Aditya Agarwal
Different Perspectives

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The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus review

Come September, and its that time of the year when all Apple fanboys go into a frenzy. It happened again this year and rightfully so. After 2 years, Apple made a significant change in the design and the form factor of its iPhone lineup. 

I was able to get myself an iPhone 6 and a iPhone 6 Plus on launch day and I have been using them for the last 3 days. Lets have a look at whats new and whats important. 

The new iPhone 6 Plus

The new iPhone 6 Plus

PROCESSOR: New Apple A8 64-bit dual core processor with updated Motion co-processor. It is still a Dual core processor but looking back, it is sure to beat the so called "Octa" and "Quad" core processors from other companies. The new processor is said to be 20% faster than the previous models. I am not sure of this claim as no benchmarks have been carried out yet. But what I am sure of is that iOS 8 flies on the new hardware.


The new screen is gorgeous 

The new screen is gorgeous 

SCREEN: 

iPhone 6: 4.7-inch 1334 x 750, “Retina HD” LCD

iPhone 6 Plus: 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 LCD with landscape optimization (App support needed)

Both the models have an IPS display with enhanced contrast and color. I compared it with the iPhone 5S display and found the new displays to be significantly better than the previous models. The viewing angles are much improved. 

The iPhone 6 plus will take time getting used to. But you can never go back.

The iPhone 6 plus will take time getting used to. But you can never go back.

Both new models have new screen resolutions developers will have to deal with. Until then all existing apps scale up to the new resolution and seem to work perfectly. 


STORAGE: Both models come in either 16GB, 64GB or 128GB capacities. Apple ditched the 32GB model altogether and that is no longer available.


FORM FACTOR: The iPhone 6 is bigger than the iPhone 5S with the new 4.7" display. In my three days of usage I realized that this will be the better selling model for Apple when compared to the Plus. Not because it is a better phone but because it holds better in hand. While most people will want the 4.7" model, I settled for the 5.5" Plus as my main phone. Why? I will talk about this further down this post. 

Another important fact is that the new phone is thinner and much lighter than the previous models. The added screen estate also meant less mistakes while typing for me. I could type much faster and better. So much so, that I don't think I will be using any third party keyboard.

The new phones are both slimmer and lighter

The new phones are both slimmer and lighter

BATTERY: Both iPhones get new batteries which promise longer run times. In my use, I specially found the iPhone 6 Plus' battery significantly better. In fact it gave me almost twice the runtime of the iPhone 5S and almost 50% better then the new 6.

Better battery life across both models

Better battery life across both models

SIZES COMPARED: The below image compares the different sizes in comparison. 

From right: iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus

From right: iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus

CAMERA: Both models feature a 8 megapixel camera with 1.5 micron sensor pixels, an updated dual tone flash and a f2.2 aperture. The new cameras feature phase detection autofocus, which means faster and more accurate focusing. What differs in the two models is that the 4.7" model has "digital image stabilization" to reduce camera shake but the 5.5" model has "optical image stabilization". Why OIS is better than DIS is that DIS will post process images to correct camera shake, but OIS will avoid that from happening while taking the shot. 

In my comparison to the iPhone 5S camera, the new camera has better color saturation. And the new lens although still at 8 Megapixels churns out much better pictures.

The phone can now shoot Slo-Mo videos at unto 240fps for really smooth motion effects. It also has "Cinematic Video stabilization" which is basically OIS for video as well. 

I personally still like to use my DSLR though.

The new camera protrudes a bit out of the body.

The new camera protrudes a bit out of the body.

NEW TOUCH ID SENSOR: The new sensor is more accurate and I did not miss a single unlock with my finger in the last 3 days. iOS 8 now allows apps to use Touch-ID for authentication and it is really convenient. 

The new and better Touch ID

The new and better Touch ID

COLOR OPTIONS: The phones come is 3 color choices as before. Space Grey, Silver and Gold. The back however is now all metal.

Color options for the iPhone 6

Color options for the iPhone 6

WHY I CHOSE THE PLUS? Everyone has a different opinion about the iPhone 6 Plus. But this is one phone which has garnered the most attention by the media and customers alike.

A few years back, Samsung introduced the "Phablet" category. Phones with huge screens that were neither big like a tablet nor small like a phone. And at that point in time, I hated it. I would laugh at people carrying such humongous devices. But things started changing last year..... 

I had bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 back in 2013. And after a few days of use I started to fall in love with the big screen. I used it as a secondary phone for 15-20 days and felt that the big screen proved much easier on my eyes, though a bit heavy in the pocket. I eventually sold the phone as I hated the android OS (and still do). But the big screen kinda stuck in my mind. And I started wishing for a bigger iphone. 

The iPhone 6 Plus is the answer to my wish. Though it is a lot bigger than the iPhone 6 I still love it and here's why:

1. The huge screen is definitely easier on the eyes.

2. The big screen also means better spaced out keyboard (with dedicated cut/copy/pase) keys in landscape mode. 

3. Reachability (Available on both models): This new feature pulls down the screen to the bottom with a double tap o the home button, so that you can reach the other side of the phone with your thumb easily. It works well and I seem to love it.

Reachability: Brings down the screen for easy one hand access with a double tap on the home button

Reachability: Brings down the screen for easy one hand access with a double tap on the home button

4. Better battery: Lasts one full day with really heavy usage. Compared to this my iphone 5S lasted until 1PM in the afternoon.

5. Landscape use: For the first time I have started to use the landscape mode on the iPhone. Its really good with optimized apps.  

Apple Mail's new landscape view is similar to the iPad

Apple Mail's new landscape view is similar to the iPad

The new landscape view for Settings

The new landscape view for Settings

All Apple apps are updated to use the landscape view on the iPhone 6 Plus

All Apple apps are updated to use the landscape view on the iPhone 6 Plus

But then again. A bigger screen is still a very personal choice. I made mine.


iOS 8: The new iPhones come pre-loaded with iOS 8. Here is a quick look of the new notable features which iOS 8 brings to both new and old devices. Please note this is not the complete list but only what matters most. In no particular order. 

  1. iCloud Drive: If you've ever tried to save, say, a PDF from an email on your iPhone, you may have been frustrated by the lack of a native file system for iOS. Soon iCloud Drive will address that problem, while at the same time offering a cloud-storage service similar to Dropbox, Box or Google Drive. It's compatible with Windows, too — but not Android.
  2. New Messages app: The new messages app can now send short audio (similar to whatsapp), and create groups. Basically it can now do whatever WhatsApp could do all this while.
  3. Continuity: Apple took the idea of collaboration through the cloud to a new level with a new feature called Handoff, part of its "Continuity" concept. If you have an iPhone and a Mac, you'll be able to start a task on one device (say, composing an email) and finish on the other. Since the devices are aware of each other, all you have to do is click one button, and it works on iPad, too. Continuity also has a couple of bonuses: First, AirDrop will work between Macs and iOS devices. Second, using your iPhone as a personal hotspot has never been easier. There's no configuration needed — the iPhone will just know when your Mac needs the connection.
  4. Interactive Notification: Just need to reply to a message with a single word? You don't need to launch Messages for that, just pull down on the banner that appears and you can type your reply — then get right back to playing Candy Crush.
  5. Family Sharing: You can now setup a master account for iTunes/App store and add your family to it as a member. The entire group can buy items using the same Credit card. You can even have a child to get your approval before buying anything. 
  6. Send last location to Apple before your battery dies - This will help trace your phone if it is lost and the battery is dead. 
  7. Identify songs - Siri will now identify which song is playing, just ask. (Shazam integration)
  8. Credit Card Scanning: Safari can now use the camera for scanning credit cards instead of filling manually. 
  9. Hide images from Photos app: You can now hide unwanted images and videos from the photos app. 
  10. Phone calls over Wi-Fi: You can now call people using WIFI where cellular coverage is weak. (Network dependent) 
  11. Find which app is using the most battery life: You can find this under settings and turn off/delete the rogue app.
  12. Time-lapse photography: The new camera can do wonderful time lapse videos. 
  13. Focus controls - iOS 8 separates focus and exposure, allowing users to swipe up or down on the focus box to change the exposure of photos when taking pictures on the iPhone or iPad.
  14. Recover deleted photos - In the camera app, when the small preview icon at the bottom of the screen is tapped, it opens up a view that allows previously deleted photos to be recovered. A photo can be retrieved by tapping on the trash can (delete) icon. This menu can be cleared by emptying the new "Recently Deleted" album in the Photos app.
  15. Mail notifications per thread: Swiping left on an email message in the inbox of the Mail app will allow users to delete/archive it, flag it, or access a "More" tab that includes an option to receive a push notification whenever a reply is sent to that particular email thread. These new Mail gestures gained a setting that allows them to be changed in iOS 8 beta 4.
  16. Third Party keyboards: You can now install 3rd party keyboards in iOS 8. There is already a good list of excellent options available.

The India launch for iPhone 6 is expected before Diwali with pricing expected mid October.