The iPhone 5c is one of two new devices released by Apple for 2013. With is colorful polycarbonate shell, iOS 7, beautiful retina display and rock-solid build quality, it is adding a bit of life to an otherwise stale product line up. TechCrunch’s Darrel Etherington says “The 5c is probably more broadly appealing than the iPhone 5s just by virtue of its lower cost of entry, but it’s still premium hardware and is likely better thought of as an analogue to the iPhone 4s relative to the iPhone 5 back when that device launched.” While this is the cheaper of the two new models, that does not make the iPhone 5c a budget phone. In fact, it shares a few upgrades of it’s more expensive sibling, the iPhone 5s.
Overall, reviews of the new phone and the new iOS 7 are extremely positive. With the new Control Center, Apple fans finally have the ability to toggle common settings, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, by swiping up a tray on the screen. The camera app and hardware both receive slight updates to provide better manual control and improved low-light performance.
Finally, the front-facing camera is all new in the device. Boasting 1.2 megapixels and designed specifically for low-light conditions, the camera offers an obvious boost in quality to voice and video chat. If you are worried about all the changes in iOS 7, Myriam Joire of Engadget echoes the sentiment of many other reviews when she says “Well, after using iOS 7 for a few days, it's hard to imagine going back to iOS 6.” The 5c is powered by the same chip used in the iPhone 5 and offers plenty of performance for most users.
There are a few considerations to keep in mind about the iPhone 5c, most from an upgrade standpoint. Engadget, TechCrunch and SlashGear all say that if you have an iPhone 4 or earlier, this phone will be a significant upgrade. Otherwise, it shares many similarities with the previously released 4s and 5. There are also debates about the polycarbonate casing. Although it is a plastic case, the build quality is superb. A steel reinforcing layer makes it behave more like ceramic than plastic. However, if you prefer to the aluminum build of recent releases, you might want to consider upgrading to the 5s.
The Good: Stunning retina display, great picture quality, long-lasting battery life, snappy performance, most flexible LTE support to date and a choice of case colors.
The Bad: No NFC support, mid-sized screen, high off-contract price and no support for external memory.