I have been using the iPhone 6 Plus for just about 10 days now. If you want to read about why I purchased the iPhone 6 Plus, you can do so here. Instead I will give my opinions, thus far, on the iPhone 6 Plus.
Overall, I like the iPhone 6 Plus. The larger screen makes it much easier to do some things. When I initially opened the box, it seemed like the choice for a 5.5-inch screen might have been the wrong one because the screen may be too large. However, as time progressed, and it was not a very long time, I became quite accustom to the size and have actually grown to enjoy the additional screen real estate. The screen resolution on the iPhone 6 Plus is 1920 x 1080, which is full HD screen resolutions. This will make viewing videos much more pleasant on the larger screen. The screen is much clearer and much more crisp. The screen size has not been the only thing to change. The screen itself has changed as well. The new screen, dubbed Retina HD, does indeed have better viewing angles. Along with the viewing angles, the ability for the iPhone 6 Plus to focus is insanely fast. During my testing there were no instances where I needed to manually focus the camera, it was all just automatically done without any work.
With a larger screen there are actually two modes to choose from. The first is “Standard” view. This view is the typical view that has traditionally been on the iPhone. The second view is “Zoomed” view. The Zoomed view does a couple of things. The first is that the icons are slightly larger. The second is that the text is also bigger. To allow for the application names to fit under the icon, the spacing between the icons is also reduced. As the name implies, the overall view is Zoomed. The Zoomed view is ideal for those who need the larger screen just to be able to see. You can easily switch between the two modes, by going to Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Display Zoom. You can preview how each one will look.
I am a heavy iPhone user. I am constantly listening to music, podcasts, surfing the web, and refreshing Tweetbot. Battery life on the iPhone 6 Plus has been very good. Despite all of my efforts I have not been able to get it to go below 15% after an entire day of usage. Yes, it is a brand new iPhone so this is the peak of its battery life, but as far as I have been able to ascertain, this is the best battery life of any iOS devices that I have used.
Having every model of iPhone since the original in 2007 has made it easier to be able to compare each model of the phone. The design of the iPhone 6 Plus is very reminiscent of the original iPhone. On the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus the glass is rounded and fits so perfectly into the case that one might believe that the two pieces are in fact one. The smoothness of the screen allows users to easily swipe from either side. The glass is not the only aspect that is smooth. The case is very smooth as well. The case is machined to such tolerances that the phone can be a bit too slippery. This means that users will, and honestly, should get a case. Yes, a case will detract from the overall beauty that Apple has set out. Even so, would you rather have to pay for a replacement screen when it breaks, or would you prefer to get a case and be saved the expense. I always opt for using a case.
One of the things to keep in mind with a large screen is where to put the phone. For many females, this will not be an issue because they have a purse or bag with them, and they can store the phone in that. One of the things that I thought about while using the phone was how am I going to carry the phone around. Thankfully, the pockets on my work pants are ample enough to allow me to easily fit the phone in my pocket. As I write this, it is on the cusp of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. As the temperature cools, I will be wearing a hoodie, and my current hoodie has plenty of pocket space, so that will not be an issue. Yes, Winter is Coming, so there should not be an issue because the hoodie will still be in full use. There is one situation where it may become an issue. There are times that the temperature is at the point where it’s too cool for shorts, but too warm to wear a hoodie. Those are the times that might become problematic. My jeans can fit the phone. It is not ideal, but it does work. With a case, it can be a bit more cumbersome to remove the phone from my pocket, but it is doable. If you have small pockets, the iPhone 6 Plus will be a problem. If you have larger pockets, or equip yourself with some Internet Tactical Pants, you should not have any issues.
One of the things that has remained consistent, until now, with the iPhone line has been that the sleep/wake button has always been on the top. With the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the sleep/wake button is now on the side. This was done for obvious reasons. The larger screen means that users are not likely to be able to reach the top of the iPhone 6 Plus without using two hands. There are time that you need to quickly check something, like the time, and the easiest way to handle this is to push the sleep/wake button. On the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple has chosen to move the sleep/wake button to the right side to make it easier to reach. A possible secondary reason to do this is to keep a bit more symmetry between the left and right sides. It could be conceivable that in a future version of the iPhone, that the mute/rotation lock switch is moved to the right side and then the device would become almost 100% symmetrical. In combination with such a large screen the ability to reach items that are at the to the top of the screen can, for some, become nearly impossible to do with one hand. To compensate for this probability, Apple has introduced a new feature called Reachability.
There are two aspects to “reachability”. The first the hardware aspect, which was mentioned above. The second is the software feature called “Reachability”. Reachability is enabled by simply tapping, not pressing, the Touch ID sensor twice. This will bring the view halfway down the screen and allow the user to easily tap elements that are at the top of the screen. This feature only works when the iPhone 6 Plus is in portrait orientation. Reachability does not work while the phone is in landscape orientation and one should not expect this to be the case.
I’my typing this section of this review on my iPhone 6 Plus in landscape mode. Why you may ask? Well the answer is quite simple really, the iPhone 6 Plus has a larger screen and while Apple could have chosen to just make the key’s on the keyboard wider, they chose instead to add some additional keys to the keyboard. On the left side there are some quick buttons. These include cut, and paste. Along with this you have bold, undo, dictation and a sixth button that I’m not entirely sure of its purpose. Similarly, on the right side you have a set of left and right arrow keys, an exclamation point, a question mark, a period and a comma button. Some of these buttons will be very useful to those who type in landscape orientation often, however for the rest of us these buttons are not useful. It would be a better option if users could choose which buttons are showing on the left and right sides. Even if the options were a group set by Apple it could prove to be handy and beneficial to users in the long run.
Even with everything that is positive with the iPhone 6 Plus, there are a couple of downsides that you should be made aware of.
The first downside is not the fault of Apple, per se, but it is a side effect. Some applications are not optimized for iOS 8. A good example is Tweetbot, my preferred Twitter client. On the iPhone 6 Plus, the font is entirely too large. This is because of the way that Apple is handling older applications. When the iPad was released, it could support iPhone applications. At the time though, applications that were designed for the iPhone could be scaled at 2x the size and they would function as expected. This is also the case with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. However, on the iPhone 6 Plus, it is 3x and not 2x. This even larger scaling factor makes the applications look too large.
The second downside is that iOS 8 is still quite buggy. While Apple has issued two updates, there are still some rather strange aspects. One of the bugs is that when playing music, and the phone goes into sleep mode, there are times that the status bar will appear on the left side while the currently playing music will appear properly. It will look like this:
This is not the only bug. Not by a long shot. Some users are reporting that when they finish a phone call, the last audio item begins to play even if there was nothing playing prior to the phone call.
It may just be that I’ve been using the iOS 8 betas on an iPhone 5s since June 2nd that I have become accustom to the bugs, but none are as devastating as what happens with Apple’s release of iOS 8.0.1.
Needing a Case
Despite every attempt by Apple to the contrary, I think the iPhone 6 Plus needs a case. The phone, while absolutely gorgeous, is entirely too slippery. The first night I had the phone it managed to slip from my hands. Luckily it landed on carpeting, but I have had more than one iPod suffer an untimely demise because it fell and hit on just the right spot. As mentioned above, when I have a choice I do not fool around and I get a case. For my iPhone 5s, my case was a knockoff Mophie Juice Pack Air (that’s a whole other story).
Overall, the iPhone 6 Plus is a good phone. While it may be a bit larger than first anticipated but the size will grow on you as time progresses. The design of the iPhone 6 Plus is very similar to that of the original iPhone, albeit a bit more slippery than the original iPhone. The larger screen on the iPhone 6 Plus warrants purchasing Apple Care. Yes, it is an extra charge, but with a larger screen it is possible that the screen will break at some point. It is definitely not a necessity, but since I give my phones to somebody every year, it makes sense that I have Apple Care. The iPhone 6 Plus is a good phone. If you like Apple products and possibly want the ability to do a bit more with the keyboard in landscape, then this might just be the phone for you. If you know that you do not want a phone with such a large screen. The best thing to do is to go into a store and physically look and touch the iPhone 6 Plus to determine just how large the screen actually is and, more importantly, whether or not you are able to have a comfortable enough grip to use the phone over an extended period of time.