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Why the Cheap iPhone 5C May Actually Be a Better Choice for Certain Travelers

September 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM | by | ()

Another day, another dollar, another iPhone analysis.

During a keynote earlier, Apple unveiled two new iPhones, the $99/$199 iPhone 5C and $199/$299/$399 iPhone 5S. Of course from the get-go, the general public lusts for the sleek silver, carbon and gold of the 5S, but what about the little 5C? Instead of applause, it's received only laughter and sneers.

Sure, it's slower (using the A6 processor of the iPhone 5 versus the newer, zippier A7 processor in the iPhone 5S), and the color options just make it look like a budget phone, but there's got to be some redeeming qualities. Thus, we'll attempt to justify the existence of the iPhone 5C. Perhaps the cheaper, more colorful sibling of the 5S is better for travel? Let's see...

· It's less worry for dangerous situations and messy moments
Since the phone is relatively cheap—with a contract, it's $99 for the 16GB model, or $199 for 32GB—the iPhone 5C won't bring about as hard a hit to the wallet if you, say, forget to take it out of your swimtrunks pocket before cannonballing into a pool. We can think of innumerable other accidents to befall the phone, but you get the point. Cheaper price means less guilt and less of a hit when something goes wrong.

Speaking of wrong, traveling to certain areas of the world come with a larger chance of being robbed for your iPhone. Whichever version of iPhone you have, it's a desirable luxury object. We know this from experience; while bicycling in Argentina's wine country, we were mugged for our camera. When the thief attempted to go for our iPhone, that's when our "hell no" instinct took over. When all was said and done, we lost the camera but kept the iPhone. Guess which is easier to replace while on a trip? The camera. Still, having a cheaper iPhone would have changed our thinking, and maybe we'd still have that camera.

· Plastic makes perfect, if you're prone to dropping your phone
Constructed of a polycarbonate plastic reinforced with steel, the iPhone 5C is lighter and feels less precious than the 5S model. In fact, Apple calls it "beautifully, unapologetically plastic." As the 5S is constructed of the same materials as the 5, aluminum and glass, we're going to bet the 5C will win when it comes to a test of who's lighter weight. This doesn't matter all that much in the long run, but when someone asks you why you bought the 5C over the 5S and your mind goes blank, remember this.

· You'll quickly find it in your carry-on
Five bright color choices and the optional $29, just-as-vibrant case mean it's not going to easily be lost in that black hole of a "personal item" carry-on you have. That is, so long as you don't cover it with a black case or something.

All in all, these reasons aren't positive ones. The only real justification for buying a 5C versus the 5S is if you're on a really tight budget.

Conclusion: If you're an ultra-budget traveler, as in you hate to spend more than $20 per night on a hostel, then the cheaper iPhone may be a godsend. If you're a traveler who frequently loses or trashes phones, then the iPhone 5C is definitely a more disposable option. And, if you're a traveler who seems to be a popular target for thieves, then perhaps consider this less desirable phone. What a bummer.

[Photo: Apple]

Archived Comments:

oh come on

Really?? I understand the urge to be part of the Apple news cycle but please check the facts before writing an article - * iPhone sizes are 16 GB & 32 GB and NOT 16MB & 32MB. * 2yr Contract price of the iPhone is $99. If you loose an iPhone, you have to buy a new one without contract for $549. I would rather try to hold on to my phone rather than loosing it - cheaper phone or not. Seriously, it is ridiculous to link a any new iPhone related news to a travel website. Atleast you could have focused on the camera, video or the new free iPhoto, iMovie apps for the new phone.

Kettle Black

relaxbytravel, If you're going to be critical of someone's misspelling or misuse of a term, maybe you should spell check before you comment. "loose an iPhone?" "rather than loosing it?" Just sayin'

iPhones are a big part of travel

"Seriously, it is ridiculous to link a any new iPhone related news to a travel website."

No, not really considering that there are 26,562 travel-related apps in the App Store today.

Not to mention, mobile bookings for hotels have risen dramatically in the past year, and continue to do so. And we can't forget about iPhone apps that help you find free WiFi hotpsots, apps that give you directions when you're lost, apps that help you translate languages, apps that serve as a replacement to guidebooks, apps that help you coordinate rides to and from the airport, apps that book your rental car and apps that allow you to use your phone as not just a boarding pass but your hotel room key as well. And how can we forget about all the photos that we take on our trips with our phones?

So I strongly disagree with your statement above. So much so that I nearly "loosed" it when I saw it.


Rather than nitpicking on my English language skills, you guys actually agree on the content of this article (by the way, content seems to have been altered since the original post)?? *You agree that it's ok to lose a $99 phone & come back to buy the same phone for $549? *iPhone has lot of travel apps agree, but so are the Android phones & Windows Phones. Why not write a similar article for an Android phone - say Samsung Galaxy Note or Nokia Lumia? * By your theory of using apps on iPhone to find free-wifi, translate languages etc., some of the Android phones have same apps, better camera & cheaper than iPhone. Some even come with NFC chip; maybe there is an app for paying money through the phone - why is there no article on those phones? * If you are all about photos on your iPhone, then there should be an article about Nokia Lumia Windows Phone which has one of the best cameras in any Smartphone. I have no problems, writing about gadgets in a travel website. In fact, I welcome that, but writing something ridiculous just to be part of a news cycle is plain wrong. Note - * Before you ask, big apple fan & I own all the their gadgets & not Android. * Language is for communication - It does not have to be perfect as long as the other person could understand.