iPhone 5c review: 6-months later

iPhone 5c review: 6-months later

Editor's note: The iPhone 5c was released 6 months ago today. Since I've been using the iPhone 5s almost exclusively since then I wanted someone else, someone who's been using the iPhone 5c day in and day out, to write the follow up for Apple's other new phone. Someone perhaps not as steeped in the world of Apple and technology. So... I asked my mom. Here's her review.— Rene

Hello iMore! I've been using an iPhone 5c for almost 6 months now and so my son, Rene, asked me to share some thoughts on what that experience has been like. I'll start by saying that while the iPhone 5c isn't my first mobile phone it's the first one I've really used. Many years ago, after getting stuck on a highway for 5 hours in the middle of a blizzard, my children convinced me to get a mobile. It was a flip phone, free on contract. I took the minimal service plan possible and only kept it in case of emergency. Every time my 3-year contract was up I would renew for whatever the next free flip phone was. I never texted. I never took pictures. I never did much of anything because doing much of anything was an incredible chore.

Then, a few years ago, my children gave me an iPad 2 for my birthday. We'd had computers in the house going back to the Apple II plus. I currently have an iMac. I do much more on my iPad than I've ever done any computer before it. I search the internet. I watch videos. I read and listen to my books. I read my newspaper. I use iMessage and FaceTime to stay connected to my children and my friends.

When I was growing up phone calls, even local ones, were expensive. As a consequence I never spent much time on the phone. To this day, I don't like the idea disturbing people unnecessarily with phone calls. iMessage seems like a much more elegant medium. I send a quick note — often replete with emoji! — when I need to and the recipient can reply whenever it's convenient for them. With FaceTime, when I do talk, I can actually see the people I care about whether it's across the country or around the world.

These are all things I certainly could do on my iMac but, like my flip phone, they were more of a chore. The iPad makes them easy. That's what first got me thinking about the iPhone.

I was familiar with the iPhone, of course. My son has had one since they first came out. My daughter has had one for years. The idea of getting rid of my flip phone and not having to carry my iPad around when I left the house was interesting but I wasn't sure if I really needed one. Then, late last year, I saw Apple's Designed Together commercial for the iPhone 5c. And I wanted one

My background is in history of art and architecture and the commercial was, to me, pop art. It was, as my son is so fond of telling people, Warhol.

I expected the iPhone would be intimidating at first. I thought the smaller size might make it harder to use or that the phone functionality might, for some reason, make it more complicated (like my flip phones had been). I needn't have worried.

The iPhone's similarity to the iPad made it easy to pick up and use despite it's smaller size. In fact, I like its smaller size quite a bit. It's easy to cary. It fits in my pocket or my purse. I did have to adjust to the smaller buttons and icons but it didn't take long.

Making phone calls was, of course, as easy as making FaceTime calls. I still don't make many calls, mind you, but when I do it's quite simple and easy. I also use Maps to help find my way. I use iMessage when I'm out and away from my iPad. I use Music when I'm not at my radio. I use iBooks and Audible when I'm waiting for an appointment or for my son who is so often delayed by the demands of his job. (I can carry dozens of books with me without straining my bags or my back.) I use Camera to take photographs. A lot of photographs. (The iPhone is the closet thing to having a Polaroid again!)

Best of all my messages show up on both my iPhone and iPad. My audio books and iBooks sync so I'm always right where I left off no matter which device I pick up at the time. The photos I take on my iPhone pop up on my iPad so I can show them off to my family and friends. And all of it happens without me having to worry about it or struggle with it at all. (My son can vouch for this — his tech support requests have plummeted considerably!)

I've gotten used to the small text size. (Yes, I know — from reading iMore! — that I can make it bigger if I choose to.) However, autocorrect does annoy me on occasion, trying to force the wrong word in where it doesn't belong.

I haven't moved everything over to the iPhone or iPad yet. I still keep a real, paper agenda. I still have a real, paper address book. I realize I'm not using the iPhone 5c to its full capabilities. It's still a work in progress! However, I've gotten more comfortable using it over the last few months. In fact, I'm using it far more than I ever thought I would. I still have many more apps on my iPad because I use it far more often but I don't feel like I'm missing anything on my iPhone 5c either. I simply have more to discover.

And yes, I like the color of the iPhone 5c and the color of Apple's iPhone 5c cases. I currently have a blue case on my green iPhone 5c but I'll be switching to yellow as soon as the spring comes.

Over the last 6 months everything about my iPhone 5c has kept working just as well as it did the first day. Nothing has broken. Nothing has worn out. I haven't dropped any calls. I haven't had any problems with data. I charge the phone every night and I've yet to run out of battery during the day.

I'm delighted I got the iPhone 5c six months ago and I'm still delighted to be using it today.

Mrs Ritchie

Retired university lecturer, art educator, and elementary teacher. Lover of books and learning.

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iPhone 5c review: 6-months later

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My mum moved to a WP from an iPhone 4, and she couldn't be happier. The Nokia WP was more affordable than the one thousand bucks a new iPhone would have cost. The easier to use UI, better localization, relevant apps and services, accurate maps and larger screen size have been discussion points recently. She always found the iPhone UI hard to read due to the small typeface and she did not welcome the new iOS 7 UI. And unlike WP, iPhone was clearly designed for a North American user, which she of course is not. She does not know much English, which is a requirement for using an iPhone efficiently. What she misses from the iPhone is Facetime, but I have shown her how the built-in Skype replaces it.

English is a requirement for using an iPhone efficiently?

Tell that to the millions of people using their phone in their own language. I used mine in Danish, Swedish, German and lastly my native one French, and 0 problem with it.

As a matter of fact, you have to use one of the bigger languages to use the iphone efficiently. Siri doesn't work on every language and it can make a huge difference in the overall experience. We all pay the same money, but we don't get the same functions.

The only knock against the 5C is its price. Otherwise I find the red/pink and green one quite beautiful to be honest. It's one of the best all plastic built phones in the market. Amazing how glossy plastic can be used to such good effect.

It's the same price a $100 discounted iPhone 5 would have been, which is pretty much what the 5c is anyway. I think there was a lot of expectational debt accrued before it launched, however.

(You can get a 5c this year for the same price you got a 4s for last year.)

Agreed but you lost the build materials of the 5 not matter how good the plastic is. If this was made from the 5 body then I could see the price even though the 5S is worth the $100 more.

Nicholas, exactly. Apple thought if they did this people would just buy them up like all the previous models. That equation works when the materials are the same just the previous years model. When they went the plastic route consumers know this will make it cheaper even more so. Apple can deny all they like but that's the facts. People will buy if the quality is kept, when they changed the materials people balked at the inflated price.

They never balked at the 3GS. I know I didn't, and I'm happy to see a polycarbonate backed iPhone return. I don't like the glass-and metal. I went with Nokia on my last phone just to get a quality plastic back, as I find it more comfortable to hold than the squared edges on the 4-5S.

Maybe they figured there were more people like me out there? Maybe I need to get off my ass and get one before they disappear due to collective apathy.

In the end, I don't give a shit what it looks like. It has to function well, feel good, and perform adequately. I'm one of those guys who would buy a matte plastic iPhone that's twice as thick just to get a big ass integrated battery. Thin holds no sway over me. I think there's a lot of us, more than are considered anyway, who feel the same. I'd pay $400 on contract for an iPhone SE/30.

I think the main problem with the 5c and sales are the colors. They are all very, VERY limited in regards to mainstream appeal. Apple was foolish not to have a gray and/or black model. Very few want a pale pink, baby blue, washed out yellow or "Datsun" green phone. The white version is the most "tolerable", but history has shown that black models outsell white by a factor of around 6 to 1. I'm convinced that Apple kept them "ugly" on purpose out of fear of cannibalizing 5s sales. I personally like the form factor and feel of the 5c much more than the 5s, but with those limited, bizarre color choices, I went with the dark 5s - EXACTLY HOW APPLE WANTED IT.

True but the iPhone 5 is better "built". One would think it would be lower as they are technically using cheaper manufacturing process.

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My problem with 5C is the fact that Apple so cheaply copycatted, or cribbed, a Nokia design. I had expected that they would make something original. But then, my colleague claims my iPod Nano is similarly-copied from the earlier Nokia Lumia 900 design. I tend to agree, now that I saw them side by side. Identical. Again. I am getting fed up with the direction Apple have been going. If I want a "Samsung" I can get one much cheaper. When I buy Apple, I do not want just another Nokia copy. Seriously.

Dude, seriously? The nano was around much longer than the 900 - no copying from Apple there.

And the 5c? At best, they copied the fact colours were available. The 5c is a plastic backed 5 - again, no copying there.

Very good article. I know a lot of time people get so hung up on the latest and greatest from the specs, style, quality, speed and appeal, etc. I feel that the i5C, though a colorful i5, is still a wonderful phone. Personally, I bought the i5S when it came out, and like it a lot but I really did not see a difference in "power" or "speed" coming from a i5. I liked the fingerprint scanner, but did not use it as much as one probably should, due to having to constantly make sure my fingers were "oil free." It did not work like I expected it too. The features were well the same on the i5 and i5s, so I decided to sell and go back to my i5, but I saw the i5C at the store and was intrigued. I liked the "retro" style of it, reminded me of my 3G/3GS, plus it was a little heavier which I liked a lot. But, most of all...in my opinion, if you get a chance hold a i5C. They feel great in the hand. They are very well built. So, I decided to sell my i5 as well and bought the i5C, the White One. It looks great. I put a glass screen shield on front and a back protector on it. I made my money back and still have a very fast, zippy phone. I feel that it would have sold more if the price was lower. The i5C has all the LTE bands if I remember correctly...I truly feel the plastic helps...I get FULL signal everywhere I go, even in areas where my i5S was a little soft on a good signal, my i5C just screams all the time. The little bigger battery helps at the end of the day even if its only extra 30-45 mins more. I do not understand the negative behind the phone, most phones are plastic. They changed the back from metal to plastic, do not see this as a big deal. Again, nice article....

Such a honest and simple review. I will make my dad read about this so that he too can pick up a iPhone 5c! Thanks to Rene's mom for this sweet and simple write-up.

Agreed, straight up real talk.

On the point of carrying a paper agenda, I'd love to see the iPad (Air 2 or Mini 3) adopt an active digitizer. I'd love a full-on paper replacement in tablet form.

Nice Review ! She should do one every 6 months. Simple & earnest.
I find the 5c nice & solid to hold, right amount of weight with rounded edges.

I enjoyed reading this so much, thank you!!! Great review. You have given me hope for my dad and transitioning to a tablet.

Great review & it's always nice to here how much people appreciate the iPhone.

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Such a refreshing and honest review! I enjoyed it thoroughly! Articles written by techies are useful, but we often forget that a large percentage of smartphone users are not "as steeped in the world of technology." It's a breath of fresh air to read about their experiences. Great job, Rene's mom!

In my opinion, the 5C is a great, elegant phone. If it is a commercial flop as some reports have indicated, it is not because of its own shortcomings but the unrealistic expectations for an inexpensive Apple phone for the masses. Keep in mind, that outside the US, iPhones are usually sold without a contract. My 32GB 5S costs 859 euros!

Honest and endearing piece. A non tech review of the kind I'd like to see more often. On a side note, the real kick she got out of the iPhone 5c is probably due to the seamless integration achieved between the phone and her beloved iPad. Not to the phone itself. I dont know how other mobile operating systems work, but she may have had the same level of user experience with other devices. Especially nowadays, you dont have to dig and tweak to use basic features on Android or MS phones.

I see that review more as a usage review. She just happens to be the mother of an Apple enthusiast :) No criticism here, just an observation.

Arguably people like Rene's mum (and there are lots of people using smartphones like she does) are the target demographic for the recently released 8GB iPhone 5c.

Awesomeness from a Mom. :-) Although I have an iPadAir, and I'm waiting patiently for the new Haswell MacMini (*ahem*cough*cough*Apple*whatstakingsolong*cough*cough*), I still use a flip phone (LG Octane). I use it mainly for texting and phone calls, so I haven't had the need at the moment to get a smart phone.

As of this month I'm eligible for an upgrade with Verizon, but I'm waiting until Apple releases the iPhone 6. At that point in time I'll either get the 5c for free under contract or the 5s for $99 under contract.

And something tells me that when the 6 comes out, the 5s will become the 5sc (a plastic 5s), thus keeping the 6 in the metal options as their premium phone.

Thanks Rene's Mum! Nice review indeed. Love my 5c, I got a 5s but returned it, didn't really need it personally. I got the 5c on contract for $0 from Best Buy during the holidays. Best deal ever IMO

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This was a nice piece. Your mom now has a new fan. I get what Apple was trying to do with the 5C, I really do. But something is out of place with the 5C equation.

Hard not to love that Rene's mom wrote this.

When I put that bit of sweetness aside, I see this as more of an iPhone review or ios review than that of an iPhone 5c. The colors were clearly a draw, from the review, but I windered about the plastic and the reason, if any, that she chose NOT to get the most advanced models.

I also like that the review is randomly timed - not a Mother's Day move.

This is what Apple is about. Using products that you love, and would recommend to family & friends. My mom has inherited both my iPhone and iPad, and I'm thrilled to see she's finding the products to be as awesome as I did. I also love how great these products work together, not just when you own several of them yourself, but also when your friends own them.

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That was a sweet review. My folks are using iPhones now too with my and my brothers' influence, and they are very pleased with them. I haven't gotten them hooked on iPads yet, but that day may be coming. I agree with what others said, more from Rene's mom (and other non-techie writers) please!

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Lovely review, from such a different perspective.

Personally, if the specs were the same I would buy the iphone with the 5c body. Feels really nice and more than anything it is not going to get scratched up like the 5 or 5s. I have the 5 in black and even though I babied it, I had tiny nicks in no time. Waiting for the next iPhone!

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That was a nice change of pace. One question though, would she be happy about the retail price or contract.

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No offense, but this was the review of having a smart phone, not a review of the iPhone 5C.

If you would like someone who uses the iPhone 5C as you use the iPhone 5S--someone who chose to have the feel of the plastic instead of metal, let me know, I will gladly provide a non-bias review providing facts and reasons why I still have the C and not the S.

But thanks to mom!

Makes great reading. My wife also uses one and she absolutely loves her first iPhone.

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Your mom is cute, Rene......I really enjoyed reading this article! It also made me think....I, too purchased an iPhone 5c for my mom for her birthday back in October. Like your mom, she also just had a simple flip phone for emergencies....never really using it. But, she's big into Facebook, and wanted to be able to start taking pictures to share with her online friends. So, I thought....I loved my iPhone, why not get her one? So, for her birthday I got her an iPhone 5c in white with an Otterbox and Zagg screen protector (just in case!). I really honestly think I created a monster! Again, like your mom, she doesn't use the phone much on it.....just messaging, photos, and Facebook. I am really impressed that a woman in her 70's was able to adapt to the technology easily (with a few minor hickups in the beginning).....but she's still going strong and is now an iPhone user for life.

I love this review! It shows how the average non technical user views using their device. Not a single mention of tech specs. It's a pure experience review.

Tech geeks like myself look at things from a whole different level so reading this reminded me that the general user base is completely different.

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I really love this review. No tech jargon just how it affects her life. Just like Apple intend their product to be. It read exactly like my mums experience since getting her first iPhone 4 and now a iPhone 5s. Also reminded me of a Jim Dalrymple review lol. Nice work!

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I have th 32 GB 5C. I bought the 5C in November and bought the iPad Air on the same day. These are both my first iOS products. I had a Samsung S3 (my wife still has hers) and we still have a Kindle Fire 8.9 HD - so those are my points of reference.

First, the integration between the two has been great. Recently a friend went to facebook to ask what her first smart phone should be. I ended up writing a ridiculously long response that pointed out the benefits of both the iPhone and the Android platforms, but I made a strong case advising the iPhone because she already had an iPad. She ended up with the 5C in part because of the iPad/iPhone advice and has been very happy so far.

I never had a 5S or have had any chance to try one, but I paid $99 on contract at Best Buy for this phone and I couldn't justify the added expense of the 5S. The S3 was Samsung's flagship model when it debuted and while I'm not a power user, I have fairly high expectations from a smart phone in terms of performance. Having said that, I have not been disappointed with the 5C in the least.

To be honest, initially I hated the phone and was ready to take advantage of Best Buy's 14 day return policy. There was a real culture shock coming from Android for me. But, after about 2 days I fell in love with the simplicity of the OS. I started to realize that most of the features on the Android OS are not really necessary. You have more creative control, so to speak, but most of it isn't really needed and I found I really didn't care about any of it. Yes, Apple makes a lot of decisions for you, but for me, that just makes things easier. Most of what I was customizing on Android didn't make the user experience any better for me, it just consumed more of my time fiddling with it and ended up with what amounted to the same end product.

What motivated me to the iPhone may actually sound silly to some, but it was for the steering wheel controls in my truck. They won't work with Android without basically hacking the phone, and while I feel confident I could have figured that out, I really didn't feel comfortable experimenting with a rather expensive device. Moving to the iPhone was just easier, and I already had iTunes from my iPod, so that part was easy - and, unlike some, I really like iTunes. Now with the iPad, it has been an even better experience.

Three things I like about it over the S3: works with my vehicle controls, size/form factor, and battery life.

My favorite among those, and the one I was not expecting, was battery life. I keep hearing how the battery life on the iPhone is rather average, but I continue to be amazed at how incredible it is compared to my S3 and the Droid X before that. The S3 had trouble making to the end of my work day. Often, if I went anywhere after work, the phone would die while I was out, usually within an hour. I have yet to have the iPhone come even close to dying. Often it is still at 70% at 11 or 12 at night. I've only had the 2 Androids to compare, so maybe others are better, but it seems that ios does a better job of maintaining battery when the phone is idle compared to Android. I don't think the battery is any better on the iPhone when your actually using it, but the standby is much better and the iPad also seems much better than the Kindle. The iOS devices also seem to charge much faster and I love the lightening connector compared to micro USB.

I love the smaller screen compared to the S3. This is clearly a matter of personal preference, and depending on how you use your phone, the larger screens can be a benefit, but for me the 4" is better. The only time it suffers a bit is web surfing when it is not a site optimized for a mobile device, but frankly, web surfing on any mobile phone is not a good experience to me. Even the larger screen on the S3 is just not big enough for that. I would much rather use a tablet or a desk top. Maybe a Galaxy Note is a good experience, but I would never carry something that big around unless I was in sales or something. I really think Apple needs the larger screens to compete but I hope they keep a 4" around for those of us who prefer it and I hope they keep one that is a higher spec unit unlike the mini S3 and S4 that seem to be detuned compared to the bigger phones. My wife has complained about the size of her Samsung Fascinate and S3 from day one. Every time I pick up her phone now, it feels awkward to me know - it is too wide.

One last point. When I first bought the phone and held it in my hands for the first time, I was really impressed. While it may be plastic, it feels much better than the S3.

Count me a Happy 5C owner and a Happy iOS user!

Great comparison! I also like the 4" screen. Apple is going to follow the competition to bigger screens but Jobs was right, the screen needs to be big enough to be usable with one hand. I wear Wrangle cargo pants and their tech pocket is big enough for the 5/5s/5c. Any larger and phones won't fit. Apple can go do whatever they want. I'm sticking with my 5c. Great speed, right size and beautiful durable color!

I just saw something interesting about the 5 C from AppleInsider..

"Apple’s iPhone 5c ‘failure flop’ outsold Blackberry, Windows Phone and every Android flagship in Q4"

Guess it wasn't a poor seller after all.

Dark,

I read that article too and found it great that Apple finally got some credit. It is funny how everyone always talks about how Android is ruling the roost but it take 100+ models of Android phones from 20 manufactures and carriers giving them away to do that. The iPhone 5s is the single best selling model of phone and the "Failure" iPhone 5c is the #2 single best selling model.

The only thing that stopps me from buying a 5c is that it is not available with 64gb. So i stay with my 4s 64gb.

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I just don't have a need for 64GB of storage on my phone. I leave that for my iPad so I can watch movies on the plane.

Do you actually use all of the 64GB? I also had the 64GB 4s and thought I would miss all that space half of which I never used. I had apps on it that I never even used. On the 16GB 5c, I'm still only using half of the space but have only apps that I actually use along with the music I really want to listen to and only the pictures I want on it. Now, on my 128GB iPad mini Retina I have everything I want and all of my music and I'm still using only half of the space. I promise you trading the space for the increased capabilities of the 5c is worth the trade. If you really feel 16GB is too cramped then get the 32GB and be judicious. The cloud is out there. Once you trade, you won't look back. The 4s is a great phone. I know I had one. The 5c is even better. LTE is is amazing. The camera is better. The front camera is better. The A6 screams! In fact, while on paper the A7 is much faster than the A6, the A6 is so fast that I don't care. In real life use, I have never been disappointed in how it handles daily uses. The 5c is a solid choice. Once I got mine (and by the way, I only got $125 for my 64GB 4s, my wife got $115 for her 16GB 4s. Never doing that again. I thought the 64GB would have been worth much more) I have had no regrets about the trade even with less storage space. One last thing, the Lightning connector. You will like it better for charging than the older connector. There is no wrong way to plug it in. It is also less susceptible to damage. Time to move on. Just a thought.

I love the fact that your mom did this review.

This last Christmas my mom got her first smartphone an iPhone 5s. She was just like you mom getting flip phone after flip phone for for the last 20 years. Now we FaceTime with her as we are 500 miles away. She is not a big user of apps yet but I hope to change that a little more when I am up there in June.

What pisses me off about the 5c is the stupid design of the apple cases, because you get dirt and dust in the holes and all that sticks to the back of the phone and it's a pain to clean it off. Without the case on I just get scratches on the phone. I would just like apple to have different case options and not focus just on the colour.

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the solution to the scratches is to spend the $15.00 and get Zagg's 5/5s/5c backside shield. once you put it on the scratches will disappear and the film will solve the slippery issue of the bare plastic. It will also allow the color to come through unhindered. Finally ditch the Apple cases. There are better cases out there. Of course, once you get Zagg's film shield, the Apple case will not be a problem as the phone will be protected.

I now have the iphone 5c after having to switch to an android device due to cost between upgrades. I must say I love this phone. I have had all previous versions up to the 4s and I was in panic waiting to get my upgrade for my new phone! The 5c is solid in the hand and very much a great iPhone. I like using it in and out of a case. The battery life is extraordinary and I love the current ui updates. I didn't get the 5s because I need more memory than 16gb. For the same price as the low memory 5s I have a 32gb 5c. It has all the functionality I need and a fantastic camera. I assist theme park bloggers here in Florida with photos and content directly from my phone and it is a solid device for work and personal use. My job also utilizes the 5c for phones for its staff and I can tell you we utilize iMessage as a tool every day. I don't feel as I am missing out on anything and recommend this phone to people daily. Best of all the folks at life proof cases made the back of their super protective case clear so your colored back can still shine while receiving extra protection.

Great review! I got my blue 5c on "Black Friday" at Wal-Mart for nothing after trading in my 4s and even got a $75 gift card. Since my wife and I each got one (her's was white), we actually made money ($281 after paying $45 each). What have I noticed? MY Blue stopped keeping correct time. Apple sent me a brand new replacement after doing everything to fix it. So far I have no complaints. I like the speed of the 5c. Someone said their's screams and I agree. In fact my 5c loads "Battleship" in half the time my iPad Retina Mini! So, I don't feel the 5c is a second class citizen because it has the A6 vice the A7 chip.
I also like the way it feels in my hand. One thing I would encourage everyone is to get the Zagg shield for the 5c/5s back. It will protect against scratches if you want to go without a case. I also put a Rhino extreme screen protector, also a good idea. Zagg also has a similar protector but I like the Rhino's design better. Either are supposed to be better at protecting against cracks should you drop the phone. Apple did a great job in reintroducing a plastic phone (steel reinforced) but they did perhaps make the price too close to the 5s. I think people thought the "c" stood for cheap. In reality, the 5c is a well made casual phone for those who aren't using it to figure out quantum physics (really, who needs a dual 64-bit chip in a phone?). I like the colors. I would have preferred green but blue and white was all they had. Fortunately, I like blue also.
I would hope Apple continues the 5c style with minor improvements down the road. Sadly, I think this may be it for this line. Apple has been told they got it all wrong and the 5c is a loser. The critics are wrong. The only thing "wrong" was the pricing. However, on Black Friday at $45 Wal-Mart was selling bunches of them. Get the price right and they will fly off the shelves!