Apple iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus [Review]



If you’re even slightly interested in technology/mobile devices or have picked up a newspaper within the past month, chances are you’ve heard of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new devices released from Apple are the hottest phones on the market right now and have been flying off the shelves. When the phones were announced last month, over 4 millions preorders were placed within a single weekend. Like most major releases from Apple, demand for the new devices has greatly outpaced the available supply and will continue to do so for the next several weeks. I was lucky enough to grab my own iPhone 6 Plus – here are my thoughts on it.

Overview

In 2007, the first iPhone was introduced by Apple, which would ignite the smartphone market. Fast-forward 7 years and we are presented with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Spec-wise, both phones are very similar with only minor differences including a larger screen/higher screen resolution, battery, horizontal viewing mode, and optical image stabilization (OIS) all of which are available on the iPhone 6 Plus.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Front

Design

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are 6.9mm and 7.1mm, respectively, which makes them the thinnest iPhones in history – as well as some of the thinnest smartphones ever. It’s clear that the folks at Apple had a direct focus on how thin they could make the devices without sacrificing any hardware. As a result of these extremely thin devices, Apple had to make a compromise with the camera, which explains the camera protruding just a bit from the body. The front of the devices look very similar to the previous iPhone 5S including the TouchID/Home button, speaker grille, front-facing camera, and various sensors. The biggest and most noticeable differences to the new devices are the larger screens on both the iPhone 6 (4.7″) and iPhone 6 Plus (5.5″), both of which are a nice upgrade from the previous 4″ iPhone 5S. With the larger screen size, Apple moved the power/lock button from the top of the device to the upper right side which is seen on many of the larger Android devices. Apple has also gone back to the curved body style similar to the original iPhone and iPhone 3G and has added a slight curve on the screen which give it a seamless feel from the screen to the rest of the phone.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Side

Hardware

Hardware-wise, the new iPhones are comparable to the previous iPhone 5S. The camera has not  improved much from the iPhone 5S, which was already a top-of-the-line camera. For the camera, Apple added a larger sensor which allows users to capture video in 1080p HD at 60fps as well as 240fps in slo-mo. Apple also added a cool feature called “Time Lapse” that can condense a long period of video into a shorter, sped up clip. I was quite surprised to see this feature on the iPhone considering most cameras, including many full blown DSLRs, don’t have this feature. Both devices also have just 1Gb of RAM, which seems low for a “premium” smartphone, but both seem to manage perfectly fine. On the iPhone 6, the screen has been bumped up to 4.7″ diagonally with a resolution of 1344×750 (750p) and a pixel density of 326. The iPhone 6 Plus sports an even larger screen at 5.5″ diagonally with a resolution of 1920×1080 (1080p) and a pixel density of 401. Both iPhones also include the new Apple A8 64-bit processor with a clock speed of 1.38 Ghz, 25% faster than the predecessor A7 chip. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus also have larger capacity batteries, which is something iPhone users have been asking for. The iPhone 6 features an 1810 mAh battery, while the iPhone 6 Plus features a much larger 2915 mAh battery. As an owner of the iPhone 6 Plus, I can confidently say that this is one of the best features of the new iPhones. I no longer have to carry around a spare charger or invest in a battery case for my daily use as my phone can last from 6am to 9pm with moderate use. Apple has also added a “Battery Usage” tab inside General Settings giving the user a breakdown of battery usage by app (or screen-on time). Apple has also gotten rid of the 32Gb option of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new models are available in Space Gray, Champagne, and Silver with 16Gb, 64Gb, and a whopping 128Gb storage option.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus - iOS 8 Battery Usage
iPhone 6 Plus Battery Usage

Software

Like all recent iPhone releases, a new version of iOS is included. Unlike iOS 7, iOS 8 does not feature a dramatic redesign. It does however include several small features that I think many iPhone users will come to appreciate. One of the biggest features is the inclusion of “Health”, which is part of Apple Healthkit. If you don’t know what HealthKit is, basically it allows health and fitness information to be shared with several different fitness apps. Along with Health, Apple has added the ability to access the device owner’s medical ID in case of emergency.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus - iOS 8 Health
iOS 8 Health

Another feature included in iOS 8 is what Apple calls “Reachability”. By double tapping (not pressing) the home button, everything on the screen will shift downwards halfway to provide the user easier access to apps near the top of the screen. Personally, I haven’t used this feature a whole lot, but I could see it being used often by people who enjoy using their device 1-handed. My personal favorite iOS 8 addition is the integration of third party keyboards. Until now, Apple’s keyboard was locked down to official keyboards only. With the added third party keyboards (and there are PLENTY!), users can add different emojis, gif keyboards, pictures, memes, and tons of other options. If anyone is interested in a great third party gif/meme keyboard, I recommend looking at the free GIF Keyboard.

As with everything new, there are still bugs that need to be worked out, but for the most part, they work as intended. Every now and then I have noticed my keyboards either not loading properly or being stuck in horizontal mode when my phone is portrait mode. This might have something to do with the added “landscape mode” on the iPhone 6 Plus, which isn’t included on the regular iPhone 6. Landscape mode allows iPhone 6 Plus users to rotate the device horizontally which in turn, rotates the screen. In a few apps, you do get a different screen rather than the same screen in a horizontal position. For example, in Messages, you get your current conversation on the right and all of your existing conversations on the left.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus - iOS 8 Messaging
iOS 8 Landscape Messenger

If you have used or owned an iPad, this is nothing new to you. Still awesome to see on an iPhone!

Availability

If you’re interested in the iPhone 6, you might be able to snag one from local retailers who have very limited supplies. As for the iPhone 6 Plus, supply hasn’t even caught up to preorders, which makes your chances of finding a device extremely low. From personal experience, I placed a preorder (128Gb Unlocked iPhone 6 Plus) directly from Apple just seconds after preorders went live and I was given a delivery estimate of October 7th. Lucky for me, it looks like Apple has ramped up production of the 6 Plus and I received my device late September.

Overall, this is easily the best iPhone yet, and one of the best smartphones on the market. Over the last year, I’ve owned many devices including the Galaxy S4, HTC One, iPhone 5S, and OnePlus One. The new iPhone outdoes them all. Yes, some individual specs might be better on other devices, such as battery capacity or processor clock speed, but when compared as a whole product, the iPhone 6 [Plus] is the clear winner.

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About Alex Wolfe

Alex Wolfe is an Accounting/Information Systems major at Texas a Tech University. When he's not busy with school, he enjoys playing outside with his dog and gaming on Xbox One. He has a huge interest in mobile devices and future technology.

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