The iPhone 5C is designed to put Samsung on the back foot, because until it was unveiled, Apple had never really attempted to cater to the more affordable end of the smartphone market. Sure, each year the older generation flagship iPhones got a bit cheaper, but this deliberately value-conscious approach is new. If you are comparing the Apple iPhone 5C vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, there are plenty of arenas in which the two devices can spar with one another, but which comes out on top?
External Design & Display
The most surprising thing about the iPhone 5C design is that it ditches Apple’s po-faced, businesslike look found on its predecessors and instead embraces a colourful, plastic feel that seems a lot more like something from Nokia. The polycarbon exterior is available in various bright colours, while the Galaxy S4 Mini is currently offered in either black or white. Both phones are thin and light and at this point your aesthetic preference will come down to personal taste, because while they are not completely stunning, neither is an outright dog of a device. The iPhone 5C uses the same 4 inch display as was found on last year’s iPhone 5, which has a 1136×640 resolution, putting its pixel density at 326ppi. The Galaxy S4 Mini’s screen is a little larger at 4.3 inches across the diagonal, but with a 960×540 resolution, it also has significantly fewer pixels per inch. This is another area in which your own needs will trump any physical differences. The bigger screen of the Galaxy S4 Mini is a pleasant inclusion and might make it the victor in a battle with the iPhone 5C, but the undeniable crispness and clarity of Apple’s Retina Display is still a compelling asset. We recommend reading Is it worth upgrading an iPhone 5 to the 5s?
Apple has always shied away from taking part in the same hardware arms race as Samsung and its other rivals, so doing a direct comparison has to be laced with caveats and caution. Having said that, the iPhone 5C and Galaxy S4 Mini look fairly similar on paper. Apple’s handset has the dual core A6 processor from the iPhone 5, with 1GB of RAM to back it up, while Samsung’s device sports a dual core 1.7GHz chip and 1.5GB of RAM.
The iPhone 5C comes in two flavours, with either 16GB or 32GB of built-in, non-expandable memory available. For Galaxy S4 Mini users a more limited 8GB of storage comes as standard, but you can expand this via microSD memory card if you wish. Samsung’s added flexibility in the storage stakes means that its handset is also innately more affordable, because Apple is known for inflating the price of its higher capacity handsets and there is no change in 2013 with the iPhone 5C.
What makes the iPhone 5C a worthy upgrade is the presence of the spanking new iOS 7 platform, which Apple seems to have expressly designed with the style of this phone in mind. It is compatible with the same wide array of apps and games, but benefits from a revised interface, better multitasking and even a new lock screen. The Galaxy S4 Mini sticks with Android Jelly Bean, but should be getting an upgrade to the recently unveiled Android 4.4 KitKat at some point down the line. Samsung’s own TouchWiz interface is as flexible and customisable as ever.
The dichotomy of iOS 7 vs Android Jelly Bean is the same as it has been in previous generations of the software. iOS is a more rigid, structured experience, which suits some users, while Android is a little more free-form and flexible.
You may already know which platform you prefer, or could find yourself inextricably linked to one or the other because of the amount of money you have invested in apps and services.
iPhone fans will be dancing in the streets at the news that the iPhone 5C is finally compatible with all of the 4G networks now available in the UK, unlike the outgoing iPhone 5, which only works with EE. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is another of the affordable 4G smartphones available on the market at the moment, so if you want to access mobile internet services at significantly faster speeds, either of these handsets will be a valuable companion. The iPhone 5C still lacks NFC connectivity, which is present and correct on the Galaxy S4 Mini, allowing users to indulge in faster data transfer, things like Group Play and also real world payments. NFC is not perhaps a deal breaker at the moment, but Apple cannot hold off for two long.
One thing that is unavoidably true is that the Galaxy S4 Mini is a lot cheaper than the iPhone 5C, whether purchased up front or secured free on a contract. Apple’s device is certainly cheaper than the equivalent iPhone 5S, but the price difference might not be enough for everyone to commit. Lowest contract prices on the iPhone 5c.