Review: Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus | iLounge

Review

Review: Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

A-
Highly Recommended

Company: Apple

Models: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

Price: $199-$499

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Phil Dzikiy

Pros: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have bigger, improved displays which enhance internet browsing and media playing — the experience is especially great on the iPhone 6 Plus. Both devices feature upgraded back and front cameras with new features and better performance. Enhanced video recording frame rates, along with cinematic video stabilization, let both iPhones record top-notch video; the 6 Plus adds optical image stabilization for even better camera performance. Improved batteries are noticeable during the course of the day, especially in the larger Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus adds iPad-style landscape viewing of the Home Screen and certain apps, enabling the phone to be a tablet replacement for some. New features including VoLTE, Wi-Fi Calling and Apple Pay have great potential, but can’t fully be tested at this stage.

Cons: Calling sound is softer and more problematic, especially on the iPhone 6 Plus which takes some getting used to — some users definitely won’t like the ergonomics of the calling experience on the large device. A number of apps look worse when scaled up on the iPhone 6 Plus; both devices have software bugs, as well. Data speeds vary wildly depending on location, sometimes dropping to very slow levels, despite improved wireless hardware. New cases will be needed, and past Lightning accessories may not fit the larger devices. Some users may find the iPhone 6 Plus simply too large to hold comfortably, or place in some cars.

Ever since the first iPhone was released, iLounge has independently tested every iPhone model by purchasing multiple phones and running a wide variety of tests to reveal their true pros and cons. As was the case last year, 2014 brings not just one, but rather two new iPhones. Yet unlike the iPhone 5s and 5c, which were marketed as flagship and mid-range models, Apple’s iPhone 6 ($199/16GB, $299/64GB, $399/128GB) and iPhone 6 Plus ($299/16GB, $399/64GB, $499/128GB) were debuted as similar products with different screen sizes and battery life as major differentiators. Are they truly comparable to one another? How much of an upgrade are they when compared to Apple’s last iPhones? These are just a couple of the many questions we wanted to answer this year.

It goes without saying that these are physically the largest iPhones yet released. The iPhone 6 has a noticeably taller and slightly wider 4.7” display, up from the 4” display of the iPhone 5s, while a much wider and taller 5.5” display is the focal point of the iPhone 6 Plus. While competing Android smartphones have had similar screen sizes for years, this is the year Apple finally took the plunge and went big. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has said the company was more concerned with building the best screens, not the largest, but it’s obvious that Apple belatedly recognized the growing popularity of larger phones, and is playing catchup.

 

Despite the larger screens, the bodies are actually thinner than the iPhone 5s, reinforcing Apple’s commitment to making its products as thin as possible. Yet both models are faster, deliver better battery life, and generally offer more storage capacity than their predecessors. There’s no 8GB model akin to the lowest-end iPhone 5c. Less anticipated was the elimination of the 32GB capacity in both phones — the middle pricing level now leaps right up to 64GB, with massive 128GB models rounding out the lineup for both devices. For the first time in memory, there’s a good argument to be made that most people would struggle to fill all of the space on the highest-end iPhones, though videos, photos, and other media will still compel top-of-line purchases.

Which of the models should you consider — the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? The answer is not as simple as it might initially appear, so we’ll walk you through all of the details, below.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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