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Is the iPhone 5c worth it?

Hannah Bealer 24th Sep 2013 No Comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Apple is marketing their new iPhone 5c as a cheaper alternative to their more expensive models, but is it actually worth buying?

The downsides of the newest iPhone

Looking at their comparison chart for the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 4s, there isn’t too much of a difference between the 5c and 5s as far as features go. Sure, the 5s has a slightly better camera and the new fingerprint technology. But the true difference lies in appearance. The 5c is just slightly bigger, comes with the coloured plastic backing, and is significantly heavier.

I’ll admit the idea of the coloured backing initially caught my interest. But what’s the point when most iPhone users buy their own cases – usually for protective purposes?

The idea of a plastic iPhone is what bothered me the most. Sure, manufacturing plastic is a lot cheaper than aluminium. It’s no secret Apple thought this new option would boost their sales (their stock price dropped 11% soon after the announcement, but during the opening weekend they sold over nine million 5s and 5c units – a record-breaking number, although no word on how the 5c did on its own).

But plastic looks cheap, and the new model already has a lot of negativity surrounding it that might turn potential buyers away. Apple is known for having high-end, dependable products. Their usual customers won’t settle for second best. I think it’s great they’re trying to appeal to people who otherwise wouldn’t be in their demographic, but I’m just not sure it’s the smartest business move when it comes to their American and European markets.

But it’s not all bad

A friend of mine who is a campus representative for Apple at our university made an excellent point. The 5c is expected to do well in Asia-Pacific and emerging markets more sensitive to high prices. That makes perfect sense to me, but we have yet to see if this becomes a reality.

And while I’m taken aback whenever I see anyone under the age of 13 with an iPhone, I do think these 5c models could potentially be a great alternative for younger users. I still don’t think a seven-year-old should be carting these phones around, but if it has to happen I hope parents will opt out for a cheaper option. I drop my phone constantly, so I can’t even imagine how kids keep a hold of them!

In my own humble opinion, I would just spend the extra money ($100 is not that much of a price difference) and buy the 5s. It’s a one-time price, and you’ll be paying the same amount of money per month anyways. The 5c doesn’t get you a better contract, after all.

Then again, I’m speaking as a 20-something American. There clearly are some perks to the 5c. Maybe you prefer the durable plastic, you have kids, or you’re buying multiple units for your family and that $100 difference actually does have an impact. As always, make the choice that’s right for you and your budget.





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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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