Galaxy S5 Mini vs iPhone 5C: which budget phone is better?

If you are an Apple or a Samsung fan, you don’t have many choices if you want to buy a flagship smartphone with top-notch specs. But if you are an Apple fan or a Samsung fan, but don’t want the latest and greatest and would rather settle for something that doesn’t drill a whole in your pocket. you should try going for either company’s budget-oriented smartphones: the Galaxy S5 Mini from Samsung or the iPhone 5C from Apple. Both are handy acquisitions that are pretty neat and perform well, but both have their shortcomings. Lets see how they do in a comparison of budget phones.

Design and Display

The Galaxy S5 Mini comes with the same design elements as its bigger brother, the Galaxy S5, meaning that you won’t get premium materials, just a band-aid like back plate that is more bothersome than stylish. Seeing as it is a budget smartphone oriented at those who don’t want to spend a fortune on a flagship and are content with having a smaller, less-endowed phone, the design is suitable and appropriate.

The iPhone 5C bears the same plastic elements, being Apple’s offering of a less-premium version of the iPhone 5, catering to the same audience as the Galaxy S5 Mini. The iPhone 5C is actually a bit worse in design than the Galaxy S5 Mini because it’s much more of a fingerprint magnet and hella slippery to top it off. That means that when it comes to design, even if you don’t enjoy the dimpled, band-aid look on the Samsung budget offering, it might be the better choice.

The display on the Galaxy S5 Mini is a 4.5 inch Super AMOLED one with a decent 720*1280 resolution adding up to 326 ppi pixel density. The iPhone 5C comes with a smaller, 4 inch LED-backlit IPS display with a 640*1136 resolution adding up to the same 326 ppi pixel density. When it comes to display quality, most people vouch for the iPhone 5C because of the LED-backlit technology that makes the whole experience a bit more immersive, but the difference in viewing angles and outdoor visibility in the two phones we’re analyzing right now is negligible.

Hardware and Camera

The Galaxy S5 mini specs include a quad core Exynos 1.4 GHz chipset backed by 1.5 GB RAM and 16 GB expandable internal storage up to 64 GB. You get Android 4.4 KiKat on the handset, but an Android 5.0 Lollipop update should be coming its way soon enough. The performance of the device isn’t shiny, but it will hold out to most high-intensity games and apps, although not as smoothly as the flagship counterpart.

The iPhone 5C comes with the usual Apple A6 CPU backed by 1 GB RAM and either 8, 16 or 32 GB internal storage. Performance in this case is pretty top-notch and iOS 8.1.2 makes things smooth, but the update isn’t free of its bugs which should be resolved in subsequent updates to iOS 8.1.3 and iOS 8.2. Still, performance-wise, the iPhone 5C does pretty well compared to the Galaxy S5 Mini.

The camera setup on the Galaxy S5 Mini comes with an 8 MP primary shooter with an LED flash included and 2.1 MP sensor on the front. These sensors don’t make for great photos, but they do manage to satisfy the average user who doesn’t care too much about camera performance in a smartphone. Nonetheless, the camera experience isn’t too shiny.

The iPhone 5C is pretty neat in this department, thanks to the 8 MP iSight camera on the rear equipped with an LED flash. Even though the MP count is the same, the iSight camera does much better than the camera on the Galaxy S5 Mini. The whole experience was upgraded on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus so you won’t get the same quality out of the iPhone 5C, but it isn’t too far off either.  The front camera is a 1.2 MP FaceTime shooter, which isn’t anything to write home about, but does have a faster response time than the front camera on the Galaxy S5 Mini.

Battery and Features

If you want a budget smartphone, you usually try to pick one that sacrifices some of its design or display resolution in favor of a bigger battery unit within the body of the phone. While the Galaxy S5 Mini battery isn’t anything special, it does come up with nice battery life that can hold out for two days with mixed use. The 2,100 mAh battery isn’t too big for the phone, but it does surprisingly well. That always depends on user interaction with the phone, so you might be better off testing it for yourself.

The iPhone 5C comes with a much smaller 1510 mAh battery and reports suggest that it isn’t very good. You won’t always get a day of use out of the cheap handset, so you might want to keep your charger in your pocket all day long in case of an emergency. One other thing about the battery is that it isn’t removable to allow for a quick battery swap, while the Galaxy S5 Mini does allow this nifty trick.

As for features, the Galaxy S5 Mini shines in this department because it borrowed quite a few traits from its big brother. You get the fingerprint scanner embedded in the home button, the heart rate sensor on the back and the little handset also has IP67 certification, which makes it waterproof. You can’t say the same about the iPhone 5C, since Apple didn’t even include TouchID on the handset, which is pretty disappointing. A notable feature that should be mentioned about the iPhone 5C is that it is available in multiple vivid colors, but that doesn’t seem to be that interesting right now.

Price and Conclusions

We began our comparison by stating that these two are budget smartphones that were designed with consumers that are on a tight budget in mind. While that was the idea behind both these phones, they didn’t quite come close to that ideal in my mind. The Galaxy S5 Mini, unlocked retails for around around $370, depending on region, which is pretty much for a small handset made of plastic, but it can be justified with the waterproof structure of the phone as well as the extra features you get with it.

The iPhone 5C, on the other hand, doesn’t warrant such a high price at all. We are not sure how Apple wanted to target consumers on a tight budget with this one, because the 16 GB version SIM-free will set you back around $400. That’s a bit disappointing, especially because the phone is pretty outdated and is more than a year old. We would have expected a more competitive price on the iPhone 5C, but we can say that about the Galaxy S5 Mini, too.

As for a conclusion, if you are on a budget, I wouldn’t recommend either of these phones, because you can get better ones for the price. For example, the Sharp Aquos Crystal is close in specs and looks awesome in the meantime, and will only set you back about $150. You don’t get as many features as you would on the Galaxy S5 Mini, but the bezelless and unconventional design are definitely worthy of a mention, at least. As for the iPhone 5C, it’s definitely not a good deal, because you can get the better iPhone 5S for $100 more and you would be better off with that.

But since we are all about the Galaxy S5 Mini and iPhone 5C at the moment, we should tell you that between these two, the Galaxy S5 Mini comes with better bang for buck. You get a heart rate sensor, a fingerprint sensor, waterproof chassis and a bigger display, for less than you would buy a new iPhone 5C for. It’s pretty obnoxious that Apple didn’t include TouchID in the 5C, because it would have been a better way to rile in customers towards the “cheap” phone. Alas, we can’t turn back now. The last thing we should mention is that you should always consider OS when choosing a phone. If you’re not familiar with Android, you should definitely go out and try the Galaxy S5 Mini before buying the iPhone 5C instead.