iPhone 5C

28 / 02 / 2014 | S.A. Degueurce

Last September, two iPhones were launched by Apple. 5s, designed for the up-market, and 5c, slightly less expensive than the first. While 5s captures the essence of the model released in 2012, 5c, that we tested here, is pretty much a revamped iPhone 5. While most technical characteristics remain unchanged compared to the number 5, which was out there one year ago, the terminal’s skin color and design have been changed.

It supports 4G LTE. iPhone 5c still has a Retina screen of 4 inches, a dual-core A6 chip clocked at 1.3GHz with 1GB of RAM, an 8MP camera sensor and a 1507 mAh battery.

Its cost is 599 euros for the 16GB version, which is 100 euros less than the iPhone 5s in the same memory capacity. 5c is also available in 32GB, but not in 64GB, unlike 5s. As usual, in Apple’s products, there is no microSD slot to expand the internal memory. This may be done thanks to the cloud.

Ergonomics and design :

No more aluminum, polycarbonate is back. To dress the 5c, Apple has released four hulls in flashy colors, in addition to a classic white model. We hear here and there that the company follows in the footsteps of Nokia. Yes - And no. Because if the primary colors proposed here are indeed reminiscent of the Lumia range, it is not the first time Apple offers a range with colored products such as the iPod or iMac G3.

The plastic shell has been chosen for its quality. It is not cheap and the fit and finish of the product are beyond reproach. The back cover indeed is not flexible, it does not "squeak", as some competing devices do.

In spite of its plastic coating, the iPhone 5c is not lighter than its « brother » since it weighs 20 grams more. Still compared to 5s, this iPhone is thicker. Nevertheless, it feels comfortable to hold. Some prefer a more rounded design. As compared to 5c, iPhone 5s has sharper edges.

While they have not increased the screen size of their iPhone, Apple makes it possible for users to use the smartphone with one hand, while the great majority of competing models often require the user to seize them with both hands. An important quality for some, less for those who prefer to display their preferred mobile device’s screen surface. Everything is a matter of priority !

Screen :

5c retains the iPhone 5 Retina 4-inch screen with a resolution of 1131x640p for a pixel density of 326 ppi. So no HD here, but a view that continues to enjoy a substantial fine and excellent readability.

As we pointed out in the review of the iPhone 5s, the performance of the new line of Retina slabs has been significantly revised upwards, particularly regarding colorimetry, still better managed, and a higher brightness.

The iPhone 5c not only displays natural but also fairer and more realistic colors.
The brightness is actually higher and whites no longer have that slight bluish tint. The viewing angles are always perfectly open for comfortable reading unchanged, facing the screen or on the side. 5c provides a wide-enough display area to watch photos, play, surf the web or play a video.

Finally, as 5 and 5s, 5c has a latency of 75 ms. The iPhone is, to date, the mobile device offering the most reactive screens on the market. Latency is measured in milliseconds and must be the lowest possible. The average for the last six months amounted to 140 ms as in HTC One, Lumia 1020, etc ...

Multimedia :

The iPhone 5c shares the same audio as the 5s system. The headphone output is clean and powerful, with a background noise limited to a maximum and a very good stereo separation. If the speaker is not the best circuit, take the plastic shell - more flexible than aluminum 5s - which delivers a less saturated and more intelligible rendering than 5s. There is less vibration with polycarbonate.
No surprise on the side of the web navigation, which as always, takes advantage of the quality of the screen and of the Safari browser, built for Internet navigation mobility. With iOS7, Safari has received a makeover and also gained in ergonomics.

To get the most up-to-date video formats, it will download third-party applications to ensure good compatibility. Apple’s multimedia player natively supports few formats.

Photo :

The images delivered by 5c are very close in terms of rendering to those captured with the iPhone 5. While the treatment of 5s tends to smooth a few more images, 5c retains a slightly higher level of sharpness. The overall record is very decent for a smartphone, even in low light. It enjoys a rapid shutter speed and a short recording time, making it easy to use multiple-shooting modes. The 5s retains the advantage of rendering a more homogeneous picture.

However, the situation has changed ever since the days when the iPhone 5 was considered as the best cameraphone on the market. Nokia Lumia is a heavyweight with its 1020 device which is not very bright, but very efficient, especially in low light. Samsung’s Galaxy S4, with an excellent NPC, provides a valuable picture experience, and so does LG with an equally effective G2.

Interface and Navigation :

The operating system had not had a major overhaul since 2007. It has now been done. The OS has indeed undergone a fairly radical change with version 7 of iOS.

The new interface, more refined, more minimalist, is based on more modern graphics, icons with bright colors and transparency effects. Ergonomic access to certain features has also been reworked. Apple has managed not to entirely do away with existing features, offering users iOS continuity, while delivering a new design that leaves no one indifferent. Some remain there, others ... not at all.

In terms of new features, iOS 7 provides a control center, also accessible when the phone is locked. As its name suggests, it is this control panel - which appears by sliding your finger on the screen from the bottom up - that gives access to a whole bunch of settings (airplane mode, Wi- Fi, brightness ...) and applications (audio player, calculator, alarm ...).

Management of multitasking has also received a healthy facelift. Navigation within the device however is only just more enjoyable, more convenient. iOS7 remains a user-friendly operating system.

For the visually impaired, however, this new interface with transparency where white rules seems to be less practical than the previous version, and more mixed with many gradients. Now wallpapers (Notes, SMS, emails ...) are very clear and typography is fine. It is the same for the keyboard. However, Apple offers a variety of settings to improve visibility and includes options to increase the font or change the contrast. VoiceOver announces the items displayed on the screen, etc ... But for some, it does not seem enough.

As for performance, the iPhone 5c’s chip is the same dual core A6 as that of the iPhone 5. Not surprisingly, the raw results issued by the benchmarks (3DMark GFXBench / GLBenchmark 2.7, BaseMark X) are more or less the same as those obtained with the previous generation iPhone.

In use, the iPhone 5c is like the 5. It does not overtake the 5s. It saves time to turn on the unit, when opening a web page or a heavy application such as Google Earth, but more importantly, it is technically ready to receive the more graphics-intensive applications that will be hitting the App Store in the coming months. Today, let’s be clear, it is necessary to hold both terminals next to each other and run the same applications to notice a difference. However, after some time, 5c will certainly acknowledge the blow, especially in the treatment of video games ...

Autonomy :

The iPhone 5c featues a 1507mAh battery as opposed to a 1440mAh one in iPhone 5. With a "normal" Wi-Fi and 3G use, the terminal holds a full day without recharging which is a bit more than the iPhone 5.

Quentin R., 1BTS.