Apple iPhone 5C review: Discontinued but a bit of a bargain

Our Rating 
Buy it now for 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Page 1 of 3Apple iPhone 5C review: Discontinued but a bit of a bargain

Now discontinued but a refurbished iPhone 5C for £170 is a great budget alternative to upgrading


Processor: Dual-core 1.3GHz Apple A6, Screen size: 4in, Screen resolution: 1,136x640, Rear camera: 8-megapixels, Storage: 8GB/16GB/32GB, Wireless data: 3G. 4G, Size: 124x59x8.97mm, Weight: 132g, Operating system: iOS 7

The iPhone 5C is something of a failed experiment for Apple. It was originally rumoured to be Apple’s assault on Android's budget handset dominance, but it's higher-than-expected price soon put paid to that idea. While the plastic-shelled handset did drop in price to a more reasonable level eventually, it was still expensive by mid-range Android standards, and hugely so compared to true budget models such as the Moto G.

It wasn't much of a surprise, then, when Apple announced it would be discontinuing the iPhone 5C when it launched the iPhone 6S last year. However, if you're still desperate for Apple's cut-price handset, you can still pick one up from a couple of retailers, such as Pixmania, who's selling brand-new SIM-free iPhone 5Cs for £255.

Otherwise your next best bet is to take to the likes of eBay or the Amazon Marketplace where you can pick up refurbished models (with a 12-month warranty) from other retailers for around £170. It's certainly a more affordable alternative to Apple's current cheapest iPhone - the iPhone SE - which costs £359 SIM-free, so let's take a look at what you're getting for your money.

Plastic fantastic

It's important to note that the iPhone 5C is essentially, specs wise, an iPhone 5 in new clothing, making the handset three years old today. Of course the 5C looks different, with a plastic chassis. Before the phone launched and we got our hands on it, there were some questions as to whether plastic was the right choice. This being Apple, it's fair to say that it has managed to make plastic feel premium.

Apple iPhone 5C

A single moulded piece of polycarbonate attached to a reinforced cage means the iPhone 5C feels extremely tough and well made

For starters Apple has used a single piece of moulded polycarbonate. This means that the iPhone 5C looks incredibly well made with no gaps or joins in the case. Plastic can often feel a bit creaky, but Apple has attached the case to a steel frame inside, which means it feels exceptionally tough and durable. Finally, the company lacquered the outside, which will reduce scratching, although a case is still a good idea.

Moving to this design means that the iPhone 5C is slightly heavier than the iPhone 5, at 132g compared to 112g. It's fair to say that this minor weight difference isn't going to make any difference to anyone. Of course, moving to plastic, means that Apple can now work with a wider range of colours, with the iPhone 5C available in white, red, yellow, blue and green. No matter what your preference, there's a colour out there that will suit you.

Apple iPhone 5C Colours

There's a wide-enough range of colours that you'll definitely find an iPhone 5C that you like the look of

Apple also sells a range of cases in the same colours, with holes cut out so you can see through to the iPhone's original colour. This lets you mix and match your colours to get the effect you want, although we're not massive fans of the new case and prefer a shell or something that protects the screen. However, we like the way that Apple pre-sets each iPhone 5C so that its screen backdrop matches the colour of the case. Admittedly we've seen the same from Nokia and Windows Phone, but it's still a nice touch.

Page 1 of 3Apple iPhone 5C review: Discontinued but a bit of a bargain

Read more