On September 20th, Apple users all over the world were given the ability to buy the newest iPhone models. Unlike all previous iPhone releases, however, Apple decided to release two different versions of the new phone—the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S. Taking them at face value, it might appear that the only differences between these two different phones are mostly cosmetic (the 5C is plastic and colorful while the 5S has the same metallic look most iPhone users have grown accustomed to). If you take a closer look, however, you will notice several differences between the two models, which should help you decide which one is right for you.
1. Materials – When it comes to the newest iPhones, your first impressions of the difference between the 5C and the 5S will probably be based on how they look. The 5S is very similar to the old iPhone 5 (which has been discontinued) in that it has an aluminum casing, which gives it a somewhat sturdier feel. For the first time in the history of Apple’s mobile devices, the exterior casing on the 5C is made of polycarbonate (also known as plastic). This cheaper material translates to the phone being able to cost you less money.
2. Price – The other most noticeable difference between the 5C and the 5S is the starting price of each phone. An iPhone 5S starts at $199 (with a two-year contract) for the 16GB model. As storage increases, the price goes up ($299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB). The iPhone 5C, on the other hand, is Apple’s attempt at offering a “low-cost” version of the iPhone. It starts at just $99 (with a two-year contract) for a 16GB model and has a 32GB model for $199.
3. Colors – The major selling point for the iPhone 5C seems to be all the different color options for the device. Apple has released the phone in five bright hues: green, pink, blue, yellow, and white. For the release of the 5S, Apple redesigned the color options available for its traditional device to include a very popular gold version. In addition to gold, “space grey” replaces the black phone, and silver replaces white.
4. Processor Speed – Unless you are very technically-inclined, the differences between the processors in the iPhone 5C and 5S will probably go over your head. Put simply, however, the A7 chip in the iPhone 5S is much faster than the A6 chip in the iPhone 5C. Essentially, the 5C has most of the same component’s of 2012’s iPhone 5 with the only key difference being the fact that its aluminum exterior has been replaced with plastic. Inside, the components of the 5C are almost identical to last year’s phone.
5. Fingerprint Scanner – When Apple announced the iPhone 5S, one of its major new features was the addition of a fingerprint scanner for added security. The scanner, which is built into the phone’s Home button, ensures that you are the only one who is able to access your device and replaces the need for a passcode to unlock your iPhone. This new feature is exclusive to the iPhone 5S and won’t be found on the 5C.
6. Camera – The cameras on both the iPhone 5S and the 5C both offer 8 megapixels and the ability to capture HD video up to 1080p. While these basic specs are the same, however, the camera on the 5S takes much better pictures than the one on the 5C. It has a dual-flash, which improves how well it captures colors. The 5S camera can also record slow-motion HD video as well as being able to take up to 10 photos per second.
When you are making the decision between buying an iPhone 5C and a 5S, there are several things to consider. If you are interested in the most technologically-advanced iPhone, the 5S is easily the best option, though it does come at a premium price. If you have always been kept out of the iPhone market because of the high cost, however, the 5C might finally allow you to join the revolution because its $99 entry point is the cheapest Apple has ever offered. On the other hand, if you already have an iPhone 5, there is no reason to upgrade to the 5C because they are essentially the same phone. In the end, you will have to make the decision based on which iPhone seems to fit your usage habits and budget best. Don’t worry, though—even if you make the wrong decision now, you can be sure that Apple will change everything once again when they come out with the next big iPhone release next fall.