What can I say about the iPhone 6 that you don’t know or haven’t already assumed? Not much, actually. It’s running iOS 8, has a great camera, thinner design, and a handful of features that make it different from last year’s iPhone.
This year, Apple has bumped up the display size and released two models. We have the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 Plus, but if you were paying attention to the rumor mill leading up to the launch, these two models probably weren’t a surprise. That being said, there are still some points I’d like to make about both devices, but instead of creating two reviews, I think it’s safe to combine them so that you can find out which one is right for you…
Obviously, Apple has aimed at two very different personalities with these sizes. The iPhone 6 Plus is considered a phablet in my eyes, while the iPhone 6 is probably a strong candidate for the average consumer. One is bigger and the other is “bigger than bigger.” Though it’s not necessarily the 5.5-inch display on the iPhone 6 Plus that makes it so big. Because of its design, the iPhone 6 Plus is larger than most other 5.5-inch Android devices. If you’d like to check out our iPhone 6 unboxing video click here, or you can find the iPhone 6 Plus unboxing video here.
Let’s take a look at specifications
The iPhone 6 is packing a 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 1,334 x 750 (326 ppi), a dual-core Apple A8 chip clocked at 1.4GHz, 1GB of RAM, 1,810 mAh battery, and as far as internal storage Apple is offering 16, 64, and 128GB configurations. When it comes to the iPhone 6 Plus, it features the same internal specifications along with a larger battery 2,915 mAh battery, optical image stabilization on the rear camera, and a 5.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display (401 ppi).
Check out our video review of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus below:
While there may only be a few hardware variations between these two models, there’s one obvious difference about this year’s iPhone. It has a completely different design. The lock button has been relocated to the right side of the device which will make it easier to access due to the larger sizes involved here, but the other buttons/switches are basically the same. The volume buttons and mute switch are on the left side and you’ll find the microphone, speaker, lightning port, and 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom.
Apple has slimmed down the design and went with something that closely resembles the fifth generation iPod touch. I’m a big fan of the thinner design, but sometimes we must sacrifice certain things to get there. Because of the slim design, we now have a protruding camera. I know most people cringed at the thought of this, but it’s really not that big of deal. You’ll quickly get over it. If you can’t stand it, there are plenty of cases available to fix this problem. As far as the antenna bands go, I’m not totally in love with them yet, but in my opinion they look the best on Space Gray models.
Also, I’m not going to make this a review about durability, because honestly, I haven’t used these devices long enough. I haven’t had any issues with scratches or drops yet. However, it does appear that the aluminum finish on the iPhone 6/Plus is more scratch resistant than the iPhone 5/5s. And just in case you’ve been wondering about the iPhone 6 Plus’ bending issue, I’ve put together a lengthy opinion article based on the matter that I highly suggest giving a look. I haven’t experienced any bending with the iPhone 6 Plus, but it has been affecting many other consumers.
Overall, I’m a big fan of the design happening here. It’s thin and sleek. The display panel is covered by “ION-strengthened” glass that has a very elegant curve along the edges and it gives the entire device a seamless look. I dig it. Though as you may notice from the video above, this curved edge is going to be problematic if you prefer to have a screen protectors that extends to the edge of the glass, because technically there is no edge. Not a deal breaker in my opinion.
The iPhone 6 Plus’ display is bright and colorful. It’s very crisp. The iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch display is great as well and the difference in pixels-per-inch when compared to the Plus didn’t seem like a downgrade. The iPhone 6 display is just as pixel-packed as the iPhone 5s, but on a larger scale. All of that said, I’m a fan of the display quality on both models and the overall design. In addition to that, I’m always a fan of buying an iPhone that doesn’t look exactly like its predecessor.
I gotta be straight up here. Even though we’re dealing with an 8-megapixel camera, it’s possibly one of the best cameras on a smartphone. For some reason, Apple always excels in this department miles beyond the competition. It’s one of the main reasons I will never leave the house without my iPhone. (I usually also carry an Android device as well.) Pictures are crisp and vivid, though low-light performance isn’t all that great. In acceptable lighting, this is the best smartphone camera in my opinion.
The iPhone 6 Plus comes along with optical image stabilization which definitely helps when it comes to photography and video. For comparison’s sake, I’ve put together a stabilization demo that you can see in the video above. The iPhone 6 Plus has far better stability over the iPhone 6. This is one of the main benefits you’ll get with optical image stabilization. I’m a fan, but I wish it was also a standard with the iPhone 6. Well, maybe it’ll come on the iPhone 6s. Scratch that, it probably will.
As far as video recording goes, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus kill it again. Though some may be disappointed that you’re only getting up to 1080p video recording capabilities at either 30 or 60 frames per second. UHD may not matter to everyone, but once again Apple is trailing behind most other smartphones in this department. Probably another feature in the works for the iPhone 6s. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also bring 720p Slo-Mo video up to 240 frames per second. See the above video for a Slo-Mo demonstration.
If you’d like to see maximum potential of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus camera, I’ve put together a cinematic video test that you can check out here. It’s shocking what this camera is capable of capturing. Though as I mentioned, Apple has a thing for camera quality.
Since this is a phone, we’re going to briefly discuss call quality. No surprises here though. It works. Thankfully we finally have simultaneous voice and data on Verizon iPhones. I realize that many other carriers don’t have this issue, but seriously thank you, Cellular Gods. Otherwise, call quality is crisp and clear, but if you have the option with certain contacts, FaceTime Audio is even better. It’s miles better than calling out using the carrier network. As Wi-Fi calling becomes available with more carriers, that will also be a great solution.
As most iOS users have grown to expect, iOS 8 is snappy and smooth. In fact, performance is going to be identical between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Honestly, it’s also very similar to how iOS 8 runs on an iPhone 5s. Apple’s lack of beefy internals does not affect the software experience. I’m not trying to discount the internal specifications on these new models, but it seems that overall there’s not a huge gap in real-world performance between the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
Launch bugs aside, iOS 8 is pretty much always a star performer. If you’d like to know more about iOS 8 or its new features, check out our Top 20 iOS 8 Features article. But this isn’t an iOS 8 review, we’re talking about the overall experience with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Apple has fine-tuned iOS 8 to work better with these larger devices by adding a few of software enhancements to make them easier to navigate. On both devices, we have the addition of Reachability. This new feature allows you to double tap (not double press) on the home button to move down the user interface. This will put nearly everything at a finger’s or thumb’s reach with one hand. It’s a nice feature, but in my opinion it was just easier to use my other hand. It’s not that Reachability is bad, I just don’t care to use it.
There are also a couple of zoom options available that will take advantage of the screen’s resolution. Initially these are configured when the iPhone is first setup, but they can be accessed later through the Settings app.
On the iPhone 6 Plus we have new landscape orientation abilities. The home screen and other specific apps can be rotated into landscape mode to bring more of an iPad-like experience to this larger 5.5-inch display. It’s definitely a nice feature, but it’s not ground-breaking. Though it is nice that you can pick up the device and be able to use it regardless of its orientation.
NFC is also present on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Unfortunately, it’s only there for a feature that you can’t take advantage of yet. Apple Pay is a new mobile payment platform that will be rolling out soon, but until that happens, NFC doesn’t really matter. Though I am excited to see what happens with Apple Pay. Will it catch on? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Normally I don’t get too in-depth with battery life because it varies so much between users, but it’s important to point out a couple of things about these two devices. Battery life is fantastic on the iPhone 6 Plus. Because of its larger size, there’s a larger battery inside and it definitely shows. I’ve had usage times up to 5-6 hours of total on-screen time with pretty heavy activity. It’s amazing in comparison to previous models. I can’t say the same about the iPhone 6. With heavy use I always felt like its clock was ticking, but it was still a slight improvement and it was definitely better than my iPhone 5s.
These numbers will obviously vary based on your specific usage, but Apple has finally managed to make an iPhone with all-day battery life. I can finally make it through my entire day with worrying about charging. Keep in mind, my usage is based on the fresh batteries that are inside of my iPhone 6 & 6 Plus and I’m sure the battery life will slightly decrease over time. I’m not running scientific battery tests here, I’m just using these as I would with any other smartphone.
Which one is right for you?
Well, that’s going to depend on a lot of different factors. I’ve laid out most of this information in our official comparison between the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus so if you’d like to check that out, you can find it here. Without making this too much of a comparison, if you’re a fan of larger displays, I’d go with the iPhone 6 Plus, if not then the iPhone 6 is for you. If you can’t stand the over-sized look of the iPhone 6 Plus, you probably won’t miss optical image stabilization too much, though the extra battery life is a nice thing to have. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are good smartphones, but there’s not much that’s life changing or innovative happening here.
For myself, I’ll have to side with the iPhone 6. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone 6 Plus is great with its display and battery life, but I just need a device that’s a bit more pocketable and I’m willing to sacrifice a few features for that. If you’re coming from a previous iOS device or an Android device, you’ll be happy with either one. If you currently have an iPhone 5s, you might just want to wait for next year’s release. Issues aside, it looks like (unsurprisingly) this is the best iPhone yet, though durability may tell a different story.