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iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C Compared: What are the differences ?

By Kevin Thomas on 12th September 2013

What are the main differences between the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C ?


For the first time ever Apple has unleashed two new phones simultaneously, so for the first time ever even if you’re a die-hard Apple fan there’s a decision to be made- do you buy the flagship iPhone 5S or the slightly more budget iPhone 5C. To help you make that all important decision here’s a rundown of the differences between the two handsets.

Design and build

Apple iPhone 5S Colours

The iPhone 5S looks exactly the same as the iPhone 5. It’s the same size and shape and has the same premium metal body, which leaves it looking slick and classy and it's available in 3 all-new colours: Gold, Silver and Space Grey.

The iPhone 5C is a device which a few years ago it might have been hard to believe Apple would make. Gone is the refined elegance of the iPhone 5S replaced with, well, brightly coloured plastic in pink, yellow, white, blue or green. It doesn’t look bad and may even be quite appealing to younger users but it’s undeniably cheaper looking than the iPhone 5S.


iPhone 5C Colours

Aside from the plastic though the two devices look quite similar, they’re the same shape and while the iPhone 5C is slightly longer, thicker and wider the differences are negligible. You might think that the metal smartphone would be heavier than a plastic one, but the iPhone 5S (112g) is actually 20g lighter than the iPhone 5C (132g).



Both the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C have a 4 inch 1136 x 640 display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. In other words that’s one area where there’s nothing to choose.


The iPhone 5S has a 64 bit A7 processor, which is supposedly twice as fast as the A6 processor in the iPhone 5. It also has an M7 motion coprocessor which keeps track of all your movements, allowing you to use your phone as a fitness tracker.

The iPhone 5C has a 32 bit A6 processor. It’s unknown how many cores there are or what speed each is clocked at, but it’s likely that the iPhone 5C is roughly as powerful as the iPhone 5, which would make the iPhone 5S twice as fast. The iPhone 5C also doesn’t have an M7 motion coprocessor.


Both handsets have an 8 megapixel camera; however that’s where the similarities end. The iPhone 5S has a larger active sensor area which allows it to take more detailed photos. It also has a True Tone dual-LED flash which helps ensure colours are natural, while the iPhone 5C just has a single LED flash. The iPhone 5S can also shoot slow motion video at 120fps, which the iPhone 5C can’t, though both can shoot 1080p video at 30fps. Both phones also have a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera.

All in all, the feature set on the iPhone 5S’s camera is substantially greater than on the iPhone 5C, but in terms of just megapixels they’re equal.

Fingerprint scanner

One of the main selling points of the iPhone 5S over the 5C is its fingerprint scanner. It can be used both to unlock your phone and to make purchases on the app store and it is of course a lot faster than entering a password.



Operating system

Both phones run iOS 7, so there’s no difference there.


The iPhone 5S comes in 16, 32 or 64GB varieties, while the iPhone 5C will be available with 16 or 32GB of storage. Neither handset has a micro SD card slot, so if you want a lot of storage the 64GB iPhone 5S is the only option.

Battery life

The battery in the iPhone 5S is rated at 1434 mAh, while it’s not yet known how big the battery in the iPhone 5C is. However in terms of life Apple has quoted exactly the same figures for both of them, giving you 10 hours of talk time on 3G or up to 250 hours of standby time.

Connectivity options

Both handsets support Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G LTE, so that’s another area where they’re identical.


The iPhone 5S starts at £549 for the 16GB model. For £629 you can get the 32GB version and for £709 you can get the 64GB model.

The iPhone 5C starts at a still far from cheap £469 for the 16GB version, while the 32GB model costs £549 (the same as a 16GB iPhone 5S).


The key differences between the two handsets then are that the iPhone 5S has a premium build while the 5C is plastic, the 5S is a lot more powerful, has a motion coprocessor, more camera features, a fingerprint scanner , is significantly lighter and potentially has more storage. It also costs nearly £100 more. Whether those features justify the extra outlay is subjective, but we’d be inclined to say that they do.

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