Apple iPhone 6 Plus: My First Weekend - InformationWeek

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9/22/2014
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Apple iPhone 6 Plus: My First Weekend

After a few days of heavy use, Apple's big-screened iPhone 6 proves to be the right choice.

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Like lots of other folks, I got up well before dawn Friday morning to buy a new iPhone. I picked the iPhone 6 Plus over the 6 specifically for its larger screen and slightly better camera. I think I made the right choice.

The 6 Plus is a huge device, and it's certainly not for everyone. I've carried and used big-screened phones for years; among my favorites are the Nokia Lumia 1520 and the HTC One Max. The iPhone 6 Plus is smaller and more usable than both -- it is thinner, lighter, and better designed.

If you're a Galaxy Note owner, it will be a breeze to transition to the 6 Plus as the two are about the same size (the 6 Plus is slightly narrower, thinner, and lighter than the Note 4, but it's a smidge taller). The 6 Plus often requires two hands to use, but that's true of most large-screened phones. I had no trouble stuffing it into my pockets, though I'd wager it will be too big for skinny/tight jeans.

Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 Plus features a 5.5-inch screen with full HD resolution. It's the largest screen to ever adorn an iPhone and the first to use a standard resolution -- in this case, matching the 1080p HD video content used by TV shows and many movies. That means much of the video content that 6 Plus owners purchase will fill the entire screen.

And what a screen it is. I've tested hundreds of smartphone screens, and the LCD panel of the 6 Plus ranks high. It is incredibly bright, renders color accurately, and boasts some of the best viewing angles I've seen on any mobile device. Movies looked great.

[As usual, early adopters came in droves for Apple's latest device. Read Apple Fans Line Up For iPhone 6.]

I tested the device on AT&T's network, and it did well. I had no trouble making phone calls, and those calls sounded good. The 6 Plus has a loud speakerphone, but the vibrate alert is overly noisy. Data speeds over LTE 4G were excellent. WiFi speeds on my home network were even better.

I took the 6 Plus to an Oktoberfest celebration over the weekend and came away with some great pictures. Even photos taken in the shade just after sunset were perfectly exposed (without the flash) and razor-sharp. I had some fun with the slow-motion video capture mode, too, which made kids jumping in a bouncy house slow down to a snail's pace. (The expressions on their faces are priceless.)

Battery life is perhaps the best I've seen from any iPhone. Teardowns show the 6 Plus has a 2,915mAh battery. I had absolutely no trouble getting it to last more than an entire day, despite heavy testing. In fact, I had a hard time wearing the battery down.

The improved operating system runs very well on the 6 Plus. Unlike other earlier reviewers, I didn't notice any app crashes or software problems. I will say that apps that are not optimized for the 6 Plus look a little crummy. Apple has a tool in place that automatically scales apps up to fill the screen. Apps that haven't been adjusted for the new size/resolution border on fuzzy thanks to the way Apple scales them up. This issue will resolve itself (pun intended) over time as developers update their apps.

Some readers may recall that I returned the iPhone 5s last year, complaining that the 5s wasn't substantially differentiated from its predecessor, the iPhone 5. Well, the 6 Plus is substantially differentiated from any previous iPhone. After using it for only a few days, I'd say it has been well worth the wait. As long as you're on board with the idea of a plus-sized device, the iPhone 6 Plus is a solid bet.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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jbo5112
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jbo5112,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2014 | 11:17:58 AM
Re: iPhonw 6 plus may bend
Some of the complaints (e.g. all the ones I have read) say that the phone bent in the front pocket.
jbo5112
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jbo5112,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/13/2014 | 11:03:25 AM
Re: Having an iPhone changes the world around you
Technology comparison: a smartphone is more than a CPU.

Note 4:
  • Multi-tasking UI
  • Multiple GB of RAM for multi-tasking
  • 2560x1440 screen resolution
  • OLED screen technology
  • Most accurate color tested in displaymate's mobile device shootout
  • Multiple hardware buttons for device navigation (i.e. NES controller vs Atari 2600)
  • Very high durability against bending
  • Best in class support for web standards
  • LTE Cat6 300/50 Mbps
  • Base of 32GB internal storage
  • Expandable storage up to 160 GB total
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Active digitizer stylus for precise pointing and pressure sensitive taps
  • High-sensitivity touch mode for use with gloves
  • Rated 87h battery endurance by GSM Arena
  • Ships with super-fast charging capability and has an ultra-power-saving mode
  • IR blaster to use device as a universal remote
  • Built-in stereo audio mics
  • 32-bit ARM CPU: fastest in most multi-threaded benchmarks, capable of recording 4k video, and fastest in an occasional single-threaded benchmark (some versions do have a 64-bit CPU w/o any software support until Android 5)

iPhone 6:
  • Single-tasking UI
  • Single GB of RAM because multi-tasking is extremely limited
  • 720p screen resolution was state of the art in 2011 (at leat 750p is marginally better)
  • Power-hungry, poor contrast, LCD technology
  • iPhone 6+ and iPad Air 2 have the least accurate color tested in displaymate's mobile device shootout (I guess they didn't consider the regular iPhone 6 a flagship)
  • Single hardware button for device navigation (i.e. Atari 2600 controller vs NES)
  • Worst in class durability against bending
  • 75% more unsupported web tags and features, but without all the features it's at least fast
  • LTE Cat4 150/50 Mbps
  • Base of 16GB internal storage
  • Only non-expandable, expensive, internal storage -- up to 128 GB
  • Digital image stabilization has to be attempted with computer code
  • Stuck with fat fingers or fat, passive stylus
  • Requires specialized gloves or fat, passive stylus
  • Rated 61h battery endurance by GSM Arena
  • Super-fast charging capability available with the right accessory -- only regular power saving
  • No IR blaster
  • Built-in mono audio mic
  • 64-bit ARM CPU: ahead in most single-threaded benchmarks, capable of 480p @240fps upscaled to 720p, and fastest in an occasional multi-threaded benchmark

At least the iPhone 6+ is capable of last year's resolutions, but it has both a larger footprint and smaller screen than the Note 4.
@david__allen
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@david__allen,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/26/2014 | 2:18:01 PM
Re: iPhonw 6 plus may bend
@micjustin33 It is true that there are videos and images of the iPhone 6 bending and some are quite amusing. But then again who is actually going to put such an expensive new smartphone in their back pocket and then sit down with it still in there?
micjustin33
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micjustin33,
User Rank: Strategist
9/26/2014 | 9:34:28 AM
Re: iPhonw 6 plus may bend
Less than a week after the release of the iPhone 6 (and the iPhone 6 Plus), several users have already posted incriminating photos showing that the iPhone totally BENDS when put in certain pockets.
oneboxjackal
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oneboxjackal,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/25/2014 | 3:17:47 PM
Re: Having an iPhone changes the world around you
Older technology???? I must have missed the announcement of Google releasing a 64 bit version of Android that actually runs on a 64 bit Samsung device.

So, who's using the older tech, troll?
anon6131985993
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50%
anon6131985993,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/25/2014 | 6:08:22 AM
Re: Having an iPhone changes the world around you
I can only reply to you Michael by pointing out the huge technology gap between Galaxy Note 3 and Note 4 and the older tech used by Apple.  iPhone 6 will never tempt an Android user who has become accustomed to the higher specifications available already. To buy an Apple iPhone 6 plus would be a step back to the days of the Galaxy Note 2. It won't happen.
anon6131985993
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anon6131985993,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/25/2014 | 6:00:44 AM
Retina display...by Samsung.
Just one point should be noted. Samsung developed and actually manufacture the LCD panel for Apple.
anon6131985993
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anon6131985993,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/25/2014 | 5:55:15 AM
Apple 6 plus
The fact that the reviewer got up before dawn in order to buy this iPhone already betrays the fact that this is a biased report by an Apple fan who cannot handle the truth that this phone is underwhelming with its collection of old technology components, an LCD screen designed 5 years ago by LG and Samsung and is now obsolete. It has been replaced first by Super Amoled and now Quad HD. The major design flaw in the case doesn't help either. The Galaxy Note 4 will blow this device away, but still dedicated Apple users will try to convince themselves and others that somehow, old tech and weaker Apple devices are better than newer tech and more robust devices. Another reviewer "Apple fan" of course, who ridiculed larger screens a few years ago suddenly extolls the virtues of the iPhone 6 old tech LCD screen. This same guy said this time, "who needs crazy Quad HD on their big screen phones?" It is truly pathetic to witness Apple fans who just cannot accept the truth that Apple products are old, tired, unimaginative, completely lacking in innovation, and copying old technology already discarded by other companies.
SachinEE
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0%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 1:39:15 AM
Re: iPhonw 6 plus may bend
Making the phone too thin with fragile materials can bend the smartphone. Also if you try to counter the bend by applying pressure on the oppoiste direction, it cracks the screen. I think this is a major fail and people would wander away from the new iPhone slowly.
Technocrati
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50%
Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/23/2014 | 5:37:47 PM
Re: iPhone 6 Plus size
"...And I'm glad I didn't get the Plus, which is too big as far as I'm concerned."

 

@Thomas    This a major consideration, most still have to get it into their pocket.
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