With pre-orders having gone live for the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s launching next week, that leaves the iPhone 5 as the odd-phone out. It was released in September 2012, so its early exit from the market, is very early by Apple iPhone standards. The older phones usually linger around, finding new life on the sales shelves at wireless carriers and retails stores. The iPhone 3GS was a dinosaur by cellphone standards, but managed to stick around for years after its release. Now that we’ve found out that Apple’s cheap iPhone isn’t so cheap ($99 with new 2-year contract, $549 unlocked), buyers are faced with a new dilemma. Should I buy the iPhone 5c or iPhone 5?

iPhone 5c vs iPhone 5

iPhone 5c vs iPhone 5 Specs

I could bore you with a laundry list comparison of the specifications of these two iPhones. Trust me when I say, these are both high quality phones that will provide for an exemplary user experience. The similarities outweigh the differences, by a large margin, so let’s focus on what’s different and how that should impact your decision.

Power On

If there is any weak link in today’s batch of smartphone, it has to be battery life. In a world that finds us surfing, streaming video and social network, your battery might be the hardest working component in your iPhone. A great phone is of no use if it has no power. Since iPhones don’t have removable batteries, even the slightest improvements can yield positive results, helping you power through a busy day.

Apple rates the iPhone 5c as having talk time of ‘up to 10 hours on 3G’. Standby time has also increased from 225 hours to 250 hours. Everyone uses their phones differently. Those who use heavy Internet and video playback, will see reduced battery life. If your job or school schedule leaves you without an opportunity to power up during the day, than these battery performance gains should matter to you.

Who Doesn’t Like A Good Selfie

Me, but this isn’t about me. Do you take selfies that you post to Instagram, Facebook or while SnapChatting? If so, than the front-facing camera on your new iPhone is going to be an important feature. Both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c share the FaceTime 1.2MP camera boasting a resolution of 1280 by 960, with support for 720p HD video recording. So why opt for the iPhone 5c? It has a backside illumination sensor, which will help capture more light, allowing for better photos in low-light.

Bold and Beautiful vs Just Beautiful

With the guts of these two iPhones largely the same, their outward appearance couldn’t be more different. The iPhone 5 features an anodized aluminum shell and the material helps keep things light, weighing in at just 112g. It’s a seriously light phone and the first time you hold one, it almost feels fake. The iPhone 5c features a polycarbonate shell that is offered in 4 bright colors or plain ole’ white. It’s no chunky monkey, but it does weigh slightly more at 132g. We’ll have our review in the coming weeks, but this type of material could be a welcome mat for fingerprints, but nothing a soft t-shirt can’t cure. Plastic is typically very durable as compared to aluminum which might scratch more easily. Having said that, a year with my iPhone 5 and I’ve yet to notice a single scratch. It really comes down to a personal choice. Do you prefer color or a more subdued aluminum look?

There are no bad choices. Based on specifications of the iPhone 5c and extensive use of the iPhone 5, you’ll be happy with either. If you prefer the bright colors of the iPhone 5c, my advice is to go get one. If you’re the kind of guy or gal who finds beauty in anodized aluminum, that’s fine too. If you’re not selfie obsessed and don’t mind a slight drop in battery life, go with the iPhone 5. Either way, you’re making a good choice.