Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
INQ Cloud Touch Android phone
INQ Cloud Touch review: A budget Android smartphone with heavy Facebook integration
- Reasonable features list
- Handy info button and lock screen
- Flexibility of Android OS
- Average build quality
- Slow UI in various areas
- Low resolution screen
The INQ Cloud Touch offers heavy Facebook integration at a reasonable price, though its low-resolution display and average build quality are disappointing.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The INQ Cloud Touch is an entry-level Android smartphone targeting a younger audience with heavy Facebook integration. The INQ Cloud Touch doesn't have a great design, and its Facebook integration is merely a collection of handy widgets, but this Vodafone-exclusive smartphone represents decent value for money.
Read our guide to the top budget Android phones on the market.
INQ Cloud Touch: Design and display
The INQ Cloud Touch is constructed largely from glossy plastic and is available in white or red. It resembles most other candy bar touchscreen smartphones — the front is taken up almost entirely by the 3.5in capacitive touchscreen and shortcut keys, and a glossy black and silver bezel. The INQ Cloud Touch has rounded edges that slope toward the back of the handset and these make it comfortable to hold. The rear battery cover creaks and rattles when pressed, and the front of the phone is a fingerprint magnet.
INQ has slightly altered the traditional four button Android shortcut key layout. Below the display are three large, touch sensitive keys for menu, home and back, with the standard Android search key noticeably absent. The INQ Cloud Touch's keys are backlit and generally responsive. Its 3.5in capacitive touchscreen is relatively clear, but poor viewing angles, a low resolution and poor sunlight legibility are annoyances.
INQ Cloud Touch: Software
The INQ Cloud Touch has a heavily modified user interface centred around heavy Facebook integration. By default it offers one-touch access to favourite friends, birthdays and events, notifications, places, latest news feed posts, and Facebook chat. In reality, the INQ Cloud Touch's Facebook integration still relies on the default Android Facebook app for most functions, but the home screen widgets do make Facebook quicker and easier to access.
The two key functions of the INQ's Facebook integration are the news feed widget, and people widgets. The main Facebook news feed widget shows your friends' most recent Facebook status updates in a large box — large quotation marks signify a regular text update, while any video links can be tapped once to open directly in YouTube. The People widget displays your five-most visited contacts, with a large profile picture and recent posts. It's an entirely separate view to the regular Facebook app, with the photo flanked by what appears to look like a torn piece of paper. The interface is attractive, but the People widget often takes longer than 10 seconds to load.
Underneath the heavy Facebook integration, the INQ Cloud Touch runs the 2.2 'Froyo' version of Google's Android operating system. It offers all the benefits and features of Android including access to the Android Market for third-party apps. It's a shame INQ has used its own icons for some applications, as they look ugly compared to the standard Android version — particularly the Web browser, camera, contacts and messaging icons.
On a positive note, the INQ Cloud Touch has two excellent UI features not normally seen on Android phones. The first is a customised information screen available by pressing the physical 'i' button on the left side of the phone. This gives you quick access to commonly used functions in an easy to read, colourful layout. You can set the alarm, change the time and date, turn-Wi-Fi on and off, see a detailed remaining battery indicator, and check the available memory. Along the bottom of the handy info screen are toggles for vibrate, silent mode, airplane mode, Bluetooth and GPS. In our opinion, this is the best feature of the INQ Cloud Touch and one we would love to see implemented across all Android phones.
The second excellent UI feature is a customised unlock screen that allows you to regularly unlock the screen, unlock directly into a new message screen, or unlock directly into the INQ Type screen. The latter allows you to search the Web, update your status on multiple social network accounts, save a note, or save a new contact in your phonebook.
INQ Cloud Touch: Other features
The INQ Cloud Touch is powered by a modest 600MHz processor, and only has 4MB of internal memory but a microSD card slot (a 4GB card is included), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, an FM radio and a 5-megapixel camera are enough to sweeten rhe deal given its budget positioning. The lack of a camera shutter key and flash is annoying, but the on-screen button does a relatively good job in its place. Regardless, the Cloud Touch is only good for the occasional happy snap.
Unfortunately, the INQ Cloud Touch has below-average battery life. Most users will get around 24 hours of life out of its 1300mAh battery before it needs a recharge. The INQ Cloud Touch is exclusively available through Vodafone for $299 on prepaid and $0 on a $29 cap over 24 months.
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