Apple iPhone 5c Review
Normally, the introduction of a new iPhone means that the old model will be getting a price cut that would validate it as a mid-range smartphone – a strategy we’ve been seeing Apple using the last couple of years with its iPhones. This time around, however, they’re doing something different by announcing not one, but two NEW iPhone models. We all know about the flagship one, you know, the iPhone 5s and its lovely new goodies, but there’s also the alternative option in the iPhone 5c.
iPhone 5 on Apple’s lineup as the new mid-range model. And even though it’s sporting pretty much the same hardware as the previous generation flagship model, the casing is actually quite different – so much so that some people view the “c” to stand for cheap. Yes, it’s sporting a cheaper price point at $99.99 on-contract. And yes, it’s sporting a colorful polycarbonate casing as opposed to the aluminum one used by the iPhone 5. However, does it seemingly translate to a “cheap” smartphone? We’re not quick to place judgment, but it’ll be interesting to see how the iPhone 5c can shake up the mid-range segment.
The package contains:
- Lightning cable
- Wall charger
- Apple sticker decals
- SIM Removal Tool
- Get Started Guide
Don’t be fooled for a moment folks by the iPhone 5c’s decision to flaunt a plastic body, as opposed to something more premium. Call it a robotic response, but most people would agree that plastic is a cheaper material than something like metal or glass – so the assertions of it being cheap are somewhat ingrained into the minds of people from the very beginning. However, that’s far from the case here with the iPhone 5c, seeing that Apple does a fabulous job of making plastic look cool!
First and foremost, it’s actually a glossy polycarbonate material, which is the sturdy variety that makes other flagship smartphones using plastic bodies look cheap in comparison. Sure, it has a slick feel, and depending on the angle, smudges and fingerprints become somewhat apparent, but despite that, they’re masked pretty well by the palette of colors that the smartphone is available in. In fact, the color variety with the iPhone 5c is what makes it so darn alluring – it’s actually a refreshing sight, since we’ve been yearning for more color options with the iPhone in general.
Secondly, the plastic body still retains the iPhone’s solid construction – so there are no worries about its build quality. Visually, the iconic design of the iPhone is intact, so it’s distinctively something from Apple’s stable. Better yet, the in-the-hand feel of the handset is considerably more pleasing too, seeing that its rounded edges offer a more comfortable grip than the iPhone 5’s chamfred beveled edges. Plastic has always gotten this connotation of being cheap, but frankly, Apple’s take it pretty unique. We wouldn’t say it’s more appealing that Nokia’s line of plastic constructed Lumia smartphones, but it’s nevertheless an alluring thing that catches our attention with its compact feel and color variety.
In part of its iconic design, the recessed home button is positioned in its customary location below its display. Something we come to expect, it’s obviously springy with its response. Meanwhile, on the opposite side, we spot its earpiece, light & proximity sensors, and an updated 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera.
Sticking firmly to the design aesthetics of iPhones before it, all of the ports and buttons are found in their usual locations. Around the sides, we have the dedicated power button, nanoSIM slot, silent switch, separated volume controls, 3.5mm headset jack, microphone, Lightning docking port, and speaker grill. Interestingly enough, the power button and volume controls sport the same colors as the casing – giving it a very uniform look. However, the front panel is doused in that usual piano black color, to give the handset a pleasant contrasting look.
Flipping it to the rear, it’s packing along the same camera that’s packaged into the iPhone 5 – an 8-megapixel iSight camera that features an LED flash, backside illuminated sensor, f2.4 aperture lens, and 1080p video recording. Considering it’s a closed design and all, there’s no storage expandability with it – something we’ve come to expect, so it’s not something we’re shocked to realize.
124.4 x 59.2 x 8.97 mm
4.66 oz (132 g)
132 x 63.2 x 9.25 mm
4.30 oz (122 g)
124.6 x 61.3 x 8.94 mm
3.77 oz (107 g)
121.25 x 61.3 x 8.9 mm
4.59 oz (130 g)
Other notable elements that stand out include its very accurate color reproduction, wide viewing angles, and outstanding outdoor visibility. Comparing it to the screens of the iPhone 5 and 5s, there’s barely anything different between them, which bodes well for this mid-range smartphone. Overall, it’s far from being an imposing thing, but nevertheless a pleasant display that highlights the smartphone’s new design.
Drag the picture or use the keyboard arrows to rotate the phone.
Double click or press keyboard Space to zoom in/out
1. SIGPRO (Posts: 465; Member since: 03 Oct 2012)
The 5c get's a 9?? What will the 5s get....a 10??? Fail!
44. KINGJUAN27 (Posts: 195; Member since: 02 Jul 2012)
Whuuuuuuttt? This is f**king lame! It should get an 8 or something. Go home iPhoneArena! You're drunk!
67. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4184; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Apple can release the SAME phone as the iPhone 5 BUT put plastic on it & STILL get a 9.0. This phone should be a 8.4 to 8.6, nothing more & nothing less.
PhoneArena.com dropped the ball on this one.
14. rodkurt (Posts: 128; Member since: 29 Nov 2012)
just taking the iPhone 5 and putting it on a plastic body got a 9, so I guess it will be a 10 when they take iPhone 5s and put it on a plastic body.
31. darkkjedii (Posts: 11908; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Simply means it was already a great device
70. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4184; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Yes and no...
The device looks new because of the plastic but it STILL has over one year old tech. Some points need to be deducted, if this is truly an unbiased review.
8.4 to 8.6 would have been justified. I mean the Apple iPhone 5s got a 9.3 & it has all new tech. So if an over a year old tech gets a 9.0, what does that say about the new tech that got only .3 better score?
81. rusticguy (Posts: 2828; Member since: 11 Aug 2012)
8.4-8.6 + 0.6-0.4 (for logo) = 9.0
Same device from Acer would get 7.5 .. logo counts too!
20. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2691; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
5S got 9.3 already. I think John loves iPhones as he said "iPhone 5c makes plastic phones look cool, since it’s compact, has a solid construction, and it’s available in a palette of colors. With the latter, we’ve seen other companies experiment with color choices, and with the iPhone 5c, it once again goes to show us that it greatly increases the allure of the smartphone."
Haha...really John now plastic looks cool?
90. MobileKicker (Posts: 212; Member since: 19 Sep 2013)
All android phones are of plastic u fu**
21. SGSatlantis (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
This article pretty much sums up what is wrong with Phonearena's rating system. Phones need to be judged for what they are, and this is a midrange, overpriced, last gen device. The plastic isn't flimsy or cheap feeling only because it's a uni-body design(no SD, no removable battery). The 5S is a high end, premium device with the latest in CPU/GPU and its score is justified, but this is nonsense.
57. frydaexiii (Posts: 1236; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
It's also sturdy because the shell is thick as hell, my S3 after putting a hard plastic case on it, can't be "twisted" or "bent" anymore too.
25. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 383; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
Please guys, we all know you guys really hate Apple. You will never ever acknowledge something they've achieved. In your view it either was always someone else who did it first (even though certainly not in the way Apple did it) or it is not such a great thing. Apple does not create value through putting specs first, but rather due to creating a unique user experience. If Apple is able to achieve that with less spectacular overall specs (in the important areas they are state of the art of the whole industry), they just demonstrate how much one can do with the technology they use. Don't let yourself be driven by technology but drive technology! (For the not so intellectual individuals among us: Don't hunt for specs but rather hunt for user experience.) That is because it is not the specs what make you happy (specs get outdated frequently). What makes you happy is the look and feel of your device and the way you interact with your device. Technology is just an enabler to create user experience. You don't need the best in class technology in every part of your smartphone to create a great user experience!
83. Droiderr (Posts: 32; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)
Really.. User Experience? What exactly does that mean?
Is it paying for a bomb and getting a fire cracker in return? What he hell is up with their beow par screen. Did it enhance your experience in any way or do u carry a magnifying glass in your pocket to to make the text readable?
26. msa1988 (Posts: 417; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
Good lord - after all these overreactions to one mans opinion you would have figured the world ended! Who cares what he thinks and why does this make you upset?! Why do you care?! Life's too short to be whining about an authors personal review. Get over it.
30. SGSatlantis (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
This "one mans opinion" will be read by thousands, some of them relying on reviews to make their next purchase. And Phonearena is not a personal blog, related to one mans opinion and bias. Together with Gsmarena they are my two most reliable sources of all things mobile, and if they start posting biased reviews they lose their credibility with their loyal readers, the ones visiting 20+ pages daily and generating the bulk of phonearenas traffic and add views. So yeah, it is important.
35. darkkjedii (Posts: 11908; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
You're basing he review in your bias though. Had he gave it a 3, you'd praise him cuz you don't like it. He gives it a 9, which it deserves, and you're against it...bias. Thousand, no millions will buy a C and love it.
39. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 383; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
I wish you and your wife all the best for your marriage!
42. darkkjedii (Posts: 11908; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Thanx HGI. I find it odd, that on my iPhone the site shows my wedding pic. On my iPad it doesn't.
45. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 383; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
Hm :). Is it supposed to be shown? When I click on your profile, it still shows your former picture.
46. darkkjedii (Posts: 11908; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
It should be, when I'm posting from my iPhone it shows my wife and I. I'm on the iPad now.
50. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 383; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
Still only you. But only in your profile. Your posts show a good looking couple that just got married :).
49. SGSatlantis (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
"Sure, it’s sporting the same hardware as the iPhone 5 from last year, but it’s most profound for its unusual design choice – a plastic one at that!"
How is this for unbiased? The iPhone 5 scored a 9 in 2012, and the plastic version of the same phone scores a 9 a year later!? It's thicker and heavier, and yes plastic. For a 549$ phone, that should've been made out of aluminium in the first place(following Apples pricing strategy for the past few years).
62. msa1988 (Posts: 417; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
You said it yourself: people read these reviews to determine their next purchases. Do you know how many people buy phones full retail? I'll give you a hint - it's a very small percentage. Off contract, this phone is pricy, just like every smartphone. On contract $99 for a 2 year agreement is a steal for so many people. And this phone is an upgrade from the 5 all around. What will it take that just because you don't like it, doesn't mean everyone else does as well. Hell, just look at the sales so far. But everyone that purchased it is an idiot, right?
65. -box- (Posts: 3820; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
@msa, how is this an upgrade from the 5? It's the exact same phone with literally a different back. The 5s is upgraded from the 5 (barely), but the 5c is the 5 in plastic instead of aluminum.
75. darkkjedii (Posts: 11908; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Thank you msa. Nailed it with that post. I simply can't understand why some people feel everyone has to like what they like. Choice choice choice. +1
87. miket247 (Posts: 81; Member since: 16 Apr 2013)
RIGHT! You said it! Compared to the 5 this thing is just Cheap! And it has no improvements. So If it got a 9 last year, as a premium metal phone, it can only be "8" this year as a CHEAP PLASTIC OLD TECH MODEL!
102. saffant (Posts: 224; Member since: 04 Jul 2011)
Fanboy, a 3 is unfair, and so is a 9.
This phone deserves a max of 8.5, and that's being generous.
I wouldn't be surprised if it got a 8 even. But lo behold.. that can never be! It's an iPhone after all!
36. HansGoneInsane (Posts: 383; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
How come that you believe to know that the review is biased? Have you tested the iPhone 5C as intense as PA? Only then you could proof that the review is biased. If so, please post your review.
2. ianbbaa (Posts: 198; Member since: 20 Mar 2013)
How can this get 9!!! It is old iP5, but in plastic...we have newer devices and already old original iP5 would not probably get 9p this time.
Even the colourful design you take as very nice - but not nice for you when early LUMIAs adopted those colors.
BTW, that dotted cover is design of all designs....NOT WORTH the money at all. Design wyse - rubbish. APPLE lost their "MOJO". (i know, sales figures state something else).
37. darkkjedii (Posts: 11908; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
You say the cases aren't worth the money rite? Opinion. He says the phone deserves a 9 rite? Opinion. Let it go...woosaaaa.
3. KParks23 (Posts: 452; Member since: 13 Oct 2010)
A 9 Wtf this does not even have the upgradad processor.. this is just a colorful nokia wannabe iphone 5.. I mean im not a iphone hater i dont think. im just saying every year people are like when are they gonna improve this thing and since the 4 its been the same phone over and over and over Atleast slap a huge battery in there or something would be nice
5. frydaexiii (Posts: 1236; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
"Don’t be fooled for a moment folks by the iPhone 5c’s decision to flaunt a plastic body, as opposed to something more premium. Call it a robotic response, but most people would agree that plastic is a cheaper material than something like metal or glass – so the assertions of it being cheap are somewhat ingrained into the minds of people from the very beginning. However, that’s far from the case here with the iPhone 5c, seeing that Apple does a fabulous job of making plastic look cool!
First and foremost, it’s actually a glossy polycarbonate material, which is the sturdy variety that makes other flagship smartphones using plastic bodies look cheap in comparison."
And you guys just justified Apple cutting corners and using plastic...You know, following what people said about PA in the past, you guys should really change your name to iPhoneArena.
Also, something like this getting a 9 while the aluminium One Mini got 8.5? I'm done here
47. amiaq (Posts: 480; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)
This is truly classic example of "The Emperor's new clothes" , no one is telling the truth. Apple will be left in the dust, further and further .. and I ll be laughing...
55. tech2 (Posts: 2183; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)
The thing is phonearena has no 'quality control'. One day they decide to tout their new state of the art detailed review system which would show display brightness, colour accuracy, benchmarks, etc. and then they just publish half-hearted reviews like these one.
Also, reviews isn't suppose to be done by a single author only. Its suppose to make use of every authors' talent e.g. Ray S for camera, John V. for display & hardware and Michael H. for functions & UI features.
Go to gsmarena for a more unbiased, accurate and professionally done reviews.
69. McLTE (Posts: 711; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
This is the problem I have with the reviews at PA.
Reviews are supposed to be done in a way that is not riddled with personal opinion. They should be done objectively!
When I read a review I don't want to hear how the author thinks the plastic is really cool, or ugly.. or whatever. State the facts in an objective manner and let US decide.
It really pisses me off to read reviews on other phones and they are automatically knocked down because of plastic construction, but somehow the 5C is SO much better! give me a f-n break PA.
I have no doubt that the 5C is a good phone. I didn't have issues with the plastic construction on my Note 2, and don't with the 5C.
I'm just so tired of these reviews that inject so much personal opinion that it makes reading them an agonizing experience!
Use your new numerically driven comparison system to show how the phones compare - not with stupid remarks that are just opinion.
It's fine to have an opinion, but don't call it a REVIEW, call it "My impressions" or in an editorial format. That's much more credible.
I will no longer read the reviews on this site.
101. 9thWonderful (Posts: 232; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)
oh please. stop w/the dramatics. the basis of your complaints come down to one thing; you're not a fan of the phone. that's it. if the author would of posted the exact same type of article about a phone you liked you would have no qualms. you don't like the phone...that's it. stop typing all this elaborate bs about how the review should be objective & all this extra nonsense.
60. LiquidGalaxy (Posts: 208; Member since: 03 Jul 2013)
Love these cry baby responses :) Brings a smile to my face everytime..
80. JC557 (Posts: 1136; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
They poo poo Samsung and others for using polycarbonate, then when Apple decides to use it for the next gen of iPhones, Apple defenders start remarking about the plastic shell of the older models.
Samsung decides on making phones with larger screens... people complain that it won't fit in their hipster jean pockets. Samsung opts for the svelte and lightweight rendition of a polycarbonate shell which now fits in the pockets of those idiots with skin tight pants only to be criticized for FEELING cheap.
Nokia's shells may be thick and large but those phones will take one hell of a beating before breaking. Yet they still get criticized.
Then we have the HTC One. Bezels are a bit large due to those awesome sounding speakers (better than what any iPhone provides) and is criticized on that point despite the fact that iPhones are themselves on the large side, especially for a phone sporting 4" screen in which case the iPhone will still get praised on design and function.
This is why I go to Anandtech and Phonescoop for an objective review for when I'm actually deciding between phones. I just come here for upcoming news or rumors as I can't really take the reviews seriously.
7. bloodline (Posts: 693; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
LOL what a crap biased review - awful just awful
9. rodkurt (Posts: 128; Member since: 29 Nov 2012)
This phone got higher rating than all Sony's Z line up even moto X....weird
10. frydaexiii (Posts: 1236; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
The iPhone 5C is the mobile equivalent of a Legacy Child...They're not good or anything, their parents were just popular at one point in time.
73. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6580; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
What do u expect from a BIAS site like iphonearena.
11. bloodline (Posts: 693; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
'Quite simply, the iPhone 5c makes plastic phones look cool' my god how stupid is this comment
12. RebelwithoutaClue (Posts: 1018; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)
Wow I thought PA couldn't sink any lower in my opinion and it did. Hats off
15. emadshiny (Posts: 1135; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)
Xperia Z gets 8.5, Xperia ZU gets 8.7 and 5C gets 9.
Well done PA.
18. joey_sfb (Posts: 3003; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)
S4 mini with no con get 8.5. Apple fan reviewing Apple product equal zero objectivity.
32. rawbow (Posts: 428; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)
i would give it zero for touchwiz, it just doesn't work man...looks old gen
17. GrosseFatigue (Posts: 66; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
The rating is ridiculous. It is last year phone. It makes plastic cool comment ridiculous when they say the Note 3 plastic case is not cool enough. With the first Note they totally missed the train and now the best smartphones are all kind of phablets and even the 5s is overrated. How are they going to rate the Note3? It is miles better than the 5s. Should get a 9.9 by comparison.
19. imparanoic (Posts: 68; Member since: 15 Oct 2012)
Phone arena bias as usual. No doubt both xperia zr and htc one mini has significant. Lower score. Yet similar or better build. Ie. Htc one mini. Aluminum construction. And much better features. Ie. Zr waterproofing. NFC. Much more storage. Yet much much cheaper than iPhone 5c sly marketed school of thought. But phone arena will severely bias this brand. This is worse than gizmodo bias
22. MojoDojo (Posts: 82; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)
This is ridiculous... Lumia 1020 gets 8.5 when the 920 got 9. The 1020 is almost the same device as the 920 except 2 GB ram, amoled display, thinner body and the best camera on any smartphone today. The camera is so good that Phonearena doest use it in comparison any more. The iPhone 5 got a 9, this is the same device in EVERYTHING except the plastic body which is less luxurious and it still gets the same score as the iPhone 5. Would phonearena give Samsung Galaxy S3c a 9 if Samsung did a copy of their S3 but with a different body and priced it as a premium? Haha omg..
74. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6580; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)
even iphonearena don't care for the NOKIA phones.
23. boosook (Posts: 1029; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
People who don't understand what Apple users look for in an iphone and judge the 5c with the same criteria they use for Android phones should refrain form comments.
And I'm saying this as an Android user who would never buy an iPhone!
But this 5c will sell a lot, because it is less intimidating than any other phone. Yet it's a good phone, and people do know that they will be able to cover their needs, which for 90% of users are taking pictures, watching facebook, play some games and so on. And this phone will take awesome pictures (the iphone 5 already did, so will do this one) and be pleasant to use, smooth and easy. That's what users are looking for.
Everything, from the packaging to the phone itself, screams "easy to use" and "user friendly". The plastic box makes it look like a toy, and a toy is something people are not afraid of. That's why people will buy loads of this phone.
Yes, it's overpriced. But that's another story.
24. Piotrek007 (Posts: 80; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)
After review of both new iPhones I'm deleting Phonearena.com from favourite pages... you are the biggest dissapointment I've ever seen !! ! Gsmarena is way more better !!