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.

 Apple's Next Chapter: 10 Key Issues
Apple's Next Chapter: 10 Key Issues
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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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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
9/23/2014 | 3:58:43 AM
This is a review I like :)
Very nice, Eric. :)

A delight to read and very informative in what it matters when purchasing a new phone. 

I agree that those who have experienced (if really happened) problems with the new iPhones might have been with some apps that have not been updated to the new iOS yet. 

You seem to have run a quite nice and extensive test. The battery life is always one of the main questions when buying a new device. It's nice to know that despite the good, long use throughout your day the battery didn't die. The phone also endured a hard testing day that most likely is not going to be its daily routine. 

Thanks for this good insight about the good that the iPhone Plus has to offer. I like bigger phones. As for the fitting it in pockets, I would say that fashion designers have already been taking care of that. You can see bigger pockets in new designs. Also, carrying a bag with all your devices and stuff is not a problem these days, even for men; at least in Europe. 

You said the phone was worth the wait. This made me think that maybe it's about time manufacturers started taking longer breaks between new device releases. It has been obviously, several times, than in less than a year, or even a year there is no really time to pack too many new feautires and technologies into a new phone/tablet.

But, for this to happen, consumers also should stop demanding a new phone every year with more than a dozen new features, which rarely they seem to have learned how to use at the time of getting a new phone. Unless, playing with their phone was their full time job. :D

-Susan 

P.S. Oktoberfest celebrations already? 

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 4:17:24 PM
Re: iPhone 6 Plus size
I moved from an iPhone 5 to an iPhone 6 and it's a big improvement. I don't have a case yet, which is making me nervous -- it's really thin. The larger screen size is much better for reading. And I'm glad I didn't get the Plus, which is too big as far as I'm concerned.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 2:59:20 PM
Re: Having an iPhone changes the world around you
"With these new features there is a possibility that iPhone sales will top the market leading HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy Note4."

I'm not sure I follow. Do you mean that that HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 "top the market" in terms of features, and that the iPhones might have finally caught up, or even set a new benchmark? I ask because the original phrasing seems to imply that HTC or Samsung makes a phone that has outsold any iPhone, which is not the case. Though some think Apple has lagged on features, and though Android has more overall market share than iOS, no single smartphone model is more popular that the iPhone. Android has more market share overall, but there are a lot more kinds of Android smartphones than there are kinds of iPhones; the average number of users for any given new Android device is smaller than the average number of users for any given new iPhone. Between this quarter and the next, Apple is expected to sell close to 100 million iPhones. That's a preposterously big number.

You seem to be alluding to a question I find very interesting, though. As Eric alludes, a lot of "big phone" fans have been using Android or even Windows Phone over the last few years simply because there was no iOS option. What will happen to Samsung's sales now that Apple offers phones in three sizes and at a range of price points? What about HTC? And Microsoft/Nokia? Android's overall market share lead is too overwhelming (and too rooted in markets where iOS has no presence) for iOS to surge back to the top-- but I wouldn't be surprised if the margin separating the OSes shrinks quite visibly. And Apple is going to kill everyone in the smartphone industry on profits. But then again, there were some surveys that indicated low iPhone interest among Android and Windows Phone users-- so perhaps it's not just an issue of big screens, but also of OS preference against iOS. Time will tell, but 10 million phones over the weekend is a good start. I know several people who waited in line but didn't end up getting a phone, usually because they wanted a specific 6 Plus configuration. 

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 2:05:59 PM
iPhone 6 Plus size
Interesting notes on size and display; thanks for the report, Eric. Anyone else want to share weekend one reactions with the new iPhones?
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