The INQ Cloud Touch boasts that it’s “ALIVE WITH FACEBOOK®” and that “Facebook is part of the INQ Cloud Touch’s DNA.” so is this really the case? Is it really the phone we should all be using if we can’t live without Facebook?
WHERE TO PURCHASE:
Carphone Warehouse – £139.95 – BUY NOW
INSIDE THE BOX:
- INQ Cloud Touch Handset
- 1300 mAh Li-Ion Battery
- 3 Pin UK Plug with USB slot
- USB to Micro-USB sync and charge cable
- 3.5mm In Ear wired Headphones
- Cloud Touch user guide.
For full specifications please visit GSM ARENA
- Charging Cycle
- Help System
- MSN Messenger Application
- Facebook Integration
- Proprietary Icons
- Charge / Sync Port Location
- Music Player
- MyHub Mobile
- Plastic Casing
DESIGN & LAYOUT:
TOP: Power Button | Micro USB Charge / Sync Port | 3.5mm Headphone Socket
LEFT: Info Key
RIGHT: Volume Up and Down Buttons | Music Key
FRONT: Internal To Ear Speaker | 3.5 inch capacitive screen | Backlit touch strip
BACK: 5 MP Camera | External speaker
As always we will start our review with looking at the box and the packaging. Considering that the handset comes in RED and WHITE we had no idea what we were getting when the package was delivered.
When we got round to opening the box as it was just a tad confusing as to where it opened, we were struck by anger! Oh wait, it wasn’t anger it was just that we were seeing red and when I say red I really mean red as in bright screaming red. It didn’t end with the handset either, the red theme was all over the inside of the box.
Packaging wise it was very well organised. A tray at the top housing the mobile and when lifted it revealed two bright yellow boxes sitting beside each other and clearly labelled with icons as battery / earphones and plug / charge sync cable.
After removing our sunglasses it was time to get the device sorted for first use. The boxes were unpacked and it was now time to put the battery, sim and microSD card into the handset……
This is where it all started to go wrong. The back casing was not just difficult to remove but it was damn near impossible and for anyone that knows me, I aint no skinny wimp that can’t get the back off handsets.
Eventually and after thinking I was going to snap the plastic, I finally got it removed only for the battery to fall out and land on the floor. This was my next problem, the battery was too loose for it’s housing thus meaning anytime the back cover was removed it would fall out.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse I decided to try inserting the sim card and microSD card. Another blow to the design! The metal fixtures that hold the cards in place have no slots to slide the cards down into so you are pretty much free handing it and it does not prove to be an easy task.
OK so we had some problems with the back end of the phone but when we thought about it….. how many times do you actually need to remove the back, sim card and memory card anyway? Not a lot is the answer, once it’s set up back there then you pretty much never need to touch it again till your next upgrade / phone purchase.
It was finally power on time. We were instantly greeted with a massive bright yellow “Q” which normally forms part of the INQ logo. After hanging on that screen for approx 1 minute it was the INQ logo that came next, followed by a nice Welcome screen.
The setup itself was pain free which you would expect from any Android device. You were able to skip past the Google sign up screen and get straight in to using the phone.
There are 5 home screens as default and all bar one are already set up with apps and widgets to get you started.
Pressing and holding the icons on the Launcher bar allowed you to delete or re-order them which was great because then you wouldn’t need to look at the awful icons that were sitting there already.
I decided at this stage to see exactly what the lock screen was like. Was it stock or had INQ added their own touch to make it more “funky”? The answer was the later, INQ had added their own custom lock screen which was rather nice albeit that the icons on the lock screen were shockingly bad (we will cover that later though).
Pressing and holding your finger on the home screen brought up a fairly typical workspace menu though there was a custom INQ change with the Add Item > Action option which allowed you to add an icon to the desktop such as Screen Previews which you would normally pinch and pull see.
Time to go exploring the menu. There were a number of INQ custom icons which were both drab and old looking. If I’m being completely honest, which I always am, I felt like I was in MicroShite Clipart Gallery from Office 98. This was a major letdown for me. All the hard work of making the phone youthful had just been undone by the aged icons.
As with any handset I review, I love seeing what customisations the manufacturers have added to the phone. The first I noticed was the Auto Set Up icon which took me to an app that would set up the connection settings based on my sim cards network. Was it needed? I think not, however I’m sure there will be a lot of people finding this useful at first set-up.
Another of the things that manufacturers love to play with is the Radio and the Music Player. This device was no different. INQ had gone in, taken a hatchet to and destroyed the stock music player to add their very own and very drab Music Player and Radio.
There were also a number of other pre-loaded apps on the handset such as IQN Type (useless), MyHub Backup which didn’t even support the INQ handset officially and Vringo which offered mobile ringtones when you signed up.
One of the final pre-loaded apps we noticed was Spotify. I have never understood why manufacturers pre-load apps that are available on the market to handsets. By the time the device ships and the user gets it home there is almost always an update for them waiting on the market which defeats the purpose in my eyes.
With just a 3.5 inch HVGA LCD and 600 MHz processor I was intrigued to find out what the web would be like. On the sim card Land of Droid’s website took ages to load and often timed out, even with a full signal on HSDPA. Upon switching to WiFi the page loaded and rendered a lot quicker. Sadly this didn’t really help anyway as the screen was so small that the text was almost impossible to read without pinch and zoom being used. I will say though that this was just for our site. There were a number of pages we tried like Google News and BBC which loaded very well and didn’t require the use of pinch and zoom.
The camera was next to be scrutinised. With no LED flash I wondered how it would cope with the rear facing 5MP camera. I have read a lot of reviews about this handset and very few actually liked the camera. I won;t disagree with them on a whole however I will say that in bright and clear conditions the camera takes a great picture though zooming is out of the question.
It was now time to test out the Facebook Integration that INQ suggested was part of the handsets DNA. Well they weren’t lying! Facebook is so integrated that I feel if you were to take it away the phone would power down and die.
There were so many “individual” Facebook apps that I struggled to keep up and whilst INQ tried to do their own thing with each part of Facebook’s Katana Android App they weren’t able to customise them all. Admittedly I did like the People app which actually should be name Person as when opened it loaded some of your top friends (yes Paul, it looks like your a top friend) and gave your their wall content.
Agenda, Notifications and Check In were all standard as if you were on the normal homepage of Facebook. Personally I don’t see a need for this level of integration of you aren’t going to add anything different from that which you get on the official app. Yes, admittedly it’s a quick and easy way to get to parts of Facebook for Android but they are 100% not needed.
Next stop was one of the most exciting for me on this handset. INQ had really thought about the things people needed to be social when they decided to add this to the menu. I have hunted high and low for a decent MSN application for Android and failed very miserably each and every time. This Application is the most native MSN app I have seen working on Android and for me it’s one of the best features of the handset.
When I said one of the best above it’s because my second best and equally as impressive was the INQ Help application. With Video and Text tutorials on how to do things with the handset it was amazing. You would never be stuck for help with this app.
The preferences menu was home to the regular system settings and some other device specific settings such as number of home screens and gesture control.
Moving on to the hardware itself and specifically the proprietary buttons on the sides of the handset. The information button on the side of the phone gives you one of the better menus on the handset that gives you an overview of the device and the most commonly need to know things like if the alarm is set, battery % remaining and memory remaining. I thought this was a great inclusion.
The other button that is proprietary is the Play button which leads you into Spotify and if you skip passed that then the Music Player.
As I mentioned earlier, the handset has a 600 MHz processor (Qualcomm MSM7227 to be specific). In terms of where it sits on the performance scale it’s slightly below the Xperia X10i from Sony Ericsson and though that might be considered low it scores slightly higher than the 528 MHz HTC Wildfire.
Call quality was pretty standard on the handset. In low signal areas there was very little loss of voice and very rare was it that it struggled when on a call to hold the call in an active state.
With so many high end devices on the market it’s highly refreshing to see such an inexpensive and vibrant handset pop up.
The INQ Cloud Touch is 100% the brightest and most out there handset I have ever seen (we got red). Breaking down the walls and boundaries of Android devices this handset shows from start to finish that it’s a serious contender in the youth filled markets.
The handset is all about being sociable! Centred around Facebook it’s a young and funky phone that chooses not to follow the general boring rules most about colour and design that phones stick to and this hits you straight away with the packaging.
For the Facebook and Social media addicts out there this phone does exactly what it says it was going to do….. it gives you a very scalable solution and a very inexpensive way to have Facebook integration without going out and spending a fortune on a phone like the HTC Salsa or Cha Cha .
For the price the Touch Cloud is worth the punt. Don’t be off put by our dislike of MS Office 98 icons, we hope and pray that an Android 2.3 upgrade to the phone will sort that out too.
Overall Score 7/10
Posted by: John
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