The free Android app EasilyDo works as a personal assistant and automation...
NQ Mobile Vault 3.0 (for Android) Review
NQ Mobile Vault is an easy way to securely hide your most private photos, videos, text messages, and contacts, preventing tech-savvy snoops from accessing your most personal data.
(4 out of 5)
- Encrypts, stores, and hides the most private data on your mobile devices
- Super easy setup
- Premium version hides Vault’s presence from your phone.
- Doesn’t store MMS
- Only accepts PayPal payments to upgrade to Premium.
I can think of plenty of people for whom a phone passlock simply isn’t enough to block snooping eyes from the incriminating photos and text messages on your device (psychotically jealous girlfriend, tech-savvy child, celebrity phone hacker…). NQ Mobile, a Chinese mobile security company, has released a very user-friendly, single-purpose app that resolves all this. Vault, available exclusively to Android users, encrypts and stores your most private contacts, text messages, videos, and photos. Your data is encrypted with bank-level, 128-bit AES.
Vault uses a freemium model, but the free version doesn’t give you much. Free lets you store 100 texts messages. Premium ($1.99/month, $4.99/3 months, or $6.99/6 months) lets you store 10,000 text messages, and hide Vault’s presence from your device. It also snaps a photo of anyone who’s mis-entered your password (assuming your phone has a front-facing camera). Premium is a bit pricey compared to similar apps. Super Vault is free and hides photos, videos, files, and text messages, under military-level, 256-bit AES encryption (the highest). Secret SMS, also free, encrypts text messages which can only be unscrambled by entering a password. BitDefender’s Safebox gives you 2GB of free, encrypted cloud storage for photos, videos, and files, but no contacts and texts.
Most mobile security apps ask for at least an email address and a six-digit alphanumeric password, but for better or for worse Vault just asks you to create a 3-15 digit password. A three-digit password is easy to crack, but for Premium users, Vault immediately snaps a photo (obviously a front-facing camera is required) of the person who has mis-entered your password, and lists the login attempt.
From your home screen, you can tap to submit photos, text messages, videos, call logs, and contacts to encrypt and store them in Vault. As soon as you file photos and videos, they disappear from your gallery. That’s not the case with contacts, however. If you store a contact in Vault, you have to manually delete it from your contacts list. If you sync your contacts with your Gmail account, your private contact will disappear from there too.
When you store text messages, Vault automatically encrypts future text messages from the same contact. The app also obfuscates text alerts from these contacts. When a “Vault-ed” contact texts you, you can set your phone to vibrate and receive an alert in your Notifications Bar. You can only read texts from your password-protected app.
Vault includes a nameless widget that you can add to your main screen. The widget glows if you have an unread message—pretty neat!
Premium expands your storage for text messages from 100 texts to 10,000. It also adds a Stealth mode, a fake Vault icon, and lets you see a history of wrong password attempts, as mentioned above.
Stealth mode is probably the best reason to fork out for Premium. Activating stealth effectively hides Vault’s presence, making the icon disappear from your app folder and process tree. To access the hidden folder, simply dial “##[password]“. This immediately opens the app. The call is deleted from your phone history. Once you’ve entered a password, you can start selecting content to encrypt and store in your vault.
Annoyingly, NQ Mobile only accepts PayPal payments to upgrade to Premium.
Vault is an easy, useful one-trick pony that would’ve received a perfect score if not for the frequency of bugs and crashes I experienced on a Verizon Galaxy Nexus S with Android 4.0.2. The phone froze a couple times during setup. I also encountered an annoying bug after I selected videos, where I was unable to return back to the main page and had to reboot every time.
Despite these quirks, NQ Mobile Vault is a powerful, easy-to-use app for the privacy-conscious. It’s a bit buggy for a version 3 release, but it’s still worth downloading if you can spare a couple dollars a month. Other apps offer free encrypted storage for your files, but Vault fits in more intuitively with the Android platform with contact and text storage.
For more Android Software, see:
By Sara Yin, PCMag