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iPhone 5C - Battery Life, Call Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

iPhone 5C – Battery Life

One of the lowest-key updates in the iPhone 5C is its battery. Its 1,507mAh unit is slightly larger than the iPhone 5’s 1,440mAh battery – and the slight disparity between this and the 1,570 mAh battery could be explained by the extra tech the more expensive phone packs-in.

A larger battery does not revolutionise the iPhone’s stamina, but we were happy with the results. It’s able to survive a full day of heavy use, including around an hour of streaming video over 4G, lengthy stretches of web browsing and all notifications unrestricted.

However, you certainly won’t get two full days’ use out of the iPhone 5C unless you put in some serious battery-saving tactics. We also noticed some fairly inconsistent periods of battery drain, which we'll put down to bugs and currently under-optimised parts of iOS that will likely be fixed in future updates.

iPhone 5C – Call Quality and Connectivity

The most basic elements of a phone are these days the least talked-about. Call quality these days is limited mostly by the ropey quality of traditional phone calls, but the iPhone 5C makes the most of it. The earpiece speaker is loud and clear, and we experienced no dropped calls during our testing.

Apple fixed the connectivity issues that a metal-bodied phone can cause, but the new plastic iPhone 5C shouldn't really be susceptible to them at all. The phone is also fairly future-proofed in terms of its mobile internet skills. It's a 4G-capable phone that covers 13 different 4G bands - enough to ensure compatibility with all the 4G networks coming to the UK.

There's one serious omission we had hoped to see: NFC. After a series of rumours suggesting the iPhone series would adopt NFC, it has once again been left out.

In its place, Apple has introduced AirDrop. This doesn't offer any of the wireless payments potential of NFC, but it does let you easily transfer information between new Apple devices using a custom implentation of Wi-Fi Direct. AirDrop only came to iPhones with iOS 7, but has been around in MacBooks for a little while.

iPhone 5C – Internal Speaker and Music

iOS 7 also sees Apple give its music player a spruce-up. However, it’s really just a stylistic re-working that ultimately doesn’t change how the app works - it's just a touch version of the classic iPod nav interface.

The internal speaker appears to be a similar, if not the same, model used in the iPhone 5. Five little holes on the bottom of the iPhone 5C act as the speaker grille.

It’s not a fantastic speaker, and tends to sound harsh and strained at top volume – albeit a mite less so than the iPhone 5, potentially because of its different internal structure and use of a plastic outer instead of aluminium. However, top volume is decent and at lower volumes detail is reasonable for a micro-speaker.

iPhone 5C 5

Should I buy the iPhone 5C?

The iPhone 5C is an interesting phone, but mostly because of the way it alters Apple’s product strategy rather than because of anything the phone itself does.

Aside from an improved front camera and the new plastic design, the iPhone 5C is similar to the iPhone 5. Very similar.

That’s no bad thing when considered from the perspective of what the phone is actually like to use. However, it does make the £470 price a bitter pill.

It’s a price that means the iPhone 5C has to compete directly with Android behemoths the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 on the SIM-free stage, though. Both phones are available for well under £500 these days.

Of course, these are not direct comparisons. Should you buy the iPhone 5S instead of this? Despite looking a lot more serious and stuffy, the iPhone 5S is the far more interesting phone tech-wise and has a marginally – but noticeably – better camera.

It's a good upgrade for any iPhone 4 owner who doesn't care about the extra 5S features, but if you're 4S owner who decided not to get an iPhone 5 it doesn't make much sense to get a 5C.

If the difference in cost is minor, we recommend stretching for the top model.

Verdict

The iPhone 5C is a replacement for the iPhone 5, designed to be cheaper to produce than that older model. There are some small improvements, such as the new front-facing camera, but it’s not a worthwhile upgrade from that phone unless you fall in love with the new colourful bodies. It’s not particularly interesting tech-wise, but the tech underneath this phone’s shell hasn’t aged enough in the last year to make this anything but a very good phone.

Find out when the iPhone 6 could be released.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Calls & Sound 7
  • Camera 8
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Screen Quality 9
  • Software 9
  • Value 7
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

yogi bear

September 11, 2013, 7:11 am

So it's basically the iPhone five in plastic.

torjs99

September 11, 2013, 9:12 am

no originality here. move along

Prem Desai

September 11, 2013, 11:18 am

Is a point to this phone? Most of us would use a case which will cover up the colourful plastic.

Makes sense to buy an iPhone 5 and a nice case.

DigitalFury

September 12, 2013, 7:41 am

An iPhone 5 shoved into a Lumia 620 body. This is "innovation" according to Apple, which obviously died with Steve - enough said.

toboev

September 12, 2013, 7:45 am

In your video you say something along the lines of, "at £80 less the 5C will attract plenty of people" (paraphrased).
Surely for most people, on a 24 month contract, the maths is more like a monthly difference of under £3.40 bethween the 5S and 5C. For the price of a pint per month, would you really opt for the lesser phone? I know I would drink an extra glass of water each month and have the better phone.

TechAxle.Com

September 12, 2013, 10:42 pm

Its really very better with compare to 5s, I love colors.

Steve Jobbo

September 15, 2013, 9:16 am

I can see this being a great success,a sort of 'lifestyle' statement to people who see through the fact that you can get a just as good windows/android device for half the money.I will wait for a 6C or 6S,with a decent size screen,full 4G capability,more realistic pricing due to competition,a battery that lasts a full day,and maybe wireless charging.

isa

September 16, 2013, 2:49 am

I'm wondering about sounds and mic quality since there seems to be less holes?

Gbrl

September 19, 2013, 1:53 am

My olnly question about iPhone 5C is: can you change the background image? Every single picture I see, there's the default one...

Guido

September 19, 2013, 10:17 am

Too bad the iPhone 5c does not come in the color black.

mode11

September 19, 2013, 7:54 pm

At this price you might as well just buy a 5 if you can find one, which has a nicer build, or just pony up the relatively small extra and get the full 5S. There's not enough clear daylight between the two models, and the 5C's price means it's not really a budget competitor. Who can justify / afford the 5C but not the 5S?

And Apple's pride notwithstanding, the latest phone needed a 4.5"+ screen. This is not enough for the next whole year. I initially resisted the Tim Cook bashing, as I felt that Apple's success could hardly be down to just SJ. But TC does come across as a manager rather than a leader, and Apple are treading water at the moment (though iOS7 does look nice).

jjonja

September 20, 2013, 11:22 am

if you don't want touch ID , 5c is real deal ..

jase

September 20, 2013, 6:28 pm

What a waist of time I think people will stick to getting the iphone 5 / 5s the price is not big enough between them and I bet it feels cheap and horrible in comparison they should of really dropped the price for it to be a success

jase

September 20, 2013, 6:29 pm

I bet it flops it needed to be alot cheaper people will just buy the 5 / 5s

Fred Clemons

September 21, 2013, 4:13 pm

There is no iPhone 5, the 5C replaced it. It will be a huge hit. Some people don't care about specs, they just want a phone that works & looks cool and the cheaper price tag will sway some buyers, as will finally having an iPhone with a little color

lampcampsnowpack

September 22, 2013, 5:45 pm

They usually have classes at the apple store for there products

Clyde Frog

September 24, 2013, 11:21 am

Although I'm not overly impressed with the specs of the 5C, the 5S is not an option for me as I've absolutely no desire to purchase a phone with a fingerprint scanner. Ever.

MattMe

September 24, 2013, 11:32 am

I don't understand why every review seems to simply overlook, or just not care that this is an iPhone 5 in a cheaper case, selling for the same, or maybe even more than the 5 would have, had they continued production. Shameless customer-raping pricing by Apple, yet again.

This is massively over-priced, and the plastic case isn't appealing, and it certainly does not make the phone look like a premium product. They could have manufactured the original case with colours if that's what they thought they were missing.

I cannot take any review seriously that gives this device a good score based on these facts alone. There is absolutely no value to this device at all. Over the standard contracts that I'm sure 90% of consumers would have with this phone, it's going to make little, if any, difference to their monthly payments over the 5s.

Pg

September 24, 2013, 12:34 pm

Not sure about hit, but it will sell, if only because the 5s will sell out. Way too expensive, can't see the point in it.

Pg

September 24, 2013, 12:39 pm

Awesome rant. Unfortunately, you've just been ranting about your lack of ability at using smartphones. But it's good to vent.

If you can't get to the apple store for a class, I'd ask a friend to show you the basics of the phone. Keep to the basics initially (phone calls, texts, taking pictures), until they are second nature, then start using all the apps and dig into the settings.

The internet is also your friend, so if you find a setting you don't know about, search for it. There'll be information on it somewhere.

Matthew Bunton

September 24, 2013, 1:12 pm

Oh yeah a real bargain from Apple at that price.:/

Why are people still throwing money at Apple for way overpriced tech?

MikkaMakkaMoo

September 24, 2013, 1:13 pm

You do know that you can return it for a full refund within 14 days?

http://store.apple.com/uk/open...

William Stuart

September 24, 2013, 7:30 pm

The plastic actually feels really, really nice. I went into a three store over the weekend and came away feeling much more positive about it, it doesn't feel like any plastic phone I have felt before, and feels vastly more impressive than the gs3 or gs4 so don't worry about that. I think they did need the 5C though, it creates a bit of fun in the iPhone lineup.

William Stuart

September 24, 2013, 7:31 pm

It is optional you realise, and even without that it is a pretty big update over the iPhone 5.

robchan

September 24, 2013, 8:35 pm

No, it's iphone 5 in Crocs. ;D

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