We first got a look at the Cloudfone Thrill Access back in May along with several other smartphones that had us quite impressed with the local company’s new direction. The Thrill Access is priced just shy of Php 5000, but is it worth your hard earned money? Before we dive into our review. Here’s a recap of its specifications.
CloudFone Thrill Access Specs
- 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6735 quad-core processor
- 2GB of RAM
- 5-inch HD IPS display, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 16GB of expandable storage
- 8-megapixel rear camera with AF and LED flash
- 5-megapixel front camera with LED flash
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
- 2500mAh battery
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Simplicity Wrapped in a Metal Shell
One thing we immediately liked about the Cloudfone Thrill Access is how it feels in the hand. It’s gentle, chamfered edges make it comfortable and easy to grip despite the smooth finish on the phone’s metal shell and we certainly have to applaud Cloudfone for their mix of materials and textures they used on this device. There’s a nice simplicity with its overall design language that adds to the look and feel of the Thrill Access — though we may be saying that coming from using the flashier Firefly Mobile Aurii Envy.
Taking a tour of the phone, you’ve got the 5-Inch HD Display in front with the 5-megapixel secondary camera that has a dedicated flash for those of your who like taking selfies and below the screen is the fingerprint scanner highlighted by its golden border.
Flip the phone over and the first thing you’ll see is the huge setup for the 8-megapixel camera. Bigger isn’t always better and we wish that the camera setup wasn’t as huge or didn’t stick out as much, but it does lend a bit of balance to the phone’s aesthetic that the textured top and bottom add to as well.
You’ve got the power button and volume rocker on the right side, the Micro USB port on the bottom, and the 3.5mm jack up on top. Things are pretty standard here.
Remove that metal back cover and you expose the Thrill Access’ plastic frame, plus its SIM trays, Micro SD expansion slot, and the non-removable 2500mAh battery.
Smooth Performance on a Budget
We were actually quite impressed with the performance of the Thrill Access as a daily driver. It may not have the fastest processor around, but it somehow handled day to day tasks quite smoothly. We didn’t experience any bugs during our time with the device and only noticed slow downs during extremely heavy use. Connectivity wasn’t much of an issue with decent call quality and a pretty stable mobile data connection as well.
As mentioned above, the Cloudfone Thrill Access highlights its fingerprint scanner with a golden border, but how does it fair? If you scan your thumb straight on, its actually fast and accurate; it’s another story when you have it at an angle though. You may have to register your prints a couple of times to get it where you want it to be. Also, to be honest, we wish that Cloudfone had made use of the space around the fingerprint scanner for capacitive keys instead of having the on-screen navigation buttons.
You’ve also got several Smart Actions (i.e. Double tap to wake, Flip Phone to Mute, and such) and Smart Gestures available with the device allowing you to draw letters and/or shapes of your own to launch the apps, but we recommed just launching the app as you usually would because it would be faster. The Thrill Access runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a slight UI overlay that gets rid of the App Tray, which doesn’t really affect its performance, but a little organization may be in hand for those who may end up cluttering the screen with app downloads.
The display did a decent job. It was a good choice to keep it at 720p rather than Full HD so the phone wouldn’t to push as many pixels. Picture quality was okay, but could have use a bit more contrast to bring more depth into the videos we watched and the photos on our social media feeds.
As you would expect with the processing combo, gaming is rather limited to simpler titles. We always use Asphalt 8 to test out the gaming experiences in devices and you’ll have to dial down the graphic settings to medium to be get decent frame rates. Best to stick to games that aren’t heavy on the graphics. Thankfully, you can play Pokemon Go with the device but you’ll have to turn AR off.
Camera: Standard fare from a Budget Device
Photos from the Thrill Access came out with its white balance favoring cooler tones and lacked a certain pop in the color department, but good enough to use on social media if other options aren’t available. We wouldn’t recommend it in low light conditions as the noise in the photos get rather high. The Thrill Access gets plus points for including an LED flash for its selfie shooter that definitely gives it an edge over other smartphone offerings without it. You do lose a bit of detail with the 5-megapixel front camera, but as long as you’re not in low light conditions it gets the job done.
Battery: 2500mAh. Bring a Powerbank.
As you would expect from a 2500mAh Battery, you’re going to need to bring a rather sizable powerbank with you to get you through the day; especially if you intend to play a ton of Pokemon Go. Battery benchmarks had it at 5 hours 33 minutes, which means you’ll have to manage usage wisely if you’re going to be out an about without a source for extra juice.
The Verdict: Surprising Performance from a Budget Device
We were expecting the worst given its budget price tag, but this should teach all of us not to judge a book by its cover or its price tag. The Cloudfone Thrill Access did a pretty stand up job during our time with the device and we were surprised at how stable it ran. At Php 4999, you’ve got a pretty decent smartphone with LTE and a fingerprint scanner. Its performance isn’t mind-blowingly fast, but it definitely merits a look if you’re strictly pegged at a Php 5000 budget.