appreciate well-reproduced colors in their content, be it for media consumption or social media use.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Moreover, the phone’s design allows for a seamless, uninterrupted display experience. The minimal bezels and waterdrop notch contribute to a distraction-free display. When it comes to multimedia enjoyment. So, The Cubot Note 40’s display can be favorably compared to many mid-range devices, offering a visually satisfying experience.

Playing Content

Playing the content on YouTube, was very smooth. You can play videos at a maximum of 720p at 30FPS without any problems or lag, And this is the highest quality you can get. Next, let’s take a look at the DMR information and Widevine security. I can tell you I’m a little disappointed with this because it’s only Level 3, so you won’t be able to get HD on Netflix or other streaming services. and this level may not be found on all budget smartphones without exaggeration. However, you can still enjoy Netflix and all other streaming services in 480p resolution.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Audio Experience

Many budget smartphones struggle with audio quality, but Cubot has managed to strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and audio performance. The Cubot Note 40 defies budget smartphone expectations. The device is equipped with a bottom-firing loudspeaker, and while one might not have high hopes for audio quality on a budget device, the Note 40 pleasantly surprises.

What’s particularly impressive is the audio quality—despite the limitations of a single loudspeaker, the sound remains crisp and relatively rich. The speaker manages to produce a balanced audio output, ensuring that you can enjoy your content without distortion or muffled sound.

Camera Capabilities

One area where compromises are more evident is in the camera department. The Cubot Note 40’s camera capabilities are very basic, reflecting its affordability. While it delivers an acceptable performance, it falls short when compared to mid-range or high-end smartphones. Armed with a 50-megapixel main sensor, it outperforms many smartphones within its category. The camera’s performance isn’t solely attributed to the sensor but is enhanced through meticulous camera algorithm optimization.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Main Camera & Secondary:

The star of the show is undoubtedly the 50-megapixel main sensor. In well-lit conditions, the camera performs reasonably well, but it struggles in low-light environments. The device lacks versatility, and its ability to capture detail and vibrant colors is somewhat limited. Both the front and rear cameras offer basic performance, and the phone’s camera system is not tailored for photography enthusiasts.

Front Camera: Perfect Selfies and More

The Cubot Note 40 doesn’t just with its rear camera; it also offers a front camera for those who love taking selfies and video calls. Equipped with an 8-megapixel sensor, the front camera performance is praiseworthy, especially when considering the smartphone’s budget-friendly nature. The front camera also comes equipped with beauty modes, allowing users to enhance their photos further. These modes let you adjust various aspects such as skin tone, blemishes, and more, ensuring that your selfies reflect your desired look.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Video Recording

The device offers Full HD (1080p) video recording, which is the standard for most budget-friendly smartphones. This resolution is suitable for everyday video needs, such as vlogs, video calls, and social media sharing. While it lacks dedicated image stabilization technology like optical image stabilization (OIS), it compensates for this with software-based stabilization. This digital stabilization helps reduce shakes and wobbles in videos.

Android Experience

The device runs on Android 13, providing a stock Android experience. This means you won’t encounter bloatware or cluttered interfaces. And it’s unlikely to receive updates beyond that version. The user interface is clean and user-friendly, featuring a straightforward notification bar and easy access to settings. The Note 14 provides a convenient and minimalistic user experience.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Gaming Performance

For gamers, take note! The Cubot Note 40 delivers an impressive gaming performance that defies its budget-friendly price point. With a powerful SoC and ample RAM, this smartphone is more than capable of handling your favorite mobile games with ease. At the heart of the gaming experience lies the UniSOC T606 SoC, an octa-core processor that is equivalent to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 662.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

The CPU performance of the tablet is commendable. In the Geekbench 5 multi-core test, the Cubot Note 40 stands out, it delivers responsive performance for everyday tasks such as web browsing, multitasking, and media consumption. The Note 40 delivered a multi-core score of 1,403 and 376 in the signal core, which is a considerable distance behind other budget phones that aren’t that much more expensive. This is also in the Antutu benchmark with around 250k to 260k score. This score suggests that the device isn’t as weak as one might assume. It should handle most games available on the Play Store. However, it may encounter some graphical limitations. It’s essential to remember that this is a basic smartphone, It’s not intended for intense gaming but rather for casual gaming to pass the time.

Paired with 6GB of RAM, this budget device can even be extended to 12GB with the inclusion of virtual RAM and has 256GB of internal storage which is quite generous for a budget device. The result? A lag-free gaming experience, smooth multitasking, and rapid app launches.

I tested some of the most demanding games, including PUBG Mobile, Real Racing 3, and Need for Speed, and the device performed admirably. While it may not support extreme settings in all games, it still delivers a remarkable gaming experience. Thanks to the T606 SoC, the smartphone doesn’t overheat even during extended gaming sessions. However, it’s important to note that this device is not designed for heavy gaming or running resource-intensive applications. It won’t handle the latest games with high-quality graphics settings. But for basic gaming and less demanding apps, it performs quite well.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Battery Life And Charging

The battery life of the Cubot Note 40 is truly impressive, offering users a reliable and long-lasting power source. Equipped with a substantial 5,200mAh battery, this device ensures that you won’t be constantly tethered to a charging cable. With moderate use, this smartphone can easily last 10-12 hours of screen-on time. The included 10W charger might take a bit longer to charge the device fully.

HOTWAV Note 13 Pro Review - Budget Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Connectivity & Call Quality

In the connectivity department, the Cubot Note 40 doesn’t disappoint. It supports Bluetooth 5.0, which ensures efficient wireless connectivity. The device’s support for OTG (On-The-Go) is a handy feature, allowing you to connect external devices like USB drives, keyboards, or mice to your smartphone. The phone also features GPS and boasts built-in Face ID, providing convenient facial recognition for unlocking your device. However, it lacks NFC and wireless charging. For those who require 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity, this smartphone has you covered, although it does not support 5G networks.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Final Thoughts

The Cubot Note 40 is an impressive budget-friendly smartphone that successfully combines a sleek iPhone 12-inspired design with solid features and performance. Priced at just $99, it offers an affordable alternative for those looking to own a stylish and capable smartphone without breaking the bank. It might not be a flagship killer or even a middle-range phone, but it offers great value for everyday use. It looks stylish with a user-friendly interface, stunning display, impressive battery life, user-friendly features, and robust gaming capabilities making it a standout in the budget smartphone category. It proves that a premium experience can be offered at an affordable price.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Nevertheless, it’s crucial to consider the compromises that come hand-in-hand with the budget-friendly price tag. The device’s performance is best suited for basic tasks, and its camera system, while functional, lacks versatility and quality.

While it may not compete with upper devices, the Cubot Note 40 excels in its segment and is an excellent choice for users seeking an affordable and reliable daily driver. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to own an iPhone-inspired smartphone for a fraction of the cost.

Cubot Note 40 Review: Low-Cost Phone with iPhone Design for $99!

Remember, as with any smartphone, it’s important to consider your specific needs when making a decision. If the Cubot Note 40 aligns with what you’re looking for in a budget-friendly smartphone, it could be a great choice for you and should be at the top of your list.

Pros and Cons: As with any smartphone, the Cubot Note 40 comes with its own set of pros and cons:


  1. Impressive camera performance.
  2. Compact and lightweight design.
  3. Generous RAM and storage.
  4. High refresh rate display.
  5. Useful additional features.
  6. Vibrant color options.
  7. Decent battery life.


  1. The display is not Full HD+.
  2. Lack of a fingerprint sensor.
  3. Limited gaming capabilities.
  4. Single-sided speakers.