iPhone 6 Plus Quick Review

Finally got my hands on the second half of Apple's new dynamic duo, the larger, more capable iPhone 6 Plus. It's a big, heavy iPhone - weighing half as much again as the 5S did, but then that screen is a whole league bigger. Almost literally.

How does it compare to baby bro iPhone 6? Well, if that was an iPhone with a bigger screen and few extra tricks to make use of the screen size, the 6 Plus feels like an iPad Mini that fell onto the wrong production line and came out all iPhone.

The 6 Plus has all the flaws and strengths of the 6, with the addition of some rather pleasant landscape trickery - be that the home screen rotating or the two pane views for things like Settings, Messages and Mail. Reachability remains an awful kludge and to be honest I'd rather use two hands/  perform a slight shuffle of phone in palm than use it. It's really a two handed phone anyway.

It's a testament to Apple's design that you don't get a feel for quite how large the Plus is until you put it side by side with another phone. It dwarfs the iPhone 6, the Xperia Z1 and the Galaxy Note 3, the three phones I was able to put it beside. Once you do make that comparison it becomes clear what a bad job of packaging the Plus Apple have done. It's 2cm taller than the regular 6 and nearly a centimetre taller than the Note 3 - which has a bigger screen. Why does Apple continue to pursue thin at the expense of everything else?

In the hand it feels eminently droppable. I imagine that should your hands become slightly greasy or slick it would do a passable impression of a bar of soap. The old chamfered straight edges of the iPhone 5 may have their detractors, but they certainly ensured that you can kept a firm grip on your expensive hardware.

I didn't try bending the Plus, but I could see it getting bent in a front trouser pocket if your trousers were a little tight or you bent at just the wrong angle and trapped it in front of your swivelling hip. It didn't speak of great strength when held in the hand. Putting it in your back pocket and then sitting on it would be a crime against sanity.

The screen is up to the expected iPhone standard, and when viewed alongside the regular 6 you can see that the extra pixels do make a difference. That's not to say the 6's screen is blocky, just that there's an extra degree of sharpness to the 1080p display on the Plus.

I should also say that the Plus that I used was already marked, both on the aluminium shell and the glass face. Not a promising indicator of longevity.

Many people commenting that with a 6 Plus they feel like they can abandon their iPad Mini forever, because it can handle both phone and tablet roles. That's entirely possible, but much will depend on how third party developers support the new capabilities in the 6 Plus. For now I'd say that's not a realistic goal.

Ultimately I liked the 6 Plus better than the regular sized version - it offered a hint of the potential benefits from bringing the clever development that makes the iPad so good down a size to a big phone.

Even so, I found it less attractive than it's two main rivals - the Galaxy Note and LG G3. The former is about to arrive in its fourth revision and everything I've seen says that it will offer even more cleverness than the previous three Notes, whilst the latter manages to be so much smaller as to question Apple's design decisions on the 6 Plus.

For loyal iPhone users who want the biggest and best, this is definitely the version of the iPhone 6 to go for. However, unless your only motivation for picking Android over iOS last time was screen size, I don't see anything here that will persuade you to reverse that decision.

For both the iPhone 6 models the 'Bigger than Bigger' marketing line rings hollow for something so obviously an over-sized version of what went before and little more.


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