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Apple iPhone 5C review

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  • Apple iPhone 5C
  • Apple iPhone 5C
  • Apple iPhone 5C
  • Apple iPhone 5C
  • Apple iPhone 5C
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Fast and responsive with a great operating system, but the iPhone 5S is better value and faster

Review Date: 24 Mar 2014

Price when reviewed: £469

Buy it now for: £397
(see more store prices)


Reviewed By: Andrew Unsworth

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

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Our iPhone 5C review model was kindly provided by Three and is available for £19 on a £32-per-month contract.

Before its launch, rumours of the iPhone 5C suggested that this was going to be a long-awaited budget handset that would let Apple take on cheaper Android phones. It wasn't to be, however, with Apple deciding to stick to its premium guns.

This year, the big difference is what Apple has decided to do with its previous line up. Typically, when a new iPhone is launched, the old model sees a price cut to make way for the new model. Given that Apple uses the same case for two generations, it has meant that there are two iPhones on sale that look the same, but have different specs and prices.


This time around, Apple has decided to distinguish between its handsets, by releasing the iPhone 5C as a direct replacement for the iPhone 5, which will go off sale. It's important to note at this point that the iPhone 5C is essentially, specs wise, an iPhone 5 in new clothing, rather than something completely new.

In this case the new clothing means 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.

We like the way that Apple pre-sets each iPhone 5C, so that its screen backdrop in iOS 7 matches the colour of the case. Admittedly we've seen the same from Nokia and Windows Phone, but it's still a nice touch.

Aside from these cosmetic changes, the iPhone 5C uses the same components as the iPhone 5. Whether or not you should buy the iPhone 5C really comes down to whether or not year-old Apple hardware can still cut it.

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