Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: iPhone 5c

Patrick Stafford /

With Apple on a roll this month with new products, the iPhone 5c has managed to spark a great deal of discussion about whether or not the company is innovating as much as some would hope.

Apple has a history of colour, with the 1990s iMacs featuring a bright and diverse aesthetic style. The iPhone 5c harks back to this with its various paint-jobs, but is it enough to convince people to buy? Is there any substance under the surface, or are the colours just a façade?

Hardware and features

The 5c features a plastic body, with a glass plate screen. The display is four inches wide, with a native resolution of 640×1136.

The device is powered by the A6 chip, which is a dual-core 1.3Ghz processor. The phone features 1GB of RAM, with either 16GB or 32GB of storage.

Connectivity includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, while Apple claims the battery can last for 250 hours on standby and up to 40 hours when playing music.

What’s the consensus?

Over at The Verge, the publication notes the release of the 5c is very much meant as a way for Apple to put some life back into the iPhone brand – after all, the 5c is now being used on most of the iPhone marketing material.

However, it says that while the plastic body feels solid enough, it’s not necessarily up to par with either the iPhone 5 or the 5s.

“If you’re used to an iPhone 5, the 5C won’t blow you away when you hold it: it’s a little bigger all around and a little heavier, and there’s none of the precision machining or premium materials that are now reserved for the 5S.”

“It’s just another reminder that the 5C is designed for new iPhone owners, not existing ones: last year Apple made a big deal about not radically changing the iPhone 5’s design because people have lasting and deep relationships with their phones, but the 5C abandons all that for something new. It’s nice, but it’s definitely not as nice as the iPhone 5 or 5S.”

Engadget praised the higher quality front-facing camera, which now carries a 1.2 megapixel lens, which can now record in 720p quality.

The publication said the higher quality rear-facing camera produces a better picture, but best of all, it does so “consistently”.

“Of course, camera modules have come a long way since the iPhone 5 was launched. As such, low-light performance is only decent up to a point, beyond which pictures suffer from excessive noise.”

“Video quality is excellent (files are encoded at 16 Mbps), but there’s no continuous autofocus, so you’ll have to tap the display to refocus.”

Over at Gizmodo, the publication said the plastic build of the device feels “premium” rather than “cheap”, and said the phone itself was “sturdy”. It also said the battery life seems to be performing better than the 5s.

“It’s weird how the weaponised hardware in the 5s draws power compared to the 5c. Both have quoted similar battery lives from Apple, but the 5c seems to be the only one that delivers strongly on that pledge.”

Who’s it for?

Given the iPhone 5c is essentially the same hardware as the iPhone 5, this phone isn’t for those customers who purchased the 5 last year. Instead, the 5c is for those budget-minded buyers who are looking to upgrade

Those users who haven’t upgraded in a few years, and are still on the 3GS or the iPhone 4, would do well to consider the 5c. Otherwise, it’s worth waiting for a while yet.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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