[Android] Remotely wipe data, backup contacts, lock down, and locate your device with NQ Mobile Easy FinderMay 4, 2013 1 Email article | Print article
These days, a smartphone is an extension of the owner. We carry our smartphones with us everywhere, and we do pretty much everything on them. It stands to reason that our smartphones have some pretty sensitive material on them. That information ranges from finance data, login credentials, personal photos and more. Do you ever wonder what would happen to that data if it fell into the wrong hands? What if you lost your phone or it was stolen? How would you protect yourself, after the fact? NQ Mobile Easy Finder is a an application that allows you to remotely control and locate your device.
What is it and what does it do
NQ Mobile Easy Finder is an anti-theft app that offers a full suite of tools that allow you to manage your device remotely in the event that it’s lost or stolen. You can do things like track the phone’s current location in realtime, wipe all user data, backup contacts, and set alerts for when the SIM card in the device is swapped out. It’s basically a contingency plan just in case some bad does befall your beloved smartphone.
- Remotely lockdown and secure your device in the event that it’s lost or stolen
- Discover your smartphones current location- track it down right down to the street address
- Sound an alarm on the device
- Contact the finder via text message
- Lock your phone with a second security layer (if you have stock security activated too)
- Backup your contacts to cloud storage
- Wipe all data (premium version only)
- Realtime tracking (premium version only)
- You can also read a detailed log of all commands you send through the app, it tracks NQ history
- You can set up a SIM card alert in the settings, in case the active SIM card is swapped out
- You can designate an alternate number to send the information to
- You can lock down the application so that it cannot be uninstalled through the stock Android settings menu, if this option is enabled it can only be done from within the app itself
- Tracking your device in realtime and wiping all data can only be down with a premium account (arguably two of the most useful features)
- The service can take up to 90 seconds to complete a query or an action
- The service also says it will automatically take a screenshot of whoever is using your device under certain situations, but it looks like this might also be a premium exclusive feature
- You have to log in to a separate cloud storage service (NQ Space) to manage your backed up contacts
- Some of the text via the web service is displayed in foreign characters
- The application adds a shortcut to your home screen automatically, the shortcut cannot be removed
- Premium costs $2.99/month, which is expensive
What do you do when you realize your phone is lost or stolen? Obviously, you retrace your steps until you find it, but what happens if you can’t find it? What happens when someone has access to all your personal information stored on your smartphone? All of this may sound a little paranoid at first, but then when you stop and think about how easy it is to lose your phone- the real value of this app starts to show.
Of course, the true value of the application can only be weighed upon how effective it actually is. That, my friends, is exactly what I’m here for.
As with most applications of this caliber, you have to sign into an account before you can use it. You can either sign up for a brand new account through NQ, or you can sign into the app using your Facebook, Twitter, Google or NQ mobile accounts (if you have one already). As I’ve said before, I always prefer to sign up with a new account instead of allowing access to my social accounts, so that’s exactly what I did.
The mobile application syncs with the online service with can be accessed through a standard web browser. This is important since you won’t have access to your device if it’s lost or stolen. You can remotely activate several features to protect yourself.
Unfortunately, there’s a paid version of the NQ’s service available too. Which means –you guessed it- some of the features don’t work in the free version. I’ll cover those as I go through the app.
The first thing you can do is locate your phone. In the paid version you can actually track your phone including any movements it makes. This will allow you to trace your device and find who took it. The only you can do in the free version is locate the phone. This works just like it does in the movies and those crime shows on TV, except you have to have the NQ app installed on your device, of course. The service was able to locate my device right down to the street address on three separate occasions.
You can remotely sound an alarm, which makes the device sound off like a car alarm. With NQ Mobile Easy Finder, the alarm actually sounds like a real alarm. If it went off in public, then it would certainly capture the attention of those nearby.
You can try and get in contact with whoever has your device by sending a text message. This allows you to leave a contact number or arrange a meeting to recover the device.
You can lock your phone indefinitely with a custom four digit combination. The device will not unlock again until you enter the combination on your device. This adds an extra layer of security two your device and implements a second NQ themed lockscreen. Even if the person who has your phone gets past the first stock lock screen (whether it’s the pattern unlock, face unlock or combo unlock), they still have to enter the correct four digit passcode you set via the NQ web service. While the device is locked through NQ none of the hardware buttons work, and this is a good thing. I did a battery pull several times to test out the security, and once the device started back up the lockscreen was still active. That means you need to be careful when locking your phone. You can always read the passcode entered by logging into your NQ account via a web browser, if you forget.
You can backup all your contacts, which are then stored in the cloud via your NQ account. You can access them at any time by signing in to the web service. One thing I will mention, I tried out the contact backup feature to see how well it worked. It backed up all of my contacts into a unique tablet, but it’s all text based. You cannot download the table via an external file of any kind. You may be able to in the premium version, but certainly not in the free version. Furthermore, once all of my contacts were backed up and stored in the cloud I could not find a way to delete the contact list within the main NQ web app. You actually have to login to a separate cloud storage service called NQ Space in order to do that, using the same account as when you first logged into NQ Mobile Easy Finder. Through NQ Space you can manage your backed up contacts and more.
The last setting would allow you to wipe all data on your device, except it’s a premium only feature. So, there’s no reason to cover it.
Easy finder uses about 6.6MB of RAM while running which isn’t bad at all, especially considering the service always needs to be running in the event that your device is lost or stolen. After all, you never know when tragedy could strike when it comes to your smartphone. On my device I noticed a slightly higher battery drain with Easy Finder, and it was quoted as using 10% of my battery in the stock battery manager. I was also running several of the connection features throughout the day to test out the application so that could also be a factor with the increased battery drain.
The user interface is pretty easy to navigate on both the mobile app and the web service. Although, I don’t really like the fact that you have to use separate services, one to manage your contacts and the other to manage your phone’s security. To some, this would be nothing more than a minor nuisance, however.
Conclusion and download link
NQ Mobile Easy Finder is a decent security app for when you lose your smartphone or tablet, or in the event that it gets stolen. While some of the features like the option to track the device in realtime and wiping your data completely are only available in the premium version, the free version still allows you locate your device, sound an alarm, contact the finder, lock the device, and backup your contacts list. All in all, NQ Mobile Easy Finder is pretty good.
That being said, anti-theft is a crowded genre on Android. While the realtime tracking of NQ Mobile Easy Finder seems interesting and being able to remotely backup your contacts is nice, I see no reason why you would want to pay for the data wiping feature. Other free anti-theft apps, like aeGis, which we reviewed a while back, or any of the various apps mentioned in dotTech’s review on best free anti-theft app for Android, provide that data wiping feature for free. So… the choice is yours which anti-theft app you want to use. All of them are pretty good.
Price: Free, $2.99/month for Premium
Version reviewed: 1.0.08.08 Beta
Requires: 2.2 and up
Download size: 2.2MB