First iPhone 5c Reviews

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For the first time ever, Apple unveiled two new iPhones at the media event last week: the next generation iPhone 5s and the colorful iPhone 5c.

Apple has lifted the embargo on reviews for iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. We’ve have already done a round up of the reviews for iPhone 5s. Here’s what some of our favorite tech writers and critics have to say about Apple’s colorful iPhone.

David Pogue of The New York Times:

The budget model, the new iPhone 5C, comes in five colors ($100 for the 16-gigabyte model with a two-year contract, $550 without). It’s essentially identical to last year’s iPhone 5, except that its back and sides are a single piece of plastic instead of metal and glass.

Actually, “plastic” isn’t quite fair. The 5C’s case is polycarbonate, lacquered like a glossy piano. Better yet, its back edges are curved for the first time since the iPhones of 2008. You can tell by touch which way it’s facing in your pocket.

It’s a terrific phone. The price is right. It will sell like hot cakes; the new iPhones go on sale Friday. But just sheathing last year’s phone in shiny plastic isn’t a stunning advance.

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop:

There is absolutely no give to this phone at all. It doesn’t bend or buckle anywhere in the casing, which is what you want, obviously. It feels as solid as the 5s.

The iPhone 5c doesn’t actually feel like plastic. It’s strange when you first pick it up, but it almost feels like ceramic or a similar material that is glossy and hard. The manufacturing process that Apple used to make this phone and the metal reinforcement it used in the plastic casing certainly worked on making this phone tough.

Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch:

Apple’s iPhone 5c sparked a lot of debate prior to its launch, prompting observes to wonder what it might mean for Apple to build a “cheap” iPhone or target a new market segment. What Apple has delivered is far from a “cheap” device, in terms of both quality of experience and hardware, and in terms of price. The 5c is probably more broadly appealing than the iPhone 5s just by virtue of its lower cost of entry, but it’s still premium hardware and is likely better thought of as an analogue to the iPhone 4S relative to the iPhone 5 back when that device launched. [..]

[..] The iPhone 5c is an improvement, even if slight, to the smartphone I’d still call the best available if Apple hadn’t also released the iPhone 5s. I’ll say that with the caveat that I believe the iPhone is still the best smartphone available for the largest number of smartphone buyers, in terms of both usability and design, even with the dramatic changes wrought by iOS 7. Given the choice, I’d choose an iPhone 5c over an iPhone 5, based on design alone, and ignoring its other benefits. In other words, if you’re in the market for a new smartphone, Apple’s iPhone 5c should be right near the top of your list.

Lauren Goode of AllThingsD:

I’ve been using the new iPhone 5c for the past five days and it’s a solid premium phone. Its hardware improvements include longer battery life, better cellular-data capabilities and a better front-facing camera, for FaceTime and “selfies,” or photos you take of yourself.  [..]

[..] It’s just slightly thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5. And while the 5c isn’t as refined-looking as the iPhone 5 or the new 5s, it isn’t a tacky plastic phone, either. I’ve tested plastic phones before, including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the new Moto X from Motorola, and this phone feels more solid in the hand. Call quality was good.

Miriam Joire of Engadget:

With the iPhone 5c, Apple’s crafted something that’s more than just the sum of its parts. It’s easy to be cynical and dismiss this handset as just an iPhone 5 in a colorful plastic shell, but that’s missing the point. There’s no doubt that the 5c looks gorgeous and feels wonderful in hand. It inherits tried-and-true features from the iPhone 5 and also gains a few new ones, like the improved 1.2MP front-facing camera. Still, that’s only half the story. It’s iOS 7 that truly sets the 5c (and the iPhone 5s) apart, thanks to a delightful redesign and a dash of new functionality. With the 5c, Apple achieves an unprecedented level of synergy between hardware and software. Like many of the company’s other products, you have to experience the 5c in person to truly appreciate it.

Anand Shimpi of AnandTech:

The iPhone 5c is a well built device. For all intents and purposes it is a perfect replacement for the iPhone 5. If you were planning on buying a cost reduced iPhone 5 once the 5s came out, the iPhone 5c should have no problems filling that role. Its performance, battery life and camera quality are all on par with the 5.

Apple’s return to a polycarbonate iPhone design seems to have gone quite well. The iPhone 5c is solid, doesn’t have any noticeable amount of flex and has a great in hand feel thanks to its nicely curved edges. I feel like the color options will go over very well with the 5c’s target markets. I can see many users even preferring the styling of the 5c to the 5s in those markets that aren’t feature/performance sensitive.

iPhone 5c has been available for pre-orders since last week, and will go on sale on Friday, September 20.

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