We just spent some time going hands on with the two new iPhones that Apple announced in their town hall event which just wrapped up. The iPhone 5C comes in as an entirely new device and inherits the slot the iPhone 5 would've occupied had it been kept around. It's probably the most interesting to go hands-on with since it's Apple's first all plastic phone since the 3G and 3GS. 

I'm impressed with how the 5C ends up feeling in the hand. The hard coated surface manages to not feel slippery but still have a certain heft and solidness to it. What's interesting about the 5C is really the way its rounded corners all seem to have the same radius, which gives it a very unified feeling in the hand. The front, edge, and sides all share that same rounded profile. It still retains the same overall profile as the iPhone 5 as well. Buttons on the 5C are clicky and responsive, and also have that same hard coated feeling without feeling cheap. That's really the important thing about the 5C, it had to be solid while still being made out of polymer, something OEMs in the Android space still haven't quite nailed down.

 

The internal metal structure also helped the 5C feel rigid, the back side doesn't deform or press in like I've felt on a number of other all polymer phones. It's clear that Apple had its mechanicals nailed down for the 5C design to make sure it was rigid even if it was still polymer. 

iOS 7 looks right at home on the 5C as well, with matching wallpaper colors and styling out of the box. Obviously Apple thought about its color palette and designed the 5C around some of the vibrant tones in iOS 7, and it really matches and looks great on the device. The 5C comes in white, pink, yellow, blue, and green colors. 

With the 5C Apple also has some complimentary colored cases which look great on the 5C and contrast nicely with the colors. 

The rounded cutout portions of the cases look great and still show off the color underneath. Inside is a suede material that won't scratch the phone if dirt gets trapped in-between. The cases are also a polymer material.

The 5C might not be the flagship for Apple, but it's arguably the more interesting of the two devices since it's Apple's next attempt at a polymer device. 

 

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  • Dman23 - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Nice. That case looks interesting and provides fun contrasts in colors. The hardware upgrades and the software ain't to shabby either. Can't wait to see these phones in person! Reply
  • erikiksaz - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Hah if by interesting you mean ugly. They must have sourced their hole-poked case designer from Chinese eBay sellers. Reply
  • Desiderata - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Oh, you mean the same ones that you sourced brain cells from? Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Seriously? You don't agree that it looks awful? I guess everybody truly does see things differently.

    The white and blue phones look ok, but the rest are quite bad colours. Also, why the hell are these phones shiny? I think everybody in the whole god-damn world has by now realised that glossy plastic bad in EVERY way - it scratches easily, looks cheaper and doesn't feel as nice.

    I like plastic phones, but they should feel like the Lumia 800, not a more-rigid Galaxy S1.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    I'm normally the last person to call out a bias, I think Brian's smartphone writing is usually some of the most even handed (and certainly the most in depth out there)... But I find it funny that he called out Android OEMs over their polymer finishes yet didn't say anything about the glossy finish here.

    Granted, I certainly haven't held a 5C, but based on looks and what I'd expect from a glossy finish I'd take a Lumia, One X (talking solely about chassis), or Moto X over this any day. SOME Android OEM are certainly behind the curve on this, namely Samsung and LG.
    Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - link

    Forgot to add, I actually happen to like the look of the cases (and I'm 31) but I'd never use one... Those holes are gonna collect a ton of dust. Camera and volume holes alone usually leave a ring of crud and dust when you take the case off after having it in a pocket for a while (it just slips in no matter what, even over the side of the screen). Reply
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    So plastic becomes polymer? :)
    It's a small thing but it really shows how pervasive the RDF is, imho.
    The phone looks nice, btw, and I'm happy to see that they are recognizing the value of multiple colors (well more than two, anyway).
    Reply
  • Zandros - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Despite his ranting in the podcasts, I believe Brian has been been calling plastic phones 'polymer' and/or 'polycarbonate' for a good while now. ;) Reply
  • Shlong - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Not really Zandros, look at his past reviews. HTC One review = mentions plastic as being bad, LG G2 review = glossy plastic is bad , S4 review= where's the sophisticated materials, Moto X review = plastic this and plastic that. Now with the 5C it's polycarbonate and feels great. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - link

    Well, that's his point - this plastic feels better than any of the previous.

    May ancient iPhone 3G's back is scratched to hell, yet it still feels better in my hand than most (but not all) plastic Android phones. I don't know about the 5C, but I imagine it will be similar.

    As for the color choice and the hole-y cases, they aren't my cup of tea (I greatly prefer "Space Gray",) but as the lower-end model, they're sure to be attractive to younger crowds. (We're likely going to get my daughter a new phone soon, and I have a feeling she'll want a 5C over a 5S. Although we're too cheap for that, we'll probably get her a used 4S or 5.)
    Reply

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