Brief Thoughts on the iPhone 5C

What follows may or may not be topical, since the phone's been out for a month now, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the iPhone 5C. Yesterday I was in the AT&T store looking for a black leather 5S case — they were sold out of every color except for blue — but I also got a chance to spend a few minutes with the lone 5C display unit (a blue one). I had been wanting to see one in person, so I seized the opportunity to check it out.

In short, I like the iPhone 5C a lot.

Immediately upon picking up the device, I was struck at how great the phone felt in my hand. The 5C feels hefty but not heavy, strong and robust. The plastic is smooth, but not so smooth that I felt afraid it was going to slip out of my hand. The buttons are great, especially the Touch ID-less Home button. (Conversely, the 5S's Home button has never felt quite right.) I like the 5C's curves, and the color is terrific. The blue really pops; very stylish.

From a tactile perspective, I prefer the feel of the 5C in every way to my 5S. Every time I handle my 5S sans case, I'm scared shitless, as if I'm holding some sort of precious jewel that I'm afraid to drop or otherwise mishandle. Moreover, there's a coldness to holding it, both emotionally and physically. But the 5C feels the exact opposite of that. It feels more approachable, more “human”, yet at the same time retaining the measured-in-microns level of detail. The polycarbonate case feels “safer” to me, but not any less beautiful or substantial, even compared to the 5S's aluminum-and-glass body. Put another way, the 5C's plastic feels (and looks) like premium plastic, in such a way that it totally bucks the stereotype of plastic being cheap and of lesser quality.

While I adore and appreciate the aluminum-and-glass construction of my iPhone 5S, the 5C's polycarbonate just feels better to me. My ideal iPhone would have the specs of my 5S — A7/M7, 64-bit, camera, and Touch ID — in the 5C's body. I would forego the diamond-cut chamfered edges and the photo-matched inlays of the 5S for the curves and feel of the 5C.

The iPhone 5S, as “forward thinking” as Apple claims, is rightly positioned as the top-of-the-line, premium model. It oozes niceness. But the iPhone 5C is, in my mind, premium in its own right. And in some ways, is even better than its big brother.

Like I said, I like the 5C a lot.