People want bigger phones, all that extra screen opens up a raft of new possibilities. Don’t believe me? Check out the excellent Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that has seen plenty of success.
It took Apple a while, but it finally got there. In typical Cupertino fashion it’s entered the phablet arena with an almighty splash.
A big iPhone makes a lot of sense when combined with the Apple Watch. With that adorning your wrist the idea is you won’t need to pull the iPhone 6 Plus out of your pocket or bag all the time. And it does work that way to a small degree, but you’ll still find yourself clamouring for a bigger screen whenever you want to do anything even remotely taxing.
The iPhone 6 Plus is really just a super-sized iPhone 6, at least that’s exactly what it looks like. There’s a more to it than that when you dig a little deeper, though. The big differentiator is that that huge 5.5-inch screen, but some other changes make it a very different proposition to it’s little sibling.
This is a phone that displays all Apple’s key trademarks. Great screen, superb quality fit and finish and one of the best point-and-click cameras you can find on a phone. Unlike other iPhones it also has excellent stamina – you can get two days of use out of the iPhone 6 Plus if you’re careful.
Yes it has a lot of top features, but there’s no escaping how big it is. It will feel enormous to iPhone 5S owners who will initially baulk at its heft, but anyone concerned by its size shouldn’t write it off. It really doesn’t take very long to get used to it.
The iPhone 6 Plus is massive compared to some other 5.5-inch phones like the LG G3 or LG G4. LG worked hard to make those phones as compact as possible and achieved something of a miracle. It’s a lot smaller than the 6 Plus in everything barring slimness.
Apple, on the other hand, has duplicated the exact same design as the iPhone 6, and it doesn’t work quite as well with the larger size.
What makes it tricky to handle are the large top and bottom bezels. They’re big and they make the phone taller than it should be, something that could have been a deal-breaker had Apple not made the 6 Plus fashionably slim at just 7.1mm. It also comes with a typically accomplished quality design. The glass and aluminium back merge seamlessly together and the iPhone 6 Plus feels great in your hand.
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It’s well balanced and light enough too at just 172g. You’ll happily hold it for hours and that screen is perfect for browsing the internet or watching movies on the hoof.
SEE ALSO: iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S6
Its size means getting to the more inaccessible sections of the screen with one hand can be a struggle and can result in some strained digits. Apple has thought of this issue and has added a feature to the iPhone 6 Plus that brings the top of the screen closer to your thumb.
Tap the home button twice and the active area of the screen drops, giving you access to icons, address and search bars. Unlike on the iPhone 6, which is much slimmer, this doesn’t resolve all the issues caused by a big phone. You’ll still find it a bit of a stretch to get to the sides of the screen unless you’ve got big hands, especially when texting. Most people will need to use both hands to be comfortable in this scenario. Still, it’s an elegant solution that makes using the iPhone 6 Plus much easier day to day.
Just as on the iPhone 6, the 6 Plus has the power button on the right hand side, about an inch and a half from the top. It’s quite easy to reach but if we’re being picky we’d say it would have been better if it was a little lower down. It’s the same story with the volume buttons on the left.
Despite the slightly awkward location of the side buttons the iPhone 6 Plus handles well even when you’re using it one handed. It feels like a premium product – no-one can quite match Apple’s superb build quality – although Samsung has come a whisker away with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge . The iPhone 6 Plus manages to feel both solid and soft at the same time.
There is one area where Apple couldn’t quite get everything to fit smoothly into the body of the 6 Plus. The camera is a little raised from the back so it can fit the sensor with the addition of optical image stabilisation. It only comes out slightly and the edges are chamfered, so it looks good and doesn’t snag on material as you put it in your pocket.
They better be large pockets, though. The 158.1mm tall, 77.8mm wide and 7.1mm thick body fits into tight jeans, but not with much to spare – we’ve found that in some pockets a corner pokes out of the top. Its thinness helps it slide into pockets, but it is larger than some other phones that come with the same size screen.
For that reason the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t quite the design triumph we’ve come to expect from Apple. It’s very well made and feels great in hand, but is just a bit too big. It’s nowhere near as problematic to handle as the enormous Nexus 6 , but LG has shown that a 5.5-inch screen can be fit into a body that feels more like a phone than a phablet. Apple could have tried harder to make a bespoke design to this size, rather than zapping the iPhone 6 with a growth ray.
So, if you’re happy with the size of your current iPhone, or if you struggle with larger phones, then you should go for the iPhone 6 as opposed to its bigger brother. It’s a lot more pocketable and big step up from the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.
If you do opt for iPhone 6 Plus, though, it’s well worth considering Apple’s leather case. It adds very little bulk and provides a super grippy surface to ensure you don’t fumble your phone. The larger phone is little slippery thanks to its curved corners and greater width.
Finally, we need to address the issue that has gone viral – the bendable iPhone. Apple has responded by claiming that there have only been nine cases so far and we believe it. We’ve been using the iPhone 6 Plus in tight jeans while cycling, sitting and walking around for months and it’s still as straight as an arrow.
It’s a story that has been blown out of all proportion, and seems totally unfounded based on our experience with half a dozen or so iPhones. Put a load of pressure on any phone and it will bend or break, this isn’t an issue you should worry about at all.