Apple iPhone 5C specs review

Like it or not, the iPhone 5C is now official and it is exactly the smartphone that rumors have been describing for months – a plastic-made, trimmed down, slightly cheaper version of Apple's iconic handset. Seriously, there was little that we didn't know about the handset weeks ahead of its announcement. But despite the rumor mill spoiling the surprise as usual, it is our obligation to give the iPhone 5C a chance to make a name for itself. And taking it through a specs review is clearly on our "To Do" list. So let's begin!


Obviously, Apple has taken a slightly different than usual approach with the iPhone 5C. While the shape, size, form factor, and button placement scheme on the device have not changed much, the build materials for the device are different from what we're used to associate an Apple product with. To be more specific, the back of the iPhone 5C is made from a single piece of hard-coated polycarbonate. Now, glossy plastic is far from the most premium material we've ever seen used in the construction of a smartphone, but in the iPhone 5C's case, it does have its advantages. For starters, it would be less susceptible to scratching than, let's say, the iPhone 5's aluminum panel (which is really easy to damage, by the way). The casing would also be rigid enough to withstand light abuse as it is reinforced from underneath by steel elements – great news indeed. Besides, polycarbonate is easy to paint in a certain color. And speaking of colors, Apple has picked 5 fresh and beautiful hues for its handset, complementing the appearance of the iOS 7 user interface. So overall, plastic can definitely look and feel nice on a smartphone, and we believe that Apple has managed to achieve the desired result with the iPhone 5C.


Like it or not, Apple has chosen to stick with the 4-inch screen form factor instead of venturing into higher territories. As a result, the smartphone has retained its compact dimensions, which is great as the palm- and pocket-friendly size is what many people love Apple's smartphones for. As for its quality, the screen on the iPhone 5 is great in any way and we have no reasons to believe that the one on the iPhone 5C would be any less good-looking. A resolution of 640 by 1136 pixels is still way more than acceptable for a panel of this size, so expect everything on it to look nice, sharp, and detailed. Not as sharp as on one of those 1080p screens that are so popular nowadays, but still, detailed enough for one to be hard-pressed to notice any pixelation. Since the smartphone's display has a brightness output of 500 nits, we don't think that its outdoor visibility will be much of an issue.

Processor, Memory, Connectivity

Again, Apple has simply taken the iPhone 5's hardware and fitted it into the iPhone 5C. With both you get the company's home-grown A6 system-on-chip, which is actually well capable of driving iOS smoothly, all the while consuming little juice out of the slightly bigger battery. Needless to say, we're confident that the silicon's performance would be close to immaculate, delivering a flawless user experience in tandem with the polished operating system. We do wonder, however, how good the iPhone 5C would be at running the newest games – games that take advantage of OpenGL ES 3.0, in particular. They might just contain less fancy graphics with a reduced amount of effects, we assume.

Sadly, there's nothing new to share about the on-board storage on the device. The base iPhone 5C model will get 16GB of space with no options for expanding, while the 32GB model will be offered to those who need extra storage. The latter, however, will be priced at a whopping $100 more.

Apple has gone the extra mile by ensuring that the iPhone 5C is compatible with as many LTE networks as possible. In fact, it is the smartphone with support for most LTE bands in the world. That's great for anyone switching between carriers or travelling abroad as they'd be able to stick to their iPhone 5C and still enjoy LTE speeds. Theoretically, the handset can reach 100Mbits on the downlink, which is crazy fast and probably way ahead of the capacities of most of today'smobile networks. 

Interface and software

Apple will sell the iPhone 5C with iOS 7 pre-installed. That's the OS version that Apple introduced back in June, cited as the most significant overhaul of the system since its debut. Compared to previous releases, iOS 7 looks quite different with its flatter icons and cartoonish graphics – so different that some are now having a hard time getting used to its appearance, while others seem to be quite fond of the redesign. But the main concept of its UI layout hasn't been altered so anyone should be able to get the hang of it quickly. There's a handful of neat features added as well, such as the Control Center menu that is used for quickly adjusting basic settings, or the reorganized notification bar. To learn more about it, we have a great iOS 7 preview that you can check out.


We're having mixed feelings about the iPhone 5C camera, mostly because we know that it is pretty much the same exact snapper that is found on the iPhone 5. But at the same time, that 8MP cam is actually capable of producing high-quality photographs, so there's no room for frustration at all. In fact, a camera of this class, with 5-element lens, BSI sensor, and what not is definitely suitable for the mid-range smartphone the iPhone 5C is shaping up as. That's why we don't think anyone would be disappointed by the iPhone 5C's main camera, knowing how well the iPhone 5 performed in all those camera comparisons we've included it in. 

The front-facing camera, however, has been upgraded and should deliver better results than previous iPhones' front cams. A BSI sensor is now in use, made with larger-than-usual, 1.9-micron pixels. This characteristic indicates that the 5C's front camera could be quite good in low-light situations, so those candle-light selfies should turn out pretty good with this one.

Price, release date, expectations

The "C" it the iPhone 5C's name surely doesn't stand for cheap. It will be priced at $549 unlocked for the base version, which is actually pretty steep for what is just a mid-range handset. Signing a contract with a US carrier, however, brings its cost down to the much more bearable $99 and $199 for the 16-and 32-gigabyte variants respectively. The US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, UK, Japan, and Singapore will get the iPhone 5C on September 20 – timely launch from Apple as always.

Apple products are almost always met with high expectations and the iPhone 5C is no exception, even though it will be marketed as a mid-range offering rather than a flagship device. But knowing Apple's fanatic devotion to perfecting everything down to the very details, we are inclined to believe that the iPhone 5C will not disappoint us when we get to test it first-hand. Sure, it might be little more than an iPhone 5 in a plastic outfit, but that doesn't make it a bad phone. In fact, it could very well be one of the leaders in its class once it is released, so don't write the iPhone 5C off, rather keep an eye out for it. 

Related phones

iPhone 5c
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1507 mAh(10h 3G talk time)



1. lorenzattractor unregistered

From a design perspective, this basically an enlarged Lumia 620. Not to mention, they didn\'t even try with the colors.

6. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013

Agree! Although i think they were trying to make it look like the 3GS.


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

They kinda failed on that; the 3GS looked cool for its day, this just looks like someone let loose at a Skittles factory and they look like Crap (C = Crap).

14. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013


15. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

They should've countered Android KitKat with iOS Skittles.

16. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013



Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

+i1 ..

24. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

PAPINYC see you in 5 days. You're fast becoming the new default troll on PA, keep up the good work. Your green thumbs are getting less and less. Hey PAPINYC insult me...oops my bad in 5 days.

21. Pancholo

Posts: 380; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

In the meantime, I find it hilarious that a color-blind iOS fanboy is raging at Apple from some corner of the world.

2. someones4

Posts: 628; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Lame...looks like they copied the Lumia's or something...And i thought it's supposed to be cheap. but it does have higher specs than other mid-rangers..

3. Atheneum

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 07, 2012

seriously, would you rather get 5C or the 5?

7. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

I would go with 5 rather than 5C, 5 looks better. Also for people who wan't to show off, I suggest to buy 5 rather than 5C because then they will be able to pretend that they have an 5S. :D

4. papss unregistered

Wait so this cost as much as the g2 off contract?

5. sriuslywtf

Posts: 297; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

I was hoping that this was \"affordable\" like in rumors . I guess affordable does not exist on apples dictionary. I don\'t know why they put a premium price tag on a plastic phone and put emphasis on \"C\" as color. It will be more \"reasonable\" to price it like that when they also use the previous material like aluminum, metals like aluminum can be plated with colored materials just like the new itouch right? Why just use the itouch design and materials for iphone 5c. Just being honest,,, It really disappoint me..

8. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Apple and affordable, do not mix...they are mortal enemies.

10. RoyalPayne

Posts: 458; Member since: Aug 07, 2013

hahaha true +1

11. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I believe Apple could\'ve done much better with the design but i\'m not complaining about that. Where it hurts people most is the price. Now, people getting it on contract don\'t have to worry is us who buys devices off contract. Apple is really fooling around with people\'s hard earned cash. I don\'t give a damn to those who have enough to buy more than 10...but those who dream of getting one (not me) might have already turn their heads away by now. Each and every year, the prices of Apple\'s very own devices with incremental upgrades has been hitting the roofs and skyscraping higher and higher. I also blame this for the price rise in other devices.

12. Yummy

Posts: 117; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

It\'s almost like apple said, \"You know what, screw what the consumer says, we\'ll do what we want\"...

13. uRiBiTo666

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 02, 2013

I think the iPhone 5 crap was just a waste of time. A big and useless rush for Apple to have new stock. If they really wanted to make this iPhone "affordable" (considering u don't work in apple and u don't consider 800$ affordable), the most logical thing would be to make a 3.5 inch (or maybe 4 could be good, but 3.5 in is best for this), using the still good apple A5 chip (but modified, with more processor power). The a5 is still good for many people and I would prefer buying an iPhone 5 or even a 4s if I don't have much money. This is basically an iPhone 5, but bulkier and made of flimsy plastic. Not worth it.

18. hellonerds

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

iPhone Cheeps and iPhone S[][][][][]s who would like to solve the puzzle ? wheel of fortune... would be nice if they made the front the same colors as the back/sides

19. marioellobo

Posts: 44; Member since: Mar 20, 2013

what they said before gimmicks plastic can i say something else get the shoe out your mouth.

20. Samsungadroidrules

Posts: 104; Member since: Jul 28, 2013

Now where are those iSheeeeps who Bashed Samsung before because of their Polycarbonate phones?? Hahahaha Now Crapppple is putting all of their guts on these Real Cheap Girly Looking Plastic Phones along with the Outdated iPhone 5S. Jeeez!

22. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

C stands for clone. iphone 5 Clone. its just an iphone 5... clone. (ignore explanation that clones should look alike)

23. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Isn't this basically an iPod Touch (5th gen) with iPhone 5 hardware? They're only ripping themselves off. Also, good luck getting dudes to buy a 5C with that colour palette.

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