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

Share This Article:
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.

Whereas the iPhone 5s was a glass-covered rectangle with flat sides, the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are much different. Most obviously, the new phones are bigger: the iPhone 6 is 5.44” x 2.64” with a 4.7” display, and weighs 4.55 ounces, while the iPhone 6 Plus is 6.22” x 3.06” with a 5.5” display, and weighs 6.07 ounces. Despite their increase in overall size, both devices are actually thinner than the 0.3” thick 5s — the iPhone 6 is 0.27” thick, and the iPhone 6 Plus is 0.28” thick.

Though their sizes differ, the two new iPhones basically have the same design. Borrowing design cues from the fifth-generation iPod touch, Apple has gone back to a more rounded design — the sides of the device are now curved, instead of flat. The sleep/wake button has moved to the right side of the device from the top, to make it easier to reach while holding the larger phones. There’s also now one line of speaker holes on the bottom of the phones, instead of two. The microphone, headphone jack, Lightning connector remain in the same places, as do the thinner volume controls and silent/ring switch.

 

On the front of both phones, the FaceTime camera has moved to the left of the ear speaker, as a proximity sensor is now located above the speaker. Like the fifth-gen iPod touch, the backs of the phones feature a protruding camera lens — Apple’s solution for the camera sensor outsizing the thin bodies of the phones. The True Tone camera flash on both devices is now circular, instead of the pill-shaped form seen in the 5s. In both cases, plastic antenna bands are said to “complement” the aluminum of the phone’s rear.

 

Though Apple has used the same colors in both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as it did in the iPhone 5s — space gray, silver, and gold — the gold in the 6 and 6 Plus is a bit yellower than the subdued gold of the iPhone 5s. To many, it will simply look more golden. The space gray version is also lighter in tone than before, oddly reducing the distinction even further between the dark and silver metallic models.

 

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus come with Apple’s EarPods headphones, a Lightning/USB cable, and a 1A wall charger, all virtually identical to the ones shipped with prior iPhones. This year’s models could have conceivably come with a larger charger, a point we’ll get into a bit later.

 


The curvier, thinner, larger design of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus make the iPhone 5s look a bit behind the times from the moment you see them all together. We’re not really bothered by the protruding camera lens, either, as concerns that it might destabilize the phones on a flat surface really have no basis in fact. However, there’s no escaping those plastic antenna bands — they’re ugly. We always recommend using a case on iPhones regardless, and we don’t think many will mind covering up the hideous lines, which don’t look worthy of Apple design.

 

Our biggest issue with the iPhone 6 Plus from a design standpoint is something smaller, however: the ear speaker. Thinner than before, it can be somewhat harder to center properly on an ear, particularly given the larger size of the iPhone 6 Plus’s body. Depending on the size of your head and the way you’re accustomed to holding an iPhone, you may find the ergonomics challenging. We found the iPhone 6 easier to use as a telephone handset than the iPhone 6 Plus, but whether this will be enough of a problem to drive people to the lower model is open to some debate.

Discuss

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.

Related First Looks + Reviews

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2017 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy