“After weeks of leaks and speculation, the iPhone 5c is finally here. Apple’s colorful new lower-cost handset slots below the iPhone 5s flagship and ships with iOS 7,” Myriam Joire writes for Engadget. “The 5c replaces the iPhone 5 in the middle of the lineup, and the 8GB iPhone 4s is now available free on contract. Unlike years past, the iPhone 5 doesn’t carry on as a second-tier device — it’s just gone. The 5c is built from steel-reinforced, colored-through, machined polycarbonate that’s coated in a glossy finish… in a rainbow of pastel hues: white, pink, yellow, blue and green, along with a matching set of cases.”

“Spec-wise, the 5c is basically an iPhone 5 with an improved front-facing camera and global LTE support,” Joire writes. “We’re not going to lie. The iPhone 5c is gorgeous… [it] just triggers some reptilian part of our brains that screams, ‘OMG, color!’ It brings a breath of fresh air to the iPhone lineup and will appeal to consumers at an emotional level. As such, we predict the 5c is going to be wildly popular this holiday season.”

“The surface of the 5c is… like enamel. This, combined with an extremely rigid structure, makes the 5c feel like a solid block of ceramic,” Joire writes. “With the iPhone 5c, Apple’s crafted something that’s more than just the sum of its parts. It’s easy to be cynical and dismiss this handset as just an iPhone 5 in a colorful plastic shell, but that’s missing the point. There’s no doubt that the 5c looks gorgeous and feels wonderful in hand. It inherits tried-and-true features from the iPhone 5 and also gains a few new ones, like that improved 1.2MP front-facing camera. Still, that’s only half the story. It’s iOS 7 that truly sets the 5c (and the iPhone 5s) apart, thanks to a delightful redesign and a dash of new functionality. With the 5c, Apple achieves an unprecedented level of synergy between hardware and software. Like many of the company’s other products, you have to experience the 5c in person to truly appreciate it.”

Read more in the full review here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]