The Teracube Android phone takes a different approach to sustainability

The Teracube is one of the best ratios of performance to price to sustainability on the market.

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The Teracube Android smartphone. 

Image: ZDNet/Matthew Miller

Teracube is a unique company within the Android market. They claim to be the world's most reliable smartphone, but they accomplish this feat in a way no other company has dared to attempt.

Let me set the stage.

On average, a person will keep a smartphone for about two years. After that two years, one of two things happen:

  1. The user gets upgrade-itis.
  2. The phone fails and must be upgraded.

Those are the two most common reasons why users abandon their devices. In some cases, those perfectly viable phones being left behind are traded in for a pittance, or handed down to children. On the other hand, some of those devices no longer function properly.

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That's where Teracube comes in. Instead of selling a device that may be jettisoned after two years, the company takes an approach that could have users retaining those phones for twice as long. With users keeping their devices for four years instead of two, they gain a level of sustainability that many other manufacturers cannot achieve. With fewer Teracube phones finding their way into e-waste, the environmental impact is lessened. Considering that over 135 million smartphones are tossed away yearly in the US alone, this is an idea long overdue.

Warranty

But how can a single company help to change the disposable nature of consumer electronics? Simple. First they offer a four-year warranty on their phone. The warranty includes a free battery change and covers parts, labor, factory defects, and two-way shipping costs. Teracube also offers an express replacement option, so you'll never be without a phone. 

Of course, the warranty isn't the only reason that the Teracube is an important option for those trying to lessen their carbon footprint.

Repairs

If your Teracube phone develops an issue not covered by the warranty, the company offers $39 flat fee repairs--no matter what's wrong with your device. This repair option covers everything from water damage to cracked screens and drained batteries. Once you buy a Teracube, you can be certain (so long as the company stays in business), your phone will last for four years. 

To make this even better, that $39 price includes parts and two-way shipping. No other smartphone company can match that offer.

Specs

To be certain, the Teracube is a mid-range device. You shouldn't expect anything more at the $249.00 price point. But don't let that low price fool you. The Teracube performs way above its pay grade. To be certain, this is no Google Pixel 4 or Samsung Galaxy S20, but at this price it should be considered a contender for anyone looking for the best ratio of performance, price, and sustainability.

The full spec sheet looks like:

  • Processor: MediaTek Helo P60 2.0 GHz octa-core

  • Operating system: Android 9.0

  • Display: 6.2 inch 1080x2280 pixels resolution IPS

  • RAM: 6GB

  • Storage: 128GB internal with microSD/dual SIM tray

  • Cameras: Rear - 12 megapixel with a 5-megapixel depth sensor Front - 8 megapixel

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, FM radio

  • Cellular bands: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and LTE 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17

  • Battery: 3,400 mAh

  • Dimensions: 157 x 75.5 x 7.7 mm and 176 grams

This device isn't going to blow away the competition, but it certainly isn't going to be left in the dust by the majority of Android smartphones. After using the Teracube regularly for over a week, I can happily report this smartphone will satisfy most users. And for Android purists, Teracube doesn't add anything of their own into the mix. In fact, the included app list is about as bare bones as you can get--while retaining all of the usual Google-y bits (Figure A).

Figure A

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The only apps I've added to the Teracube are DAVx, F-Droid, and Tasks.

The only variance to stock Android is the device-specific camera app, which could use a bit of polish. The camera app doesn't offer anything resembling Portrait Mode or Night Sight, but it does at least include a handy built-in picture cropping tool. Even so, the camera is probably the only weak spot on the device. With my daily driver Google Pixel 4, I never get a bad photo; the Teracube requires a bit more work to get a good pic. Figure B illustrates the difference between the Teracube and Pixel 4 cameras. Same subject, same lighting, no tweaking with either camera app.

Figure B

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(Left) Teracube photo, (right) Pixel 4.

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic

Although the camera isn't bad, when you compare it to a flagship camera, it clearly falls short.

But a strong camera game isn't what the Teracube is about. Anyone looking to have the best camera on the market in their pocket will be turning to the likes of Google or Samsung. The Teracube is about responsibility and sustainability. If that's what you're looking for, you probably won't find a better option in the mobile space. 

And, considering you get an outstanding mid-range phone in the process, Teracube is a win-win for everyone. 

For those interested, you can purchase the Teracube now

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