Apple iPhone 5c review: Apple iPhone 5c

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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Very sturdy build underneath the plastic. Fun and fabulous colour range. Improved front-facing camera.

The Bad Local pricing just too close to iPhone 5s.

The Bottom Line The iPhone 5c is last year's iPhone 5 with a shiny new coat of paint. At Australian prices, the iPhone 5s is a far better choice.

7.7 Overall

Plastic. "Unapologetically plastic" are the words Apple has used, and that really is the essence of the iPhone 5c. Colour. Gloss. Excitement. It is set to be available in blue, white, yellow, pink and green, with a further range of case styles to add flair and make a colour combination you'll rarely see other users carrying.

The plastic casing is reinforced with a steel chassis directly underneath, so it actually feels like a tough little customer. A little thicker and heavier than the iPhone 5 (and iPhone 5s, which is the exact same weight and dimension as last year), it feels much tougher than even flagship phones with plastic cases, like the Samsung Galaxy and Note range.

The new design makes room for a slightly bigger battery, which delivers, you guessed it, slightly better performance. The new design also upgrades the front-facing camera — all the better to selfie with — and for wandering souls, it upgrades the long-term evolution chip for better worldwide performance.

But at its heart, this is a review that can keep it simple and stick to one basic idea: this is the iPhone 5 with a sassy new style.

While every iPhone 5 owner will also be getting iOS 7 as a free upgrade, it's worth noting that part of that styling means you get colour-matched wallpaper by default on the iPhone 5c. This really is a style-focused update to catch the eye of the fashion-conscious buyer.


The iPhone 5c performs almost exactly as the iPhone 5 did, as you can see in the charts below.

SunSpider 1.0.1: JavaScript performance test (ms)

  • 399.7
  • iPhone 5s
  • 727.2
  • iPhone 5c
  • 841
  • iPhone 5
  • 1033
  • HTC One
  • 1182.2
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • 907.9
  • Nokia Lumia 1020

(Shorter bar equals better performance)

GFXBench: 2.5 Egypt HD off-screen test (frames per second)

  • 56
  • iPhone 5s
  • 29
  • iPhone 5c
  • 29
  • iPhone 5
  • 36
  • HTC One
  • 40
  • Samsung Galaxy S4

(Longer bar equals better performance. Lumia 1020 excluded — no OpenGL support)

GFXBench: 2.7 T-Rex HD off-screen test (frames per second)

  • 24
  • iPhone 5s
  • 6.8
  • iPhone 5c
  • 6.4
  • iPhone 5
  • 15
  • HTC One
  • 16
  • Samsung Galaxy S4

(Longer bar equals better performance. Lumia 1020 excluded — no OpenGL support)

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