iPhone 6 Review

Bigger is Better!

Fernando Lyons

10/27/2014

When the new iPhone was revealed, the question was not if I was getting it...the questions were which model was I getting (4.7 inch iPhone 6 or 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus), and when I was getting it.  The answer to the latter question was delayed by my indecision as it related to the previous.  Several factors influenced by ultimate decision, to purchase the smaller iPhone 6, including ergonomics (how it felt in my hand), portability (how it fit in my front pocket), and availability (which one could I get my hands on sooner).  After spending quite a bit of time on my device, I am happy to share my impressions with you. 

 

At 4.7 inches, the iPhone 6's screen size is over half an inch larger than last year's iPhone 5s model (4 inches).  The larger phone initially felt awkward in my hand, and I had to adjust the way I typically hold and navigate my smartphone.  That being said, it didn't take me long to become comfortable with my new iPhone, and I have no problems still using my device with one hand.  Users with smaller hands may have to use two hands to control the new iPhones.  Apple has added a neat screen drop down feature which lowers the apps at the top of the screen, making them more assessable.  I don't know if anyone will regularly use the feature, but I give Apple kudos for attempting to solve a problem that a larger screen poses.  While the screen size is larger, the phone is even thinner and lighter than before.  The iPhone 6 has curved edges, similar to the newer iPods or iPhone 5c's, and it is arguably the most attractive smartphone on the market.  Its almost a shame that you have to hide its natural beauty, but putting a protective case on it.  On that note, there have been reports of the newer iPhones being prone to bending in people's pockets.  While I highly advise the use of a case on this phone to protect it against scratches and screen cracks caused by dropping, I find the iPhone 6 to be a pretty sturdy and well built device.  There have, however, been some reported incidents where the new iPhone's are bending in people's front pockets ("Bend-Gate").  I am a healthy 6'2" and 235 pounds and I have found that it takes quite a bit of pressure and physical effort to bend an iPhone 6, so in order for it to warp by simply resting in someone's pocket, he/she must have been wearing some REALLY tight skinny jeans, and generating a LOT of heat down below.  I digress, but I would venture to say that most of us won't have that problem.  Just in case (no pun intended), do yourself a favor and buy a protective case.

 

In addition to the obvious size and aesthetic upgrades, the iPhone 6 has a several specification and feature upgrades.  The iPhone 6 has higher screen resolution of 1334-by-750 pixels at 326 pixels per inch (ppi) compared to the 1136-by-640 pixels at 326 ppi on the iPhone 5s.  The iPhone 6 Plus sports a healthy 1920-by-1080 at 401 ppi.  Watching YouTube videos, reading web pages, and playing video games on the upgraded iPhone 6 retina display is a much improved experience.  Like the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6 still sports an 8 megapixel iSight camera, but with a few minor  tweaks to improve the overall picture taking experience.  You will be hard pressed to find a smartphone (including the Samsung Galaxy S5 with a 16 megapixel camera) that takes better photographs than the iPhone 6.  The colors are vivid, the flesh tones are realistic, and the brightness and contrast is excellent on the photographs.  The video recording has been upgraded with improved slow motion (now up to 240 frames per second), cinematic stabilization, better face detection, and continuous autofocus.  For those times when you need quickly pull out your phone to capture that rare moment, the native iPhone camera app opens even faster than before. 

 

The iPhone 6 has an A8 processor (with 64 bit architecture) and M8 motion compressor, which makes this one of the faster smartphones on the market.  Web pages load faster, and apps run smoother on this device.  You will be hard pressed to find a smoother overall smartphone navigating experience than the experience on the iPhone 6 with the iOS8 operating system.  With the improved graphics processor (GPU), games will look and run better on the iPhone 6 than any other device.  If you're a gamer, you will really enjoy the gaming experience on the new iPhone.  The battery in the new iPhones is larger than in the previous models, which means you will be able to use your new device a little longer.  I am a heavy smartphone user, and I usually have about around 60% of battery life remaining on my iPhone 6 at the end of my workday.  The call quality and audio is slightly improved, however, I was hoping that Apple would have found a way to integrate recently acquired Beats Audio technology into the new device.  Maybe they are saving Beats Audio and the rumored sapphire screen for the iPhone 6s.  Also, if I had to nitpick, I would also like to have seen a true split-screen multitasking feature included.  It's probably a more practical feature for larger screened phablets and tablets, but there are Android smartphones (e.g. Multi-Window on the Samsung Galaxy S5) with this feature, so it would have been nice to see it on the iPhone 6 as well. 

 

Exclusive to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, is the new Apple Pay feature, which allows users the ability to store their credit and debit cards on their phone and make secure payments at select retailers, by simply holding their iPhone to a compatible credit card terminal.  This feature will appeal to someone (like me) who would like to always have their credit cards available for emergency situations, but would prefer not to always have to carry a fat bulging wallet full of credit cards.  Loading the cards to the Passbook app is a simple process, however, if you use the camera to take a picture of your credit card instead of manually entering the information, be sure that the correct Expiration Date is captured.  Citibank credit cards include the Valid From date, where the Expiration Date typically is on credit cards, so the wrong date will be applied to the Expiration Date area within Passbook when using the camera feature to automatically upload the credit card information.  I have yet to test the Apple Pay feature at a retail store, so I will provide an update to this review when I have used it.  Apple Pay shows serious promise, but only time will tell as to whether Apple Pay will catch on with the general public.  It may be an uphill battle, as there are some pharmacies, including CVS and Rite-Aid, that have disabled the Apple Pay feature at their terminals, because they are introducing competing NFC-based payment options in the near future.               

 

I am really impressed with the new iPhone 6.  If you are invested in the Apple eco-system, and have an older model iPhone, you should definitely upgrade to the iPhone 6/6 Plus if you are eligible for an upgrade through your wireless carrier.  If your sole reason for owning an Android device was screen size, then you no longer have a reason not to consider the iPhone.  Feature-wise, the iPhone 6 models rate on par, and favorably in some categories, with the current generation of Android devices (incl. Samsung's Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4).  However, if you are anti-Apple, an Android fan boy/girl, and/or you are not interested in the Apple Pay feature, then the iPhone 6 probably won't be enough incentive for you to become an Apple/iOS convert.

Bottom Line

+ Finally a Larger Screen!  Better Screen Resolution, Beautiful Design, Great Camera, Faster Processor, Better GPU, Larger Battery, & Apple Pay

- No True Split-Screen Multitasking Solution

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