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The first reviews of the iPhone 5s and 5c hit the Web

Evan Dashevsky | Sept. 19, 2013
The press embargo has lifted, the press is now free to publish their first takes on Apple's latest devices.

iphone 5s

The latest and greatest incarnations of the iPhone will go on sale this Friday. Of course, several members of the press have been allowed to get their hands on the full-throttled 5s and entry-level 5c. By and large, the reviews have found the 5c to be a more affordable (and colorful) reinvention of the iPhone 5, while the iPhone 5s is just about the best phone out there.

The iPhone 5c: A more colorful iPhone 5

CNet's senior editor Scott Stein gave the iPhone 5c four-out-of-five-stars and sums the device up as a $99 version of the "iPhone 5 in a more colorful case."

The only new additions to the 5C (versus the old 5) are iOS 7 coming preinstalled, new LTE antennas that work with more international carriers, a better low-light-sensitive front-facing FaceTime HD camera, and a slightly increased internal battery versus last year's model — better on paper, but not on a magnitude that most people would appreciate.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball gives a warm reception to the 5c, but similarly describes it as a re-purposed iPhone 5 in a different coat. His own benchmark tests found the "5C review unit scored nearly identically to my personal iPhone 5."

On the inside, it's an iPhone 5, with a few relatively minor upgrades. (To wit: the cellular antenna now supports more LTE bands and faster LTE speeds, and the front-facing FaceTime camera is better.) Otherwise, it's the same A6 processor, the same iSight camera, the same everything as in the iPhone 5, so far as Apple has claimed and I can tell.

iphone 5c

Lauren Goode at AllThingsD calls the 5c "a solid premium phone," but notes that:

While the 5c looks and feels very familiar, it's still a good phone and an improvement over the 5. But its improvements are evolutionary, not revolutionary.

Vincent Nguyen at SlashGear found better battery performance in the 5c than in the iPhone 5.

In practice, we saw better performance than we did on last year's iPhone 5. With typical use — push email turned on, some multimedia playback, use of the camera, nearly an hour of GPS navigation, and some browsing over both LTE and WiFi — we still ended the day with charge to spare.

The Loop's Jim Dalrymple said consumers should not be dismayed by the 5c's plastic coating:

There is absolutely no give to this phone at all. It doesn't bend or buckle anywhere in the casing, which is what you want, obviously. It feels as solid as the 5s.

 

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