We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Apple iPhones Reviews
15,103 Reviews

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C comparison review: what's the difference between iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C?

16GB £549 inc VAT; 32GB £629 inc VAT; 64GB £709 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Apple

Apple today launched the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, and retired the iPhone 5. You can still buy the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, of course, but this is the first time Apple has released two brand new iPhones at the same time. So what's the difference between iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C? We compared the specifications of both new Apple iPhone to find out.

iPhone 5S

Because we haven't yet had the chance to properly test the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, we're basing this article purely on specs. We'll update the review as we do more testing. (See also: iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S launch: as it happened.) See also: iPhone 5C review.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: UK price

This we can cover off easily. The price for the iPhone 5S is as follows: the 16GB iPhone 5S will cost £549 inc VAT in the UK. The 32GB flavour will set you back £629 inc VAT, and the 64GB model a whopping £709 inc VAT. The iPhone 5C comes in lower, as befits Apple's first plastic phone since the 3GS. It comes in just two capacities - 16GB and 32GB - that cost £469 inc VAT and £569 inc VAT respectively.

See also: Apple iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5 comparison review: What's the plastic iPhone 5C got?

For comparison purposes, the now retired iPhone 5 used to cost as follows: 16GB = £529, 32GB = £599, and 64GB £699. (See also: iPhone 5C UK price and iPhone 5S price in the UK.)

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: processor

Here's where things get really interesting. The iPhone 5S is the first 64-bit smartphone. It comes with an all-new A7 chip with 64-bit architecture. It also has what Apple calls an M7 motion coprocessor, which should mean a lot more apps that use motion-tracking, such as fitness apps. The iPhone 5C by contrast comes with an A6 chip - it's basically the iPhone 5 with a new coat. Without doing any further testing we can't honestly comment on how this will affect performance. But if the iPhone 5C performs like the iPhone 5 it will be fast for a premium smartphone. Here's hoping the iPhone 5S is an upgrade. Apple doesn't tend to say how much RAM it puts into its smartphones. See also: iPhone 5S release date in UK, specs and features.

iPhone 5C

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: storage

Storage is another differentiator. The iPhone 5C comes in 16GB and 32GB flavours, but the iPhone 5S matches that and goes all the way up to 64GB. (See also: iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 comparison review.)

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: design, build, dimensions

iPhone 5CAnother key area of difference is the design. The iPhone 5C is a radical departure for Apple. It is primarily made of plastic - the last to come with a plastic shell was the 3GS. And it comes in a variety of colours, five of them in fact. The iPhoine 5S by contrast is more in keeping with the iPhone 5's tone. It comes in three metallic shades, including a gold effect.

The iPhone 5S's dimensions are 123.8x58.6x7.6mm, and it weighs just 112g. By contrast the iPhone 5C measures 124.4x59.2x8.97mm and weighs 132g.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: features

The key difference in terms of features as according to Apple goes a bit like this: the iPhone 5S has a chip with 64-bit architecture, and iOS7 was built for that architecture. It also has a fingerprint identity sensor and what Apple calls a better, faster camera. But in many ways the two phones are similar...

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: battery

Another hardware spec Apple never gives away, and for which we'll have to wait to tear down a handset, is battery life. But unusually for a tech company Apple's claimed battery life figures tend to be close to the mark (steps back, waits for 'fanboy' accusations...). Both phones have built-in, non-swappable lithium-ion batteries. And Apple says both batteries will last for the same time. Apple says the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will last for up to 250 hours on standby, and 10 hours of talk time. Web surfing is 8 hours on 3G, and 10 hours on LTE and Wi-Fi. Apple claims 10 hours for video playback and 40 hours audio playback, for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.

As I said before, before testing I expect these to bear out. Apple has a habit of underpromising on one device in order to make the lesser device look better. It did this previously with the iPhone 4S battery life, so that when the more powerful (but more power hungry) iPhone 5 came along it didn't look like a step back in terms of portability. So it is possible one will be better than the other, in this regard.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: cameras

iPhone 5SBoth the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C have two cameras, a front-facing FaceTime camera and a rear-facing camera known as an iSight camera. The specifications work out as follows.

The iPhone 5C iSight camera has and 8 megapixel sensor with ƒ/2.4 aperture and LED flash. It supports 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps with video stabilisation. There's a 3x zoom. The iPhone 5C's FaceTime Camera takes 1.2Mp photos at a resolution of 1280x960, and offers 720p HD video recording.

The iPhone 5S iSight camera has what Apple describes as a better 8Mp sensor, listing it as 8 megapixels with 1.5µ pixels. It has ƒ/2.2 aperture and a true-tone flash. The video capabilities are the same, as listed, as is the FaceTime camera.

We'll have to give both iSight cameras a good workout before we make a proper judgment as to whether the iPhone 5S' is 'better'.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: display

The screen is another area in which the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S are eerily similar. Both have 4-inch (diagonal) widescreen Multi-Touch displays, with a 1136x640-pixel resolution that makes for a pixel density of 326ppi. Expect 800:1 contrast ratio and 500 cd/m2 max brightness from both the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C: software

Both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will launch with iOS7, and be upgraded for free to all new versions of Apple's operating system. (See also: iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S launch: as it happened.)

See also: iOS 7 release date, new features, which iPhones, iPods, iPads get it.

iPhone 5S Expert Verdict »

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

Apple iPhone 5S 16GB Scores 8.9 out of 10 based on 938 reviews
A7 64-bit processor
16GB, 32GB, 64GB
8Mp and 1.2Mp cameras
4in display
123.8x58.6x7.6mm, and it weighs just 112g

The similarities that match the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S are in many ways as intriguing as the differences. They offer the same battery life and display, and broadly the same software experience. But the iPhone 5S is - we are told - quicker, with a better camera and some additional features. Whether that makes it worth the extra cash only you can decide.

Price comparison powered by Reevoo


The Complete Guide to the iPhone 5s & 5c is on-sale now. Click here for buying information.

The Complete Guide to the iPad Air & iPad mini is on-sale now. Click here for buying information.

IDG UK Sites

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 release date, price and specs 2014

IDG UK Sites

What's the best smartwatch? 11 iWatch rivals compared in our wearables round-up

IDG UK Sites

App cloning: the mobile software industry’s hidden shame

IDG UK Sites

Developers get access to more Sony camera features