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iPhones Reviews
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iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: which colourful smartphone is better?

£429, 8GB; £469, 16GB; £549, 32GB

Manufacturer: Apple

Here's where we put the two colourful smartphones, the iPhone 5c and Nokia Lumia 520 up against each other. Keep reading for our iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review.

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review

Apple has now launched a 'budget' smartphone that is bright and colourful and offers some, but not all, of the functionality of its flagship phone. Nokia also has a smartphone that does the same thing, this is the Lumia 520, here is where we put the two smartphones up against each other in what we call an iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review. See: iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C comparison review: what's the difference between iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C?. See also: iPhone 5C review.

We haven't yet had any hands-on time with the Apple iPhone 5c, so until we do we will be able to comment only on the smartphone's specs and reported features. We will update this comparison review once we have had some time with the device. Follow the Nokia X Android Launch Live from MWC 2014.

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: Price

The easiest place to start is the price as it's pretty black and white – which is slightly ironic for two incredibly colourful smartphones – the most obvious thing we need to say is that the iPhone 5c is a *lot* more expensive than the Nokia Lumia 520. See also: HTC One vs iPhone 5 comparison review.

The iPhone 5c is available in 16GB and 32GB models and is priced at £469 and £549 respectively. The Nokia Lumia 520 is a lot cheaper with prices starting at £100 for the all-black model and rising to £163 for the yellow Nokia.

I'm sure you'll agree that £63 for the same phone is a different colour is ridiculous. Our guess is that all colours of the Lumia 520 original cost £163, but the boring black handset simply isn't selling so Nokia is taking a hit to try and shift some handsets. It does make for an amazingly priced smartphone, though.

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: Design

Okay, so the obvious thing that these two smartphones have in common is that they are both very playful to look atm and are available in several different “fun” colours.

Both phones also have 4-inch displays; the iPhone 5c has opted for a tall and thin design (124.4 x 59.2 x 9 mm), while the Nokia Lumia 520 adopts the shorter and stockier approach (119.9 x 64 x 9.9 mm). The Lumia 520 is the lighter of the two devices weighing in at 124g compared to the iPhone 5c's 132g.

In terms of sex appeal it's really down to personal preference, neither phone is ugly, but if you ask us the Nokia Lumia 520 is a little more edgy and cool compared to the iPhone 5c, which sports a look that pretty much hasn't changed since February 2011.

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: Processor

The Nokia Lumia 520 comes with a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor with 512MB RAM. It's hardly a world-beater, but it's enough to power this relatively lightweight budget phone. We didn't experience any noticeable lag when flicking around the phone, the only delays we did experience were when opening the camera or third-party apps, and even then the delay was only a few seconds.

The iPhone 5c has a new upgraded A7 processor and 1GB of RAM on board. The iPhone 5c and 5S are the first Apple devices to feature theses= new processors, and as we haven't yet received our review sample of either device we can't comment on its performance. But expect it to be fast - the spec of the 5c is similar to that of the iPhone 5.

Both of these phones will be plenty fast enough.

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: Screen

Although the two screens are both 4-inch displays and boast 16M colour each, that's where the similarity stops. The screen on the iPhone 5c has a far superior display.

The iPhone 5c has a 640 x 1136 pixel (326 ppi) LED-backlit IPS LCD display, whereas the Nokia Lumia 520 posseses only 400 x 800 pixels (233 ppi), therefor the screen's sharpness will be inferior to the iPhone's Retina Display.

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: Storage

There are two ways you need to look at the storage on offer when comparing the iPhone 5c and the Nokia Lumia 520. Firstly is the internal storage, which the iPhone 5c has either 16GB or 32GB  on offer, while the Lumia 520 has only 8GB to give.

Easy win for the iPhone 5C you might think. However, the Lumia has a cunning trick up its sleeve and that is an expandable microSD slot that lets you add an extra 64GB of storage to the device should you wish. A quick search on Amazon UK suggests that a decent quality 64GB microSD card will cost around £34.

Bearing that in mind, you really can't argue with the physical storage capability of the Lumia 520. This has been an area in which Apple has been dragging its feet for some time. And don't expect it to change any time soon: Apple doesn't like mere consumers customising its kit.

Both devices come with their own cloud storage options too; the iPhone 5c has iCloud built in, while the Lumia 520 will work seamlessly with Microsoft's SkyDrive (you will need to download the app from the Store first).

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: Cameras

We haven't yet had any hands-on time with the iPhone 5c so we can only report on its specs. On offer is an 8 Mp rear-facing camera with a LED flash, it also records 1080 video at 30fps. The secondary camera is a 1.2 Mp camera that looks like it is primarily there to be used for Facetime rather than taking snaps of any real quality.

In the Nokia Lumia 520 corner is a 5 Mp rear-racing camera, with no LED flash and no front-facing camera at all – video is recorded at 720p @ 30 fps. We took a few snaps with the Lumia 520 and it fared reasonably, with good focus and slightly washed-out but relatively true colours.

iPhone 5c vs Nokia Lumia 520 comparison review: Software

The is perhaps where the two phones differ the most; they run completely different operating systems. The iPhone 5c will come pre-installed with iOS 7 – which we have yet to review, but expect it to be an improvement on previous iOS (that's always the way it goes) – whereas the Lumia 520 is running Windows Phone 8.

Any who hasn't been living in a hole for the last five years will be used to Apple's slick iOS interface, its intuitive design is loved by millions of users worldwide, which is the biggest compliment we can give it, really. The iPhone 5c will also have access to the most accomplished app store in the business also, with minimal security threats and plenty of apps, songs, books, movies on offer.

The Lumia 520's OS and software are a bit of an acquired taste. The Windows Phone 8 platform is a complete change to what iOS and Android offer the mobile world. Windows Phone 8 presents you with two screens to control your smartphone with; first is a tiled Modern UI interface, which looks pretty cool, the second is an alphabetical list of all the phones apps/programs.

Previous experiments have shown the majority new users having difficulty navigating their way around a Window Phone 8 device, compared to Android and iOS smartphones. That said, once you get you head around the layout, using a Windows Phone 8 device isn't an issue at all.

Perhaps the most significant in terms of software here is that the Windows Phone 8 app store is lagging massively behind iOS, and this is a huge issue for smartphone consumers. It's worth bearing in mind that all the mainstream apps – Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Skype – are available on WP8.

iPhone 5C Expert Verdict »

Apple iPhone 5C white 16GB Scores 8.8 out of 10 based on 2374 reviews
A6 processor iOS7 4in display 8GB, 16GB or 32GB 124.4x59.2x8.97mm 132g

The iPhone 5c is Apple's 'budget' phone, but there looks to be very little budget about it (even the price), so comparing it to the Nokia Lumia 520 is a bit unfair as that genuinely is a budget smartphone. The iPhone 5c will obviously be the better smartphone, but its price holds it back a little.


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