The Cloud Flash is Intex's most recent entry in its 'Cloud' series of smartphones and it's just in time for the holiday rush. This Rs.10,000 smartphone boasts off having a protective glass back and of course 4G connectivity. However, the Intex has its work cut out for it as the Lenovo K3 Note (Review | Pictures) happens to reside in this segment too. The latter is one of our favourite phones of 2015 and was one of the most popular handsets on Flipkart this year. Let's see if the Cloud Flash has what it takes to pose as a better alternative.
Look and feel
Intex has certainly stepped up its game in the build and finish department. With smooth, rounded edges and Gorilla Glass for the front and back, the Cloud Flash doesn't feel cheap. The glass back does make the phone very slippery though and can easily slip through your fingers or slide of an uneven surface.
Dominating the front is a 5-inch HD AMOLED display, which produces saturated colours along with good viewing angles. You get the usual suite of sensors upfront along with the 5-megapixel selfie camera. Navigation is taken care off by onscreen buttons, though there's no notification LED.
The volume and power buttons sit on the right and are fairly responsive. The microSD card slot and dual Micro-SIM tray are placed on either sides of the unit. At the bottom, we have the mono speaker while the headphone socket and charging port are placed on the top. The 13-megapixel primary camera and flash sit flush with the rest of the body.
The phone comes bundled with a charger, data cable, headset, screen guard and manuals. The quality of the accessories aren't anything to shout about, but they should last provided you treat them with a little care. The Cloud Flash does attract fingerprints rather easily due to the glass back.
Specifications and software
The Intex Cloud Flash packs decent firepower under the hood for a smooth Android experience. There's an octa-core MediaTek MT6753 SoC, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of onboard storage. Thankfully, the storage expansion slot can officially accommodate cards up to 128GB. Other specifications includes 4G support for both SIMs on Indian bands, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG, FM radio, GPS and a 2300mAh battery under the hood.
On the software side of things, it's mostly stock Lollipop 5.1.1 with a custom icon set and few gesture features. You get the option to adjust the display's parameters with MiraVision and there are motion and wake gestures to play around with. Something that we don't often see in such devices is an SOS mechanism. This lets you send your emergency contacts your location information by holding the volume up and down keys for three seconds.
Intex bundles handy apps with the phone like SwiftKey, Opera Mini and Skype. Other apps include Fun Club, Follo, Olx, Clean Master, Auto Call record, Newshunt, Chaatz, InMobi services and couple of trial games.
The Cloud Flash is a competent task master and easily manages multitasking for everyday use. The interface is smooth and the display is very legible under sunlight, making it great for outdoor use. We also found call quality to be satisfactory and were able to latch on to 4G networks whenever possible. We didn't encounter any heating issue as such, but the phone does get noticeably warm when using the camera.
The octa-core processor performs well in benchmarks and at times, even beats SoC's found in phones that cost twice as much. We got a good score of 37130 points in AnTuTu and a comfortable 21fps in GXFbench.
The loud speaker has high volume levels thanks to the software enhancements in the settings menu. While not the clearest for music or movies, it's does the job for incoming calls and messages. The design of the bundled headset provides decent ambient noise isolation and the audio quality is quite ok. The phone handles full-HD videos well and has no trouble paying back high bit-rate ones too.
The 13-megapixel main camera does a decent job at landscapes and macros in daylight. Level of detail is good in close up shots but distant objects aren't very sharp and appear fuzzy most of the time. The sensor does manage to capture good colours, especially with HDR. Low-light performance is a bit weak as the camera app takes a long time before saving the image and even a slight movement results in a blurry picture. Noise is also an issue here and the same goes for indoor shots under artificial lighting.(Click to view full-sized image)
Video recording quality is good and with EIS enabled, the video isn't too shaky. It's also nice to have tap-to-focus during recording, a feature that's often left out these days. There aren't any video modes but you do have a couple of shooting modes like panorama, live photo, motion tracking and multi-angle view. The modes do their job well except for the motion tracking, which seemed to have a mind of its own about which objects to track. The front camera does a decent job too but don't expect class-leading selfies here.
With a 2300mAh battery inside, we managed to get 7 hours and 24 minutes of usage in our video loop test. With regular use, we managed to get by a little less than a day before the battery level hit critical. It also tends to take longer than usual to get it to a full charge.
The Intex Cloud Flash doesn't have any glaring flaws other than usual quirks typically found in this price segment. Barring the average battery life and camera performance, the phone does everything its set out for - nothing more, nothing less. Intex might have overdone the simplistic design part since the phone lacks any sort of character and ends up feeling bland and forgettable. Intex has tried to sweeten the deal a bit by doubling your 3G/ 4G data capacity if you're on Airtel and is also offering a 1-year screen breakage warranty.
The Lenovo K3 Note is still a better bet, given the same price point, since it offers better display and more practical software tweaks.
Disclosure: Gadgets 360 is the exclusive retail partner for Intex Cloud Flash.