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.
There is no doubt that everyone expected to see the ‘budget iPhone’, the iPhone 5C is not comprising on specs which is a good thing to know and the best thing that the users can get it that the company did not bar the lack of a metal chassis it matches the excellent iPhone 5 every step of the way with the added bonus of iOS 8.
Also, support for a wide range of 4G bands will be like cherry on the cupcakes to the consumers in various countries around the world including the UK where the iPhone 5 was only support by one network. Superfast network speeds go hand in hand with web browsing and the iPhone 5C makes mincemeat of most desktop websites, even over Wi-Fi and 3G. The all new series of iPhones is lodged with the latest version of iOS which is a massive boon for the iPhone range in general. It’s reassuring that the iPhone 5C feels like it is capable of taking a few knocks, because the slick, uni-body plastic finish offers very little in the way of grip The operating system was in dire need of a reboot and iOS 7 has managed to do that with aplomb, bringing a couple of handy new features such as Control Centre to the relative simplicity and solid, fluid interface Apple has offered since its inception. iOS 8 has refined the experience further and fixed some of the major iOS 7 gripes.
To summarize, it will be fair enough to say that the new iPhone 5C is a great phone. Now that the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have arrived prompting a price drop for the iPhone 5S, there’s little reason to look at the iPhone 5C. The new £319 price tag makes it about as close as Apple will get to a budget offering, but 8GB is not enough storage. If you’re coming from a similarly priced Android handset you’ll probably think the iPhone 5C feels a little on the small size, with its 4-inch display more at home at the budget end of the rival OS’s line up.
Pricing has always been less of an issue for Apple products as people are prepared to pay a premium for what are generally excellent devices, thoughtfully put together and cleverly engineered. The iPhone 5C is 4G enabled of course, but more supports even more bands meaning it’ll work even more networks around the world. The iPhone 5C is still all these things, but Apple hasn’t pushed the boundaries and thus there’s no real incentive for consumers to make the leap – unless they are dead set on owning an iPhone but really can’t stretch that extra bit to the iPhone 5S. It’s not that Apple has done its best to make the iPhone 5C appealing, but as last year’s phone re-packaged it is hard to recommend it totally – although the large range of colors and combination with iOS 8.1 helps enormously.
There is no longer provided reliance in Apple’s desktop iTunes software when you come to starting up your iPhone for the first time – no physical connection ever needs to made to a computer during the 5C’s lifetime if you don’t fancy digging out your Lightning cable. If you have decided that it’s time for things to get physical between your computer and iPhone 5C then you’ll need to make sure you’ve got the latest version of iTunes (version 11.1) installed, otherwise it will refuse to play with your new phone.
Using iTunes is a rather hit and miss experience, with the software performing far better on a Mac than a Windows PC, but either way it’s usually a long, drawn out process which involves lots of syncing – so avoid it if you can or are tremendously regimented in your music organization. Maps is a contentious area of the Apple ecosystem since its rather embarrassing launch which saw the whole of the internet go about spotting the myriad of errors in the software. It leads to an Apple climb down and CEO Tim Cook recommending users try alternative solutions until a fix in place.
Some things have been fixed, Don Caster for example is now spelt correctly, but there’s still quite some way for Apple Maps to go before it can seriously challenge Google Maps, with elements like public transport integration not on offer. Of course it’s not always bad news and for the most part Maps works pretty well, and it’s able to comprehend where you are and where you wish to go. The color palette is very pleasing to the eye and everything is very easy to read with various points of interest marked on the map including restaurants, hospitals and train stations.
Maps load very quickly on the iPhone 5C, be it over Wi-Fi, 3G or even 4G, so there’s no awkward waiting around when you fire up the app, although you might find it taking a good five seconds or to locate yourself sometimes. One time you can turn your Wi-Fi off and try to locate yourself when indoors and the 5C struggles to really nail down your location, placing a large blue halo round the location dot, which is usually in the right vicinity.
As well as the stock map view you can also view the world in a series of satellite images or choice a hybrid option which sees roads laid on top of the satellite snaps. However unlike Google Maps, the Tom-Tom powered Apple maps doesn’t have the Street View option, nor does it sport any public transport information, so if you want to know which bus or train to get you’ll have to go elsewhere. The 3D Flyover option which Apple lauded at the launch of Maps last year is nice to view when you’re over a city which has actually supports it, but for the majority of the world there are no 3D renders present and thus the mode is merely there for aesthetic value.
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