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Is it worth upgrading to iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C?

Posted: , by Nick T.


Is it worth upgrading to iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C?
"Should I upgrade?" – this is the question that will keep many an iPhone 5 owner awake tonight. And we sure know why – the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are now official and are here to succeed the said model. Half of those who own an iPhone seem to have their minds made up already, but is replacing the iPhone 5 with one of the newer iPhones really worth the expense? Well, it depends on a number of factors, primarily what one uses their iPhone for.

So let's break things down here and start with some thoughts on the high-end iPhone 5S model.

Should I upgrade to an iPhone 5S?

Is it worth upgrading to iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C?
If performance is of utmost importance to you, or if you are an avid gamer, then replacing an iPhone 5 with an iPhone 5S makes sense. The new model is equipped with an A7 system-on-chip, which is touted as the first SoC to bring 64-bit processor architecture to a smartphone. It also has an updated instruction set with twice the general-purpose registers and twice the floating-point registers. As a result, up to twice the CPU and GPU performance should be expected, according to Apple, so apps will be executed faster while games will be loaded with more eye-candy. And speaking of games, Apple has brought OpenGL ES 3.0 support to the iPhone 5S. The tech will allow top-of-the-line games, such as Infinity Blade III, to look amazing. Not that the A6 inside the iPhone 5 isn't fast, of course, but if you demand the very best, then the newer model should be right for you.

In addition to the new chip, the iPhone 5S packs an upgraded camera. Its resolution stays at 8MP as before, but the tech around the module itself has been taken to the next level. That is why the iPhone 5S camera might be worth upgrading for in case you use your iPhone as your primary camera. For example, there's a new lens system on the iPhone 5S. Its sensor comes with 15% larger pixels and wider aperture, which should result in improved low-light photos. Speaking of which, the new dual-LED flash should now deliver better color tones when used. On top of all that, you get slow-motion video at 720p and intelligent software that takes multiple shots each time you press the shutter, then leaves only the best pic in the bunch. 

There's more that makes the iPhone 5S special, but the rest of the new features it introduces don't really fall in the "must-have" category. Having a fingerprint sensor, for example, is undoubtedly pretty neat, but it isn't really something worth upgrading for. The new gold color is also very good-looking, but it is just a new paint-job that you won't be noticing much a week after buying an iPhone 5S. Besides, you'll probably place the handset in a case anyway, so its color won't matter as much. 

Should I upgrade to an iPhone 5C?

Is it worth upgrading to iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C?
Now that's a question that isn't as tricky to answer, and we're leaning towards a negative response. That's because switching to an iPhone 5C from an iPhone 5 wouldn't be an upgrade really, rather a downgrade in some ways. For example, the iPhone 5C is heavier and thicker, not to mention that it sports a colored plastic shell, while the iPhone 5 is slim, light, and made of metal. And since they share the same 4-inch Retina display, the same A6 processor, and an identical 8MP camera, then you can't expect any improvements in these categories either. Even on the software side, both smartphones will get iOS 7 and will run any app from Apple's software marketplace.

However, the iPhone 5C would be a great pick for those who are still holding on to an iPhone 4S or an older iPhone model. In fact, that's the audience we assume Apple is targeting the handset at – them and those switching over from another platform, yet can't afford getting the 5S model. Or any youngster looking for a colorful mid-range handset. All in all, the iPhone 5C should not be underestimated as it would be one of the best mid-range smartphones around once it is released so keep an eye out if that's the kind of smartphone you're looking for.

  • Options

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 15:57 2

1. apple4never (Posts: 1063; Member since: 08 May 2013)

5c is a waste get the iphone 5 on kijiji or craigslist for 400. 100$ less than the 5c and have tos of case options from the start or, get a 5s

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 02:14

49. imran86 (Posts: 159; Member since: 14 Sep 2012)

When a new iphone is released, the previous model price decreases about a $100, now why would someone buy Iphone 5C that has the specs of iphone 5 with plastic body when they can get a new 5 at the same price and specs?

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 11:17

51. simplynutty (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Sep 2013)

The iPhone 5 will no longer be for sale. Instead of dropping the price on the current model Apple is introducing a legitimate lower cost model along side it's flagship phone. I use an iPhone 4 and passed on the iPhone 5 last year but am interested in an iPhone 5C. I will get it for cheaper than those who bought the 5 last year. :) Smartphones are all good enough these days. Don't buy into the hype that each new model is that much better, regardless of brand.

posted on 16 Sep 2013, 07:03

56. Beefiron (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Sep 2013)

Your logic is pretty wrong-headed. The 5c is a direct replacement for the 5, but it's thicker, heavier, and made of cheaper materials. The battery is the only feature it has that beats the 5. Yes, the 5c is €100 cheaper than the 5 was at launch, but the 5 is a year old now, and so is cheaper now that a new 5c. On what level does it make sense to get a 5c over a 5, right now? And yes, I know the 5 has been discontinued, but you can still get one for a while.

posted on 17 Sep 2013, 10:40

57. simplynutty (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Sep 2013)

@Beefiron Wrong-headed? It's just an opinion.

I believe buying a 5C makes sense on the level that I would like to spend less money. Is that such a crazy idea? I think not or companies wouldn't bother offering products at various price points. Aside from those reading about tech. and posting comments on blogs, most people don't care that the 5C is a tweaked version of the iPhone 5. It's a newly released product which will sell better than simply downgrading the 5. Not everyone has talked themselves into needing whatever some company says is the latest and greatest.

I pre-ordered a 5C for my wife and I'm undecided as to wether I'll grab a 5S or stick with my 4.

posted on 19 Sep 2013, 06:43

58. Beefiron (Posts: 2; Member since: 16 Sep 2013)

Sorry - maybe it was a little extreme to call it wrong-headed. I'd like to address a few of your points to show my problem with your logic/opinion.

You say "I will get it for cheaper than those who bought the 5 last year. :)" Well, of course you'll get last year's specs for cheaper than they cost last year. How is that in any way good for you? The 5c has a new design, but the internals of the phone are almost identical to those of the 5. It is selling for the same price now as the 5 would be (now) if it were still available.

I also find it interesting that you use the phrase "simply downgrading the 5". You have used the word 'downgrading', which has negative connotations, to describe Apple's previous policy of 'reducing the price' of the existing model when a new one is introduced. How is reducing the price of the 5 a downgrade of that model?

I'd finally like to offer a scenario and have your honest opinion on it: Suppose Apple followed their usual pattern by reducing the price of the 5, but also introduced the 5c at the same price, giving you 3 options: The 5 @ $99, the 5c @ $99 and the 5s at $199. What would you have bought for your wife, given those options? What would you buy for yourself?

I'm gneuinely interested in this, so please reply if you have time. For me, the 5c is the 5 wrapped in cheaper materials and sold at the same price. I don't see the value in it over the 5, and I think discontinuing the 5 was just a cynical move by Apple to shift more of the 5c and the 5s, because the 5 would have cannibalised the sales of both.

posted on 20 Sep 2013, 09:17

59. simplynutty (Posts: 3; Member since: 11 Sep 2013)


I think you are making an assumption that a person should only ever purchase the best (subjective to opinion) device available. If you take away that assumption then what I'm saying makes more sense. I'd love a Tesla Model S but it's not a smart financial move right now so when my Corolla was totalled I picked up a 2010 Jetta TDI. Was it wrong to buy an older care instead of a fancy new one? I know that's a bit apples and oranges but the differences in the cost of a phone when combined with the high cost of some plans is enough to make a lower priced phone worth it. Also remember the context in which a person might be upgrading. If I had an iPhone 5 then it would be silly to pick up the 5C unless I was in love with the fruity colors. However I have an iPhone 4 and passed on both the 4S and 5 so despite being a tweaked version of the 5, the 5C would be a major upgrade.

I didn't mean to imply anything negative toward the 5 by using the word downgrading. Perhaps shifting is a better choice. In either case I didn't come up with the model of offering older models for a cheaper price on the arrival of new a product.

In the scenario where there are 3 models available then I'm not sure what I would have bought my wife. I sent her the page showing both new phones and she was the one who picked the 5C. I assumed she'd want a white (silver?) 5S but I was wrong. Apple must know my wife better than I do. :) I'm guessing the presence of the 5 wouldn't make her choose a 5S so if she chose a 5 it would essentially be the same choice as a 5C right? I have to think Apple believes the mental aspect of it being a newly released device (not to be confused with significantly new device) vs. a discounted older model would yield better results.

Wether Apple's move was a good one or not is fuzzy. I guess we'll wait for the numbers. What do you think might happen if they went with tradition and didn't create a 5C? Someone used to buy the previous year models but I'm not sure who and if it was profitable.

I bit the bullet and decided to go for the 5S and I'm waiting for the AT&T store to open now. I forgot that even if I'm happy with the 4 I'd be missing out on LTE speeds. To be honest I was unhappy after upgrading my phone to iOS 7 that I was considering checking out an android phone and/or possibly switching to an MVNO to save money. Crazy right? :)

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 15:59 5

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I'll sum up the whole article in less than twenty seconds.

If you have a iPhone 4 or 4S, yes the upgrade is worth it. iPhone 5? No. Different OS? Sure, but you'll notice the difference between what you're used to what you're forced to get used to.

All done.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:02 31

6. Shatter (Posts: 2036; Member since: 29 May 2013)

I can sum it up even easier.

Don't get an iphone.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:03 9

7. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)

I was debating between getting the Note 3 and the iPhone 5S. Guess who I'm throwing my money to on October 2?

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:21 8

16. 1113douglas (Posts: 193; Member since: 04 Jul 2013)


posted on 10 Sep 2013, 17:24

33. RoyalPayne (banned) (Posts: 458; Member since: 07 Aug 2013)

Coz it was knocked out of the real park by Sony Z1! =D

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:37 3

23. darkkjedii (Posts: 19411; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Enjoy the note 3 Smurf, it's a beast of a device. You can't go wrong with it. I think next year will be an even better year for phones, Sammy apple, and HTC will all have major redesigns.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 18:39

36. tedkord (Posts: 9867; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

We dint know that yet. It does look like a beast, though.

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 23:21

52. sriuslywtf (Posts: 297; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)

Agree, to date, Note 3 offers more practical applications. Not saying that 5s aint good, but compare to note3, Note 3 is way more practical. If you can wait for a little while, you might as well get the Iphone 6 to see major improvements. Best option? Get them both. With Note and Iphone combo, you can never go wrong.

posted on 13 Sep 2013, 11:03

54. garlic456 (Posts: 251; Member since: 24 Dec 2012)

Wait for the Xperia Z1 Mini, man.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:16 2

15. Gemmol (Posts: 781; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)

this the same with every other phone......galaxy note to galaxy note 2 is not a big change.....galaxy 2 to galaxy 3 was not a big change.......n any other phone.......if you want a big change wait 2 years to upgrade....if you got the 4s then going to 5s would be best thing.....but if you got the iphone 5 then wait for iphone 6.......

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:24 5

17. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Changes in the OG Note to Note 2 and the GS2 to GS3 were the greatest leap forward for Samsung. GS3 successfully sold well over 30 million devices and Note 2 sold over 10 million.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 20:09

42. maccess (Posts: 742; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)

c'mon smurf.. gs3 has sold more than 50 million now..

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:06 11

8. GeekMovement (Posts: 2135; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)

Well, the iPhone5S will surely be a huge upgrade for apple fans out there because all they know is the iPhone and it is slightly better than the iPhone5 so ... they\'ll most likely cash in on it.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:09 11

9. kanagadeepan (Posts: 891; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)

The title must be "Are you really upgrading by buying iPhone5S or 5c"????

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:14 13

12. Satnamreg (Posts: 29; Member since: 23 Aug 2013)

Apple RIP

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:56

29. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)

That\'s not likely... To many sheep.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:14 2

13. bfuller2006 (Posts: 58; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

I currently have a White Galaxy S4 not really interested in an iPhone but id get one just to get the gold one, that one is pretty.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:25 7

18. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10409; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Not trying to sound like a douchebag or anything, but did you just say 'pretty?'

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:36 2

21. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

In my opinion gold iPhone looks tasteless.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 18:42 1

37. tedkord (Posts: 9867; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Gold is gaudy. But the gray/black one is beautiful.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:15 3

14. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)

My Nokia Lumia 920 is still light years ahead of this... The 1020 is way better than this, and the 1520 will blow this away... iOS7 just seems to be a copy of WP, but it does look a lot better.. With all that said,, No❕.. iPhones quit being worth it long time ago.. Nevertheless, this is just my opinion, and I'm sure many will enjoy their new iPhones as usual,, bit that's only because they most likely are to scared to try anything else.......

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:27

19. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

I think that it doesn\'t worth, better wait for iPhone 6.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:34 3

20. guest (Posts: 338; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)

We are going to read about the iPhone 5c in business class text books of what not to do. Imagine you are an adult and want to upgrade would you pick up the Fisher Price version or the sophisticated adult version? Think Chinese people are any different? Which serious exec would pull out a 5c during a business meeting? The \"discount\" for the 5c is a joke as well. They should have stuck to their normal discounting schedule and released a 5c that was seriously cheaper with less features. The 5c is pointless. I would be scouring eBay for a used 5 over the 5c.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:37 3

22. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

"As a result, up to twice the CPU and GPU performance should be expected"

I read this far and no farther. Are your 64-bit applications twice as fast as your 32-bit applications on your computer? How much faster are they? Any faster at all? Contemplate this.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 21:25 1

46. JewBakaUCFG (Posts: 173; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)

Not to mention the applications need to be writen to take advatage of the 64 bit architecture.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:41

24. dorianb (Posts: 591; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)

Not to be overtly rude but this article could be broken down so much faster.
"Is it worth upgrading to iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C?"
If you have an iPhone4 or older. Yes to both.
iPhone4S. Yes to 5S. Marginal on 5C.
iPhone5. No to both.
*Small caveat* Business' that issue employees iPhone may want the added security the scanner offers. Though this should only really be an option for companies that issue out 100's/1000's of devices.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:49

25. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

Idk' it doesn't really support grandmas tea cup any better then the 5 does.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:53 3

27. 0kax0el0 (Posts: 122; Member since: 15 Nov 2012)

With iPhone5C seems like someone feelings were hurt by the Nokia Lumia add last year, where somebody walked into a store and there were only black or white phones, until Lumia came to save the day.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 16:59 2

30. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)

That\'s just how good Windowsphone, and Nokia are❕ Apple copied the OS, and the Hardware.... Apple fans,, you really think Apple is the leader of innovation❔... Really❔

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 17:36

34. NewWireless (Posts: 27; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

Wow.... iPhone has done it again. Its just an amazing device, the whole 64Bit thing, is trully amazing, I am not joking, but, how many people really need or could tell the difference? I am all for people who love there iPhones, I am a Nokia 920 User former Crackberry user, and Droid user, but the Onion said it perfectly...... this is not something Mr. Jobs would approve of. I give Apple credit they know how to milk something really well, and make a boat load of money doing it..... Apple really could care less about the innovation of these phones right now....

The consumer is not the one who is taking it the hardest.... its

They all agreed to buy the phones at a set price no matter what, so $$$$$ cha ching, for Apple, despite the phone looking performing almost the same. I guess the ID scanner thing is great, I hope people don't start chopping fingers off just to get an iphone working.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 21:27

47. JewBakaUCFG (Posts: 173; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)

The carriers know what they are purchasing from the manufacturer before they order them. They know exactly what they are getting.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 17:59

35. wrm2013 (Posts: 203; Member since: 28 Mar 2013)

I have never had an iPhone. Always android, I currently have an HTC one. I'm over phones I can't use with one hand. If I don't hear a release date for the z1 mini before Oct 1 I'll get the 5s, but will def get rid of the 5s when the mini comes out.

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 20:25 2

44. Samir_Maric (Posts: 87; Member since: 28 Oct 2012)

lol why should you waste your money by buying iphone?

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 19:58

40. SpeakYourMind (Posts: 7; Member since: 01 Nov 2012)

I am an iPhone 5 user and after seeing the 5S feature presentation I am going to purchase the new Droid MAXX and wait for the iPhone 6, etc...

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 20:22

43. Samir_Maric (Posts: 87; Member since: 28 Oct 2012)

Goes with iphone is not a worthy thing at all...., all of the iphone users just go with andriod and feel the difference

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 21:13 1

45. piyath (Posts: 152; Member since: 23 Mar 2012)

iPhonearena is trying to pull innocent customers in to hell.. huh..... NO iPhone should be allowed to exist in this universe!

posted on 10 Sep 2013, 23:01

48. procopiojose (Posts: 132; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)

well... if you are stupid, buy.. if smart, deny...

posted on 11 Sep 2013, 10:12

50. imkyle (Posts: 1070; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

If you have the 5, than no. If you have the 4S and below yes.

posted on 12 Sep 2013, 12:53

53. colieolie (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Sep 2013)

So if I'm an avid smartphone "photographer", would upgrading from a 4S to a 5S be a good choice? Or rather pick up a cheaper 5 or wait for (maybe a year?) the 6?

posted on 16 Sep 2013, 01:12

55. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

If photography from a smartphone is actually that critical to you, avoid the iphone all together. Get a Nokia Lumia 1020 if you can, or a Lumia 920/928/925 if the 1020 isn't available where you are or on your carrier. Much better at everything (except some apps) than iphones are. Alternately you can wait for the new Lumias coming in October/November, which will be an even greater improvement. Or you can get an LG G2 or Sony Xperia Z1 if you want a lesser camera than the Lumias but still better than iphone and running android instead.

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