App: CloudPlayer™ Platinum v1.6 6
Category: Music & Audio
IAP: $4.99 - $5.99
CloudPlayer™ is an easy to use and convenient audio player that most prominently specializes in streaming music from your collection residing on various cloud services. As I previously reviewed TuneIn Radio for live broadcasts, Pandora Radio featuring categorized streaming music and GoneMAD Player for localized files, CloudPlayer™ arrives at a more balanced solution to play your favorite audio content, while keeping it off your device's limited storage. As cloud services can offer a wealth of free storage space from either contractual deals or through free accounts, it's an ideal solution to store your music remotely to stream it to your devices. Most audiophiles are particular with the quality of their music collections, which directly translates into large file sizes of media archives that will quickly consume precious space. CloudPlayer™ not only frees up gigabytes from bulky collections of your favorite albums, but will also play locally stored music as a standard audio player, as well as offer hundreds of channels of free Internet radio. With such flexibility arriving at a lucrative balance in a single package, CloudPlayer™ attempts the combined functionality of the previously reviewed apps, all rolled into a simple and intuitive design.
Ensuring you have media files or albums on either Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive or any combination of each, configuring the player is your first stop. It's important to note that there is no present utility in CloudPlayer™ to upload, delete or manage media existing on the cloud services whatsoever, with the exception of editing metadata and album art. An external method such as a file manager, web browser or cloud service app is currently required to transfer and manage these files separately, but a future update promises to add this functionality. Initially starting CloudPlayer™ presents a clean and simple Material Design interface with little to see until dialing in the settings for the first time. Options are displayed in a logical flow from top to bottom to where logging into the cloud services with credentials is the primary step, then hitting Scan Cloud Storage will build a library of all media found in those locations. Scanning large collections can take some time; waiting until it's finished is highly advised, giving you ample time to adjust the options to your needs. Most importantly for phone users is the toggle to stream over a data connection, which should probably be set to off since audio streams use considerable bandwidth. Having over 25 gigabytes for a monthly allowance might see this option switched on; however, most customers in North America are only allotted approximately 2 gigabytes monthly, which could easily incur overage fees. You may also choose to scan local storage for music, which will blend seamlessly into the library of cloud music; effectively mixing and matching both locations into the player. In a recent update, Material Dark, Black and Red themes have been graciously included to compliment the default blinding white motif, which is a fantastic addition for any application. Many other options exist for the user interface and audio playback that are thoughtful, convenient and self-explanatory, giving customized functionality for a range of features.
All scanned media will attractively display through the means of categorized filters in either compacted list mode or larger album art thumbnails that nicely show off your collection. Simply clicking on an album, or any audio file inherently recognized by the player, will start playback and cycle through the files as they are listed in the queue. Transport controls consist of simple skip forward and back functions, while loop and shuffle modes exist to characterize playback. During playback or pausing, an icon is present in the notification bar and a handy notification always displays with skip, pause, play and exit controls for easy access, along with an album art thumbnail. However, even with the dark UI setting in options, the notification is bright white with no way to change it to match the player's darker themes. Swiping can ease navigation between windows, and tracks can be reordered by dragging them by handles to desired queue spots in the list. A full screen of the album art can be pulled up that is quite sightly, and transport controls and playback modes are always available, along with a clever listing of the next track in queue. Overall, the controls, windows, menus and sleek design of CloudPlayer™ is well done, with a responsive feel that caters to Material Design quite elegantly and efficiently. An option for custom colors for the UI might be missed by some, but the four included themes are quite serviceable and maintain a reasonably small application that is a joy to navigate. Three widgets total come with the package; two of them are adjustable horizontal variations of dark and light, while the third is a static album art type of design. All of the widgets come with the transport and playback options mentioned above for convenient operation, even from the lock screen of the device.
The true highlight of CloudPlayer™ is the quality rendering of audio and the relative formats that it plays, which will not disappoint most users in the least. Standard audio formats such as MP3, AAC, OGG, M4A, WAV, WMA and more are supported, along with lossless formats like FLAC, ALAC and audiophile level 24-bit audio files. My tests utilize the MP3 format at 320kbps with constant bit rate on a fast 30Mbps connection via WLAN yielding superb results with no dropouts, artifacts or pausing. These files residing in the cloud are seamless as if they were playing from local storage with fantastic fidelity that should appease most discerning ears. Regarding Internet access, a relatively fast connection via WiFi is truly the way to enjoy the app at its fullest capacity, though 3G or 4G data lines should be able to adapt depending on the chosen file formats and different levels of bit rates. Your experiences may vary in that realm, but please note that no transcoding is offered; what you have in the cloud is what you'll stream to your device. An advanced 10 band equalizer with 17 presets and Preamp are included to shape the sound as desired, along with SuperSound™ that will customize the audio with headphone enhancement, bass boost and widening effects. Future updates will also include Crossfade and Gapless playback to transition between tracks with different aesthetic effects to suit your listening tastes. Adding to the flexibility is Chromecast, Bluetooth and AllPlay support to directly stream music to supported televisions, devices and wireless speakers, offering high fidelity audio throughout your environment. As if that wasn't enough, Android Wear, Android Auto and Scrobble to Last.fm support rounds off the package nicely to adapt to nearly all modern methods of connectivity. However, SMB, FTP and network connectivity is not presently supported, though the developer is considering adding this functionality if enough users request it. That would clearly make CloudPlayer™ an all-inclusive package, though SMB connections would require complex port forwarding through your router.
Recently included several updates ago is a thoughtful addition called Magic Radio, which offers a wide range of typically syndicated Internet radio broadcasts that are found in most radio apps I have tested. There are occasional commercials that play periodically per each station's programmed content with no apparent method to avoid them, though this added functionality is quite welcomed to supplement your personal music collections. As TuneIn Radio is charging $9.99 for their app that essentially broadcasts the same ad-supported material, you get it completely free as an added perk with CloudPlayer™. There are hundreds of stations to choose from that offer a wide range of content and genres, even talk radio and local stations that inherently offer streams over the Internet. About the only exclusion I have found is the omission of any Metal stations for some reason, which baffled me as Hip Hop seems to be adequately covered, as well as a Disney channel celebrating their 60th anniversary. Since our device speakers are quite sensitive by nature, the dynamic range of that genre could possibly cause harm to the speaker assemblies over extended periods of streaming anyway. I speak from experience as I blew my old tablet's speakers doing so last year, resulting in a very awkward replacement process with a size zero screwdriver and 40 minutes of intense labor. However, given this terrific feature with no extra cost, it's clearly hard to complain about limited music styles in such a well-rounded package. There is no global account required for CloudPlayer™ other than your cloud services; thus, there are no favorite radio channels saved online to share with your devices. Magic Radio is simply there as an alternative in case you didn't pack enough music in the cloud, or become tired of what has been playing and wish to hear something new. Some stations I found were actually broadcasting at 320kbps that streamed delightfully well, but most range from 56kbps to 128kbps on average, which is relatively safe for 3G and 4G usage for limited periods of time.
To ensure complete satisfaction with this great product, doubleTwist is offering a rare 30 day money back guarantee to adequately test drive CloudPlayer™. As updates are relatively frequent and new features are added periodically, it's difficult to go wrong with a package that performs so well and is this conveniently flexible. As of the latest update, video capability was added to the player as a beta feature for Platinum users that appears to be yet another perk for this great package. Time will tell where this functionality will lead, but looks to be a promising direction. The inclusion of network connectivity and more added cloud services would make this app inherently replace several others already installed, but do appear to be considerations for future updates. As it stands now, the relatively new CloudPlayer™ is a very efficient and sleek package that offers more features than the average audio player on the market. As this great player grows over time, it has the capability of pushing the competition aside by implementing more options and functionality from customer's suggestions. As I definitely recommend CloudPlayer™ for what it does today, it's highly worth watching for what it might add in the future.
- A very flexible and slick audio player.
- Offers both night and day mode interfaces.
- Very responsive controls with a modern design.
- Cloud, local music and Magic Radio are supported.
- Recently included video streaming for Platinum users.
- Cloud service support minimizes required local storage.
- The inclusion of Magic Radio supplements your collections.
- Currently no SMB, FTP or network connectivity.
- No method to upload media to the cloud services.
- Presently only three cloud services are supported.
- Magic Radio doesn't appear to offer Metal channels.
- No current way to save your favorite radio stations.
Device/OS used: Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note 3, Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013 / KitKat v4.4.2, KitKat v4.4.4, Lollipop v5.1.1
Purchase at Google Play
Mobilism: CloudPlayer™ Platinum v1.6.6 build 10150