Skip to main content

iPhone 6 Quick Review

It's iPhone 6 launch day in New Zealand today and I've been able to spend a few of hours with one - I can't promise to this will be a hugely in-depth look at the new bigger iPhone, but I was able to run it back to back with a Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 - the phones that I see as the biggest rivals for the second biggest iPhone ever.

In the hand the iPhone 6 is light, on the scales it's heavier than the 5, but in the hand it feels about the same weight - spreading the mass over a wider area no doubt creating this illusion. The Space Gray version that I tried looked like a cross between an iPad Mini and a MacBook Air. In the hand it doesn't feel large at all - although you should remember that my daily driver is the Xperia Z1, which is far larger.

I didn't like the way that the camera protrudes from the back of the new iPhone, it's a messy detail and I would have much preferred the iPhone to stay the same thickness as the 5S and retain a flat back. This obsession with making the iPhone thin is counter-productive and I'm sure that no-one will actually be able to tell that the new iPhone is half a millimetre thinner than the old.

Otherwise the casing is nice and tactile, the rounded edges and curved screen change the user experience over the chamfered, square sided 5 style. Which is better though? The iPhone 4/5 design was ground-breaking and the 5 in particular sports probably the ultimate expression of that design ethic. Nothing looks like an iPhone 5 unless it's trying too hard to look like an iPhone 5.

The iPhone 6 design is much more anonymous - I didn't find it stood out at all - in fact I walked past one on the display in the shop two or three times before noticing it amongst the other phones there. Given that most people will be wrapping it up in a case that's probably not a big issue. What it does emphasise is what a good job HTC have done with the One M8 which looks and feels far more of a premium phone.

And so to the raison d'ĂȘtre of the iPhone 6 - that 4.7" screen. I have to say I was left a little underwhelmed by the new display. Yes, it's as bright and sharp and reproduces colours as well as the iPhone 5's, but it's not a step forward. Alongside the HTC's display it gives up both size and resolution, without outperforming it in other areas. The HTC's display is noticeably crisper. Against the S5's display the iPhone is lacklustre. Now I know that many people don't like AMOLED's 'artificial' colours, but given that the Samsung manages to deliver true black and a highly customisable temperature/white point I don't believe that remains a valid criticism. If this was just a choice between displays the S5 would be a clear winner here.

Given the bigger display Apple have created a one-handed mode called 'Reachability'. This is a complete kludge and I don't believe it's even necessary on a 4.7" display, but if you're going to do it, do it properly. Double tapping (not pressing) the home button removes the bottom half of the UI and replaces it with the top. I'm not impressed. Samsung have executed this is a far better way. Slide your thumb in from the side of the S5's display and back out again and the whole UI shrinks to around 75% of it's original size, allowing true one-handed mode.

Otherwise this is an iPhone - just bigger. Unlike the bigger iPhone 6 Plus there are no two panel landscape displays to make use of the extra screen real estate, nor will the home screen rotate. All of the other improvements in iOS 8 are present here but little extra over what's in the 5S.

Ultimately it's an iPhone with a bigger screen. Current iPhone owners will lap it up. iPhone owners who switched to Android solely for a bigger screen may well switch back. However I can't see a massive swing from Android to iPhone as a result of the iPhone 6 though. It's just not that much different than what has been before.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…