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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:

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