By: Dan Bremner
I’ve been using an iPhone 6 Plus for a week or so now, and figured it was time to share some impressions of it. I’ve been comfortably in the Apple ecosystem for years, so I know I’m late to join the owners’ club of “comically large phones” (Or “phablets” if you prefer that term. Personally, I prefer “comically large phones”.) compared with some of my colleagues with Windows or Android phones.
Judging by the record-setting pre-sales figures for the new Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus—not to mention the Samsung Galaxy line and offerings from HTC and Nokia, among others—there is plenty of consumer demand for big-screen phones. This appears to be a trend that is here to stay, despite Steve Jobs’s famous, “no one’s going to buy that” quote. Consumers clearly prefer larger screens, and the phone makers have responded by super-sizing their new phones pretty continuously over the past 6 or 7 years, as this chart highlights.
My impressions after a week or so of use are generally favorable. Here’s a breakdown of the good and the not-so-good.
- The screen is fantastic. Beautiful, crisp, and far better for reading, web surfing, and just about everything else. Also, showing a photo or video to someone, or to a group, just feels better than crowding around a tiny screen.
- The camera takes great photos. I can’t say I’ve used the motion stabilizers yet, but I’m looking forward to putting that to the test.
- Battery life is better than I’ve experienced on any previous iPhone.
- I love the predictive typing feature. I know this is an iOS 8 feature, not unique to the new phones, but it’s a big time saver.
- Holding and using one-handed. For me, the phone is right at the edge of being “too big.” That’s a very personal preference, and I’m told by others who have had larger phones for longer, that this will subside. In a few weeks, they say, it will no longer seem that way. I’ll see about that. Realistically, it’s usable one-handed, but a little awkward at times. The “reachability” double-tap helps but isn’t seamless. That said, I seem to use two hands a lot anyway.
- Carrying the phone. For me it’s not too bad, though when I sit down the phone with it in my pocket, the phone does make its presence felt. I’ve always kept my phone in a front pocket, and for the most part, all my pockets accommodate this phone reasonably well, though not as discreetly as with a smaller phone.
- The interface to my car is problematic when I want to play music in the car. I’m pretty sure this is an iOS 8 bug too, because my iPhone 5S had the same issues after I upgraded it. I suspect Apple will have some fixes coming soon, which I hope will take care of this.
Time will tell if the minuses become non-issues. Meanwhile, even after only a week, an iPhone 5S now feels small to me. My teenage daughters give this phone a big thumbs-down, though. Their hands are smaller, their pockets (if any) are smaller, and the back-pocket method they prefer would not work well with this phone.
For a lot of people, the 4.7″ screen of the iPhone 6 will be a better fit than the 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus. But as we all get more accustomed to using our phones for things we used to do on our computers, the extra screen real-estate is welcome, and that’s a good thing. Because it seems there will be no going back to the old 3.5″ screen of the 2007 phones.