Everything you need to know about the iPhone 5c

iPhone-5c-trio-sidesApple unveiled the colorful plastic iPhone 5c, alongside the next generation iPhone 5s during the media event on Tuesday.

We briefly told you about the features of Apple’s new mid-range iPhone that were announced at the event. But the devil is in the details, so we take an in-depth look at iPhone 5c′s specifications and features.

Design

iPhone 5c comes in a plastic casing, which are available in bright colors. Apple says that they decided to go with plastic as the rich colors they wanted to infuse into iPhone 5c just wasn’t possible with metal.

The plastic shell is made of hard-coated polycarbonate that should make it highly scratch resistant, which we’ve already seen with this scratch test. A steel reinforced frame is attached to the outer plastic shell, which serves a dual purpose, it not only provides rigidity, but it’s also part of iPhone 5c’s multiband antenna system.

The pill-shaped volume buttons, the mute button and the power button are also made of plastic and come in the same color as the plastic casing. The lightning connector and the headphone jack inserts are however black in color.

The front panel is black in color and not color matched, which makes sense as the bright colors would be quite distracting.

Based on the initial impressions from the folks who got a chance to use the iPhone 5c after the event, it feels quite solid and build quality is top notch, though it seems to be slippery to hold and prone to fingerprint smudges.

5c_design_gallery_slide_blueDisplay

iPhone 5c features a 4-inch display (diagonal) – half an inch bigger than iPhone 4s and the same size as the iPhone 5. The 4-inch display is taller, but has the same width as iPhone 4S, so you will still be able to type with one hand; something Apple thought heavily about when designing the device. Apple believes that anything bigger would feel oversized, awkward, and hard to use.

The display comes with the same stunning Retina Display with pixel density of 326 dots per inch (dpi) and 1136X640 resolution.

iPhone 5c features a 16:9 aspect ratio which is great for watching videos as you will be able to play movies in full widescreen format without any black bars at the top and bottom.

Apple has used in-cell display technology in iPhone 5c (same as iPhone 5). The technology integrates touch sensors into the LCD, which eliminates the need of a separate touch screen layer. The absence of a separate touch screen layer not only helps make the screen thinner, but it also improves the quality of displayed images.

Dimensions

iphone5c_front_back

iPhone 5c is slightly thicker and bigger than the iPhone 5 due to the plastic casing. It measures 4.87 inches (123.8 mm) in height, 2.31 inches (58.6 mm) in width and is 0.30 inch (7.6 mm) thick. It is marginally slimmer than the iPhone 4s or the iPhone 4.

A6 Chip and RAM

Apple_A6_Chip

iPhone 5 is powered by Apple’s A6 system-on-chip, which powered the iPhone 5. It is twice as fast as A5 chip that powers iPhone 4S. The A6 chip also offers graphics performance that’s up to twice as fast as the A5 chip.

The next generation A7 chip which powers the iPhone 5s is more than twice as fast as the A6. The A6 chip comes with 1GB RAM.

Camera:

iphone5c_isight_camera_camera_hero

iPhone 5c comes with an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, five-element lens with f/2.4 aperture. The camera has 3,264 by 2,448 backside-illuminated sensor. The lens is protected by sapphire crystal, which is more durable and clear.

While the back-facing iSight camera allows you to record 1080p videos, the front-facing camera allows you to record HD video (720p) up to 30 frames per second and comes with a new backside illumination sensor. It also means you can make FaceTime HD video calls. It comes with image stabalization to prevent shaky videos and the Face Detection feature is also available while you’re recording. You can take still photos while you’re recording videos.

iPhone 5c also comes with three microphones — one on the front, one on the back and one at the bottom of the device. The microphones with noise cancellation and wideband audio offer enhanced video recording capabilities. It also means clearer-sounding FaceTime calls.

iPhone 5c comes pre-installed with iOS 7, so it has the all-new Camera app, which comes with all-new user interface and includes features such as real-time filters. Apple has also significantly improved performance of the Camera app in iOS 7, so taking a photo is lightning fast, nearly instantaneous.

Battery Life

iPhone 5c comes with a slightly bigger battery than the iPhone 5. We’re assuming that Apple has managed to do this by shrinking the size of the logic board. In terms of tech specs, iPhone 5c comes with a 3.8 V, 5.73 Whr (~1507 mAh).

Thanks to the bigger battery, iPhone 5c offers 25% longer battery life compared to the iPhone 5. It offers the following battery life:

  • Talk time:
    • Up to 10 hours on 3G
  • Internet use:
    • Up to 8 hours on 3G,
    • Up to 10 hours on LTE
    • Up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Standby time:
    • Up to 250 hours

Ultrafast Wireless:

iPhone 5c supports 4G LTE networks. Apple puts the download speeds at 100 Mbps – more than twice as fast as the 42 Mbps Apple says you can get from a 3G connection. But even though iPhone 5c may be capable of supporting those download speeds, you are unlikely to get those speeds in real world usage as a lot depends on proximity of towers, the strength of the network and assuming you have LTE network in your area.

Apple has also expanded LTE support by making four different models of iPhone 5c. Some iPhone 5c models support as much as 13 LTE bands (iPhone 5 supported a max of 5 LTE bands). So iPhone 5c will be most likely be compatible with your carrier’s LTE network. Here’s a look at the frequency and the LTE bands that iPhone 5 will support:

  • Model A1532 (GSM): UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
  • Model A1532 (CDMA)*: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)
  • Model A1456: CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev B. (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26)
  • Model A1507: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20)
  • Model A1529: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20); TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40)

iOS 7

ios-7-logo

iPhone 5c will come pre-installed with iOS 7 – Apple’s next generation mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, which comes with an all-new user interface and over 200 new features. Here are some of the major features in iOS 7:

Colors

It goes without saying that the “C” in iPhone 5c stands for colors. iPhone 5c is available in white, pink, yellow, blue and green.

iphone_5c_colors

But Apple hasn’t stopped with just the color of the rear casing. iPhone 5c will come with pre-configured with color matched wallpapers as you can see above, which means that the blue iPhone 5c will come with a blue wallpaper out of the box and so on. The color of the wallpaper will also add the color gradient to the translucent other elements of iOS such as Control Center etc.

iphone_5c_ios_7

Other noteworthy points:

  • The iPhone 5c includes dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-fi support for up to 150 Mbits/s and Bluetooth 4.0.
  • Requires Nano-SIM card
  • It doesn’t include features such as iPhone 5s’ Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the vastly improved camera system.

Pre-installed Apps 

iPhone 5c comes pre-installed with the following apps from Apple: Maps, Messages, Passbook, Camera, Reminders, Notes, Phone, Videos, Weather, FaceTime, iTunes Store, Stocks, Music, Game Center, Calculator, Safari, Calendar, Voice Memos, App Store, Contacts, Mail, and Newsstand.

Free Apps

In addition to the pre-installed apps, you can also download the following apps for free from the App Store: iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iBooks, iTunes U, iTunes Festival, Podcasts, Trailers, Find My iPhone, Remote and Find My Friends.

Storage

iPhone 5c is available only in 16GB and 32GB storage options.

Packaging

iphone5c_inthebox

iPhone 5c comes in plastic packaging like the iPod touch 5. Here’s what’s inside:

  • iPhone 5c with iOS 7
  • Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic
  • Lightning to USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
  • Documentation

Pricing

iPhone 5c is available for $99 and $199 with a two-year contract for 16GB and 32GB models respectively, and for $549 and $649 without a contract.

Availability

iPhone 5c goes on sale on September 20. Apple, its carrier partners and Apple Authorized Resellers will begin taking pre-orders from 12:01 PT on Friday morning, September 13.

iPhone 5c will be available in 9 countries including the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, China, Singapore on September 20. Apple has announced that it will be available in over 100 countries by the end of the year.

Accessories

Apple has also launched cases for iPhone 5c. The most striking feature of the iPhone 5c case is its hole-filled back that will let the color of your phone shine through. There are also cutouts for the camera, the ringer toggle and charging port. You can pick matching colors or live on the wild side by fitting a green case on your bright blue iPhone. They are available for $29.

iphone-5c-cases

Introduction video

Watch Apple’s iPhone 5c introduction video, in which none other than Jony Ive showcases the major features of iPhone 5c.

http://youtu.be/utUPth77L_o

Wrap up

When I heard rumors of a plastic iPhone, I assumed it will be cheap, and made primarily to grab market share in countries like China and other emerging markets, but I was wrong. At $99 with a two-year contract and $549 for an unlocked version, iPhone 5c is anything but cheap.

Apple seems to have a completely different objective for launching iPhone 5c, and it’s definitely not to grab market share. It looks like Apple wanted to market not just the premium iPhone 5s, but also the mid-range iPhone 5c, by creating a brand of its own. Until now, the spot of the mid-range iPhone was taken by a year old iPhone. So Apple could only market the iPhone 5 since last September. It could not promote the one-year iPhone 4s or the two-year old iPhone 4 for obvious reasons. Some may argue that iPhone 5c is essentially an iPhone 5 in a plastic casing, but it is still new. So we will see Apple launch ads for not just the iPhone 5s but also the iPhone 5c. We will see Apple project the iPhone 5c as the mass market iPhone like say the Macbook Air, and the iPhone 5s as the premium model like MacBook Pro.

Though I still need to try it, I am so used to the premium feel of iPhone 5’s aluminum casing that switching to a plastic iPhone will take some getting used to. I also didn’t like the colors, just too bright for my liking, but people like me could settle for white. The price difference between an iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s is $100, which is not a lot when you consider the overall cost of owning an iPhone.

iPhone 5c comes with a year-old components in a plastic casing with improvements to battery life and added support for LTE networks. If you can stretch your budget, then I would strongly recommend spending $100 more and getting the latest and greatest iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5c is for someone who is on a tight budget, doesn’t really care about the tech specs, and likes their phones to be colorful rather than Space grey, silver or gold.

Let me know what you think. Do you plan to buy the iPhone 5c? Please share your thoughts in the comments.