Posted by Chris Martin 26 September 2013
Do the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C need cases?
You can, of course, buy a case for your smartphone because you want to personalise it or keep it in good condition to get the best possible price for it when you sell it on – or probably both at once. However, I'm going to tackle this and answer this question from a build quality point of view.
See also: The 5 crappest tech products of all time.
Does the iPhone 5S need a case?
As with every 'S' model of iPhone, the iPhone 5S shares the same design, dimensions, chassis and combination of materials as its predecessor. The only difference is there are now three colours on offer.
The iPhone 5S is a beautiful product and it's clear that time and effort have been put into the small details. Its intricate and well put together. However, as a result, the smartphone is too delicate and almost like a show piece ornament that you must only touch with white gloves and sit in a glass cabinet.
It's a shame that the build leads to a fragile nature which does means you'll need to buy a case for it. That's if you want to stop the aluminium rear cover and that shiny bevelled edge getting scratched and chipped.
I really like the design of the iPhone 5S so it's a disappointment that it requires protection which inevitably hides all of that hard work which Apple put into making it such a spectacle. It's also annoying that adding a case increases the overall size and weight of the phone.
Note that if you do decide to get a case, try and avoid taking it on and off regularly because this action alone can scratch and damage the device (depending on the individual case).
Does the iPhone 5C need a case?
The iPhone 5C is the first plastic iPhone since the 3GS and so it's much more debatable as to whether it needs a case compared to the 5S.
It's available in five different colours, most of which I dislike but I guess that's irrelevant here, I just thought you'd want to know. The case, like many of Nokia's Lumia range is a single piece of polycarbonate plastic. Inside is a steel-reinforced frame which is great but doesn't really affect whether you need a case or not.
Apple has created silicone cases for the 5C but I don't think it needs one, or a third party alternative. And that's not because Apple's own case looks hideous (see above).
The plastic shell has got a clear lacquer hard coat, as Apple says in the iPhone 5C promotional video, and this is key to its durability. I've had the iPhone 5C for a while and it's been transported around in pockets and slung into bags with other devices, all without really picking up any signs of wear and tear. There are a few minor hairline scratches but you really have to look close to even find them. This is unlikely to be the case in a year's time but I still don't think it needs a case.
So, if you've got an iPhone 5S I think, unfortunately, a case is required but if you've got an iPhone 5C then I think you should go for it and expose it to the world.