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Teracube 2e review: It’s not easy being green

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E-waste is an increasingly important issue. As more and more products come with processors and batteries, and under pressure to upgrade sooner or later, there is a lot of hard-to-recyclable waste. Same startup company Pair phone and TeracubeRecognize this problem and the potential business opportunities that could be leveraged to address it, and provide a device that is less burdensome to the environment. The latest phone of the latter, the Teracube 2e, costs only $199 and can be used for four years. At least that’s what the company said. But after using the phone for a few weeks, I’m bound to be skeptical.

Design, hardware, and box contents

At first glance, the Teracube 2e looks like a casual, low-budget phone. It’s made of semi-glossy black plastic and has everything you’d expect. On the back is a perfectly decent fingerprint sensor and a small camera bump, a button on the right edge (the power button is a beautiful shade of green), a USB-C port and speakers on the bottom, and a headphone jack on the top. The display is a 6.1-inch IPS number and has a pretty large tear drop notch at the top. That panel is basically bad for any metric. This is a low-quality 720p panel with poorly adjusted colors and visible light bleeding around the edges.

The 2e’s most interesting hardware feature is that you can access and replace the 4,000mAh battery by opening the back panel. That’s no longer uncommon and is the clearest indicator of Teracube’s apparent focus on sustainability. It also comes with a 4-year warranty against manufacturing defects and can easily fix the rest of the device, except for a user-replaceable battery. There’s a very nice biodegradable case out of the box and a screen protector to help extend the life of your phone display.


Actually, I really like this case.

The packaging itself is also eco-friendly, low in height and made entirely of unbleached brown cardboard without plastic inserts. Another thing you can’t find in the box: charger. Yes, the high-end greenwashing trend of skimming power bricks and USB cables has flown into the budget space, but I don’t hate it. At this point, everyone is happy with having chargers (or six) around, and not collecting more just to reduce the clutter of the house. Overall, a minimalist packaging is good, but the impact on the overall environmental impact of smartphone manufacturing can be minimal.


Thanks, Teracube.

Software, performance and battery life

The Teracube 2e runs most of the stock Android 10 and has no bloat at all. It’s commendable, but my department has been running a patch since last November, despite Teracube’s promise to deliver security updates on a bi-monthly basis. This doesn’t give you any confidence that the company will be able to offer 3 OS updates. Planned. Even if the software is up to date, the slowdowns and bugs undermine what otherwise could have been an enjoyable experience.

The phone is paired with a MediaTek Helio A25 CPU and 4 gigs of RAM, and the experience Teracube squeezed in its hardware doesn’t say much about the prospects of using this product in the years to come. 2e actively performs the most basic tasks. It can take a few seconds to open the app, and even typing is annoying. If you move your thumb at full speed, your phone won’t register the text you tapped. Gboard’s auto-correction does a great job of making up for this, but I found it naturally and intentionally slow to avoid typos that don’t happen on other phones. The UI doesn’t even render at the standard frame rate. In testing, the 2e vibrated between 54 and 55 frames per second.

Navigating the stock launcher is also disappointing. You can open the notification window by swiping down on the home screen, but you can only open it through a blank space. When your finger starts on an app icon, folder, or widget, the window does not open. Embarrassingly, swipe left or right to move between home screens. not When your finger moves over the icon or widget, it opens the notification window. Why?

The battery life is at least completely sufficient. On a 4,000mAh cell per day, I was able to cut 7 hours of screen time and 6 hours lighter in 2 days.

camera

It’s hard to get the phone wrong inexpensively because 2e is too expensive for the picture quality. You won’t get objectively good photos with something much cheaper than the Pixel 4a, which costs almost twice as much. That said, the camera performance of both sensors is average at best for phones of this class. The photo is pretty blurry, the dynamic range is poor, and the colors are usually faded.

Focus is also an issue. In the first shot above, I tried for a few minutes to get 2e to polish my dog, but it completely refused.

Should I buy it?

I won’t.

Sustainability is important. The materials from which we make electronics are limited, burdening the harvest, and most methods of disposal are not very good. So, at least in theory, it’s encouraging for companies to try to solve these problems. The Teracube 2e comes with a 4-year warranty, is made from recycled materials, is easy to repair, and the battery can be replaced without any technical knowledge. how. It also comes in a clean Spartan packaging with a biodegradable protective case. These are all objectively good.

But in order to have the hope of lasting 3-4 years, the phone Really It’s sturdy when released and the Teracube 2e isn’t. Making ultra-low-budget devices is the opposite of longevity. The 2e feels like the phone of 2015 today. In 2025, even if you have a new battery and Teracube can deliver on its promise, it will be excruciating to try it out. Three years of software updates (claimed serious doubts in light of 2e’s low-rent MediaTek chipset).

If Teracube had built a $499 or $599 phone with the same spirit: a 1080p display, 6 gigs of RAM, a mid-range Snapdragon chipset, it was still easy to repair and had a long warranty. I think it’ll be on something. However, this $199 phone is one-off at the border and is not eco-friendly. It feels dishonorable to place it that way. If you want to take on your role, then your phone will Actually for 4 years And make the most of it.

Buy it if:

  • We are eager to experiment with the environment where we live with little money.
  • I plan to recycle my next phone in a year and I want to feel better.

Do not buy if:

  • Literally every aspect of a smartphone is more important than a replaceable battery.
  • You can buy a Pixel 4a or Samsung Galaxy A series phone, both of which are guaranteed to have long software support.

Where to buy:

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