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Apple iPhone 5c Review


Apple iPhone 5c Review

Page 1 of 3

The iPhone 5C is something new in the iPhone line-up. It’s a lower-cost alternative to the iPhone 5S – normally Apple simply trots out old models for those who can’t afford the new top dog.


The iPhone 5C takes design inspiration from the Nokia Lumia range, which proved once and for all that a plastic phone needn’t feel cheap. It’s a unibody phone, meaning you have no access to the battery, or access to the insides unless you’re willing to fully dismantle the thing.

A little wider and 30g heavier than the iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C feels a little heftier than its brother. However, this is no bad thing. At 9mm thick and 132g, you’d only call it fat if you wanted to lower the little thing’s self-esteem.

The iPhone 5C comes in five colours – pink, blue, yellow, green and white. They’re much more fun-looking than the staid iPhone 5S, but they are slightly pastel-looking shades rather than dazzling bright colours. They’re a little more muted than the Nokia Lumia colours. The phone feels as immaculately well-made as you’d expect from Apple – there are no gaps or inconsistencies in the border between the plastic back and glass front, no flexing of the body. But glossy plastic was never going to feel as impressive as the aluminium rear of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.

We also found that the plastic nano SIM slot on the phone’s right edge tends to get a little mucky, spoiling the otherwise impressive consistency of the phone’s colouring – the buttons and mute switch are all colour-matched to the rear. It’s a strong look, although we’re less convinced by the official Apple iPhone 5C case. It’s a felt-lined rubbery case with cut-out dots on the rear. Match the colours well and you’ll get a funky look, but the way the dots reveal part of the iPhone logo looks clumsy and the rubbery finish attracts dust and fluff to the plastic body within minutes. The concept is a fine one, but the execution falls short of the standard set by the phone itself.

The placement of the iPhone 5C’s on-body bits are more-or-less identical to those of the iPhone 5. A mute switch sits on the left edge, alongside the volume buttons, while a power button lives up top. It’s a design that simply works, with every button easily accessible without resorting to using two hands. This is one of the main benefits of a smaller phone like this – it’s a much less intimidating presence than any high-end Android phone.

The iPhone 5C misses out on what’s probably the biggest hardware innovation of the iPhone 5S – the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. This lets you secure your phone against the fingers of any more mischievous friends without using a passcode. Here you’ll either have to use the passcode or go without that extra layer of protection.


Just like the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, the iPhone 5C has a 4-inch screen. It’s smaller than every Android phone at the price, but quality-wise it’s excellent.

Side-by-side we couldn’t tell any big differences between this display and the iPhone 5S’s. They use exactly the same type of panel. It’s a top-quality IPS panel that offers superb colour reproduction, excellent contrast and startling peak brightness. iPhone 5C 5

The iPhone 5C uses a 1,136 x 640 pixel screen, just like that of the iPhone 5. The resulting 326ppi pixel density is the same pixel pitch that saw the introduction of the term ‘Retina’ display – meaning so sharp you can’t see the pixels. Other phones have since far outstripped this pixel density. The HTC One has a 469ppi screen. However, if anyone tells you it’s a reason to buy that phone over the iPhone 5C, they’re wrong. At normal viewing distances there’s little benefit in higher pixel density IPS screens than this.


iOS 7 is a largely successful update. It is a significant stylistic re-working of the iPhone software that doesn’t ruin the simplicity of the system, which is perhaps the key to its staggering mainstream success (something that’s hard to fully appreciate six years in.)

If you’re used an iPhone before, you’ll initially be struck by quite how differently it moves, compared to previous versions. The iPhone 5C’s software is all swooshy transitions, and the sense of inertia and the physics of movement play a far greater part than before.

It’s something we largely attribute to the largely positive reception of Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8, which took this approach to the feel of a mobile phone operating system more seriously than ever before.

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(Review Page 1 of 3)

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