Apple iPhone 5c Review
The iPhone 5c: an iPhone 5 is a plastic shell?
The iPhone 5c is Apple’s ever-so-slightly cheaper iPhone which was revealed to an eagerly awaiting audience alongside the iPhone 5s this month.
However, after all the rumours gearing us up to see a budget version of the popular iPhone, critics have come down hard on the iPhone 5c’s £469 price tag.
But with Apple having sold 9 million devices in the first weekend of sales, the iPhone 5c can’t be that bad. And with iPhone deals for the iPhone 5c coming in at around £10 a month cheaper, the iPhone 5c could provide users a more viable alternative to the iPhone 5s.
Here we take a look at whether critics are being too hard on the iPhone 5c, or whether Apple has compromised on quality with this colourful, plastic-clad iPhone.
The most natable thing about the iPhone 5c is its bright and colourful design, which instantly makes it stand apart from any other iPhone. The model is available in 5 pastel shades: blue, green, yellow, white and pink, and the handset is made of plastic rather than the premium aluminium that we are more familiar with seeing on iPhone models.
The colourful plastic casing is where the iPhone 5c has come under fire from critics most, and while I agree that the device doesn’t have the same premium feel as the iPhone 5s, it doesn’t make the phone any less of a top-of-the-range iPhone; the iPhone 5c is essentially the iPhone 5 shrouded in a case. And when so many iPhone users protect their devices with plastic cases anyway, I don’t quite understand the widespread outcry at the iPhone 5c’s build.
Colourful casing aside, the iPhone 5c is just as light and slim-line as you would expect from an Apple product. It measures a tiny bit heavier than the iPhone 5, though its 9mm thickness and 4-inch screen means that you really wouldn’t notice the difference.
Apple has kept things simple by retaining the one physical home button on the iPhone 5c’s fascia, which, disappointingly, doesn’t offer the same fingerprint scanning technology as that of the iPhone 5s (that could be a sticking point for some users choosing between the iPhone 5s and 5c).
Another good point worth mentioning is that the iPhone 5c uses the same charging and USB cables as the iPhone 5, meaning that existing iPhone 5 users don’t have to go out and buy a whole new range of accessories as with last year’s release.
Phone Set Up
In terms of set-up, the most notable thing about the iPhone 5c is its use of iOS 7, Apple’s latest iOS upgrade.
There are a number of new features included in iOS 7 which have got everyone in the Apple community talking. At first glance, any existing iPhone user will recognise that the boring, corporate design has gone, with a cheerful and fun user interface standing in its place. I really like the fact that Apple has deliberately matched the colour scheme of the iPhone 5c’s background to the colour of the handset, as this really embraces what the iPhone 5c is all about: colour, fun and creativity.
Taking it further than just a colour change, iOS 7 offers an array of new features which make it much more user friendly. For example, there is a new double tap feature, whereby pressing on the phone’s home button twice will enable you to view all recently used apps and functions.
|Double Tap Function||Notifications Bar|
There’s also a new control panel which can be accessed by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen. This control panel reminds me somewhat of the Android settings bar which slides down from the top of the screen. The Apple control panel, however, houses the phone’s basic settings menu, as well as shortcuts to the torch, camera, calculator and Air Drop. If you’re really in a rush to take a photo, there’s also a quick camera icon on the phone’s lock screen, making it quicker than ever to access your camera in a hurry.
Furthermore, there’s a new notifications bar which reminds me of BB10's BlackBerry Hub. The notifications page displays all your notifications from that day, any events or calls that you have missed as well as a list of all of your current notifications. This is a great way of managing all of your social and communicational goings on, which is, at the end of the day, what the iPhone is designed for.
The only downside of iOS 7 which we found was that rather than locating individual app settings within apps themselves, you still have to go to the main settings menu in order to change, for example, your Twitter or Facebook settings.
The iPhone 5c has a dual-core 1.3GHz processor and uses an A6 chip, as opposed to the iPhone 5s’ A7 chip. That said, the iPhone 5c is one of the fastest phones that I have reviewed for a long time, and was brilliant at allowing you to multitask launching and closing a number of apps in quick succession.
Unlike many popular phone manufacturers who simply pump their phones full of gimmicky features (not naming any names), the iPhone 5c, in true Apple style, offers a well-built, top of the range smartphone with access to the best-stocked app store on the market instead.
That said, I do want to mention a couple of features that the iPhone 5c comes built-in…
While Apple’s Maps app isn’t anything new or particularly exciting, after the Maps debacle that Apple had to overcome with the release of the iPhone 5 last year, I was keen to see whether the same ghosts would come back to haunt the company.
And I was really surprised at just how good the app was; I would even go as far as saying that, perhaps a testament to the phone’s superfast processing power, it was the fastest mapping app that I have ever used.
In our iPhone 5 review last year we tried to type in our location in Birmingham, only to get the address of a solicitors’ office instead. However, you’ll be pleased to hear that with the iPhone 5c there was none of that confusion; the phone found my exact location, and formulated directions within seconds of me launching the app.
Air Drop is another great addition to iOS 7, and basically allows you to share files, videos and photos from one iPhone to another within seconds. Air Drop has been available on Macs for some time now, but this is the first time that Apple has brought the feature over to the iPhone.
Although it works very much like Bluetooth, I found that it was much faster, and I could Air Drop 5 or 6 photos to another device within around 2 seconds, which takes file sharing to a whole other level.
Camera & Video
The iPhone 5c features the very same camera as the iPhone 5, so there aren’t too many surprises here. The phone has an 8 megapixel lens which produces, as you would expect from Apple, really sharp and crisp images.
A new addition with iOS 7 gives users four options when taking a photograph; auto, panoramic, video and square. I did wonder why the option to take a square photo was included by Apple, and the only conclusion I could come to was that the feature is specially built for the Instagram-era that has recently encapsulated smartphone users.
Speaking of Instagram, the iPhone 5c allows you to add a number of coloured filters to your photos in its post-production editing suite, though it doesn’t allow you to change other effects such as the contrast or white balance. While this won’t be a drawback for most people, some keen photographers might find this disappointing.
Now, getting onto the photographs themselves, the iPhone 5c really impressed me in terms of general photography quality. As mentioned, the photos look pretty much the same as they would on an iPhone 5, but this doesn’t make them anything less than brilliant.
As far as I can see, the camera is the only area where the iPhone 5s stands apart from the slightly cheaper iPhone 5c, but for general users who enjoy taking good-quality photos, the iPhone 5c would definitely suffice.
Also, because of the iPhone 5c’s 326 pixel per inch density, reviewing your photos on the phone’s 4-inch display really shows your photos to their highest potential.
Other ways that Apple has decided to make the iPhone 5c (through iOS 7) more camera-orientated include locating a camera icon on the phone’s lock screen, allowing you to take shots really quickly without unlocking the device.
The new control panel mentioned above also displays a shortcut to the camera, giving you a number of ways of launching the iPhone’s camera when you’re in a hurry.
Finally, another change that Apple has implemented into iOS 7 (which therefore features on the iPhone 5c) is with the way it displays your photos in the gallery. Rather than simply locating every photo you take in your camera roll, iOS 7 automatically sorts your photos into albums according to where and when they were taken. This makes searching for images so much faster; if you want to look at snaps taken on holiday, simply open up the album listed as ‘New York’, for example (you need to turn your location settings on for this, however).
Last but not least is a review of the iPhone 5c’s battery. We have all heard of the criticism that Apple has faced with iPhone batteries draining too fast when left idle overnight, and this is something that Apple has sought to fix with the iPhone 5c.
When reviewing the device, I took a series of photos, launched apps, browsed the internet and even used its GPS to get directions a couple of times, all of which didn’t dent the phone’s battery too drastically. In fact, I then went on to leave the phone idle for three days and it wasn’t until I returned into the office on Monday morning that I was forced to put the phone on charge.
The iPhone 5c would, therefore, definitely allow you to get through the day without having to think about topping its juice up.