Why should I buy an iPhone 5c?

iPhone 5c Review: DO NOT buy until you read this ...

The iPhone 5c is a pretty old iPhone now, and not really worth buying in 2020 - even second-hand. If you want a small iPhone you have to look elsewhere ...


Six years is a long time in the cell phone world. In fact, it's practically ancient history. Because of this, it is now impossible to recommend the iPhone 5c to everyone, including those looking for a bargain.

The iPhone 5c is too old and too weak for the 2019 market. And while the handset has had a good run, it's definitely now over the top when it comes to usability and performance. If you want a smaller iPhone, Get the iPhone SE 2020 instead; It's immensely powerful and will have iOS support in the mid to late 2020s.

The iPhone SE and iPhone 5c are basically the last phones in Apple's 4-inch cell phone era. The smallest iPhone you can buy right now has a 4.7-inch display (it's the iPhone SE 2020). For me, the iPhone SE 2020 is a shift in the way Apple makes iPhones. It's the cheapest iPhone Apple has ever released and it's also one of the most powerful as it shares the same CPU as Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max.

How Much Will The iPhone 5c Be Worth In 2020? It depends on whether. But not much; Most of the places I've sold them online sell for 50 to 50 to 80 euros, depending on what model of memory you have. This means you can buy one for next to nothing. But you won't get much reselling your own iPhone 80c.

Come in addition, The iPhone 5c is no longer supported by AppleThis means that there are no more iOS updates available. This is the main reason why You shouldn't buy the iPhone 5c If you are not running the latest version of iOS it will slow down your phone's performance. You will miss important security patches and updates, and your applications will not work properly. Basically, it's not good.

MORE: Check out our guide to the best iPhones (in terms of value for money).

iPhone 5c Review: The Good

Look, the iPhone 5c isn't a bad phone. I actually think there is something charming about the colored plastic design. It comes in green, blue, yellow, pink, or white. The display is small by today's standards - only 4 inches, but it's still a retina display with a resolution of 640 × 1136 pixels at 326 ppi that looks just as beautiful as ever. It also has a very decent (and comparable to the 5s) 8MP rear camera that can record video in 1080p and a 1.2MP front FaceTime camera that records video in 720p.

In terms of connectivity, you'll find broadly the same standards as 2015 phones, including Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0 (including full support for Apple's AirPlay and AirDrop clients), and the usual Standards Connectivity standards for 2G, 3G, 4G, GPS and GLONASS. The battery is neat too: a 1560 mAh cell that gives you 10 hours of talk time on 3G and 8 hours on 4G. The hardwired connectivity includes a 3.5mm headphone jack and the Lightning connector.

And after the 18 months since its original release, the software on the iPhone 5c - iOS 8 - is better than ever. While it's not as snappy as it is on the latest iPhone 6, iOS 8 runs smoothly and with most of the features it offers on newer iPhone models, without any TouchID-related features, of course.

iPhone 5c review: The Bad

As you can see, there are many things that still make the iPhone 5c 2015 a good phone. Unfortunately, there are also some major drawbacks that make this phone a poor choice for anyone who isn't the most basic - and I mean BASIC smartphone users.

First of all - and most importantly - the iPhone 5c is now only available in one memory size: 8 GB. That's right: when you buy an iPhone 5c, all you have to do is choose the color. You cannot choose any other options. This, of course, differs from when the 5c originally came out and came in three different sizes (8, 16 or 32 GB). But since last fall, Apple has cut the storage option to just 8GB - no doubt to push people towards the more expensive 5s and 6 models.

If all you need is a smartphone to make calls and read emails, the 8GB iPhone 5c is fine. But not many people buy an iPhone just to do so little. They also take photos, download apps and games, and watch movies. With only 8GB of storage, this won't take too long. I mean, I can take 8GB of photos on a vacation trip. Some of the coolest iOS games can be 500-1GB in size. An HD movie? 3-4 GB. You can see how quickly the memory can be used on the 5c. And that's before you even consider that you actually don't have a full 8GB of storage. iOS 8 alone takes up about 1.5 GB.

Another thing that makes this phone a bad choice for everyone but the most basic of users is the A6 chip. The A6 was hot stuff for its time - but so was the Intel Celeron chip in its time. Today the 32-bit A6 is showing its age. Some of the latest graphically-intense hit iOS games are tough to play. I'm not even sure if the A6 will support iOS 9, which is slated to ship this fall. If Apple decides to only use this operating system for 64-bit, iPhone 5c owners will be stuck on iOS 8 forever.

That brings me to my last point: The iPhone 5c already has one foot in the grave. It lacks future features like Touch ID that every new iOS device has. As more and more apps use Touch ID, iPhone 5c users will be forever locked out. It obviously doesn't support NFC or Apple Pay either (but only the iPhone 6 and above). The latest Wi-Fi standard 802.11ac is not supported. And a tru-tone flash? Forget it. With the 5c you get an LED flash.

iPhone 5c review: conclusion

Look, despite the lack of advanced features (to be fair, most of which were introduced after the 5c was first revealed), the 2015 iPhone 5c could still be a decent phone. But Apple put the final nail in its coffin when it decided to cut the 5c's storage options from 32 and 16 GB to just 8 GB. Nowadays that is no longer enough. The average user will fill up 8 GB of storage space in the first few weeks after using a smartphone. And when that happens, what's the use of owning a smartphone if you don't have enough storage space to take advantage of its advanced features?

My suggestion is if you're thinking of buying the 5c, miss out on it and use the iPhone SE 2020 instead - it's newer, more powerful, and still a relatively small phone. And below are the best deals on iPhone SE 2020 right now:


Read our original iPhone 5c review from 2013

iPhone 5c Review: Design and Build

I'll be right out there and say it - I like the look of the iPhone 5C. Once launched, I was fortunate to have two iPhone 5Cs in my possession - one light green and one white. I don't know which one I liked the most, probably the white one, but I know I like this phone - I like it a lot.

The new plastic case adds a little more weight, but the added bulk doesn't feel bad in the context of Apple's redesign - in fact, it works pretty well. Compared to the spring-like iPhone 5 / 5s, the 5C is very robust and robust in the hand. The iPhone 5C is 9mm thick and weighs 132g, while the iPhone 5 weighs 7.6mm and weighs only 112g.

The handset itself is built around a steel frame that also functions as a broadband antenna. The frame is then laser welded to the polycarbonate outer shell, what Apple calls a "precise fit".

Coming in five colors (white, pink, yellow, blue, and lime green), Apple says it "rejected thousands of colors" as it pondered which five colors best represented what the 5c was about. Most look great in person, although the yellow version has a more pudding-like look to it, which really isn't my bag at all.

When it comes to the building materials, Apple says plastic was essential. It wanted to do color, and color just wasn't possible with the material used on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Only plastic would work. But of course Apple doesn't just make plastic, it is “rethinking” plastic.

The end result is beautiful and feels very easy to hold. It's also exceptionally sturdy and solid, so you can be sure that the handset won't be seriously hit if it slips out of your grip. I dropped my test device several times and the handset looks as good as new except for a few small scratches here and there.

I prefer the way Nokia deals with plastics, if I'm honest. The matte finish used on board phones like the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 1520 is infinitely more appealing. The 5c looks great - especially in green and white - it's just a bit slippery in the hand.

All hardware buttons are in the same place (audio jack on the bottom left, volume and mute buttons on the left, and power / unlock on the top right). The Lightning connector is on the bottom of the device and to the right of it is the speaker grille. It all feels very familiar.

iPhone 5c Review: Advertisement

The iPhone 5C uses exactly the same display setup as the iPhone 5 - a 4-inch IPS LCD panel with 640 × 1136 pixels and a pixel density of 326 ppi. Apple's "Retina Display" is a solid performer with excellent color rendering, viewing angles and brightness levels. It's not 1080p, but other than that, it's really nothing to complain about.

Apple, of course, didn't up the ante in terms of size. The iPhone 5C - like the iPhone 5 before and the new iPhone 5S - uses a 4-inch setup. This is pretty small compared to almost everything else on the market.

According to Apple, 4 inches is the perfect size for a smartphone as it is great for watching videos, but also allows one-handed operation. In some ways Apple is right, but I wish it was a little bigger and I know I'm not alone with this, which is very frustrating as the screen size is literally the only thing I would change on Apple's iPhone - everything else is about as good as it gets.

iPhone 5c test: hardware & performance

It may look playful from the outside, but the iPhone 5C is pretty stacked up in terms of hardware and offers more or less the same internal specs as last year's iPhone 5th. The 5C comes in two storage options - 16 GB and 32 GB - and there is no microSD support.

Apple has now confirmed the recently rumored 8GB version of the iPhone 5C. But contrary to what everyone was expecting, with a SIM-free price point of still not particularly cheap. Wait for it ... £ 429.

That's pretty surprising, it's only 40 pounds cheaper than the 16GB model. If you've been hoping for a truly affordable iPhone, your only salvation now may be as networks are making their iPhone 5C 8GB tariffs expensive - and that's still very high in the air right now.

The iPhone 5C also uses the same A6 processor as the iPhone 5 - two 32-bit ARM CPU cores based on Apple's custom "Swift" architecture - and the same amount of RAM - 1 GB DDR2. Internally, the iPhone 5C is a clone of the iPhone 5. The only difference is the addition of Qualcomm's WTR1605L transceiver, which enables “global” LTE support.

Apple is a master at tweaking its hardware and software to ensure near-seamless performance across the board. Whether you're multitasking, playing games, or surfing the web, everything shoots forward with no hint of lag or stutter. Like its predecessor, the iPhone 5C does not disappoint in this respect.

The iPhone 5C isn't going to be a mess of top-tier Android phones, and devices like the Galaxy Note 3 with its Snapdragon 800 quad-core chipset and 3GB of RAM really leave it in the dust. However, this is not an Android handset - it is an iOS handset that has been optimized for use in the Apple iOS ecosystem. So it's kind of a point of contention.

Apple designs its phones to work in its ecosystem and, for the most part, doesn't care about the spec race - everything it does is to improve its own ecosystem. That's why there is no NFC yet. When you buy this handset, you are buying from Apple. If you want gross specs, you're better off with Android. Easy.

It's also worth noting that Apple's A6 chipset outperforms Qualcomm's S4 Snapdragon Pro and Snapdragon 400 chipsets. You can find these quad-core setups in the Nexus 4, HTC One Mini, and others, and given the pitch of Apple's iPhone 5C - it's marketed as a competitor to the HTC One Mini - it's pretty significant.

iPhone 5c Review: Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, the iPhone 5C is fully equipped with Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n, dual band, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, and full support for Apple's AirPlay and AirDrop clients.

For mobile data, you have 2G, 3G (DC-HSPA and HSPA +) and support for a variety of 4G-LTE bands - the iPhone 5C works on virtually every 4G network in the world. Our handset ran on Vodafone's LTE network and the results were incredibly good as you can see below.

iPhone 5c rating: camera

Here, too, the camera setup of the iPhone 5C is exactly the same as in the iPhone 5. So you have an 8-megapixel iSight camera with a 1 / 3.2-inch sensor size, 1.4-µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and Image capture, touch focus, geo-tagging, face recognition, HDR panorama and HDR photo.

There is nothing really new to report here. The iPhone 5's camera was great for a smartphone shooter, and the iPhone 5C's is exactly the same. Images look sharp with great color reproduction and above average details.

The 1.2 megapixel FaceTime unit on the front of the 5C has been slightly improved and now performs better in low light. It's by no means perfect, but since you'll only be using it for selfies and FaceTime, there is little to worry about.

If you want to see what a seriously updated camera looks like, take a look at the iPhone 5S - the new imaging unit is an absolute monster of epic proportions.

iPhone 5c review: battery

I've referred to the iPhone 5C as an iPhone 5 clone quite a few times in this review, but that's not entirely fair. The iPhone 5C has a slightly larger battery (1510 mAh) than its predecessor. It's not quite as big as the one in the iPhone 5S (1560 mAh), but it makes a difference - the battery life is much better on both.

Another area where Apple has made significant strides is in idle power. An iPhone - the 4s, 5, or 4 - used to bleed on charge all day long, even when you weren't using it. However, it doesn't seem quite as greedy with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. The battery still drips while idling, but at a much slower rate.

Compared to my Nexus 5, which is now 12 months old, the iPhone 5c consumes around a third less charge when idling. And to be clear, I have exactly the same settings for both: push email, 4G, hangout, WhatsApp and automatic brightness enabled. Too often my Nexus 5 would die around 6/7 a.m., leaving me up and dry with no phone.

After doing this little experiment, I decided to carry both phones, one for work (iPhone 5c) and one for my social life (Nexus 5). Distributing the workload and usage ensures that neither of the two gets drained as quickly. Because of the insane idle power of the iPhone 5c, it means I'll always have at least one working phone, even when I'm out late and don't have a charger.

In our Django test, in which we played the entire Django Unchained with a full screen and WiFi turned on, the iPhone 5C had just under 52% of its remaining battery life, which is not as good as the Note 3 but is damn impressive when you look at it takes into account the difference in battery size.

In practice, the iPhone 5C will give you a full day unless you text, email, and play every hour that God sends. In our batch tests - in which we run multiple phones at the same time under the same conditions - it clearly outperformed both the Nexus 4 and the HTC One (just over 2 hours).

iPhone 5c review: conclusion

Yes it is plastic. Yes, it doesn't have the same updated specs as the iPhone 5S. And yes, it's basically the iPhone 5 housed in a new plastic unibody case. But none of these facts are necessarily a bad thing. The iPhone 5 was a great handset, and so is the iPhone 5C, even more so when you factor in the improved battery life and jazzy new exterior case.

For me, the most interesting thing about the iPhone 5C is what it says about the changing culture within Apple under the direction of Tim Cook. It is becoming more egalitarian and appears to be actively seeking a new generation of disciples to add to its growing herd.

The iPhone 5C, whether you like the handset or not, represents a significant shift in Apple's business philosophy. Apple is no longer just a premium cell phone maker operating at the heights of the mobile realm. Previously, Apple went after the snobs and had a phone. Now it's still chasing the snobs, but the 5C shows that it's now very interested in everyone else too.

Richard Goodwin has been a technology journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile. He also has a personal blog - Optimal sauce - and you can subscribe to his weekly tech newsletter HERE and blogging-related stuff HERE