The colorful iPhone 5C is official: review Apple’s first original midranger

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After months of speculation and years in the making, the long-rumored midrange iPhone 5C model made a debut alongside the flagship iPhone 5S. As expected, its specs are mostly a rehash of already existing components, but the housing is brand new and sets it apart from Apple’s tradition so far to just use last year’s iPhone model as this year’s midrange offering in the iOS universe.

Design

Let’s start with the chassis then – the iPhone 5C is built of durable one-piece polycarbonate with a steel frame underneath that serves as the antenna, and Jony Ive called the design “unapologetically plastic,” basically a polycarb iPhone 5, judging from the specs. The phone comes in a variety of different colors for every taste and wackiness – green, white, blue, yellow, and rose. It is slim, even for today’s smartphone standards, yet not thinner than the more premium iPhone 5S. It is, however, very light, as you can easily imagine from the plastic body and the compact size. As for the software part, you can have wallpapers in iOS 7 matching your specific color of iPhone 5C, neat.

Specs

The screen is a 4″ Retina Display panel with the usual excellent brightness, sRGB color representation, viewing angles and reflection levels. Inside we get an A6 chipset, which is enough to power everything iOS throws at the handset at this screen resolution, plus likely 1 GB of RAM. Storage is taken care of with 16/32 GB models that allow no expansion via a memory card slot. An 8 MP iSight camera on the back with LED flash rounds up a very decent midrange offering.

There is a new FaceTime HD camera in the front, too, with larger 1.9 micron pixels to capture more light, and backside illumination. Apple said the iPhone 5C carries a cellular modem with more LTE bands than any other smartphone, so it should be a rather global device out of the box, but we don’t know if the comparison includes the octaband Xperia Z Ultra, for example.

Pricing

We know what you are wondering about the most – Apple’s first foray into a more affordable iPhone version will cost $99 for the 16 GB version and $199 for the 32 GB one on contract – if this was an Android handset, that pricing would place it in the upper midrange or even directly in the flagship category. “Soft-feel silicon rubber” cases are available for the iPhone 5C at $29 apiece, and these have circular cutout patterns, so you can see the original handset color underneath, as you can see below.

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Despite Steve Jobs swearing Apple will never go downmarket with the iPhone, the iPhone 5C is a fact, and indicates a smart managerial move on CEO Tim Cook’s part, who is quickly adjusting to the changing realities in the smartphone industry where the most expansion opportunities in the battle for the consumers’ palms and pockets have now moved squarely to the midrange segment. What do you think about the way iPhone 5C ended up?

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