reviewing the actual user experience
Given how colossally imbalanced supply and demand is for the plus sized iPhone 6 model (at the time of writing this post), there's probably a pretty strong chance that you haven't managed to get your hands on one yet. By now, you've probably read and watched plenty of reviews on the unit and know all the tech specs of the device. All that kind of information in a review is kind of meaningless to you, the actual user of the phone. This is not that kind of review.
I'm also not writing to try and convince you to convert from Android to iOS, nor am I writing to help you choose between the 6 and the 6 Plus. This is a review purely for those who are sitting around specifically with an iPhone 5, waiting for iPhone 6 Plus stock. You'll be wondering what the experience is like going from the 5 to the 6 plus. Here it is:
That screen. It is beyond words. It definitely isn't the best you can get on the market but switching from your iPhone 5 to the 6 Plus' 5.5inch 1080p higher resolution display is completely jarring - in the best possible way. After only a days use, it made the iPhone 5 feel like a child's toy. I know you keep hearing about this effect, but trust me, you'll see. Not only is the screen larger, but the resolution is noticeably improved.
Apple has also finally implemented their laminated screen technology which has been a long time coming! By laminating the screen directly to the touchscreen glass, the iPhone is definitely more visible in bright outdoor situations. It also makes the phone experience more immersive as it feels like you are actually interacting with the pixels behind the glass. Scrolling through your Instagram feed, you'll noticed details in pictures that you would have missed with your iPhone 5.
That Camera. Like me, you probably would have had your iPhone 5 for close to two years (on contract). Two years in the tech world is a millennia. It might only be an 8MP sensor but Apple have never been known to skimp on the camera hardware. Phil Schiller was right in the Keynote that the iPhone 6 generation of camera will to the very least signal the end of the point and shoot. This thing is better than most of them out there. The gorgeous 5.5 inch high resolution screen only adds to camera quality and experience giving you an infinitely better viewfinder (screen).
It's phase detection autofocus is so snappy, you won't have to deal with that camera launch lag the iPhone 5 had. Coming from the 5, you'll also finally be able to use the Slow-mo feature, and it is no joke! It works flawlessly and will blow you away the first time you use it.
That Battery. Rejoice! Charging twice a day will be a thing of the past. You'll most likely still have to charge once a day, but even the most phone-addicted users out there will struggle to kill the battery during waking hours. This is a huge benefit coming from the iPhone 5 which would last about 6 hours of moderate use before it had to be re-tethered to a wall. Travellers especially will love this iPhone 6 Plus.
That Touch ID. Sure, the 5S had it. When the 5S launched with it though, your thoughts about it were probably similar to mine - meh. With my iPhone 5, I had my phone passcode lock after 15 minutes. It was a pretty good compromise because 15 minutes of non use usually meant my phone wasn't with me. It was a good protection against people snooping through my phone and if my phone got stolen. With Touch ID your phone will ALWAYS be secure and without effort! Using the Touch ID is completely effortless and is one of those features that you don't consciously appreciate as much, until it is taken away. Using my iPad Air without a Touch ID has now started to get on my nerves!
That screen curve. This is one of those understated design & hardware features. I'm sure Apple mentioned it while spruiking their iPhone 6's at the conference, but only as a passing fact. It is part of Apple's secret design sauce and attention to detail that makes them the best of class. It enables your fingers to swipe your iPhone's glass screen seamlessly without sharp edged obstruction. It also adds to the perception that your (5.5 inch) iPhone's screen and bezels are thinner than they actually are - which helps tremendously with the transition from toy-like 5 to plate-sized 6 Plus.
I am not an idiot (not completely). Quite clearly, the iPhone 6 Plus is a two-handed device. Still though, you're sure to experience some issues which are unique to Phablet category smartphones. First world problem am-I-right??
That lying down in bed usability. If you often use your phone in bed lying down with your phone held above / in front of your face, I'm sure you'll notice this too: it is hard. The larger phone size means you'll have to put more effort into gripping it and your phone holding arm is sure to get tired quicker.
It's larger size also means that it is pretty much impossible to lie in bed on your back and use it one handedly as well. You won't be able to hold your phone and scroll up and down feeds like you did with your iPhone 5.
That lack of Landscape designed & supported apps. This is mainly only an in-bed issue (see above). Apps like Facebook for example, currently don't have or support Landscape mode. My hands are by no means small, and seeing as one-handed-use is still impossible, using the 6 Plus with two hands in portrait mode is just awkward. Both your hands usually end up covering up a lot of the screen and that is the only way to use it.
That processor speed. This is not a jab at the hardware. This is purely just to comment that, at least for my needs, the upgrades in processor speed and software snappiness wasn't really noticed. I think it's mainly because the software requirements for what I use my smartphone for have plateaued. I mainly just browse the web, chat and use social media. Don't really game cos ain't nobody got time fo' dat.
That iOS ubiquity. This isn't a new problem, though it is one that I have noticed for the last few years. Upgrading iPhone's just doesn't carry that new gadget feeling. I had the latest version of iOS on my iPhone 5 prior to upgrading to the 6 Plus, just like how I had the latest iOS when going from iPhone 4 to 5. The experience is literally exactly the same. I guess it saves the pain of setting up a new device and learning it's ins-and-outs - which to me brings just as much joy. Can't win them all I guess.
That fragility. The iPhone 6 Plus feels precious. What they say is true, or possibly is only true because they've said it; the iPhone 6 Plus does feel a bit more fragile. I think this is because of a combination of:
- a sizeably larger device
- a smoother (aka slippery) rounded aluminium unibody construction
- the #bendgate videos (thanks Lou from Unboxtherapy)
- and greater price tag.
Meh, man (or woman) up; it's worth it.
It does sometimes make you hesitate to take it out of your pocket when you don't have two hands free though. Maybe this will change over time as I grow in handling-confidence or start to care less about it. I've bought enough protection for my iPhone 6 Plus to be relatively confident with it: Spigen back protector film, Spigen Tempered Glas Screen Protector and an Apple iPhone 6 Plus Leather case. Review on this combo to come so keep an eye out (and subscribe/follow!).
Easter egg: For those of you in the know, the pictures in this blog post are actually inspired from Apple's ads they ran in the Rolling Stones Magazine.
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