The tech-obsessed internet users among us treat Apple’s annual smartphone launch as if it’s the birth of a new messiah, with hype poured upon each new iPhone, before reality sets in and the warts start to emerge. This year Apple delivered non-identical twins in the form of the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S, throwing a spanner in the works for anyone who’d been planning on buying just one new smartphone this year. So in the battle of the Apple iPhone 5C vs Apple iPhone 5S, which handset is most worthy of winning your custom?
Until this month, each new iteration of the iPhone has stepped out in a stylish ensemble based around monochrome colours, metal and glass. Things get switched up with the new iPhone colours for both the 5C and 5S. The iPhone 5C looks bright and vibrant in its polycarbon plastic chassis, housing a steel centre that can’t be seen. There are a multitude of different hues on offer and these bear more than a passing resemblance to Nokia’s Lumia phones, which is a compliment rather than a criticism. The iPhone 5S is more traditional, but with a gold version appearing alongside black and silver models it’s a bit more bling than in the past.
There’s sure to be debate over whether Apple’s cheaper iPhone 5C has sold out the premium legacy of the range, but surely there’s enough room for more than one design and price point.
Another major design difference is that the iPhone 5S has a fingerprint scanner built into its Home Button, while the 5C does not. This scanner can be used with something called Touch ID, which lets you unlock the phone and buy items from the App Store just using your unique fingerprint.
Apple will probably be making more use of this feature in the future and those who are worried about security might consider it an essential addition, so keep up with the latest iPhone specs to see how things develop.
The iPhone 5C packs the same A6 processor as the iPhone 5, launched back in 2012. Reports suggest that this should be more than powerful enough to run the new iOS 7 operating system without any noticeable performance hits, which is definitely good news. The iPhone 5S, on the other hand, is significantly mightier thanks to its A7 processor, which has a 64 bit architecture. No other smartphone can boast this type of chip and it could make a real difference to how the phone handles processor-intensive tasks.
Of course the practical implications of having a more powerful processor, along with a new graphics chip, will mean that the latest games, including Infinity Blade 3, will look great, but other functions could remain largely unaffected.
The new features on iPhone 5S that aren’t coming to the 5C include the M7 secondary processor which is dedicated to handling real time information for fitness apps, such as movement and heart rate. Exercise fanatics might therefore be tempted to side with the more expensive of the two new iPhones.
On paper it’s difficult to work out if there’s a difference between the iPhone 5C and 5S in the camera department, because each has an eight megapixel snapper on the rear, as well as the enhanced FaceTime HD unit up front. While the iPhone 5C uses the same iSight camera as the iPhone 5, the 5S has a sensor with bigger pixels, absorbing more light and benefiting from an advanced flash system that can help it to cope well when ambient lighting isn’t great. The powerful A7 processor also means that the 5S can record 720p HD video clips at 120 frames a second, which means you can play them back for a full slow-motion effect that looks smooth and beautiful.
Things are pretty even on the software front, since iOS 7 will run on both of the new iPhones with little obvious to distinguish one from the other in terms of how it looks and feels. If anything the iPhone 5C has a bit of a leg up because iOS 7 is more colourful than any previous iteration of the platform, which fits in with the snazzy new designs Apple is trying out this generation.
Siri is also back for good on both models and no longer wearing its beta tag, which means Apple thinks it’s ready to be called a fully fledged software feature.
There will probably be plenty of apps that are only compatible with the iPhone 5S because of its 64 bit processor, which will exclude the iPhone 5C and its predecessors from running them. However, the iPhone 5S is compatible with 32 bit apps, so this is the choice for those who want total software accessibility.
If you’re going to buy the iPhone 5C upfront rather than procuring it on contract then you’ll need to hand over 469 for the 16GB model or 549 for the 32GB version, which are identical apart from the amount of storage. 549 will also net you the 16GB iPhone 5S, while 629 and 709 allow you to pick the 32GB and 64GB models respectively.
The parity of the costs of the top end iPhone 5C and base model iPhone 5S might make some people stop and think, because if it’s a matter of memory alone then opting for the more powerful unit with the better camera could seem sensible. But then you’ll have to follow your own tastes, since of course both of these models will be a worthwhile buy.