The Cloud Touch is the first of INQ's duo of Facebook-obsessed smartphones, soon to be joined by the Cloud Q. INQ says the social network is weaved into the very DNA of the phone, so if it already rules your social life and reins-in your productivity at work, the Cloud Touch will either be a dream come true or the thing that pushes you over the edge into a quivering mania. It's an Android FroYo 2.2 phone though, so there's more to this mobile than just your friends' banal status updates and reams of drunken photos.
Available for free on contracts of £20 a month, the INQ Cloud Touch is one of the cheaper Android smartphones on the market. Its build and specs are typical of a device of its kind, with a plastic body, 5-megapixel camera without flash, HSPA, Wi-Fi, capacitive touchscreen and 3.5in HVGA (320x480 pixel) display. Although produced by a different manufacturer, it's reminiscent of the old T-Mobile Pulse - one of 2009's best budget smartphones. Not everything about this budget newbie is run-of-the-mill though.
Our review unit was the red edition - coloured in a shade reminiscent of such lippy as worn by precocious young women who totter high heeled down city high streets late at night, on the way from club to kebab house. For those looking for a more demure smartphone, black and white versions should also be available in the UK in due time.
Other than being eye-catchingly shiny and red, the INQ Cloud Touch also stands out thanks to its two unusual hardware buttons. On the right edge of the phone is a Spotify button. A quick tap on this acts as a play/pause, while a longer press opens-up the Spotify app. It doesn't work within the standard music player though, so if you don't use the popular music-streaming service, it's useless.
The second unusual addition is the info button, on the left hand-side of the Cloud Touch. This brings up a packed info screen, wherever you are in the interface. It tells you the time, remaining battery, the remaining memory, lets you set your alarm, turn Wi-Fi on and off, and toggle vibrate, silent, Airplane mode, Bluetooth and GPS. All this is relayed within a single screen. It's ambitious and looks a little cramped, but thanks to colour coding is surprisingly clear.
A final key visual identifier of the Cloud Touch is the INQ logo - or part of it - used for the home screen button on the touch sensitive panel that sits below the touchscreen. These soft keys light up too, when the phone is brought out of standby. The Cloud Touch is clutching at a sense of personality, in spite of its otherwise fairly standard spec list. It's a tactic that works well too, especially if you're a Spotify obsessive with a passion for shiny red things.
The INQ Cloud Touch feels solid, and the battery cover is affixed firmly enough to make it genuinely tricky to remove, but its body feels plasticy thanks to the smooth, shiny finish (and because it is made of plastic, naturally enough). The other finishes will likely supply a dash more class, worth considering if you're primarily after an affordable Android rather than a Facebook phone.