Hands On With Apple’s iPhone 5c: Plastic Feels Pretty Fantastic

Apple today introduced the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, and though the iPhone 5c is the less expensive of the two, it’s nonetheless very impressive hardware. I got some hands-on time with the 5c immediately following the presentation, and the plastic-backed beauty leaves a very good impression thanks to its single-piece case design and lightness in the hand.

The iPhone 5c comes in five different colors, including blue, green, pink, yellow and white. It’s packing an A6 chip, and the Retina display we came to know and love with the iPhone 5. Another big plus from the iPhone 5c vs. the 5 is that it packs more LTE bands than any other iPhone ever, and gets better battery life than its predecessor.

All of that is made more impressive by the fact that the iPhone performs terrifically, and looks fantastic. The colors really pop, and the case fits solidly in the hand and thanks to a slightly rubberized feel it should be easier to hold onto than any previous iPhone as well. The color-match wallpapers add to the charm of the overall package, and that’s likely to appeal to customers who just want a device that looks great out of the box and doesn’t require any laborious customization.

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The attendant cases that Apple has designed are more substantial than you might initially believe from just looking at them from a distance. They feel very solid, and could likely shield your device from considerable impact. They’re lined with microfiber and soft to the touch, and they come in a variety of colors which contrast pleasingly with the iPhone 5c itself. The cut-outs in the iPhone 5c case also help the new colors really pop.

I’m maybe most impressed by how light and yet solid the iPhone 5C feels. While it may not quite live up to the ultra-luxe metal and glass feel of the iPhone 5 and now 5c, it doesn’t feel like a cheap device; this is a premium phone, despite the price tag and somewhat older internals. Based on my first impressions, I imagine the iPhone 5c will have plenty of fans when it goes up for pre-order on September 13 – this is a phone that offers a lot of value at its price point, and improves upon the iPhone 5, which is a first for Apple’s smartphone lineup mid-tier device.

Hands-On Video With The iPhone 5S and 5C (5C segment begins at 1:40):