Apple iPhone 5C vs iPhone 5S: The key specs compared

After much anticipation and speculation, Apple unveiled a pair of new handsets just as expected. The iPhone 5S is the high-end model, with a number of improvements that should please any Apple aficionado. The iPhone 5C is somewhat cheaper, and sports a more modest build and feature set. Both of these phones are primed to take on the Android competition this autumn, but how do they stack up against each other? Read on for our take on the new iPhones.

Much like the iPhone 4S, the new iPhone 5S looks physically identical to its predecessor, the iPhone 5. It comes packing the new Apple A7 processor, which Apple promises will double performance over last year's model. On top of that, the A7 is the first 64-bit smartphone processor – although there are some who firmly believe that’s just marketing bluster.

The 5S also features Apple's new M7 chip, which measures motion data from a variety of sensors. Think of it as an activity tracker built right into the phone. This new chip will also help improve battery life, as less intensive tasks can be accomplished without engaging the main CPU.

Also new to the iPhone 5S is a home button fingerprint scanner, dubbed Touch ID. You can use it to unlock your phone with any finger, and also authorise iTunes purchases using just your fingers.

The iPhone 5C, on the other hand, uses the older A6 chip. That's the same CPU found in the original iPhone 5, so you can expect similar performance levels. There's no M7 or fingerprint scanner here, but the iPhone 5C does distinguish itself in more superficial ways. It's available in five bright new colours, including white, pink, yellow, blue, and green.

The 5C (pictured above) is made from plastic, however, while the iPhone 5S (pictured below) retains the aluminium build of the iPhone 5. The 5S will be available in familiar black (well, slate) and white, but now sports a new gold finish option. Both of these phones use the same 4in Retina display (1,136 x 640 pixels) found on the original iPhone 5.

The 5S also gets a camera upgrade – it's the same 8-megapixel resolution, but now with a larger image sensor. It's a similar strategy to HTC's UltraPixels, promising better image quality with the same amount of pixels. On top of that, Apple added a new two-tone flash, slow-motion video capture, and burst capture. The 5C retains the same camera sensor found on the original iPhone 5.

Both phones run Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 7. With it comes a complete visual redesign, and also a number of new features for the two iPhones. Check out our video overview for a closer look at the new OS.

The big difference comes down to price: The iPhone 5S will start at £549 for the 16GB model, whereas the iPhone 5C 16GB will be slightly cheaper at £470. Are all those new features worth an extra £80? It would seem so for many folks, unless you really want a brightly coloured iPhone…

As of today, you can pre-order the iPhone 5C in the UK and operators are starting to line up their contract offerings. Vodafone, for instance, has the 5C available effectively for free on two-year contracts starting from £42.

Both devices will land on 20 September, after which we'll presumably learn more about deals for the 5S, too. Let us know what you think of the relative merits of these handsets and their pricing in the comments section below.

If you're a firm fanboy, you might also want to check out our iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5 spec comparison.

iPhone 5C

iPhone 5S

Display

Screen size

4in

4in

Resolution

1,136 x 640 pixels

1,136 x 640 pixels

Pixel density

326 PPI

326 PPI

Type

IPS LCD

IPS LCD

Processor and battery

Family

Apple A6

Apple A7

CPU

TBC

TBC

Cores

TBC

TBC

Clock speed

TBC

TBC

Battery

1,440 mAh

1,440 mAh

Claimed 3G talk time

Up to 10 hours

Up to 10 hours

Storage and memory

RAM

TBC

TBC

Internal storage

16GB / 32GB

16GB / 32GB / 64GB

microSD

No

No

Camera

Rear

8-megapixel

8-megapixel

Video

1080 @ 30fps

1080 @ 30fps

Front

1.2-megapixel

1.2-megapixel

Wireless

Standard

4G LTE

4G LTE

Wi-Fi

802.11 a / b / g / n

802.11 a / b / g / n

NFC

No

No

Bluetooth

V4.0

V4.0

Integrated wireless charging

No

No

Dimensions

Size

124.4 x 59.2 x 8.97mm

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm

Weight

132g

112g

Operating System

iOS 7

iOS 7

Price (SIM-free unless otherwise stated)

£470 (16GB) / £549 (32GB)

£549 (16GB) / £629 (32GB) / £709 (64GB)

Availability

20 September

20 September