24 hours with the iPhone 5c, or why I now hate my iPhone 5

The iPhone 5 (and now 5s) is a remarkable piece of industrial engineering. Those diamond-cut chamfers, beautiful glass and anodized aluminum all in an incredibly thin frame is the height of smartphone elegance. It really is stunning. The latest colors of 5s arguably make it even more attractive. If you’re an astronaut. Or Mr. T.

Still, there’s one thing you can’t deny: when the metal gets cold, it’s not nice to hold. Because it has straight edges and a flat back, it’s not particularly comfortable either.

Enter the iPhone 5c – I got mine yesterday – with its warm, seamless plastic with rounded edges and you have something which is a joy to hold. In fact, since owning it, I’ve often found myself with it in hand, spinning it around like a bar of soap, or brushing it against my cheek while thinking. (Stress: Unconsciously). It just feels so nice.

On the engineering side it may not impress as much as the iPhone 5 or 5s. But as far as plastic phones go, you’ll struggle to find anything that feels as well made as this. It’s solid, mostly thanks to its  steel reinforcement which also – by the way – doubles as its antenna. Don’t let the playful plastic look fool you, this is still a high-tec piece of kit. It just happens to be a pink, green, blue, yellow or white (my choice) piece of high-tec kit.

My tweet above is no exaggeration. I really don’t like picking up the iPhone 5 anymore. It feels so soulless, so sharp, flat and cold. You’ll remember I wrote a piece last week about why I was ordering the 5c, and wasn’t so fussed about the 5s. Owning it, even for just 24 hours has pretty much confirmed my feelings.

On the performance side, so far, it’s fast, smooth and has a brilliant display (just like the iPhone 5). It has a great camera and has better battery life than the iPhone 5. Look at it this way: I’m not getting any worse performance than on my old phone (better in some ways) and it feels much nicer when I use it. That’s surely a no brainer. To me, that makes it a better phone.

This is by no means my full review. So I won’t needlessly go on and one trying to cram more words in. But if the rest of my time with it is anything like this first day, it could well end up being my favorite iPhone so far. What I will say is: You may think you want the iPhone 5s for all its fancy tech, and that’s fine. I do too. But as a daily driver, I’d rather have a device that’s a pleasure to use.

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  • My wife and I visited the local Apple Store earlier today to see which phones we’d like to eventually get. While we both went in wanting a 5S, my wife is convinced about getting a 5C. She loves the feel (she’s big on texture) and look (oh, and colors) of it. It’s so very much her. 
    I also loved holding it. But part of me wants to have the best option to better future-proof myself.

  • BrainRoopull

    Cam, you’re touching on why I don’t like most new smartphones – no matter the manufacturer. They’re ergonomic nightmares, and the iPhone is probably the worst offender. Sure, it’s gorgeous, but it’s as if they didn’t design it to be held by human hands. Think of any other hand-held implement you own… tools, kitchenware, etc… think of the handles. None of them that you LIKE are flat with hard edges. I want something that fits in my hand. Think of your TV remote. Why is it that none of them – save for a very select few – look like an iPhone? It’s because they’re designed to fit in your hand!I personally miss the days of big fat meaty phones that were designed to be held in the hand. Apparently, judging by the cases people put on their phones that are obviously unnecessarily bulky, I’m not alone.As for the 5c… all I have to say is iNokia.Which is less of an insult than it sounds like – to either company.

  • BrainRoopull

    @JerenYun I think the “future-proof” mindset is one of the single best selling points of the iPhones.  Even as a WP8 fan and current user of Android, iPhone is where I have the most confidence that the phone won’t be “outdated” prematurely.

  • DrewPage

    Cam, I totally agree. I got my 5c yesterday, and when I sent my 5 to Nextworth, I didn’t feel at all bad. iPhone 5c, where have you been all my life?

  • @BrainRoopull That confidence is also why I don’t want to stray into Android devices. I’ve seen enough news about devices not receiving timely updates or others being denied them to begin with. At least, with buying a new iOS device, I know that I’ll be able to use it and have it supported for at least 3 years. (Maybe even 4, as was the case with the 3GS supporting iOS 3-6).

  • BrainRoopull

    @JerenYun Well, let’s clarify to be fair.  The devices are still “supported” no matter what version of Android they run.  I have a cheapo Samsung phone that still works just as good as the day I bought it, but it will never see any updates to any new operating system.  It has, however, gotten several other updates for security or network performance.  Even iPhones don’t all get the same OS updates. This is primarily due to hardware being able to support the OS and not the myriad of reasons Androids don’t get them.  The easy way around that if you’re wanting an Android is to go with a Nexus device or a “top tier” device that will get support from outfits like Cyanogenmod.  Personally, I’m not all that concerned with OS updates, even though I do think it’d be nice.  If my phone wasn’t a suitable device when I bought it, I’d have never bought it in the first place.  The OS updates from Google and Apple, to be quite honest, have added very little in actual functionality.  This is especially true of Google since many of the OS update features can be found in the market for phones that don’t get the actual OS.  If you jailbreak, it’s just as true – or even moreso – for Apples.  But, the OS isn’t why I’m not an iPhone user.  The reasons are two fold.  First is the form…  I’m on the go for 14 hours a day with no way to charge my phone.  I use GPS heavily, and am constantly typing in addresses.  No phone’s battery – no matter who makes it – can last that long.  So, I carry spares.  I also insist on a physical keyboard.  Right now, those are only available on a select few Android devices.  The other big reason is that I find Apple’s corporate behavior to be unacceptable…  attempting to corner the market on ebooks (and specifically e-textbooks) and then collude with publishers to fix the prices is absolutely shameful.  The whole world is out trying to find out how to make education more universally attainable and here Apple is trying to figure out how to rip off their customers and anyone wanting an education…  There are a dozen or more other reasons from the moral standpoint that I won’t list in detail, but that’s a start. For a hint, look into how they flip flopped on DRM, the shaft they give artists publishing via iTunes, and how – for decades – they’ve done their best to make their devices non-compliant with industry standards so that everything Apple is unnecessarily more expensive to own and comes with an either/or decision for the owners.  I’d rather have a dumbphone.  I’m not saying that Google is a saintly company, but Apple just sucks from a ethics point of view.

  • @BrainRoopull All fair points. I do agree that, if you need heavy usage and require spare batteries, you’re better off with a non-Apple device. Their products are popular but it doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for everyone. Each company does things differently and that leads to a variety of products that, hopefully, will appeal to most people.

  • srmeseck

    I just got a 5c and I hate it.  I use it for business and it has yet to make it through a full business day.  By Blackberry wouldn’t need a charge for 2 days.  IOS 7 would crash my iPhone 4, so I got the 5.  Now I have a phone that is pretty lousy in terms of its battery life and whose fonts are so small, that you can’t read anything on the phone.  The answer from Apple is to change the configuration of email, etc.  So what is the point of having all of these great features if the battery life sucks so you can’t use it.  What is more annoying is that Apple, like Microsoft before it, won’t admit a thing. Updates to software aren’t always a good things.  Apple thinks of itself as the BMW of phones, which is true in terms of cost.  The problem is it has a lawnmower engine in it.