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Reviews on Apple iPhone 6 Plus

A fine smartphone but too big for some people  July 26, 2017 – 09:53 am
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In September 2014, Apple launched two entirely new smartphones. We’ve taken a look at the iPhone 6 separately, but here's our review of the iPhone 6 Plus. Plus: How to check whether your iPhone 6 Plus is affected by the camera recall (see cameras section below). See also: the best smartphones you can buy in 2015.

With the iPhone 6S Plus about to go on sale, we've updated this review to explain the new price, storage and colour options, along with how the 6 Plus rates today, as opposed to a year ago when it launched.

iPhone 6 Plus review: Design and size - living with a 5.5in phablet

Compared to the angled and almost industrial design of the iPhone 4 and 5, the iPhone 6 Plus makes something of a return to the original iPhone with curved sides. The screen gently curves at the edges to meet the sides and, even though it’s not much thinner than the iPhone 5, it feels it because it’s so much larger (it measures 78x158x7.1mm). Also see: Best MiFi 2016.

And it really is a lot larger. Just look at the footprint compared to the iPhone 5S and 4S above. It's bigger than quite a few Android phones which have 5.5in screens: not wider, but taller. And this explains why Apple had no choice but to move the power button to the side. Whether you hold it right- or left-handed the power button now falls under your finger or thumb. The only problem is that the button is directly opposite the volume buttons, so it's very easy to accidentally press both. Usually, this means turning the phone off when you meant to increase the volume or take a photo using the volume button.

Like everything, though, you quickly get used to the size of the 6 Plus, and the bigger screen really makes a positive difference when browsing websites and using any apps which have small controls which are fiddly to use.

However, it's not perfect if you're used to using your iPhone one-handed. The first issue is that the bigger screen combines with the thick bottom bezel to make it very tricky to reach even half of the display with your thumb. Double-tapping the home button to activate the Reachability feature isn't the greatest solution as it's still hard to tap anything on the opposite side with your thumb. Unless you have giant hands, that is.

The second issue is weight and - more specifically - balance. When holding the 6 Plus in one hand at the bottom so you can reach the home button the phone wants to tip out of your grasp. The solution is to use two hands, just like a tablet. We've got used to this limitation, and it's not an issue if you're holding the phone one-handed to watch video in landscape orientation.

A minor point to note is that the camera protrudes from the rear of the iPhone 6 Plus and if you’re the type who refuses to “ruin” the design by using a case, bear in mind that it won’t sit perfectly level when you put it down on a hard surface - in fact, it rocks between two of the corners which is pretty annoying, especially if you like using your phone when it's lying down flat. (Most cases are solve the problem because the camera either sits flush or slightly recessed. Apple's cases are both thicker than the protrusion.)

iPhone 6 Plus review: UK price

There's also a 64GB model, but 128GB is now discontinued. If you can't manage with 16GB then the 64GB version costs £619. That is the same price as the 16GB version of the new 6S Plus.

And let's be straight. 16GB on a modern smartphone is a tiny storage capacity when you can't add to it via a microSD card. Remember that you won't actually get 16GB of usable storage – more like 12GB, and that won't hold many apps, especially if you load it with music and take a lot of photos or videos. So try to afford a 64GB iPhone if you can – you'll thank yourself later, we promise.

The choice colours is now limited to Space Grey and Silver, the gold version in the photos here is no longer on sale.

Of course, you don’t have to buy your iPhone SIM-Free. However, on contract you will still have to pay an up-front charge as well as the monthly payment, which will work out more expensive overall. Check out where to buy the iPhone 6 Plus, where we lay out all the best deals.

iPhone 6 Plus review: display and headline specs

You probably don’t need us to list specifications for you, but here are the highlights anyway. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5in screen with a full HD resolution of 1920x1080. It's the sharpest screen on any Apple device to date at fractionally over 400 pixels per inch. It looks great from any angle, regardless of whether you're browsing for apps on the home screens or reviewing photos and video you just took.

It lacks the 3D Touch capabilities of the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, so you should consider whether or not you'll want the new interactions that are possible with the new pressure-sensitive system. We don't think it's enough of a reason on its own to discount the 6 Plus.

It’s by no means the biggest smartphone or phablet screen, nor is it the sharpest. So-called Quad-HD or QHD screens used by phones including LG’s G3 have four times the resolution of a 1280x720-pixel screen. Since the G3 also has a 5.5in screen, its higher resolution gives it a much higher pixel density of 538ppi, and it really does look fantastic. Here are the two phones side by side:

Another rival is the Nexus 6, which to all intents and purposes has a 6in quad-HD screen yet is only fractionally larger than than iPhone 6 Plus. You can read our Nexus 6 review here.

Of course, a lot has happened since the iPhone 6 Plus launched and there are many new phones which have similar size screens. Far from being the outlier, there are loads of alternatives to the 6 Plus, size-wise. However, as we've said, some people will discount all of these phablets because they're just too big. We like it, though.

There’s also faster Wi-Fi (802.11ac) compared to previous iPhones and a barometer which is used by the new M8 motion coprocessor to gauge elevation changes and – as many activity trackers do – record when you’ve walked up a flight of stairs. This data can then be read in the Health app which was new in iOS 8. Now, of course, a new iPhone 6 Plus will come with iOS 9.

iPhone 6 Plus review: performance

Performance is excellent, just as you'd expect from one of the most expensive smartphones ever made. The on-paper specifications aren’t all that exciting: Geekbench reports the A8 CPU running at 1.39GHz (roughly 200MHz faster than the iPhone 6), but the iPhone 6 Plus showed it was clearly the fastest iPhone yet with a multi-score average of 2917.


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