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iPhone 5C review - hands on with the budget iPhone 5C

This first iPhone 5C review is based on the iPhone 5C specification and brief hands-on time with the iPhone 5C. We'll be updating our iPhone 5C review as we spend more time with the latest Apple smartphone.

Without properly benchmarking the iPhone 5C we can't make a definitive verdict on the iPhone 5C, but you should know that the 'budget' iPhone offers premium performance.

For instance: the iPhone 5C comes with an A6 chip - in spec terms it's basically the iPhone 5 with a new coat. Without doing any further testing we can't honestly comment in detail on how this will affect performance. But if the iPhone 5C performs like the iPhone 5 it will be fast for a premium smartphone, never mind one that comes in under the SRP of the very best iPhone and Android handsets.

Apple doesn't tend to say how much RAM it puts into its smartphones, but we'd expect it to match the iPhone 5 with 1GB RAM. In the brief hands-on time our editors have had they have described the iPhone 5C as snappy and responsive. Expect nothing less.

The iPhone 5C was trailed as the 'budget iPhone', but 'budget' is an interesting and relative term. The iPhone 5C comes in just two capacities - 16GB and 32GB - and they cost £469 inc VAT and £569 inc VAT respectively. That's not cheap, but it is much cheaper than the 5S. And for comparison purposes, the now retired iPhone 5 used to cost as follows: 16GB = £529, 32GB = £599, and 64GB £699.

Another hardware spec Apple never gives away, and for which we'll have to wait to tear down a handset, is battery life. But unusually for a tech company Apple's claimed battery life figures tend to be close to the mark. The iPhone 5C has a built-in, non-swappable lithium-ion battery. Apple says iPhone 5C will last for up to 250 hours on standby, and 10 hours of talk time. Web surfing is 8 hours on 3G, and 10 hours on LTE and Wi-Fi. Apple claims 10 hours for video playback and 40 hours audio playback, for the iPhone 5C.

The iPhone 5C has two cameras, a front-facing FaceTime camera and a rear-facing camera known as an iSight camera. The specifications work out as follows.

The iPhone 5C iSight camera has and 8 megapixel sensor with ƒ/2.4 aperture and LED flash. It supports 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps with video stabilisation. There's a 3x zoom. The iPhone 5C's FaceTime Camera takes 1.2Mp photos at a resolution of 1280x960, and offers 720p HD video recording.

The iPhone 5C has a 4-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch display, with a 1136x640-pixel resolution that makes for a pixel density of 326ppi. Expect 800:1 contrast ratio and 500 cd/m2 max brightness from the iPhone 5C.

The iPhone 5C will launch with iOS7, and be upgraded for free to all new versions of Apple's operating system.

The iPhone 5C is a radical departure for Apple. It is primarily made of plastic - the last to come with a plastic shell was the 3GS. And it comes in a variety of colours, five of them in fact.

The iPhone 5S's dimensions are 124.4x59.2x8.97mm and weighs 132g.

I haven't yet bot my grubby mitts on the iPhone 5C, but my colleagues Dan Moren and Lex Friedmann have, and here's what they had to say about the iPhone 5C's build and design after the New iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C launch:

"At first glance the iPhone 5C looks a bit like the iPhone 5 had a baby with the plastic-backed iPhone 3GS. It's the size and shape of the iPhone 5 - long and thin - just a hair bigger in every direction, and about 20g heavier. And it marks the first time that the iPhone comes in anything beyond black and white: You can pick up an iPhone 5C in pink, yellow, blue, green, or white - if you're a fan of black, you'll probably want to look to the iPhone 5S.

"The polycarbonate shell is, of course, the most obvious change. It's crafted from a single piece of plastic, and - as Apple design maven Jonathan Ive said in a video played during the Apple media event introducing the phone--you won't find a single seam or joint in the unibody-style design. (It reminded us of nothing so much as the final edition of the white polycarbonate MacBook.)

"The iPhone 5c feels good in the hand: It's got a nice, solid build, without seeming heavy. Whereas Apple bragged about the diamond-cut chamfers on the 5 and 5s, the iPhone 5c features curved edges that feel a little more comfortable to hold. Between the hard plastic case and the metal frame underneath it, the entire phone feels solid, and not cheap.

"The volume buttons, the Ring/Silent switch, and the On/Off switch are all made out of coloured plastic; in our admittedly brief hands-on time, they too seemed to have the high build-quality you'd expect from Apple, without any looseness or wiggling. (Here's a free piece of trivia: Only one iPhone 5c doesn't show you an orange line when you flip the Ring/Silent switch to mute--the pink version, which instead displays a white line. The orange line likely lacked the contrast necessary to be useful on the salmon-hued model.)

"The polycarbonate surface is grippy, and the colors are bright and vibrant. A single piece of glass fronts the phone, just as on the iPhone 5 and 5s, and you get just the slightest hint of the color when viewing the device from the front. If nothing else, that may make things easier in multi-iPhone households, preventing you from accidentally picking up somebody else's device.

"Apple has heavily emphasized its new case for the iPhone 5c. Made from silicone, it has a soft microfiber interior and button overlays for the On/Off and volume buttons, as well as holes for the Ring/Silent switch, and then more holes all over the back.

"In our limited time using it, we weren't really big fans of the case. There are several problems: Those rear holes do the job of letting through the color of the iPhone 5c underneath, allowing you to mix and match colors (say, a blue case with a bright green iPhone 5c showing through). Unfortunately, they also show a dismaying inattention to detail: They allow various bits of text imprinted upon the rear of the iPhone to peek through in dopey ways. With an iPhone 5c case on, the iPhone's back looks as though it's imprinted with "non" or "hon"--the parts of the word "iPhone" that fit within the cutouts. And the FCC-related text looks even worse in the glimpses that the holes afford.

"We're not sure what the ideal solution would have been, but it likely would involve either moving the text or moving the holes. As is, the overall effect is sloppy.

"Also, we noticed that the holes on the back tended to collect a decent amount of dust and schmutz. Between the ridges of each cutout and the microfiber lining the case, those holes seemed like significant dirt attractors. We also noted that the cases actually seemed to hold onto (and thus show) distinctly more finger cruft than the polycarbonate iPhone 5c shells themselves. That is, while the case feels like a dirt magnet, in our limited experience, the naked iPhone 5c units on display seemed much cleaner. Apple's press representatives frequently wipe down handheld devices at press hands-on gatherings like this one--but that cleaning process is usually limited to device touchscreens. At this event, the reps continually wiped down the iPhone 5c cases themselves as well.

"One appealing aspect of the cases, though, was the ability to mix and match the colours. The two-tone effect that you get from combining case and phone is nice, and lends an element of personalization. (Apple says that it expects customers to buy more than one and swap them out according to their mood--we're not sure we'd go that far, but at least there's the option.)"

So there you have it!

View the original article here


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