David Pogue of the New York Times calls the 5c "a terrific phone" that comes with the right price. Specifically, he notes that the revamped iOS 7 is
[M]ore efficient to navigate, because nothing on the screen is eye candy; everything is a button, so you spend less time hunting for things.
Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech also found the 5c nearly identical to the iPhone 5 in performance and benchmark tests, noting "If you were planning on buying a cost reduced iPhone 5 once the 5s came out, the iPhone 5c should have no problems filling that role."
The final finish on the 5c is smooth and looks a lot like what you see when you open up a can of brightly colored paint. As with all plastic/polycarbonate phones with a glossy finish, smudges are easily picked up by the iPhone 5c. The colors are light/bright enough where smudges on the device aren't hugely distracting though, and of course the smooth back surface is easy to wipe off.
TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington describes the 5c as "a refreshing change of design pace."
The phone feels 'young' overall, and it's likely that's the kind of consumer that's going to enjoy this device; the youth market and those just getting their first smartphone or moving up from their first budget Android device to the big leagues.
Matt Warman of The Telegraph gave the 5c four-out-of-five stars in his review.
So this model is by no means revolutionary; it's a conscious shift in a new direction. It's beautiful, in its own way.
Engadget's Myriam Joire weighs in to say that the 5c's "gorgeous handset that brings a breath of fresh air to the iPhone lineup." In terms of specs, she found it to be largely indistinguishable from the iPhone 5, with one surprising exception:
Compared to the iPhone 5, the 5c features a speaker that's slightly boomier and a bit louder at maximum volume.
David Phelan at The Independent gave both new iPhones a combined five-out-of-five stars, dubbing them "the best smartphones Apple, or anyone, has made":
The [5c's] plastic case is smooth, astonishingly shiny and warm to the touch — the smooth edges and exceptional build quality make it one of the most appealingly comfy-in-the-hand phones.
Edward C. Baig at USA Today comments "the iPhone 5c may have a cheap price, relatively speaking, but there is nothing cheap about the phone."
Plastic be damned — the phone feels good in the hand. Apple says it is built around a steel frame that doubles as an antenna... Apple didn't cheap out on the inside, either, though the technological improvements in the 5c are fairly modest — better high-definition FaceTime camera, bigger battery, more LTE wireless options.
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