Apple iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5c: New iPhones Compared

For the first time in Apple history, the company has debuted two different iPhones at the same time -- the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. Both smartphones may look physically similar, but the truth is both phones are built to serve different audiences.

Apple has called its iPhone 5s their most “forward thinking phone yet,” while the iPhone 5c marks the first time Apple has targeted a budget-minded audience with a new smartphone release. Should you snag the $99 color-coated iPhone 5c or save up for Apple’s new flagship -- the $199.99 iPhone 5s? Here’s a closer look at the core differences between Apple’s newest additions to the iPhone family.

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Both the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s come with 4-inch displays and sport nearly identical dimensions. The 4.9 x 2.33 x 0.345-inch iPhone 5c is just slightly taller and thicker than the 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3-inch iPhone 5s. At 3.95 ounces, the aluminum-plated iPhone 5S is also a tad lighter than the plastic-clad 4.65 iPhone 5c.

The most noticeable difference between the two phones in terms of design are their build materials. The iPhone 5c comes with a colorful steel-reinforced polycarbonate plastic shell that Apple promises is as seamless as it is solid. The lower-priced iPhone will also be available in a slew of colors including white, pink, yellow, blue and green.

The iPhone 5s, comparatively, comes with the familiar high-grade aluminum design found in the previous generation iPhone 5. Apple has announced that its flagship iPhone will be available in a new Gold color option in addition to the traditional Silver shade. Instead of offering the standard black color choice, Apple has opted for a slightly tweaked Space Gray color that looks similar to the Graphite color that leaked before the announcement.


While Apple has largely kept the same design as the iPhone 5 with its iPhone 5s, it has focused on upgrading its internals. The new iPhone 5s comes equipped with Apple’s fresh A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and an M7 motion coprocessor for contextual computing.

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This means that the iPhone 5s can detect when you’re holding the phone or resting it in your pocket, similar to Motorola’s new Moto X and Droid phones. The iPhone 5s also continuously measures data from the phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope and compass to sync with various fitness and health apps. The iPhone 5c, however, comes with the same Apple A6 processor found in the iPhone 5 and doesn’t include an additional motion coprocessor.

Both phones feature the same 4-inch Retina display with a 1136 x 640-pixel resolution and promise up to 10 hours of Web surfing via LTE and Wi-Fi. This is up from the 8 hours of battery life Apple packed into its iPhone 5.  Apple offers the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in 16GB and 32GB storage options, but the iPhone 5S also comes in a 64GB capacity (for $399 with two-year contract).

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Apple has beefed up the camera features in its iPhone 5s, although both the 5s and 5c feature the same 8-megapixel iSight sensor as previous iPhone iterations. While both devices come with the standard iPhone camera features such as panorama, backside illumination and face detection, the 5s features some new capabilities.

Apple has finally added Burst Mode to the iPhone -- a feature that has been available on Android phones for quite some time. This means that iPhone 5s users will be able to capture multiple photos in one click rather than having to shoot separate images individually. The 5s also comes with a new f/2.2 aperture lens as opposed to the 5c's f/2.4 aperture lens, which allows the 5s to capture more light. 

True to the rumors, the iPhone 5s also features a dual LED flash for more accurate  and even lighting. Dubbed Two Tone flash, the new addition means that the 5s comes with both white and amber LED flashes to create a more balanced color temperature. The camera works in tandem with Apple’s software to determine how much flash is appropriate for a given scene. Apple boasts that the iPhone 5s also features more accurate auto image stabilization to minimize blur. 


As for the device’s camcorder, the company has added a new feature for capturing footage in slow motion. The Slo-Mo function lets you shoot video at 120 frames per second in 720p, and then select the portion you’d like to slow down at a quarter of that speed.

Special Features

Every iPhone has its standout characteristic that Apple touts as a main selling point. The iPhone 4s brought Siri into the picture, while the iPhone 5 introduced the most drastic redesign the iPhone had seen since its introduction.  But for the iPhone 5s, it’s Apple’s new Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Apple’s latest flagship comes equipped with a biometric sensor embedded in its home button that can read your fingerprint. The company boasts that it can interpret your fingerprint when held in any orientation and can read multiple fingerprints. A stainless steel detection ring surrounds the iPhone’s home button, and Apple has ditched the traditional square icon that usually sits in the center of the Home button.  The iPhone 5c, on the other hand, doesn’t come with a fingerprint sensor and sports the same Home button as its predecessors.


The iPhone 5c is essentially an iPhone 5 with a fresh paint job and lower price tag. Rather than lowering the price of the iPhone 5 that Apple announced last year, the company has simply replaced it with the more colorful 5c. Starting at $99.99, the iPhone 5c offers a complete iOS 7 experience with a slew of  color options and Apple’s A6 processor. Still, this means you’ll have to be willing to shell out some big bucks if you want an iPhone with Apple’s aluminum design.

The iPhone 5s is Apple’s true successor to the iPhone 5. Complete with a fingerprint scanner, improved camera features, a dedicated motion coprocessor and Apple’s next generation A7 chip, the iPhone 5s is equipped with all the internal upgrades we expected to see in Apple’s newest smartphone.

Lisa Eadicicco
LAPTOP Staff Writer
Lisa has been reporting on all things mobile for since early 2013. When she’s not reviewing gadgets, she’s usually browsing patent databases or interviewing experts to track down the hottest tech trends before they even happen. Lisa holds a B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Purchase and has contributed to The International Business Times, The New York Daily News and Guitar World Magazine.