Teracube 2e Review

I’ve been using this badboy for a few weeks now and I am really impressed by the performance of it and overall value of it.

The phone is suppose to have quite a low powered chip in it, but honestly everything runs smooth 95% of the time. If something does slow down I suspect it comes down to the apps choking on trying to load larger images while scrolling too fast. There’s always some skipping when it comes to any phone, even the most premium iphone/androids.

Now, you wouldn’t think you could game on such a cheap phone but boy you would be wrong! Games that run off of sprites like Candy Crush work flawlessly, and even some 3D intensive games are playable. I tried out Call of Duty Mobile and got probably 15-20 fps. It was not a completely smooth experience, but it was definately playable and I got a few kills in the short demo match that I played. For casual gaming this phone hits the mark.

The packaging was fairly plain, but clean with a nice little green leaf emblem that gives the packaging a bit of personality. I love the fact that the phone comes with the screen protector and case preinstalled, phones that are 6-8 times the price don’t even give you a screen protector(I am looking at you Apple, samsung does included a free protector typically).

The charger that came with it seem to have some scuffs on the plastic, but it worked perfectly and the fact that it was USB-A meant that it is compatible with my monitor, my desktop computer, laptop, and car charging port. It was only 8 bucks so I can forgive it was refurbished.

The initial case with its specs of brown was a bit disconcerting at first, but I got used to it and the fact that I can throw it away in the forest is a nice touch. The overall look of the sides and back of the phone is fairly decent with a shiny green power button. The plastic back is absolutely fantastic, no more worrying about dropping the phone and cracking a 500$ glass back. Taking off the plastic back is a bit clumsy at first, but once it’s off inserting the sim was a cinch. The phone is very durable and I was tossing it around with no fears about damaging the phone.

The cameras are just okay IMO, they are good enough to take reference photos for everyday tasks and will obviously capture social moments. But it’s no iPhone 12 pro that has a faster camera and excellent color accuracy. Android phones tend to have this cool color profile no matter how expensive or cheap they are and this is no exception. The wide angle lens seems to have some smearing that I am not sure what the cause is. The main lens works just fine though. If you rely on sharing photos for your work/business I would not recommend this phone.

The 720p resolution seemed low at first, but I got used to it for web/app scrolling. Watching youtube is perfectly fine on it, I can even make out tiny chat text on twitch. The screen does get very bright so there’s no issue there.

The rear fingerprint scanner is reliable albeit a tad slow. It still beats having to drop my mask to unlock the new iphones. (Come on apple, pandemics are here to stay)

For overall value, if you compare this phone to top of line apple/android phones you only have to get a year or a little bit more out of it to get the equivalent value, and then after that the phone starts to have great value in years 2-3. I suspect even after four years of use the phone will still be quite usable especially considering how easy the battery can be replaced.

Overall: it’s a great little phone for the value just for basic everyday smart phone use.

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I agree with your review.

Thanks for being so clear.

I got the 2E to replace an Essential phone which is no longer being supported.

Setup from Google backup was a breeze. Hooking up to my truck’s ancient version of Sync bluetooth went really well so hands free is now finally a no-brainer in my life.

I got this phone to be a phone … I am 60 y/o and certainly not a social influencer … so I don’t need razor sharp images of my dinner !!

But pictures are great on this and I look forward to trying videos soon.

When I opened the back to install my sim card I have to admit I had a small moment of joy … replace my own battery, add a micro sd card … wow !!! Pushed all the right buttons for me !!

The case is plastic which is fine … the protective case is the bomb !!

The phone feels light in my hand, not clunky … this is the phone I need in my life.

I bought 2 phones, a spare battery and a charger … for 1/2 the price of The Essential or a high end Samsung device.

TeraCube … well done … I hope people continue to get behind this project.

Time to move away from disposable life and the damage to the environment it brings.

Thanks for letting me post my thoughts, and thanks again teracubist for a great review!

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Received my 2e today. I bought the phone for an elderly family member and I got to play with it a little bit. First impression is that the phone does not feel budget compared to my Pixel which is my daily driver. The overall structure also feels solid to hold in such a way that one can hardly notice the battery is user-replaceable. Overall everything runs sufficiently fast and smooth. I didn’t realize before charging the phone that it even got a notification light which is so rare nowadays. The feature I love the most is that FM radio works even under airplane mode!

Overall, I’m very happy with the purchase. Teracube’s next project will definitely be on my radar screen :slight_smile:

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After 2 days of using the Teracube 2e, I thought I’d share my impressions and hope other Teracube 2e owners will chip in with theirs.

Unboxing:
The packaging was simple, all cardboard, in line with the ecological promise.
Being based in Europe, mine came with a charger :grin:
Like others, I didn’t realise the peel-off film on the screen was actually a screen protector. Marking on it should make that more obvious.

Look and feel:
Good size, bright screen, with a little bit of yellow shimmer on text when scrolling.
The protective case provided has a hefty feel that makes up for the almost flimsy feel of the actual back cover. The lifted corners and thickness of the case give an impression of good overall protection from accidental drops.
The battery is easily removable as promised and putting in the SIM card was easy.

OS:
The Android 10 version installed is as vanilla as they come. I didn’t particularly like the default launcher and installed Nova Launcher. Sadly, this makes the “clear all” button inaccessible.
Writing this in March 2021, the Android security update on the phone is dated November 2020.

Sound:
Through the speakers, sound is tinny.
Through headphones plugged into the audio jack, sound is fine.
I found the FM radio application pre-installed which was like time traveling.

Display:
With all the available adjustments between brightness, eyecare and night light, you can get things nicely tuned.
The only obvious weakness is in scrolling text that shows a blurry shimmer. Nothing that prevents reading however.

Overall performance:
For a phone this price, I’m quite impressed.
Despite my 178 applications, everything closes and opens quick enough.
Not a flagship by any means, but a decent device to carry out every day tasks.
Not sure how it would do with high power games.

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Another important feature I should add is battery life. This has been an eye opener for me. With the removable battery, I guessed that effective battery life wouldn’t be impressive, given that the phone gives the easy option of swamping a dead battery out for a recharged one. I was wrong. I’m genuinely impressed by the battery life on one charge. We’ll see how this ages.
I bought the Teracube as a backup phone to my OnePlus 6. Obviously, performance wise, the Teracube doesn’t match, but they’re far from the same price range and battery wise, I get more out of the Teracube than I do the OnePlus 6 which is 3 years old now. But, hey, I can’t swap out the OnePlus battery either.

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Indeed the HD+ screen with other components really helps with Battery life. Am also quite impressed with this balance.

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I am using my teracube 2e now since almost 2 weeks…
What I like:

  • Battery life for a single chart is good (I am currently charging it every 2 to 3 days)
  • Even if the phone is not expensive, it does not feel cheap
  • It is really easy to open case (and pull out the battery)
  • The startup logo looks nice
  • I like the double tap (at the power button) function to get to the camera
  • It still has a headphone jack
  • Fingerprint works good enough
  • Idea of biodegradable case
  • No real issues during every day use

What I do not like:

  • The camera app needs improments (I was sure that I can’t compare it with my Huawei P9, but I did hope that it would not be that bad - more on that later)
  • The biodegradable bumper case is to fat and it does not stay where it should (I have to put it back in position very often)
  • Call function via Loud-Speaker does seam to have acoustic feedback with the microphone (I guess it has something to do with the design of the case because the microphone is not sealed from the speaker internally)

What I do not like on the camera app:

  • The panorama mode is hard to use (no feedback for moving it in a straight line like other phones do)
  • The panorama mode does not match the images correctly (they are fragmented, even if nothing moves in the area)
  • You need to press the small text areas (this not always easy and I missed them several times)
  • Frequent Updates seems impossible for your small team (I would really prefer the Lineage OS way)

Currently the most annoying thing for me is the camera app… but this should be a thing which can be improved over time. The question is, if your small team can manage this task?

I have had my Teracube 2e since Late Jan/early Feb. And even tho the promotion said "Yes, we’ve got backup batteries for you, too. It is 4000mAh capacity and can last up to 2 days on a single charge. this has not been even close to true. I have to recharge it daily. Sometimes not quite a full day, either. And when I asked abt it, the teracube rep said charges are supposed to last 1-1.5 days.
So false advertising!

Everyone has a different usage pattern, and from what you have said, yours isn’t too far off from what the reps said to expect.

They said up to two days in the marketing, not at the minimum. If they had said “a minimum of two days”, then sure, they’d be misleading people if the vast majority of us could not reasonably expect two days.

With my One, if I’m out in the field, I’m lucky if I get much past the end of the work day. Combination of screen time, LTE usage, GPS, and camera is not friendly.

On days when I’m fully WFH, I get about two days between charges, and that’s on a smaller 3500mAh battery. It’s all down to usage pattern.

Have you audited your installed apps to see if any are power hungry in the background?

Hi @Pat_Loeb - could you install Acubattery app , configure it, and share your stats/screenshot after few days of usage?

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I, too, ordered the 2e in the fall, to replace my suddenly dead-screened Essentials PH-1 (which replaced a Nexus 5). I really liked the idea of “sustainability” and self-service. The 2e specs seemed fine for my needs, and I had a borrowed Samsung S7 to tie me over while I waited. Although I received the 2e a few weeks ago I only got around to swapping it over last week.

SHOWSTOPPER: The Cameras Suck.

They are painfully slow. The camera UI is terrible and picture quality is awful. I’ve learned the hard way that megapixels mean nothing when the supporting systems are dreadfully weak. And who decided on two crappy forward cameras rather than one decent camera?

Taking a suggestion from the Forum I tried Mark Harman’s Open Camera, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.sourceforge.opencamera, which has a better UI, but is even slower in HDR mode. (In my tests, 2e’s camera software takes three seconds to save, Open Camera’s takes five.)

To see if it was just me, I Googled “Teracube 2e Camera Review” and this https://www.techradar.com/reviews/teracube-2e-review in which Andrew Williams says "Don’t buy it if…You want to take photos"

If I was the product manager, I’d make updating the camera software the top priority (after mission critical bugs)… P L E A S E and Thank You!

Until the camera issues are resolved, I advise you NOT to buy the 2e.

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This is really two replies.

First, battery: I’m not a heavy user. I’m not a gamer. I want a charge to last a long time and I can get 3 days, easily. And I don’t want to have to buy a new battery if I can avoid it. I’ve got “Battery Saver” mode turned on and, because I’m a light user, I don’t notice any performance impairment. I’m also using the “Battery Charging Limit” feature set to 70% to reduce battery wear and extend battery lifespan. I charge overnight and my battery starts the day at 70%. At the end of the day the battery is usually 50-55% when I plug into the charger at my nightstand. Google Maps drains the battery fastest, but in the car I can plug into a charger. After about two months of use, AccubatteryPro still reports my battery health as 101%. So far, the 2e has has shown the best battery performance, by far, of any phone I’ve ever owned.

And Camera: I’ve used it very little. My wife and kids all have iPhone 11s and 12s. I’ve always used Android phones and the iPhone camera is always so much better that my family doesn’t ever want me to take pictures! Is the iPhone camera so good because of its software? If so, this is an area that Teracube should spend some resources on.

I’m very happy with my 2e. Thanks, Teracube!

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A bit is the Apple processing engine, but a not insignificant difference is the cost of the camera modules themselves. They are quite spendy.

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I agree with all the above comments. I know that Teracube personnel read these forums and are taking notes. Here’s hoping that their next phone will have a great camera, faster GPU/CPU and much better speaker while retaining the dual SIM, removable battery and headphone jack.

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All of the above would be nice, but the present model at the present price point is exactly what I need!

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c’est vrai. la batterie dure très longtemps… impressionnant !

Je confirme : 2 jours … après, tout dépend du nombre d’application et de l’utilisation.

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Rant about complaining over cell phone cameras (skip to the next bold text if you don’t care): If you want a good camera, you don’t get it in a $200 phone! A $200 dedicated point-n-shoot camera will also produce marginal results that probably aren’t much better than the ones that come off of the Teracube 2e and the camera doesn’t do anything else!. (Alternative for a cheap camera for specialty photos, if you plan on taking crazy-wide fish-eye photos or extreme close-up macro photos, you can use a Raspberry Pi hobby computer with a camera sensor board and special lenses for not too much money. The resulting photos will not be large, but will be better quality than anything else out there that was produced on equipment that cost less than $1000.)

If you want great photos for “cheap,” go buy a used Sony a6000 mirrorless camera system (costs about $600, used, for the camera body without any lenses)! Let me put this into perspective. The best camera on the market in a cell phone is likely in the OnePlus 9 Pro or the iPhone 12 Pro. The OnePlus has better hardware with current, high end point-n-shoot-sized image sensors from Sony and lenses from Hasselblad. But unless Sony is also providing them with the photo processing software in addition to the camera sensors, OnePlus likely didn’t take full advantage of their hardware. Thus, for around 5 times the price of a Teracube, you can get a phone camera that is, at best, a decent backup camera for the aforementioned Sony a6000, which came out nearly 6 years ago.

Quick aside: Sensor size, sensor brand, sensor tech generation, lenses, and photo processor are the 5 specs to look for in a good digital camera. Sony makes the best sensors that are 35mm and smaller and the best photo processors, followed very closely by Canon and Fuji. Nikon uses Sony’s sensors and their own excellent photo processors that are probably tied with Sony. Canon is not more than a whisker behind the others and produces excellent equipment of their own. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in the resulting photos, until you start using them in extreme use cases that pushes EVERY camera to their limits.

Another quick aside: The OnePlus 9 Pro beats every other phone on the market in at least 4 of the 5 specs. (Apple just may have the best photo processing software in a phone, ever.) The used Sony a6000 beats the OnePlus on 4 of the 5 specs (it loses by having a sensor that is 5 years older than the OnePlus camera sensors) and beats the iPhone on all 5 of the specs (Apple seems to use the best sensors that are known to be well built and well tested, then builds the best software they can to process the images).

Phone Camera Rant Over, Begin Rant About Teracube 2e

Well, this part is not really a rant.

I love that I can uninstall or disable all of the GApps that I don’t use. This saves my phone a ton of memory, processing power, and battery. The only GApps I left on are the Play Store, Play Services, Google Maps, Google Photos, Google Docs, and Drive. I’m getting ready to turn off Google Photos, Google Docs, and Google Drive. Google Maps will probably be turned off soon after that. The installed Phone, Contacts, Calendar, Clock, and SMS apps are all from Google and I use those, but they are simple apps and they aren’t the core of the GApps that cause the most problems. I’ve even turned off the Google Assistant and the core Google search app.

I also love that I can root my phone, load custom ROMS, and do other things to make my phone even more mine, without voiding the long warranty,

I love that, with most GApps disabled, the apps I use run faster and smoother on my phone than they do on friends’ phones that cost 3 times as much.

I love that Teracube is trying to counter the ever pervasive tide of planned obsolescence and toxic electronic waste. I am no tree hugger and I don’t think global warming/climate change is near the problem that some claim. Nor do I believe that most of it is caused by humans–as the sun cycles play a much bigger role than we do. That being said, I also believe it is a sin to be wasteful and that we have a divine duty to take care of what we have on the Earth, both for ourselves and for our descendants.

I hate having to buy a new phone every two years because the perma-battery in my phone died. I love that I can instead, send the battery off to be recycled and buy a new battery.

I love that this phone has two SIM slots. My wife and I travel a lot and when we go overseas, we buy a local prepaid SIM card online before we get there. Having that second SIM slot means that as soon as we land, we have phone and internet without having to fiddle with changing SIM cards in an airport.

I love that the 4000 mAh battery on my Teracube lasts as long as the 5000 mAh battery on my wife’s Motorola. Of course, she’s a heavy GApps user and has a bunch of other apps that are constantly loading ads, so it makes sense. (I try to use/support Open Source as much as possible–it leads to better privacy, no ads, and more efficient use of resources.)

I love that this phone has 64 GB if internal storage with an SD slot that can take a huge card. It makes it so I can put my photos, music, movies, offline maps, and ebooks on the external, taking up about 50GB of space, and the system along with all of my apps take up about 28GB of space inside the phone, leaving plenty of room for anything that may come along–such as pre-downloaded items from Amazon Prime Video, that are generally stored in the phone–for those times I’m traveling and want to watch a movie without internet. (32 GB would be a touch tight for my usage patterns.)

I love that Open Camera from f-Droid runs quickly, can burst-shoot photos, and fixes the worst of the lens and color problems of the camera. It still has lots of noise in low light, but what can you do about that on a small sensor? Answer: not much and everything that you can do involves losing photo information with de-noising your photos. This camera is just fine for taking random photos in good light.

I love that the case is bio-degradable and has little flecks of wheat embedded in it. It’s unique and reminds me of my youth, growing up on my dad’s cattle ranch with several hundred acres of attached farm. (When I was 16, the soil conditions in many of the fields called for a rotation of wheat, so it brings back memories from the summer when I was 16. I spent much of that summer delivering wheat to a neighboring ranch that didn’t have as much crop land and so needed grain and straw for the winter.)

I love that someone in the US finally started making a phone similar to the FairPhone and other European long-term use phones. Thanks for making it. This phone fits me well.

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Such a well written and interesting review! Thank you for posting. I didn’t t know I could turn off many of the Google apps with out effecting stability of the phone. Now I’ve something else to explore on this great device.

If you disable one that causes instability, just re-enable it. At worst, you may lose a few settings in some app or other. At best, you’ve killed off a piece of spying software that was eating data and battery in the background and eating storage by caching the data it gathered spying on you.

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