Cloudfone Excite Prime 2 Review – The New Budget Phone To Beat?

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Cloudfone Excite Prime 2 Unboxing And First Impressions

Out of the box, Cloudfone’s newly launched Excite Prime 2 is arguably one of the most impressive entry-level Android smartphone in the market for this year yet.

Specs

Display: 5.5 Inch HD IPS OGS 1280 x 720 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Glass protection at 267 ppi
CPU: 1.3 GHz 64 Bit MT6737 quad core processor
GPU: Mali T720
RAM: 3 GB
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 128 GB (dedicated)
Rear Camera: 13 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX135 w/ AF, auto portrait mode and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8 MP f/2.0 w/ portrait mode and softlight LED flash
Battery: 3,000 mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, 700 MHz LTE Bluetooth, OTG, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, orientation, gyroscope, proximity and gravity sensors

Others: Colors: black, gold, silver

Unboxing / Accessories

The box!
The box!

Cloudfone has a new red and black packaging for the Excite Prime 2. Inside, Cloudfone ensured that everything you need on your smartphone purchase is there.

Inclusions inside
Inclusions inside

It includes a 1.5A USB wall charger, USB to micro USB data / charging cable, Spotify earphones, 3 sizes of eartips, high quality TPU jelly case, and screen protector.

Build Quality / Design

Metal case, premium feel for the price
Metal case, premium feel for the price

Like most of the new Cloudfone devices, the Excite Prime 2 arrived with plastic frame protected by a sturdy removable metal case. The metal case that Cloudfone used here now feels better than their older models.

Dual micro SIM and micro SD card slots
Dual micro SIM and micro SD card slots

In front, the 5.5 inch HD 2.5D display has a certain type of glass protection. However, Cloudfone failed to specify the brand and type of the glass protected they used for this smartphone.

Very good overall feel and construction for the price!

Overall, its build is one of the best in its class. Moreover, you may use the FREE clear TPU case and a screen protector for added protection.

Top view with 3.5 mm headphone jack, front camera, and selfie flash
Top view with 3.5 mm headphone jack, front camera, and selfie flash
Microphone hole, micro USB port below
Microphone hole, micro USB port below
Power button and volume rocker at right
Power button and volume rocker at right

Design-wise, it reminds of a refined first generation of GR5 in front with much slimmer screen bezels and curvier back. There’s just a slight camera protrusion behind. But, it’s totally forgiveable.

It arguably the best aesthetics among all the budget mainstream budget phones!

All the buttons and ports are on standard places as well. What could Cloudfone improve is the speaker placement behind. It could have been better if it is located below or on top to avoid covering its sound.

It also feels very good to hold with the right amount of heft. It could be slippery at times, but you can always use the case to add better grip.

Initial Findings

It's also marketed as an #AwesomeSelfie camera phone
It’s also marketed as an #AwesomeSelfie camera phone

1. For the price of just PHP 5,999, the overall construction and design of the Excite Prime 2 is better than expected. It could pass as a close to premium looking device for some. It also has proper curves and great overall ergonomics. The 5.5 inch HD screen also has great colors!
2. The overall specs of the device is promising for the price. It has a 64 bit MT6737 quad core chip to handle most of the basic tasks and light 3D gaming with ease. It also has the largest amount of RAM and ROM at 3 GB and 32 GB respectively in the sub PHP 6K range. The 3,000 mAh battery isn’t the biggest around, but it should be good enough for most.
3. We liked that this phone comes with Android 7.0 Nougat OS with very clean user interface.
4. This device is an affordable camera centric offering. It’s 13 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX135 sensor and 8 MP f/2.0 front camera has tons of features you can try. It has an advanced type of camera software for a local brand. It has portrait mode, beautify, pro mode, auto HDR, time-lapse, and panorama. This phone even has flash in front! Interesting!
5. It has on-screen Android keys, USB OTG, gyroscope, and light keys

Cloudfone Excite Prime 2 review

Like what we mentioned previously, it has better build, bigger screen, and higher specs than most of its competitors at this price point.

Is this the new budget smartphone to beat?

Let’s see!

Display Quality

Big and beautiful 5.5 inch HD screen
Big and beautiful 5.5 inch HD screen

One of the key selling points of this smartphone is its screen. While most of its competitors settled on using a 5 inch display, Cloudfone opted for a bigger 5.5 inch IPS screen with HD 1280 x 720 resolution.

As a result, owners of this device will enjoy viewing photos, movies, games, and etc. on a bigger display.

Big, bright, and well saturated display!

Checking its quality, it is one of the better phones in this price point as well. It is average in details at 267 pixels per inch. Colors are warm in tone, punchy, and well saturated too. Its level of black isn’t the deepest around, but viewing angles are excellent for the price. Outdoor legibility is great too!

It even has Miravision tech with color tuning and dynamic contrast adjustment. It’s adaptive brightness is working perfectly fine as well.

Update: We just confirmed that this device has 5 points of touch instead of just 3.

Audio Quality

Speaker isn’t the loudest around, but it is just fine. Quality is very clean and clear considering the price. There’s minimal distortion even on max loudness. Just don’t expect it to have the bass punch you’ve been craving for. Again, it is just fine.

Audio output for headphones / earphones / in-ear monitors are warm in tone. Lows are highlighted better than the mids and highs. But, mids are clear and has surprising proper separation of tunes.

It is one of the better tuned smartphone audio player in this price point. It can even FLAC files with ease. Soundstage is average. It has some hissing though.

Call quality is clear as expected. Quality for recording audio with less noise is acceptable, but could be better.

Battery Life

Good battery score!
Good battery score!

The CEP 2 is equipped with 3,000 mAh of battery which is just okay on a phone with 5.5 inch screen and HD resolution.

Respectable battery performance!

In our test, it recorded 9 hours an 11 mins of work battery life. That score is considered on par with the likes of Vivo Y53 and Galaxy J2 Prime. It is also better than most in the sub PHP 6K price range.

Screen on time under very heavy usage including 4G data and hotspot all the time is at 3 hours and 9 mins. That’s a respectable score.

Charging time using the stock 1.5A charger is at 2 hours and 30 mins.

Camera

Cloudfone highlighted the Excite Prime 2 as a camera-focused smartphone. Behind, it has the well-respected 13 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX135 sensor. It’s the same good camera sensor found with some of the older flagships like LG G3 and Galaxy Note 3.

The camera interface

Going into the software, Cloudfone has loaded this machine with a pretty neat camera UI. It has familiar OPPO camera software inspired look that goes with several useful modes.

It includes: auto HDR, several filters, beauty, panorama, night, super pixel, and scene frame. It even has a pro mode which allows users to manually adjust ISO, white balance, focus, and metering. However, it has has no option for adjusting shutter speed and grids for guides.

Moreover, Cloudfone has introduced their own portrait mode on the Excite Prime 2. It allows users to to adjust the level of background blur on your subject ala iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy Note 8. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a nice to have feature.

Note: This device automatically detects the scene to check if you can shoot in portrait mode.

Quality-wise, this device arguably has the best performance in its class. Focus speed is very quick for a budget device. Focusing on a close-up subject is workable around 2 to 3 inches near. Shutter speed is less than a second and rarely has delays too. However, steady hands are needed for shooting in lowlight as expected.

Daylight photos are impressive! It is well detailed with close to accurate colors that can rival Huawei’s Y5 2017 easily. It has less grains than Vivo Y53 and doesn’t have slightly cartoonish results like Galaxy J2 Prime as well. Auto HDR works well and won’t overexpose or oversharpen your images too.

It can also capture the night!

On auto mode, lowlight performance is just fine. But, it is so much better if you’ll turn the night mode on. The night mode will take multiple photos in one snap and stitch it together to form a better exposed photo with good dynamic range and decent details in lowlight.

Tip: Use a tripod if you don’t have steady hands when shooting in night mode.

Flash is strong, but it tends to overexpose close-up images.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight sample
Daylight sample
Close-up image
Close-up image
Flatlay with bokeh
Flatlay with bokeh
Indoor close-up
Indoor close-up
Indoor close-up on dim light
Indoor close-up on dim light
Portrait mode against the light sample
Portrait mode against the light sample
Night sample 1
Night sample 1
Night sample 2
Night sample 2
Night sample 3
Night sample 3

 

Selfie camera w/ softlight flash!
Selfie camera w/ softlight flash!

Cloudfone also highlights that the Excite Prime 2 can shoot #AwesomeSelfies for the price. How? It has an 8 MP sensor with wide f/2.0 aperture lens, portrait mode for background blur effect, beautify effect, and softlight LED flash for selfies even in the dark.

It has no autofocus, its face detection feature is quite nice and accurate. Shooting speed is also fast (not as fast as the main camera) which is good enough to avoid blurry selfies. The lens is also wide enough in angle to fit up to 4 people in one frame easily.

For the modes, it has adjustable beauty levels, panorama, and portrait mode. The portrait has some inconsistencies, but when it works, it works.

Selfies are good in quality in general. It is has good enough sharpness and colors in daylight. There are few occasions where images are underexposed, but results are very good for the price in general.

Use the softlight flash or flash to take acceptable to good images in the dark.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie w/ beautify level 2 in a well lit place
Selfie w/ beautify level 2 in a well lit place
Selfie portrait mode
Selfie portrait mode
Sharp indoor selfie
Sharp indoor selfie featuring Ms. Jaja Ramirez
Selfie portrait mode in lowlight
Selfie portrait mode in lowlight
Selfie flash test
Selfie flash test

For videos, both the back and front camera of this smartphone can shoot up to 720p at 30 frames per second. Like what we said, it is only up to 720p. Unlike the competition, this device can’t shoot up to 1080p using the main camera.

Fortunately, the 720p HD video it can record isn’t that shaky in quality and has good focus and exposure for a budget device. Selfie videos are very shaky though.

Have a look at these video samples by Raffy Pedrajita, our very good friend from Tech Patrol.

Performance

Decent benchmark scores
Decent benchmark scores

The Excite Prime 2 has one of the better specs on a sub PHP 6K smartphone today. While it has the usual 64 bit MT6737 quad core processor clocked at 1.3 GHz paired with Mali T720 GPU, Cloudfone loaded this smartphone with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of expandable storage which is bigger than the competition.

Performance is smooth enough to run most of the social media apps with ease!

As a result, running most social media apps and running most smartphone tasks are buttery smooth on this device. Due to its large enough 3 GB of RAM, multitasking performance that includes switching from an app to another is decent. The large 32 GB of storage also allowed us to store more files than competing phones.

For gaming, running Asphalt 8 on medium settings is smooth. It can also run NBA 2K17, but it has occasional lags even on very low settings. Heating is minimal too even while playing games or even 4G and hotspot mode.

Clean Nougat OS

Software-wise, we like the fact that it is running on Android 7.0 Nougat OS w/ near stock and intuitive user interface. It has few bloatwares, but most of them are removable. It has no adware as well unlike other local phones. Ahem MyPhone and Cherry Mobile.

Feature-wise, this device has DuraSpeed mode for boosting foreground app by restricting background apps. It can allow you to select the apps that would be restricted. Some notifications would be delayed or not received though.

It also has double tap to wake mode and few gestures that can be used as shortcuts for opening apps. It even has the always nice to have 3 fingerprint for screen shot and one handed operation modes.

Speedy 700 MHz LTE ready
Speedy 700 MHz LTE ready

In terms of connectivity, the Excite Prime 2 has good signal reception for SMS and calls. It even has better connectivity for LTE as it has the 700 MHz frequency. As a matter of fact, it can reach up to 60+ Mbps per second on Smart’s improved LTE network.

Signal drops are rare and it has 700 MHz LTE!

Bluetooth and GPS are also reliable in performance. This handset also has OTG and most of the basic sensors like gyroscope for VR apps.

Just don’t expect top notch VR and AR performance from it as this device is still an entry-level offering!

Pros – Premium and stylish aesthetics for the price, the 5.5 inch HD screen is beautiful, big 3 GB RAM and 32 GB ROM, ample battery life, capable back camera that can capture the night, decent selfie camera w/ flash, 700 MHz LTE capable, near complete sensors, fantastic price to specs ratio

Cons – No fingerprint scanner, camera software has no grids for guides, UI could be lighter, not for heavy 3D gaming, HD video recording only

Verdict

For the low asking price of PHP 5,999, the Cloudfone Excite Prime 2 is exciting indeed! Craftsmanship is excellent, it has big screen, general performance is more than decent, battery life is okay, cameras are capable, and LTE connectivity is stable and speedy which is rare to find on a budget device.

There are few things that Cloudfone could improve on their next release though. It includes the following:

1. Add grids for guides in the camera software
2. Increase video shooting to 1080p
3. It has some sort of glass protection, but it would have been better if its Gorilla or Dragontrail glass
4. Cloudfone could add a fingerprint reader next time

Other than that, this is a very solid phone that’s arguably the best in its class yet. We highly recommend this to casual users who wants a big screened phone with great design, speedy enough performance, and good cameras.

Display – 4
Audio – 3.75
Battery – 4
Camera – 4.25
Performance – 3.75
Average – 4 / 5

(gizguide.com, https://goo.gl/9xwRk1)

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