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Apple iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5 head-to-head review


Apple's iPhone 5C and iPhone 5 handsets are admittedly not very different from one another. Both sport 4in Retina displays, Apple A6 processors and run the firm's iOS 7 mobile operating system, so you might ask why we're bothering to compare the two phones.

With Apple discontinuing the iPhone 5 following the launch of the iPhone 5C, we envision a sea of confused owners of Apple's last-generation iPhone wondering whether it's worth upgrading to the repackaged iPhone 5C, which swaps out the high-end metal casing of the iPhone 5 for a colourful, plastic alternative.

We've been using both the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5 in tandem for the past two weeks to see how the two handsets really stack up against each other.

While the Apple iPhone 5C and iPhone 5 are very similar handsets in terms of technical specifications, they are worlds apart when it comes to design.

The iPhone 5, much like the iPhone 5S, features a chiselled aluminum casing paired with glass inlets, which makes the handset look and feel like a premium device. The iPhone 5 was available in only two colours, black and white.

iPhone 5 vs iPhone 5C

The iPhone 5C, on the other hand, has a unibody polycarbonate casing, which has led some to brand the handset as "toy-like" and "cheap," with the phone available in green, blue, yellow, pink and white. But its rugged plastic casing offers a more high-end feel than the Samsung's Galaxy S4's polycarbonate casing, at least.

While we'd probably find ourselves reverting to the metal-clad iPhone 5 after a time due to its luxurious feel, we much prefer the iPhone 5C for ruggedness. Our iPhone 5, which is around nine months old, is covered from top to bottom in scratches and chips, and the silver aluminium material proved easily prone to picking up marks from the start. However, after two weeks our iPhone 5C shows no signs of wear and tear.

iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5

The iPhone 5C is slightly chunkier than its predecessor, measuring 8.9mm thick compared to 7.6mm. This is not a bad thing, as the added bulk offers a reassuringly solid feel when the phone is held in the hand.

Of course the design of the iPhone 5C is likely to divide opinions, but we've grown to like it over the past couple of weeks. Perhaps even more than that of the iPhone 5 due to its added ruggedness.

Winner: iPhone 5C

There's not much to say when it comes to the displays, as both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C sport identical 4in 1136x640 326ppi Retina displays. Apple's smartphone-sized Retina display is still a market leader in terms of quality and vibrancy, but when compared with the Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC One, it can seem a little small.

However, that can be said for both Apple smartphones, so there's no winner in this round.

Winner: Draw

Next: Performance and operating system

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Carly Page

Carly Page joined The INQUIRER as News Editor in April 2012. Before becoming a full-time geek, Carly studied Journalism at the University of Lincoln, and dabbled in the music journalism industry. Carly's main coverage areas include mobile devices, mobile software, telecoms, mobile operators, social networks and anything Breaking Bad related.

View Carly's Google+ profile


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