This question could possibly define the biggest first-world problem facing all iOS users eligible for a phone upgrade in 2014 – which iPhone 6 should I buy – the regular iPhone 6 or the super-sized iPhone 6 Plus?
Note: Before we get any further into this, if you’re a Google Android, Microsoft Windows Phone, or, god forbid, a Blackberry user, then you don’t want to read this review. Here’s a link to 10 hours of a happy flying cartoon cat with rainbows flying out of its butt to entertain you, instead.
First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – let’s talk bending
Consumer Reports released an article called “Consumer Reports test results find iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus not as bendy as believed” in which the experts demonstrate that it takes 70 pounds of weight to deform the regular iPhone 6 (identical to the HTC One) and 90 pounds to deform the iPhone 6 Plus. By comparison, the iPhone 5 was less bendy resisting up to 130 pounds of weight.
Basically, this is all a long way of saying those people who said their phones were bending had to really want it to bend.
irx, LLC Public Service Announcement: don’t keep your phone in your back pocket where you could sit on it. Otherwise, you should be just fine.
The differences of the iPhone 6 versus iPhone 6 Plus (according to Apple)
The pros of the Plus:
- The Plus has a 5.5”, full HD (1920×1080 / 1080p) screen.
- The Plus can put the Calendar, Messages, Mail, and Home Screen into Landscape Mode.
- The Plus has longer battery life.
- The Plus’s camera has little motors which helps keep the camera steady.
- The Plus is more difficult to bend than the regular 6 (they’re both really hard to bend).
Which one did I buy, why, and what do I think of it?
I bought the iPhone 6 Plus. Yes, the bigger one.
Ever since I started using cell phones way back in 2000, I always bought the phone with the longer battery life. It didn’t matter if the phone looked like a little Tonka truck and was uglier than sin, battery life determined my purchase. For a comparison, my last phone before I bought the original iPhone in 2007 was a wonderful Sony Ericsson W810i which I only needed to charge once a week. Once a week. Thanks to the advent of smartphones, the days of not charging your phone every night are long gone. Because of my obsession with battery life, my decision was pretty much made for me (check out the battery comparison in the Pros and Cons below).
What do I think?
The iPhone 6 Plus is surprisingly light, despite its size.
- The screen is crisp and clear with its full HD 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution and 401 pixel-per-inch (ppi) density. I feel like I do actually notice the difference between it and the 326 ppi screen of the smaller 6, however that could just be a placebo effect. The Plus also has a lesser contrast ratio of 1300:1 versus the regular 6’s 1400:1, but that might be due to overall screen size.
- The battery life is noticeably longer. I can use the phone heavily throughout the day without fearing I’m going to run out of a charge. That being said, I do still have to charge the phone every night – I’m not getting more than a single day’s worth of use out of it.
- Here are some specific battery comparisons between the 6 Plus and the 6 and 5S:
- The Plus gets 24 hours of 3G Talk Time versus 14 on the regular 6 and 10 on the 5S
- The Plus gets 16 days of standby time versus 10 days on the regular 6 and 10 days on the 5S
- The Plus gets up to 12 hours of Internet use versus 10-11 hours on the regular 6 and 8-10 on the 5S
- The Plus gets up to 14 hours of Video Playback versus 11 hours on the regular 6 and 10 on the 5S
- The Plus gets up to 80 hours of Audio Playback versus 50 hours on the regular 6 and 40 on the 5S
- The new camera is pretty fantastic, but I truly believe that the regular 6’s camera is just as fantastic as the 6 Plus’s for regular use. The better stabilization on the 6 Plus is nifty and all, but it’s not a killer feature or sole reason to buy the Plus over the regular 6.
- The landscape modes for the different apps are neat, but I don’t really think I’d miss them if I had the regular 6.
The phone is big. I mean, it’s really big. If you put your phone in your pants pocket, you’re going to know that iPhone 6 Plus is in there – it’s got presence. It’s not like other phones that just kind of slip into your pocket and disappear. That being said, it’s tolerable; it’s not like the phone’s a splint causing me to walk with a limp.
- The iPhone 6 Plus is too big to be a manageable phone, but it’s not big enough to replace my tablet. Since the screen is so big, I figured I could read a magazine on it so I downloaded Zinio, opened up my favorite magazine, and found myself annoyingly needing to zoom in on every article – absolutely not a convenient way to read a magazine. It’s too big to be a phone and too small to be a tablet.
Summary – which one should you get?
Alright, let’s get right to it – most people (including me) should buy the regular iPhone 6.
Right now, I’m stuck in the worst love-hate relationship I’ve ever experienced with my Plus – I love the size of the screen while I’m using it and the longer battery life, but when I’m not using it, it’s so ungainly, so unmanageable, it’s just a giant pain to try to figure out where to put it. I always know I have it on me because it’s just that big – it’s like a delivery pizza box in your pocket. However, if you don’t keep your phone in your pocket, you should consider the Plus – the bigger screen and battery life are nice, it’s just storage that is this phone’s Achilles Heel.
If you want your phone to be reasonably phone-sized and not some weird tablet/phone demon giant combination, get the regular 6. The iPhone 6 is an excellent phone with a better, bigger screen than its predecessor (4.7” versus the 4” screen of the 5S and 5), and the regular 6 has the same processors and majority of the same features as the 6 Plus. Sure, you give up battery life and the motor-stabilized camera, but I’m betting that Apple will introduce the landscape mode of the apps to many of their phones by the release of iOS 9, so that “killer” feature of the Plus will soon be available to the masses.
If you’re in the market, my best recommendation is to get yourself to an Apple Store or some electronics store that has demos of these phones and hold them for yourselves. In the meantime, use this handy-dandy iPhone 6 cutout to see how they feel in your hands (they’re actually dead-on accurate). Just download it, print it, and cut them out:
Do you have a different perspective?
I always like hearing other opinions. If you disagree (or agree) with my iPhone 6 Plus review, feel free to leave your comments below. Remember, keep it clean and polite or your comment will never see the light of day. [insert maniacal “mwa-ha-ha” laughter here]
About Irk: Eric “Irk” Jacobson started using computers when he was 3 years old with an Apple IIe. He tries to be device-agnostic using all kinds of technology from all of the major players, and he loves/hates them equally in different ways. When he’s not working, he’s likely riding his motorcycle(s) or hanging out with his wonderful family.