Apple iPhone 5c review: The color of magic

The color of magic

GSMArena team, 26 September 2013.

Battery life

Underneath the back panel lies a non-user-accessible 1,510 mAh Li-Po battery, which is 70mAh more than the iPhone 5 had. This is basically the only department where the iPhone 5c got a minor upgrade. Apple says the battery should last for up to 10 hours of calls or 250 hours of stand-by, quite a bump up from the iPhone 5's promised 8 hours of talk time and 225 hours of standby. We're guessing the iOS 7 update has something to do with that as well.

We ran our traditional battery test and the iPhone 5c achieved a pretty good score of 52h, which means you'll only need to charge it once every 52 hours if you use it for an hour of talking, web browsing and video playback per day. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on use (calls and video are particularly taxing, whereas browsing endurance is great).

The score is just an hour better than the iPhone 5 results. The 3G talk time and stand-by endurances have been slightly improved, the web browser battery drainage is almost the same, while the video playback has strangely dropped by over 2 hours.

Apple iPhone 5c battery test

Its important to note that the iPhone 5c test unit (along with a couple of iPhone 5 units we have) had major issues with their stand-by. On three different occasions its dully charged battery got drained completely overnight. Here's hoping that Apple finds a fix for this as soon as possible as it's rather irritating to have to deal with this.


Apple iPhone 5c fits perfectly in most hands and is very easy to operate, while also being pocket friendly thanks to its compact size. The one thing that bothers us is the poor grip of the smartphone. As we mentioned earlier, you can easily drop the iPhone 5c because of its slippery plastic and not quite ergonomic edges. In the event you opt for this colorful smartphone you should be very careful when you picking it up from flat surfaces, or even as you're taking it out of your pocket.

Apple iPhone 5c Apple iPhone 5c
Handing the iPhone 5c is a slippery affair


The Apple iPhone 5c comes with the same 4" IPS LCD screen that premiered with the iPhone 5. It has a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels, which adds up to a pixel density of 326ppi.

Apple iPhone 5c
The Apple iPhone 5c display

As expected, the display offers excellent colors, contrast and viewing angles. Because the front glass reduces reflectivity, sunlight legibility is great too. Just as we expected, the iPhone 5c display turned out to be as good as last year's iPhone 5 screen in our tests.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone 5c 0.14 160 1129 0.47 589 1233
Apple iPhone 5 0.13 200 1490 0.48 640 1320
Apple iPhone 4S 0.14 205 1463 0.52 654 1261
Apple iPhone 4 0.14 189 1341 0.39 483 1242
Sony Xperia Z1 - - - 0.38 580 1513
Sony Xperia Z Ultra - - - 0.47 467 1001
Sony Xperia Z - - - 0.70 492 705
Huawei Ascend Mate 0.23 222 982 0.67 711 1053
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 0.12 160 1364 0.32 440 1379
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 0 201 0 404
Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III 0 174 0 330
Samsung Galaxy Note II 0 253 0 478
HTC Butterfly S 0.15 165 1117 0.43 451 1044
HTC One 0.13 205 1580 0.42 647 1541
Oppo Find 5 0.17 176 1123 0.51 565 1107

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
  • Apple iPhone 5
  • Apple iPhone 5c
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Omnia W
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • Nokia N9
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
  • HTC One S
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
  • Huawei Ascend P1
  • Nokia Lumia 900
  • HTC One
  • Sony Xperia Z
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
  • Motorola RAZR i
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
  • Apple iPhone 4S
  • HTC One X
  • Nokia N8
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
  • Oppo Find 5
  • BlackBerry Z10
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
  • HTC Butterfly
  • Sony Xperia V
  • Sony Xperia U
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
  • HTC One V
  • LG Optimus Vu
  • HTC Desire V
  • LG Optimus G Pro
  • LG Optimus 3D
  • Nokia Asha 302
  • Nokia Lumia 610
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
  • HTC Desire C
  • LG Optimus L7
  • LG Optimus L9
  • Meizu MX
  • Sony Xperia E dual
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
  • Sony Xperia tipo
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2

And here's how the Apple iPhone 5 display matrix compares to that of its predecessor. You can clearly see both are pretty much the same.

Apple iPhone 5c display matrixApple iPhone 5 display matrix
Apple iPhone 5c screen under a microscope vs. the iPhone 5 screen

iPhone displays have always had impressive image quality, but Apple is starting to fall behind by yet again delaying the release of an iPhone with a bigger display than 4". The company no longer holds the record for highest ppi on a mobile screen, and has even fallen behind in the pixel density race, where 1080p screens rule. Of course the difference between the Retina screen sharpness and that of the best on the market is only evident when you look from way closer than feels natural or comfortable, so we won't be taking any points away for the resolution.

Size is a bigger issue though and hopefully, next year's release of the iPhone 6 will see an increase in screen diagonal. Otherwise the Cupertino company runs the risk of seeing its market share continue to slip.

Reader comments

  • Colim

Apple iPhone 5

  • Bruce kikkert

just make a new apple account and use that one but if you cant switch you need to make an backup of your phones data and reset it completely to fabric settings and when you start up you just login with your new account (you can create an apple accoun...

  • Anonymous

It's from 2013 bro what do you expect?