The Cloudfone Experience

As much as I was enjoying the Alcatel Glory Dual Sim Android phone, it was starting to be annoying to me. One, the screen is just too small for me at 3.2 inches. Two, in spite of its relatively good screen resolution I just could not appreciate a lot of things in a miniature screen. So in between project planning, events and preparing communications plans for this week I also checked out the latest mobile phones that are currently available at the mall and also online. But what I did not expect is that I would be given a free phone from a recent event. I was given a CLOUDFONE Excite 350g and here’s the lowdown on the said gadget.

The Cloudfone is relatively new in the local mobile phone industry. Here's the front of the box of the Cloudfone Excite 350g

There are ten things that I look for in a mobile phone. I am no techy expert when it comes to gadgets but I do have a criteria.  One, I want a mobile phone that can handle a large phonebook. The CLOUDFONE Excite is an Android 4 which means it is classified as a smartphone. Smartphones have limitless entries and so this is a welcome change as eons ago, the contact numbers are limited to the capacity of the the sim cards and the high end phones a decade ago could only handle around 500 to 1,000 entries. Thank God technology has advanced to the point that you can have the entire yellow pages encoded into your phonebook! So for this alone, the CLOUDFONE Excite gets 10 out of 10 for me.

 

When you turn on the button at the side, this is the initial lock screen that greets you before you move to the home screen

 

Two, I am particular with the operating system. There are only four operating system that I am willing to work with for a mobile phone. One, I grew up with Symbian which has been the choice operating system of top manufacturers during the mobile phone boom. I like it because of its security features. Second, there’s Apple’s IOS. Third, there’s the latest Metro OS for Windows Mobile and finally there’s Google’s Android. My primary choice for an operating system is that it can back up my files on the phone easily through the SD card and now almost everyone is into cloud computing and backing files online. Each of these operating systems have their own strengths and limitations. Still, I got the CLOUDFONE for free so I am willing to work within the bounds of what this phone can give — as long as it meets the minimum standards that I have based on my own mobile phone needs. So kudos to the CLOUDFONE Excite, they passed the test since this phone comes with Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich. It is considered the latest and it is by far the smoothest Android mobile system that I’ve used as I’ve tried three versions and I didn’t enjoy using Froyo and I had a love-hate relationship with Gingerbread edition.

 

 

Third, I look at the phone’s connectivity. Does it have wifi, Bluetooth and 3G network access? Since I am pretty mobile most of the time, I access my email on my phone and even edit documents online. I always tell my friends that mobile phones now are not really phones but are pocket computers with phone capabilities. Having different options for internet connectivity is important especially if you coordinate a lot of things, communicate to a lot of people and check up on the latest news the erupts around the city and across the globe. Thumbs up for the CLOUDFONE Excite here too, another 10 out of 10!

 

 

Fourth, the phone should have an adequate mobile camera built into it. I’ve read several articles on mobile cameras. I don’t need anything fancy though admittedly I’ve had three Sony Ericssson Cybershot phones and I miss those phones dearly for their camera and built in xenon flash. These days, I have yet to come across mobile phones that have xenon flash bulbs. It’s not in vogue anymore, I guess. Sadly, this is where the CLOUDFONE does not live up to. It only has a 2.0 Megapixel camera with no flash built into it and it cannot do baseline HD videos. In terms of taking pictures, at 2.0 MP it is still very decent and the photos are still crisp and sharp. Besides, unless you happen to work for a magazine that needs really large photos to edit and clean up having large megapixel camera phones is not really important. It just eats up more processing power, more space to store large files and seriously — how many times do you really need to zoom in on photos to check on the micrioscopic holes on your face or dress? CLOUDFONE gets a 7 out of 10 for this category.

Notice how all the apps also move from one side to another easily?

 

Fifth, it should have a good screen. Generally speaking, CLOUDFONES are not known for this … not yet. I think the only two brands competing for the best screen resolutions out there is Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s AMLOED screen for their high end mobile phones such as the Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Tab 7.7 edition and the list goes ever longer. Now here’s where advertising really works hard to catching the attention of people. In fact, I also admit that I’ve been drawn to good screen resolution. Who wouldn’t want to have crystal clear and vibrant colors come alive like the real thing out of a mobile phone screen? Yet let’s get down to business. How many hours in a day do you actually watch television shows via YouTube or downloaded movies on your mobile phone? It makes sense to watch these things to mind the time while sitting on the MRT or on the bus going home. Yet unless I can say that I am glued to my phone’s screen the whole day then it is just a waste of precious resources for the budget conscious people. Yes, I consider myself as budget conscious and the CLOUDFONE is considered as a budget friendly smartphone. So this is where I give the CLOUDFONE an 8 out of 10 since to compare screens with a low end smartphone is like comparing apples to oranges, literally and figuratively.

Notice that while you slide it to the left the next batch of applications is moving forward from the back of the screen?

 

Sixth, the screen needs to big enough for me to type without any problems. Since I compose a lot of emails on my mobile phone, it is annoying to type using my fingers on a small phone screen. I am grateful that Apple decided to expand their screen to 4.0 inches. For me, the CLOUDFONE Excite’s 3.5 inch screen is just perfect. Another 10 out of 10 here.

 

Seventh, the phone has to be able to handle the work that I do for it. It needs to have a fast processor. This is where the CLOUDFONE Excite really got me excited. It has a 1Ghz processor! Wow! And this phone is a dual sim Android phone to boot! It also boasts of 256MB of RAM too and can handle up to 32GB micro SD cards. So yeah, I am also giving this phone a 10 out of 10 for the ample speed it has for a low end smartphone.

In the Widgets section, this is where you could customize the look and feel of your home screen

 

Eight, the phone should be able to do the basic applications that I regularly use. These apps range from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and to ebook readers and occasionally I would also download a game or two to try out what people are talking about such as the time when people got so glued to Angry Birds and Temple Run. CLOUDFONE, I give you a 9 our of 10 here because sadly, there are still very few applications on Google Play’s store that are dedicated to runners and to fitness. The iPhone wins this war hands down across any mobile platform at the moment.

 

Ninth, I love listening to music and it out to have an easy music player to navigate. Previous Android flavors really suck big time with music players. So it is really good that they’ve come up with something better. Still, among the Android music players Samsung has been able to tweak it the most and they have the best one on an Android phone from my perspective. So here, I give the CLOUDFONE Excite an 8 out of 10.

 

Here's the details of the warranty. The only surprise for me here is that why is it that they don't have a landline and they only have a mobile phone for customer support?

 

Finally, we go to the tenth item on my checklist which is the mobile phone should fit snugly within my budget range. In the last ten years, I only spent a total of 75,000 pesos for mobile phones in ten years. This includes two 32,000 pesos phones which until now is considered as a mid range phone. High end phones these days still cost more than that. But yeah, I normally get my mobile phones for FREE because I am under a postpaid plan. Which is why I never really saw the need to buy a mobile phone except that I do admire the designs and the evolution of technology. Still, from time to time I would purchase a phone when I got mugged [well, almost mugged] where my phone and wallet got stolen and when my phone decides to kill itself by jumping into a pool of water without warning me. As strange as it sounds, my phones have a life of their own, surprisingly. Laugh all you want and all you can but it is a true story. But I am getting severely off tangent with this review already. My point here is that I searched high and low across three malls for the CLOUDFONE Excite 350g and even online. Apparently, this phone is not yet available in the market… well, not in the malls that I go around to. So I really wonder how much does this phone cost when it comes out? My guess is that they will peg it at 4,000 to 7,0000 pesos given the limitations of the camera. They will leverage on the fast processor and it being Ice Cream Sandwich. And most of all, it will leverage on the fact that it is a dual sim phone that has all the abilities of a high end smartphone in terms of level of productivity and connectivity.

 

Did I mention that it also includes a mobile tv? Oh yes, that’s the best part of it all. It is a pocket tv too and the antenna is superbly amazing and intuitive ! This is a value added that for me, gives the CLOUDFONE Excite 350g a 12 out of 10 stars for this great value proposition especially for the media addicts who can’t miss their latest telenovelas while on the road.

 

This is an interesting way of making a manual for a phone. Reminds me of picture cards when I was in my elementary school days

 

CLOUDFONE EXCITE 350g

PRODUCT FEATURES AT A GLANCE:

Data Connection: GPRS, EDGE, 3G, HSDPA

Frequency Range: GSM 900/1800, 3G

Display: 3.5” HVGA capacitive touchscreen

Browser: Web

Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email, IM

Ringing Melody: MP3, MP4

Applications: Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich

Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth, WiFi 802.11 b/g, GPS

Imaging: 2.0MP (rear)
SPECS

Other: Dual SIM Dual Standby FM
HARDWARE

Chipset & Speed: 1GhZ

Memory: 256MB RAM and ROM [Unknown – I couldn’t figure this one out yet, sorry]

External Memory: Up to 32GB

This phone is courtesy of FOX International/Brand Action. Thank you for the gesture and the timing is just perfect as I was in search of a new mobile phone that would suit my current needs.

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