INQ Cloud Touch review: Interface

The fact this is an Android-powered smartphone might put off some users that are fed up with identikit Google phones. Well, make sure you take a second glance at the INQ Cloud Touch, as it's got some really clever touches that really set it apart from the competition.

Before we get into that, we should say that the overall operation of the Cloud Touch, for a phone that doesn't have a full 1GHz processor (only packing a 800MHz option) is pretty slick. We encountered minimal slowdown in our tests, which is always a sign of a well-packaged handset, and the overall use was intuitive by putting things in logical places.

For instance, we're pleased to see the 'pinch to view all homescreens' option on the main display - but beyond that, you can extend the amount you have up to seven, and all of these will still display in the pinch view.

INQ cloud touch review

Another really, really cool feature is the lock screen: instead of the boring slide-to-unlock you have to drag a padlock through a moveable membrane, which is responsive and cool at the same time. If you don't want to unlock the phone but use the camera instead, simply do the same with the camera icon.

And the INQ Type option, which lets you quickly search the web, post a social networking status or save a number/name, is one drag away too - really nice, really intuitive and one of the things that users will like to show off to their friends.

You can also access this from anywhere in the phone by dragging upwards from the main 'Q' icon on the touch controls, so it's always available.

INQ cloud touch review

Other touches that INQ has thought about really come to life when you start using the phone - for instance, a customisable tray at the bottom of every home screen is an easy way to get to the places you use a lot. If we're being critical (and you know us, we always are) the icons are a little perplexing at times, but a couple of weeks in and you'll have learnt all the idiosyncrasies.

INQ cloud touch review

You can specify things like whether the menu animates when pressed, or set specific gestures for the home screen to perform different tasks: be it swiping up or down, there's a plethora of options on offer, and that's the kind of thinking we love to see, especially as it works really well.

It would be easy to criticise the INQ Cloud Touch for not having overt access to the dial pad - sure, INQ isn't positioning this phone as a standard calling and texting device, but it's still a key function. Step forward home gestures - you can set the option to double tap, swipe up or swipe down and have the dial pad open up. Nice stuff.

INQ cloud touch review

Of course, there are still some niggles - for instance, you can't manually drag and drop icons from the bottom tray; instead, you have to hold them down and choose to move them using buttons. It's not a hugely time consuming affair, but it's not overly intuitive.

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However, it would be unfair to say the INQ Cloud Touch layout isn't intuitive overall - while a contextual search key might be a big oversight, the rest of the Android OS' advantages are all present, correct and well laid out, plus the Facebook overlay we'll come onto later will impress a lot of users.