Now the dust has settled after the big Apple launch of the iPhone 5S and the ever-so colourful and plastic iPhone 5C, the lingering question is what are the differences between the eye-wateringly expensive iPhone 5S and the ever so slightly less eye-wateringly expensive iPhone 5C? Is the extra outlay worth the new technology? Let's take a look at Apple's finest.
First the gory details. Official pricing for both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are now out, straight after the launch we had preliminary pricing, but now individual networks have announced pricing for the various 3G or 4G contracts and pay-as-you-go prices.
As it is, the previously dubbed “budget” Apple iPhone 5C is no such thing, with the 16GB model costing £469 and the 32GB version costing £549, the same price as the iPhone 5S 16GB model. The 32GB iPhone 5S comes in at £629 and the 64GB just tops the seven hundred barrier at £709.
As for monthly contracts O2 is offering the 16GB iPhone 5C for £32 per month and £30 up front with 750MB of data over 24 month. Orange with 1GB of data costs £37 per month with nothing up front and the same is offered at Vodafone again over 24 months. Three has an unlimited data plan over 24 months for £37 per month and £49 upfront.
For the iPhone 5S O2 3G has 24 month contract with 1GB of data for £42 per month and nothing upfront, slap down £120 upfront and that drops to £37. Choosing 4G at O2 starts at £47 per month with 1GB of data and nothing upfront, again £120 upfront drops this to £42 over 24 months. T-mobile will give you unlimited data over 3G for £37 per month and £140 upfront or EE and its 4G network will offer 2GB of data for £41 per month with £100 upfront both on 24 month contracts.
Security and software
Both phones are packing the latest iOS 7, so there's no quarter given there. The big addition for the iPhone 5S is the Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Home button. This doubles as an unlock button and iTunes purchase approval system. It's going to help add security to people's phones and convenience. Currently it is limited to iTunes but we can see Apple opening up the system to third-party apps. The iPhone 5C has to rely on the standard PIN for security.
Sticking with the industrial metallic design ushered in by the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5S continues to feel weighty and solid, but now in additional Gold, Space Gray and Silver. You can debate the tackiness of the gold option at length. The iPhone 5C drops the full-metal jacket for a polycarbonate in one of five pretty dazzling colours of white, pink, yellow, blue and green. Despite the press noise, the iPhone 3G was plastic and it does add a much needed dash of colour to the methodically dull iPhone design. It even feels a shame there's no option for the iPhone 5S.
Both new iPhones have received attention in the camera department. The flagship iPhone 5S does come out on top as it has an entirely new main camera unit that includes a sapphire crystal lens, 15 percent larger sensor for lower noise, updated software that can capture a burst of 10 shots in a second and choose the best, plus a 120fps 720p slow-mo video option. Alongside this is a dual-tone flash that can adjust itself to match the existing colour conditions. The iPhone 5C does get a revised lens array alongside a host of app tweaks.
All the headline news for the iPhone 5S comes from its new Apple A7 processor, which we'll be expecting to make an appearance in any new iPad 5 or even iPad mini 2. Apple clearly excel at processor design, proving such it has introduced the first mass-produced 64-bit ARM architecture processor. While you can debate the need for a 64-bit processor on a phone (there is no need) but there's no debating its performance. With a billion transistor it's as complex as a desktop processor and is going to be seriously capable with 3D games. There's also the companion low-power Apple M7 chip for dealing with input/output when the phone's asleep. The poor iPhone 5C has to make do with the old Apple A6, which is chugging along at half the speed, which is frankly still pretty sound.
As expected both the physical size and resolution of the iPhone 5S hadn't changed over the previous iPhone 5. It still uses the same 4-inch Retina display with the same resolution of 640x1136 with its human-eye beating 326ppi. The iPhone 5C uses the identical display and it's not a real surprise, as it's effectively an iPhone 5 in coloured clothing. This does mean both models lag behind most other phones in terms of resolution and can't touch the latest Android 1080p displays.
There isn't a great difference in price between the two smartphones and there is no doubt that the iPhone 5S feels like a more premium smartphone, while you also get the added bonus of a fingerprint sensor and a faster processor. Therefore, we'd be inclined to say that the iPhone 5S is the better buy !
However, the iPhone 5C is still great smartphone and those not worried about having just 16GB of on-board memory will save £80 compared to lowest priced iPhone 5S. While, those looking for a more vibrant smartphone will love the iPhone 5C's new colour range !
By Simon Thomas on 18th September, 2013