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Apple iPhone 5C review: Discontinued and no longer supported

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £469
inc VAT

Now discontinued, Apple ditches iPhone 5C software support with recent 10.3.2 iOS update


Processor: Dual-core 1.3GHz Apple A6, Screen size: 4in, Screen resolution: 1,136×640, Rear camera: 8-megapixels, Storage: 8GB/16GB/32GB, Wireless data: 3G. 4G, Size: 124x59x8.97mm, Weight: 132g, Operating system: iOS 7

Apple iPhone 5C review: Screen

The screen is still one of the highlights of the iPhone 5C, as it uses the same 4in screen as used on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S. With a resolution of 1,136×640 and a high pixel density of 326ppi, this Retina screen still looks fantastic and very sharp.

Yes, you can get larger Android handsets with more resolution, but the smaller screen here doesn’t really feel like a detriment to us. There’s still plenty of resolution for apps and web browsing, while the screen size means that the iPhone 5C slips easily into any pocket; the same can’t be said for some of the large-screen Android monsters we’ve seen.

Arguably more importantly, the iPhone 5C has a high-quality screen. Viewing angles are brilliant, contrast is excellent and colours look vibrant and rich thanks to the IPS panel. All-round, this was one of the best screens when it was first launched a year ago and remains on the best now.

Apple iPhone 5CIt’s the same screen as on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, but that’s no bad thing

Apple iPhone 5C review: Performance

As with the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5C is powered by a 1.3GHz ARM-based Apple A6 processor and 1GB of RAM. This dual-core chip is still pretty nifty, though updates to iOS are bound to have taken their toll. That said, running the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite, the iPhone 5C completed the test in 714ms, so web browsing is still speedy enough for all but the most web-hungry users. For comparison the iPhone 5S completed SunSpider in just 416ms.

We also ran the 3D Mark Ice Storm benchmark, and the iPhone 5C scored a respectable 6017. We’ve seen faster phones (the iPhone 5S maxes out this one and won’t give a score), but it’s safe to say that for the vast majority of the games in the App Store, the iPhone 5C is fast enough to run them.

Battery life was one of the strong points of the iPhone 5, and it remains so here. In our video playback test, we managed an impressive 11h 39m, which is practically identical to the result from our iPhone 5. Apple’s managed to squeeze an extra couple of hours’ battery life into the 5S, but the 5C still lasts an impressive amount of time.

One area that has been upgraded is the iPhone 5C’s 4G chip. With the iPhone 5, it was limited to the number of networks it could work on, but the 5C supports a lot more bands. Its LTE band support of 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 20 means that this model will work on 4G on any network in the UK, including the 2,600MHz band. However, the supported bands also mean that the UK model is compatible with the majority of European networks and a good number in Asia, which will be useful when 4G roaming deals come into play. However, it’s still not compatible with the vast majority of North American networks, with the 850MHz U.S. Cellular network the notable exception.

Apple iPhone 5C review: iOS changes

When it first launched, the iPhone 5C came with iOS 7 pre-installed and was just as good at running the OS as the iPhone 5 – as you’d expect given the identical hardware. It delivers silky smooth animations and responds quickly to your touch.

iOS 8 added a selection of new features, including interactive notifications – meaning you can reply to a text message without having to leave the app you currently have open. Spotlight search now looks for external sources as well as what’s on your phone, and a new Health app acts as a hub for any compatible fitness apps, wearables or third party exercise apps.

You can read our full iOS 8 review for all the details, but the biggest change is Continuity, which lets you work seamlessly between an iPhone, iPad and OS X desktop. This is great if you have other Apple devices, as you can start emails on the move then finish them off once you get back to your desk, or automatically share links between an iPad and your phone. Even better, you can answer calls and send text messages from a MacBook. iOS 8 works well on the handset and is a good choice.

Now of course you could update the phone to the latest iOS 9. We haven’t had a chance to test this yet but it may push the handset too far. It’s not radically different from iOS 8 though and the new OS is being rolled out to the iPhone 4S as well so this isn’t the bottom of the barrel as far as Apple is concerned.

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Main display size4.0in
Native resolution1,136×640
CCD effective megapixels8-megapixel
Internal memory16384MB
Memory card supportnone
Memory card includedN/A
Operating frequenciesGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 /2100, LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20
Wireless dataLTE, 3G


Operating systemApple iOS 7
Microsoft Office compatibilityN/A
FM Radiono
AccessoriesUSB Charger, headphones
Talk time10 hours
Standby time10 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£469
Price on contract49

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