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Apple iPhone 5c review

 Review: September 2013  

Last updated August 2017

Rating: 3 stars

In a nutshell: The iPhone 5c is the cheapest iPhone currently available and comes in a choice of Blue, Green, Pink, White or Yellow. It's underpowered in various ways however, with a tiny screen, weak battery and miniscule memory.


A cheap iPhone

Yes, if you always wanted an iPhone but couldn't afford the high price, the iPhone 5c offers a colourful alternative. It's still not cheap though, costing £20 per month on contract, and over £200 on Pay as you Go. And that's for the most basic version, with just 8GB of memory.


The iPhone 5c is all about colour. The colours are well chosen, and initial sales figures reveal that Pink is by far the most popular choice.


The plastic casing is less compelling though. For many people, it was the premium materials used by Apple that justifified the premium pricing. Strip that away, and you might as well opt for a plasticky Samsung. The build is solid however, with a metal shell inside to give strength. But we really miss the ultraslim feel of the more expensive iPhones. The 5c, measuring 9mm thickness, isn't any thinner than ordinary, cheap handsets. The Apple-branded cases for the 5c don't impress either and are best avoided.

The screen size remains doggedly at 4 inches, which was all the rage in Android phones back in 2010, but if you're after a compact phone, this probably isn't too much of a problem. Although the display is branded "Retina", the resolution isn't particularly high, and doesn't even reach 720p HD resolution.

iOS 7

The latest version of iOS could have been designed specifically for the iPhone 5c, with its bright colours. Oh, what's that? It was!

There's lots to like about iOS 7, as we discussed in our review, and you'll be able to download updates as they are launched.

Fast, but not enough memory

The iPhone 5c uses the snappy A6 processor, which is plenty fast enough to run most apps, but is two years old now and doesn't deliver the same kind of raw power of the latest quadcore Android phones.

The phone was available initially in 16GB or 32GB variants, but now only the 8GB version is on sale. Given that there's no possibility to install a memory card, 8GB isn't really going to be enough for most users. You'll quickly run out of space if you enjoy using your phone for music, videos or photos.

iSight camera

The camera is one of the best features of the iPhone 5c. It's one of the best camera phones you can buy for the price. It's an 8 megapixel camera with BSI for low light capability. Photo capture is fast, and the camera is highly competent, recording good shadow detail and plenty of resolution for zooming in.

The camera can record video at 1080p resolution, although the front-facing FaceTime camera can record only at 720p. You can now make video calls over 4G as well as Wi-Fi.


The 5c supports a wide range of LTE bands, and crucially it works on the 4G LTE bands used by the UK's main operators. 4G gives download speeds up to 100mbps.

The device also supports dual-band WiFi at speeds up to 150Mbps.

Battery life

The battery life of the iPhone 5c isn't stellar. Apple quotes a figure of 10 hours continuous use, but that's under optimum conditions, and many users will struggle to make it through a day of heavy activity.


The iPhone 5c is the cheapest way into the iPhone experience, but it still isn't cheap. It lacks the premium design of the more expensive models, and the 8GB of memory is very limiting. But if you want a compact iPhone and can't afford to pay more, this is the best you can get.

Apple iPhone 5c features include:

User questions

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Apple iPhone 5c user reviews

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Average rating from 12 reviews:

Reviewed by redfitz from uk on 7th Apr 2015
My Mrs got this phone on 24 month contract 4 months ago from 3 I think shes mad it's 32 a month and it's only 8gb well an update come through and she couldn't update as not enough memory she couldn't download apps as no memory left and with 20 months left she regretting it if I went with her when she got it there's no way I'd of let her get it, (shes not tech savy) I'm a bit angry with 3 for letting her get 8gb and not 16 or 32 I didn't even know it was 8gb until about 3 weeks after as didn't know apple sold 8gb models oh well live and learn the phone is good but me personally I prefer android ps DONT BUY 8GB MODEL ANS SYSTEM TAKES HALF

Reviewed by shug from scotland on 21st Mar 2015
After vowing never to get an iPhone I gave in this phone is fantastic a phone you can hold in one hand a rare thing these days speed not a thing wrong with it all this moaning about couloir does it matter if you have a brain you'd put it in a case problem solved batter up therewith any other phone its a great phone just buy it

Reviewed by mjr from wales on 27th Sep 2014
My first apple experience and I'm impressed. Reliable easy to use and good quality camera. Love the colours. Good size

Reviewed by john from uk on 6th Jul 2014
had this phone 2 weeks now and I love it, came from an s3, the size is perfect, I have a 46inch tv for watching films, my wife has the 5s but I think the 5c is a much nicer looking phone, the os is a joy compared to android

Reviewed by Sgt Wagner from Poland on 1st Jan 2014
Horrible phone, the screen was so unresponsive and the call quality was not as good as my old moto raza, sent it back in disgust.

Reviewed by durhamdad54 from uk on 25th Oct 2013
First my wife has just upgraded her iphone 4s to the iphone 5c in green for the record I hate iphones with a passion but on with the review first very nice packaging and very good earphones supplied yes it looks very cheap plastic but drop it and it will forgive unlike its glass sister very simple to transfer over her stuff to new one and as she is not a techno guru she finds it very easy to use my personal gripe is that since apple did ios7 the screen and icons look like a 7 yr old designed it I think its apples way of trying to entice the teens over to the dark side. oh and for the record I have the sg3 lol so all in all apple have tried to put a spin on their winning format and so far it seems to work

Reviewed by john from uk on 27th Sep 2013
rubbish iphone cheap looking very toyish looking its going back

Reply by Bob from Scotland on 16th Aug 2014
Strange. didn't the phone look that way before you bought it.....why bother?

Reviewed by Ryan from Wales on 25th Sep 2013
I haven't actually bought a 5c but have recently updated my 5 to IOS 7 and thought this the best place to post it - it feels like a new phone and the new OS is a real breath of fresh air so colourful and the way the circles float around when you tilt the phone is a lovely touch

Reviewed by Johnny from UK on 24th Sep 2013
I have to say I agree with most of this website's review of the 5c. It really is just a plastic iPhone 5.

However, I can't help but feel a little hatred from you towards Apple devices. You seem to show ALOT more love for practically anything that runs on Android (Samsung especially). Sometimes I wonder if you people actually work for Samsung!

If you disagree with what I've said, then please explain why you've more or less attacked, sorry 'reviewed' the 5c straight away but haven't given the 5s any review what so ever. I think even you will agree that it's a much more superior and powerful (64bit) phone than the 5c. It's also released if I'm not mistaken but no sign of it on your site.

My guess is that if it was a Samsung, it would already have it's 5 stars by now (as usual) and be on the front page of your site!!

Reply by S21 from UK on 24th Sep 2013
1. Our iPhone 5s review is coming today :)
2. The iPhone 5c is already featured on our home page
3. Also on our home page you will find our thumbs-down reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and Galaxy Tab 3 7.0.

Reply by matt from uk on 9th Oct 2013
And you show too much love to Apple so stop moaning

Reviewed by nellie from UK on 23rd Sep 2013
As per usual on this has-been website, this review is written by an android fanboy.

Reply by Ryan from Wales on 25th Sep 2013
Well said

Reply by S21 from UK on 26th Sep 2013
You seem to be under the impression that this website is written by a bunch of fanboys. S21 employs professional journalists who spend their time reviewing products from a wide range of manufacturers and comparing them according to objective criteria. Our livelihoods depend on writing unbiased and authoritative articles and we have zero interest in partisan disputes between fans of rival phones.

Reviewed by Nelson from England on 23rd Sep 2013
Got this phone on Saturday and have made my mind up that I dont like it, the UI makes it feel like a toy iphone that a child would get from a pound shop, the camera is pants and the call quality is questionable, my old Galaxy Ace is a much better phone.

Reviewed by Adam from Uk on 23rd Sep 2013
I bought direct from apple as a replacement for my 4s and I am really pleased,battery life is good,IOS 7 is cool and the whole feel of the phone isexcellent(I bought a white one)

I will add more when I have had it a few more weeks,it ticks all the boxes so far,call quality excellent,wifi great and usual apple ease of use.

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