Why the cut price iPhone 5C isn’t cheap enough

The new iPhone 5C is the first handset from Apple to be offered at a lower price point than usual. But if Apple wanted to tempt people with a cut price phone it should have used some bigger scissors.

The 16GB model costs £469 to buy SIM-free, whereas the iPhone 5S 16GB is priced at £549 SIM-free. That doesn’t sound very cheap but we wanted to check.

To find out how cheap the iPhone 5C really is, we scoured Amazon UK for the prices of SIM-free Android phones to see how they compared. Cast your eyes below to see how the iPhone 5C compares against premium phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One or Sony Xperia Z1.

Mobile phone reviews – our verdict on all the latest handsets

iPhone 5C infographic

What about Windows Phone?

Wondering if Windows Phones like Nokia’s Lumia 925 and 625 are also cheaper than the iPhone 5C? You’ll be unsurprised to hear the Lumia 925 costs £370 and the 625 is priced £248, meaning Apple’s budget-minded blower is a more expensive alternative.

As for ‘phablets’, we discounted phones like Samasung’s Galaxy Note 2 with touchscreens that border on a 6-inch tablet sizing.

The surprising results above were sourced using Amazon UK’s prices for SIM-free handsets, apart from the Google Nexus 4 16GB which wasn’t available on Amazon and we priced straight from Google’s website. If the phone was being sold for less by a third-party retailer, we stuck with Amazon’s more expensive price for the sake of consistency.

Your thoughts

So that’s our price comaprison of Apple’s ‘cheap’ iPhone 5C against its rival handsets. Would you still prefer to buy the plastic iPhone or are you newly tempted by an Android alternative? Let us know in the comments selection below.

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Categories: Apple, Phones

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8 replies

  1. This is why this phone won’t work. Why on earth would you buy an iPhone 5C instead of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or just pony up a few more pounds for the iPhone 5S.

  2. I completely agree that those who really want an iPhone are likely (if they can) to find the extra £80 for a 5S… in the UK. But isn’t the 5C supposed to be about Apple making inroads into developing markets like India and China rather than the developed markets like the UK? Therefore, it would be interesting to know what the price differential and Android comparisons are in those countries. If it’s the same differential and comparison, then ‘not cheap enough’ clearly stands. But if there’s a greater differential or a better comparison to premium Android handsets there, then maybe market segmentation is the bit we’re missing in terms of understanding Apple’s strategy. In other words, I’m wondering if maybe the 5C isn’t really intended for developed markets like the UK, and that maybe Apple’s UK price points are designed to make the 5C seem expensive compared to the 5S. After all, they will not want to risk cannibalising their existing markets for the ‘premium’ iPhone. They may still, however, want to tap developing markets and also remain ‘global’ in their product offering (i.e. there will be people who want the 5C in the UK and the US but this way they won’t be getting too much of a discount for largely the same tech). Of course, maybe Apple have just missed the opportunity to produce an affordable iPhone… Does anyone know the Chinese or Indian price comparators and context?

  3. I love my iPhone 4S and all my previous iPhones before it. I will find it hard to change models! Don’t even want to try another make to be honest! Am I just stuck in an iPhone rut?

  4. I was torn between getting the new iPhone and getting the Nexus 4. Changing my mind Daily. But what sealed the deal for me was the astronomical price of the iPhone for something that is more or less the same as the 5 and then Google cutting the price of their 16gb model to £200. That’s less than half the price of the iPhone! Also the feedback on the Which website has been very good about the Nexus. Plus I don’t have to rely on iTunes. And I have taken out a 12 months contract for £8 a month so I can upgrade next September for a iPhone 6.

    But if the iPhone 6 is a big a dissapointment as the iPhone 5S I will be looking elsewhere.

  5. Still definitely too expensive for me. Phones have been cutting edge every year even before the iPhone came along. No-one was charging this much and keeping the price high months and years later. Tech prices have come down but Apple has not. Many ppl jut cant afford to spend this much money in this ecnomy

  6. I was looking forward to the “cheaper” iphone until I saw the price. It’s simply a choice of cover really -metal or plastic. I won’t be replacing my current iphone anytime soon. I’m a long-time user of Apple computers but I do feel that Apple are getting greedy with the iphone and the price is hard to justify. A 7″ tablet and a straightforward phone will be my way forward I think, considering what I use my phone for – mainly travel apps and email on the move.

  7. I agree that the 5C should offer a considerable saving over the 5S or other competition. It doesn’t really make sense to me this small difference, considering the much higher spec of the 5S (it’s not just about a coloured, metal/plastic case BTW).

    But open the thoughts further than simply the price of one product, start considering the big picture & surely Apple becomes rather more attractive. Product resale value, Apple Stores (online & physical), great customer service (the only consumer electronics company in the Which? Top 100), hardware & software designed to work together, massive number of apps, very considered design & if you have other Apple products, great integration.

    Whilst some may see disappointment in recent product launches (myself included, I’m enjoying longevity & still very happily using my 3 year old iPhone 4), this may be because development with Apple does not simply happen on the surface.

    My personal experience is that they do work holistically to try & constantly improve the full user experience of their products. iOS 7 may not be full of fashionable features (gimmicks?) but it has given my old iPhone a new lease of life, which negates my need to but a new phone…saving me quite a few pounds to boot. Now that’s good value.

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