The new iPhone 5C is a really bad buy

iPhone 5C
It's cheaper, but it also has a serious lack of storage

Imagine. You're buying something exciting and expensive. The sales person makes you an offer. You can have 1/8 off the sticker price if you agree to just one thing: from time to time, the sales person would come round to your house and punch you in the face.

The new iPhones and iPads are a bit like that.

Apple has made the iPhone 5C cheaper and it's brought the iPad 4 back from the dead, and in both cases it's selling them with lower amounts of storage: 16GB in the case of the cheapest iPad and just 8GB in the lowest-cost iPhone 5C.

8GB? My email signature's bigger than that.

Size matters

Okay, not really. But despite my best efforts to export my photos and videos, my ruthless culling of infrequently used apps, my diligent deletion of read messages and mail and my streaming from iTunes Match and Spotify, I've still got 23GB of stuff on my iPhone and even more on my iPad.

If you're reading this, you're clearly into tech. You're an HD-shooting, app-using, downloading-for-offline access kinda gal or guy, and that means that even a 16GB phone will get awfully crowded awfully quickly.

The latest iPhone 5C may be 10% cheaper, but it's 90% less useful unless you intend to stream absolutely everything, or use it for absolutely nothing.

I'm not being a size snob here. There are other iOS devices in my house, my wife's iPhone and my daughter's iPad, and I spend more time managing them than my loved ones spend using them.

They don't have sufficient storage, and that's a headache: even minor app updates mean major housekeeping to free up space, and the really big stuff - updating sat-nav apps, buying a film or running an over-the-air iOS update - can mean hours of meddling.

A slightly cheaper phone may seem like a good idea, but you'll pay the money you saved again and again in time and tears.

Unlike computers and rival firms' devices, whose storage you can expand, if you buy a too-small iOS device there's no way to fix your mistake. At a time when even 16GB feels awfully stingy, opting for an 8GB smartphone is a decision you're likely to regret.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.