iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5C: What’s the difference?

Vs Richard Goodwin 23:43, 10 Sep 2013

What are the main differences between Apple’s new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C? Lets have a look at the specs…

After months of speculation they’re finally here – Apple’s shiny new iPhones: The iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, just as the prophecies foretold.

And the pitch of these new devices at launch was pretty simple: the iPhone 5S is the high-end smartphone (the one you really want), while the iPhone 5C is the “fun” plastic number that’s designed to make Apple, quite literally, big in Japan (and China). The iPhone 4S (8GB) is tasked with bringing it up the rear and will be available for free on contract.  

The Trinity of iPhone: iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C and the 8GB iPhone 4S

Offering three handsets is something Apple has never done before, but it does make a lot of sense. Analysts, investors and writers have been clamoring for this moment for years. Now, Apple's iPhone business is a bit egalitarian – it's sort of operating in the middle of the smartphone space. And that's bad news for BlackBerry, HTC, and Nokia, according to IDC.

The handsets' have launched. We've heard Apple's spiel. iOS 7 is coming. And Apple's snagged a load of big deals in Asia that should boast its iPhone business significantly in 2014. That's all happened. But on the tube home my mind turned to more simple questions: What are the main differences between the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C – besides the obvious? And, more importantly, could I save some cash by opting for a cheaper model? 

There was nothing else for it: I had to re-check all the specs. 

Lets start with the iPhone 5S

Apple's iPhone 5S is positioned as the Dog's. It has a the top of the line A7 processor, a premium finish, and marginally better imaging credentials. Here you’ll get the very best of Apple: design, power, connectivity, and all the latest features, which in this instance is the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner. 

The iPhone 5S now comes in three colours also: silver, gold and space grey (whatever the hell that is), and is also the first smartphone to run a 64bit mobile processor courtesy of Apple’s new A7 system-on-a-chip. Apple also confirmed that all of its core iPhone apps have been optimised for use on this new A7 setup – and that means things will be very speedy. 

From what I can gather (after a 15 hour day) the iPhone 5S offers several USPs over the iPhone 5C:

  • That A7 chipset
  • Touch ID
  • Build Materials
  • And slightly refined imaging capabilities

iPhone 5S: Full Specs

  • Display: 4-inch Retina display, 1136x640 resolution, 326 ppi
  • DimensionsHeight: 123.8 mm (4.87 inches), Width: 58.6 mm (2.31 inches), Depth: 7.6 mm (0.30 inches), Weight: 112 grams (3.95 ounces)
  • Storage: 16GB, 32GB & 64GB
  • Processor: A7 chip with 64-bit architecture + M7 motion co-processor
  • Imaging: 8-megapixels with 1.5µ pixels, /2.2 aperture, Sapphire crystal lens cover, True Tone flash, Backside illumination sensor, Five-element lens, Hybrid IR filter, Autofocus, Tap to focus, Face detection, Panorama, Burst mode, Photo geotagging
  • Connectivity: (GSM model) GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA model: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B, LTE, WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n; 802.11n on 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS
  • Platform: iOS 7
  • Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter, Talk time: up to 10 hours on 3G, Standby time: up to 250 hours, Internet use: up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on WiFi, Video playback: up to 10 hours, Audio playback: up to 40 hours 

The iPhone 5C

Apple was clear at launch that the iPhone 5C was no budget offering. No, this thing embodies all of what makes iPhones great, just at a lower cost – at least, that’s the official line via Apple.

In reality, the iPhone 5C is not a cheap smartphone by today’s or anyone else's standards – the entry-level 16GB model costs £469.

The iPhone 5C has the same 4-inch Retina Display as the iPhone 5C, an 8-megapixel camera, and it runs iOS 7 on top of Apple’s already well-estimated A6 chipset. All in it should be a solid performer. Apple’s iOS 7 is optimised to the hilt, and you’ll have plenty of apps and games to play around with inside Apple’s App Store. I'm also quite impressed by how it looks – all those colours. It's not hard to imagine this handset being very popular, especially with youngsters. 

But while it might look nice, the iPhone 5C is missing a few things: Touch ID, Apple's A7 Chipset, and some of the iPhone 5S' more advanced imaging capabilities. Other than that the experience should be pretty much on a par – iOS 7 is a great little performer, and Apple will have optimised it to the max.

Although it will definitely be weird using a plastic iPhone after all these years. Check out the full iPhone 5C spec break-down below for all the technical details of the iPhone 5C and how it compares to the iPhone 5S.  

iPhone 5C: Full Specs

  • Display: 4-inch Retina display, 1136x640 resolution, 326 ppi
  • DimensionsHeight: 124.4 mm (4.90 inches), Width: 59.2 mm (2.33 inches), Depth: 8.97 mm (0.35 inch), Weight: 132 grams (4.65 ounces)
  • Storage: 16GB, 32GB
  • Processor: A6 chipset
  • Imaging8 megapixels, /2.4 aperture, Sapphire crystal lens cover, LED flash, Backside illumination sensor, Five-element lens, Hybrid IR filter, Autofocus, Tap to focus, Face detection, Panorama, Photo geotagging
  • Connectivity: (GSM model) GSM/EDGE, UMTS/HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA model: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B, LTE, WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n; 802.11n on 2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS
  • Platform: iOS 7
  • BatteryBuilt-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter, Talk time: up to 10 hours on 3G, Standby time: up to 250 hours, Internet use: up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on WiFi, Video playback: up to 10 hours, Audio playback: up to 40 hours

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