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Check out our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, win some awesome gadgets!
Our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide is in full swing - we are adding our recommendations daily, aimed at men, women, teens, families, techies, and more. If you need help figuring out what to get the people in your life, head on over to our Guide for some ideas. We’ll even be giving away some of the items featured this year!
Friday September 27, 2013 12:21 pm
iPhone 5c review
The iPhone 5c is Apple's first mid-range iPhone handset to be introduced as a new model alongside a higher-end version. Available in five distinct colors, the device sports last year's internals with a fresh coat of external paint. As such, it's clear that the iPhone 5c is going after a different demographic than the top-of-the-line iPhone 5s--one that isn't necessarily looking at the specs of the device, and instead cares about the look and feel, and wants access to Apple's App Store without breaking the bank. That said, don't think of the 5c as the cheap iPhone--in fact, we'd bet that the "c" is gonna stand for cash, because Apple is poised to make a lot of it with the introduction of the 5c.
Is the iPhone 5c the right phone for you? Join us as we answer that question in our full iPhone 5c review.
UNBOXING THE iPhone 5c
When the iPhone 5c was first leaked, and later formally announced that the iPhone 5s event, I was concerned that the new housing would be a callback to that of the iPhone 3G and 3GS. There was certainly nothing wrong with it, but it also didn't look and feel like a premium, high-quality plastic. Not like the Nokia Lumia line. As soon as I got my hands on the 5c, my fears were washed away. What Apple has done is created a plastic shell that does not have the annoying give that other smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S 4 sport. It's much more akin to the nice, strong polycarbonate construction of the Nokia Lumia line...but taken a step further due to the finishing process. Apple applies a lacquer to the iPhone 5c body, giving it a slick, sleek (but not slippery) feel that takes the cake in terms of plastic. The iPhone 5c feels anything but cheap in the hand.
Gallery: iPhone 5c
The interesting thing about reviewing the iPhone 5c is that, in reality, while the external casing is new, the internals are pretty much exactly what you'd find in last year's iPhone 5. Other than the antenna now supporting more LTE bands than the iPhone 5, a battery that lasts 5% longer, and a slightly-improved front-facing camera, the iPhone 5c is exactly the iPhone 5. That means it sports the same Apple A6 processor, 8-megapixel rear iSight camera, and similar benchmarks.
Read our full iPhone 5 review for more on what you can expect from the iPhone 5c.
On the outside, though, the iPhone 5c is more than just a multicolored iPhone. This is Apple Marketing 101. The iPhone 5c is about emotion. It's about branding. It's about Apple, for this first time, having a $99 iPhone that it can sell to the masses and put some marketing muscle behind. You see, there are those who look at the spec sheet, and those who want all the best technical features on Apple's flagship phone. Those people will pick up the new iPhone 5s. There's another group of people, though, who buy phones that look good. They buy phones that match their favorite color. They buy phones because they are a good deal, or are more durable than others, or stand out from the crowd.
To these people, the iPhone 5c is new, last year's tech be damned. It looks different, so it is different. It's bright, fun, and friendly. In the hand, it feels like a premium device, thanks to the work that has gone into the design language. This is the iPhone for the masses, available in green, yellow, pink, blue, and white, and Apple's gonna sell a ridiculous amount of them.
USING THE iPhone 5c
One nice thing about the body composition of the iPhone 5c is that, even when it is in your pocket, you can immediately tell which part is the front and which is the back, providing greater ease of use just by touch and feel alone.
But again, for a more in-depth look at using the iPhone 5c and it's various features, we'll point you over to our iPhone 5 review:
The iSight camera on the iPhone 5 is very similar to what you'd find on the iPhone 4S when all is said and done. It's been made thinner to fit in the new, slimmer enclosure, and the lens cover is now made of crystal sapphire, which greatly increases durability and ups the scratch-proof factor. In our testing we did find that low light pictures are improved, thanks to the backside-illuminated sensor, and you have a tiny bit of a wider angle with the f/2.4 lens. Unexpectedly, Apple also redesigned the camera app, since there is extra space in there due to the larger display. The software shutter button is much easier to press, and the iPhone 5 takes images quickly and efficiently--much faster than even the 4S before it. You can also use the volume up button to snap images as well.
Apple says that the iPhone 5 is the best iPhone it's ever released. They claim that it's two times faster than last years iPhone 4S. They say it's the most beautiful device that the company has ever created. You know what? They're right. After using the iPhone 5, there is no denying that it's the most significant iPhone update in the history of the product line. Apple rebuilt the iPhone from the ground up, and the end result is a fast and snappy smartphone with a beautiful display that is still easy to operate with one hand and just as pocketable.
In many ways, the iPhone 5c is the first mass-market iPhone that Apple has released, reaching the perfect synergy between pricing, style, hardware, and software (with the introduction of iOS 7.) It's such a cohesive and affordable device, that we'd recommend it for anyone looking for a new smartphone who isn't a power user or mobile gamer (those people should take a closer look at the iPhone 5s, foregoing the 5c altogether.) Naysayers will quickly point out that the iPhone 5c is basically last years iPhone with a new coat of paint, and therefore it should be discounted. We disagree. Instead, the iPhone 5c is the mass-market realization of all the great features that the iPhone 5 had to offer, allowing Apple to bring that power to more users than any iPhone before it.
You can pick up the iPhone 5c starting at $99 from the Apple Store online.
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