It is quite obvious that you may not have heard of the ambitious mobile start up, but Kazam has got itself the headline grabbing accolade of “world’s slimmest Smartphone” with its latest offering, the Kazam Tornado 348. It’s a record the company has therefore claimed that it isn’t going to rave about; instead it says it wants to keep things simple and gimmick-free, although you might find that a little hard to believe as that’s just what the title it’s claiming is. Well, surely not everyone would love to have a phone which is just 5.15mm thick. The Kazam Tornado 348 had planned to touch down in the UK and some other European markets on November 15 bearing a SIM-free price tag of £249 – which sounds relatively reasonable. For that you get a 4.8-inch 720p display, 1.7GHz octa-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 8MP rear camera, 5MP front snapper and Android 4.4.2.
There’s no micro-SD slot, so you could find storage a little limited if you have a large music collection or like playing games on your phone, but Kazam does throw in a free screen replacement if you break it within the first 12 months of ownership. All you need to do is to take just one look at the Tornado 348 and you’ll be struck by that unmistakable feeling of “Oh Lord!”
It looks exactly similar to Apple’s new iPhone 6, plus some features such as the arrangement of the camera and flash on the rear mimic that of the Sony Xperia Z3. Kazam has confirmed that the core design of the handset was created by a third party vendor in China, which goes some way to explaining the familiar aesthetics on display here. Sitting on a table the Tornado 348 does look respectable, this isn’t just a cheap hunk of non-descript plastic which adorned previous devices by Kazam. It will surprise you that how light the Tornado 348 is. It just weighs 95.5g, and it is one of the lightest Smartphone available in the market, and if anything it feels just a little too lightweight.
Couple that with an obviously plastic (not glass) rear and the Tornado 348 feels a little kiddish in the hand. Hence, there’s no reassuring heft to tell you that this is actually a piece of tech you’re holding. A saving grace is the metal band which runs round the circumference of the device in a similar fashion to the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, and while this provides a more premium finish it fails to feel as good in the hand as its more expensive rivals. That said, you will find it sitting nicely in your hand, with the dimensions and weight ensure in palm had no trouble getting to grips with the handset and reaching the power/lock and volume rocker on the left of the device. Kazam has opted to stick with touch-sensitive navigations keys below the screen, rather than sticking them on the display and they are easy enough to hit.
The iPhone 5C sports a new keyboard and the credit goes to iOS 8, and the changes go way beyond the purely cosmetic update in iOS 7. All the keys are still in the same place and seeing as the iPhone 5C has the same 4-inch display as the iPhone 5 the keyboard hasn’t grown in height, and more centrally in width. Now Apple’s keyboards aren’t the worst around in the mobile world, but it was about time that they caught up the likes of HTC and Samsung as well as third party vendors such as Swift Key.
The new Quick Type keyboard is one of the most viewed features of iOS 8. It has a suggestions bar under the text input box now and it learns from you the more you use it. The 4-inch form factor is beginning to feel a little cramped, although there are some who still yearn for a phone which isn’t the size of their face, but the size means travel and spacing between keys suffers.
You can type relatively quickly on the iPhone 5C, but there are a number of times when you are most likely to miss the intended key and bashed the one next to it. Most of the time the spell check and word prediction engine on the iPhone 5C will manage to rectify your mistakes without the need to press the backspace key – but there will be times it might not help or maybe it will offer up the wrong suggestion. If you don’t get on with Apple’s keyboard then you’ll be glad to know that the Cupertino-based firm now allows third party offerings.
You’ll find Swift Key, Swype, Fleksy, and a host of others awaiting you in the App Store. Now you can swipe from letter to letter without lifting your thumb from the screen, which is ideal for one-handed texting. There are no surprises in the internet department: the iPhone 5C is an Apple device so you can be guaranteed there’s no sign of Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer pre-installed. It’s Safari all the way. Google has made its Chrome browser available in the App Store, but don’t give up on Apple’s offering straight away as it’s really rather nifty.
It is beneficial for the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S that the fact both handsets support the widest range of 4G bands out of any Smartphone on the market, which implies that you’ll more than likely be able to utilize the superfast speeds if they’re available in your area. Of course if 4G hasn’t reached you yet then there’s always trusty 3G support, plus the standard Wi-Fi connectivity ensuring you’ll be able to get online pretty much anywhere. As with the rest of the iPhone 5C, Safari has been given a spruce up with the introduction of iOS 7 – however the compass icon still persists and it’s one that frustrates me. You have a compass app Apple, with a compass on the icon. However, you are most likely to get confused with the similar icon on your web browser. All in all, the speed is boosted up and it comes with an alluring feature.
Unsurprisingly, videos are handled in the aptly named Video app, where you’ll be able to view all your movies, TV shows and music videos you have stored on the iPhone 5C as well as iCloud. If you’re connected to Wi-Fi or you trust your mobile signal not to deceive you at any cost meanwhile, you can stream any iCloud content directly to the iPhone 5C, but if you’re going on a plan or don’t have a network connection you can always download the media to the handset to ensure fluid playback. With the iPhone 5, Apple stretched the screen to provide an aspect ratio of 16:9 and that 4-inch display is also present on the iPhone 5C making video player a more pleasant experience.
It has been already mentioned that the 5C’s screen isn’t truly HD at 1136 x 640 and held up next to video playback on the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4 you can see the 5C falls behind a little. Apple will argue that the 326ppi pixel density means the human eye won’t really be able to discern the difference, but the fact is that when you are thinking of comparing them both, you will find that both of them are having a noticeable difference. However, if you watch any video on the iPhone 5C in isolation, you are unlikely to have any real complainants with a bright screen and smooth playback. Though it could have been really good if the display was just a little bit bigger enough.
The iPhone 5C supports MP4 video files, and that’s pretty much exclusive it. There is work around with third party video players available in the App Store which supports different formats, but loading those videos onto the phone is not overly straightforward so it is highly recommend sticking along with Apple’s rules this time.
However, it is a shame that these restrictions are in place, as many phone these days support a wide range of video formats and Apple has a limiting approach regarding this which may well put off some prospective punters. Although iTunes is rather adept at conversion if you’re that bothered about the same. Well, all in all the video player controls are very simple. You get play/pause, skip, scrub and volume, and that’s it for a nominal watch. If your video supports subtitles then an icon will appear in the bottom right of the video player where you can select your language and toggle them on and off.
There is no doubt that iPhone 5C will be pretty comfortable to hold and if you invest in one of Apple’s official cases the rubberized finished means you’ll be able to prop it up against a mug or seat back without it sliding all over the place. One issue you are most likely to have with the placement of the headphones port which is right on one side of the handset, meaning the rigid plastic connector sticking out of the bottom of the phone does get in the way of your hands somewhat.
Text messaging is still very straight forward and apart from the iOS gloss which has been splashed over the top the system is pretty much unchanged on the iPhone 5C. Conversations with your buddies aren’t changed yet. It still appears in bubbles, but if you click to view a stream with one of your contacts, you’ll notice the three buttons which did appear at the top of the screen (Call, FaceTime and Contact) are no longer present. Instead you get a Details link in the top right corner which when tapped drops down a little bar with quick links to call or FaceTime that person, view their contact card, or share your location.
You can also mute individual or group conversations with “Do Not Disturb” and check every attachment you’ve sent or received from that contact. It’s a much cleaner implementation and means more of the screen is used for your messages instead of page furniture. You can quickly turn your SMS into a MMS by tapping the camera icon next to the text input bar, allowing you to snap a photo or record a (very short) video then and there or select one you already have in your gallery. But be aware that your free text allowance may not cover MMS messages though, so you may be charged to send them. On the right side of the text input bar you’ll find a microphone icon that allows you to record short audio messages. The messaging app also doubles as a platform for iMessage – Apple’s own free-to-send instant messaging service only as long as you’re within your data allowance or you are connected on to a Wi-Fi with high speed.. Of course for the service to work your friends also need to own an iDevice, be it another iPhone, iPad, Mac or iPod. The iPhone 5C flips seamlessly between SMS and iMessage depending on connection and the person you’re speaking to – but it’s great if you’re trying to contact people around the world and don’t want to pay through the roof to do so.
Emails: You can add multiple addresses to the mail application, making it your one stop shop for all your electronic mailing needs and there’s a unified inbox allowing you to see all your new messages in one place without have to dip in and out of various accounts.
Of course you can always select a particular inbox to view if you’re really that popular – or get confused easily – so don’t fear. It’s nice to see a mobile email client playing nicely with HTML emails, displaying them fully so you can get a nice overview of what’s going on and formatting the text slightly so it fits the width of the iPhone 5C screen. Although the default width Apple has set may be a bit on the small for some users out there, and if you zoom in further there’s no text reflow in action, meaning you’ll be scrolling sideways as well as down. You can dive into the main settings menu on the iPhone 5C and increase text size across the board on the phone if it’s an issue, but it’s a bit of a hassle.
There’s a new way of displaying all your snaps in the Photos app on the iPhone 5C thankfully, it is iOS 7 overhaul. All your pictures are now automatically group by date and location, providing you with “collections”. In iOS 8 Apple has added the ability to search through them for times or places via the icon at the top right.
Suppose you are off to a party or on a holiday somewhere with your family, the iPhone 5C will note that all your pictures are being taken at certain locations and at particular times. From that it’s able to work out which photos were taken at which events with stunning accuracy and it makes it easier when it comes to showing off snaps to friends and family. It takes a little getting used to at first, as it’s a very different way of browsing through your photos compared to previous iOS iterations and it is a little annoying as well to begin with. That’s why Apple added the old Camera Roll back as an option in Albums.
However, if you’re not happy with the photos you have you can always tap the “edit” button when viewing a particular picture to take you into a basic editor. From there you have various options including crop, rotate, red eye removal, eight filters and auto-enhance. It’s certainly not as detailed as Apple’s iPhoto app – which can be downloaded for free from the App Store – but for the occasional photography this simple editor will suffice. iOS 8 has brought further options to tweak the light with exposure, shadows, brightness values and more, or to tweak the color, sliding to choose a more saturated look or a washed out palette.
Connectivity: Unsurprisingly the iPhone 5C comes will all manner of connectivity options, but NFC is still the high-profile absentee at the Apple party. Not even a plastic clad Smartphone could tempt the firm to give us a bit of contactless tech. There’s a new way to control Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 in iOS 7 with the arrival of the Control Center, which is accessed with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen. This brings up some shortcut settings including toggles for both connections, plus you can also enable airplane mode here if you want to go off the grid or might be a plane.
GPS and GLONASS also make an appearance to help you locate yourself in Maps with earth shattering accuracy and navigate you round the world with the free turn-by-turn satellite navigation system. The iPhone 5C sports Apple’s new physical connection port – dubbed Lightning – on its base which is used for charging as well as connecting to computers and any third party peripherals you may pick up. It provides a faster connection than the 30-pin port it replaced, allowing for quicker data transfer meaning you won’t be waiting around quite so long.
Apple offers its own cloud storage solution cunningly named iCloud which lets you store all your vital information in its secure servers should the worst happen to your iPhone 5C.
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