iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s: Which is for you?

My sister called me asking for advice the other night. Her old faithful "feature phone" is dying and she has decided to go ahead and get an iPhone, but she didn't know whether to get the iPhone 5c or the iPhone 5s. After talking her through the differences I realized that many people may have the same question. So here is what you need to know...

iPhone 5c

There is really only one thing you need to know about the iPhone 5c... it is simply an iPhone 5 with a different exterior. Nothing else has changed with the hardware between the iPhone 5 and the new iPhone 5c. So what else is there to consider when looking at the new 5c?

  • It's $100 cheaper as compared to the new iPhone 5s
  • It comes in colors (yes, this is a big deal for some people...black and white can get boring!)
  • The 5c is compatible with the new Apple color cases (made specifically to coordinate with the iPhone 5c colors...yes, more colors!)
  • At the end of your 2-year contract you are going to have 3-year old hardware (remember the hardware is the same as the iPhone 5, which is already a year old)

iPhone 5s

There is a lot of benifits in going with the iPhone 5s over the 5c, but for many people it just won't make any difference at all. So I am going to list out the major benefits as I seem them with going with the slightly more expensive iPhone 5s. If none of these items are important to you than the slightly cheaper and more colorful iPhone 5c may be the better choice.

  • All new and separate motion chip (the M7 motion coprocessor)...this is a really big deal if you do any kind of exercise because you essentially have a FitBit or a Nike Fuelband built into your phone!
  • Touch ID sensor: unlock your phone without having to "unlock" your phone (security without sacrificing convienance)
  • Major update to the camera:
    • Larger pixel size (this means a noticeably better image quality)
    • True Tone Flash (flash color is variable based on the environment)
    • Burst mode (captures action shots not possible to shoot before)
    • 3x digital zoom available on the video camera
    • Slow motion video is available for any section of video you shoot
  • 1st time ever in a cell phone...a 64 bit processor
  • All new A7 chip, extremely fast
  • Double or quadruple the RAM of the iPhone 5 (Apple hasn't released this spec yet, but with the change to 64 bit they have to increase the RAM)
  • It now comes in "Space Gray" and "Gold" colors

The Take-Away

As you can see from above there are many reasons to choose the iPhone 5s. The real question is whether any of those reasons speak to you or not. If you are a gamer then the performance increase with the new A7 and the 64 bit architecture are a must. If you depend on your phone as your family still camera or video camera than it is well worth the extra $100 for the amazing updates Apple has made to the camera. If you exercise and really like making use of fitness apps or devices like the FitBit or Nike Fuelband then having a separate dedicated chip for motion tracking is HUGE for you. Last but not least, if you are not pass-locking your iPhone now because its too inconvenient then the new Touch ID sensor should be reason enough to go with the 5s. If none of these things matter to you than have fun with your new colorful iPhone 5c and enjoy having an extra $100 in your pocket!

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