Apple iPhone 5 & Sony Xperia Z now available from £25 without upfront fee

You can now get the Apple iPhone 5 smartphone for £25 per month via MobilePhonesDirect on Vodafone's network. That's a total cost of ownership of £600, which is around £80 more than the suggested retail price of the smartphone by itself at Apple (although other retailers are selling it for well under £500).

Vodafone's bundle though is fairly light with 100 minutes, unlimited texts, 100MB data and 2GB Wi-Fi allowance with BT OpenZone.

The iPhone 5 itself is Apple's top of the range model at Apple but desperately spells mid-range thanks to a specification list that is commonly found on Android-based models around £250, around half the suggested retail price of the iPhone 5.

As a reminder, it comes with an Apple A6 system-on-chip, a dual-core model clocked at 1.2GHz, an 8-megapixel camera, 4G, a 4in display with a 1,136 x 640 pixel resolution, 1GB of RAM, 16GB onboard storage, a 1,440mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, a Lightning port and iOS 6 (soon to be iOS 7).

For the same outlay, you can also grab the Sony Xperia Z which is the top-of-the-range handset from the Japanese manufacturer until the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is released later this month (but few, I guess will swap the more-powerful-but-way-larger Z Ultra for the smaller-but-less-powerful Xperia Z).

Despite being miles ahead of the iPhone 5 when it comes to sheer performance, Sony's device is significantly cheaper as well (you can grab it SIM free for around £450), which leaves us to believe that Apple and mobile phone operators are indeed going to great lengths to make sure that they are offering compelling plans.

Whether that will change with the arrival of the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6 remains to be seen.

As for the Xperia Z, it comes with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ system-on-chip clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB onboard storage, a 5in display with full HD resolution and a few Sony technologies, a 13-megapixel camera plus dust-proof and water-proof capabilities. Read our review of the Apple iPhone 5 and Sony Xperia Z smartphone here.

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