Forgive us if we don’t quite know where to begin with the iPhone 6 Plus - it’s immense (in more ways than one). As Apple’s first ‘Phablet’ (phone-tablet, geddit?), the iPhone 6 marks the start of a new iPhone era and, fortunately for Apple fans everywhere, more than stands up to scrutiny.
There’s no getting away from the size, so perhaps we should start with that. At 5.5 inches, the Apple iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t have the biggest screen on the market but it’s seriously up there. It’s a monster.
This may come as a bit of a shock for Apple traditionalists who have been used to no more than a modest 4 inches prior to the launch of the iPhone 6 Plus and its ‘baby’ brother, the iPhone 6, which clocks in at 4.7 inches. (If bigger phones put you off, worry not, the iPhone 5s is still available).
Truth be told, the iPhone 6 Plus may feel a little cumbersome at first. However, Apple have found a solution to the big leap up in size by introducing a useful feature called ‘Reachability’. This drags the top of the screen down to the bottom so you can easily reach everything with your thumb – very clever, and an effective workaround.
If you’re a 3D gamer, a You-tube enthusiast or a Netflix fan we doubt the size will put you off. In fact, you’ll probably be whooping with delight. Keep whooping, because you don’t just get size with the iPhone 6 Plus screen, you get quality – High Definition quality.
In fact, you get award-winning, HD quality, because the iPhone 6 Plus won DisplayMate’s ‘Best LCD Display Ever’ accolade in 2014 after the industry standard display rating company scored it 'very good' to 'excellent' on pretty much everything - from resolution and sharpness through to contrast and colour accuracy. Wow.
If you’re going to clobber your smartphone with high definition 3D games, you’ll also want to know it’s got the performance and battery life to take it. This is an area where the iPhone 6 Plus excels. The battery can last up to 2 days with careful use and Apple’s home-grown A8 dual-core chip is more powerful than some quad- or octa-core set-ups.
Sound is good too. Because of the extra size, the speaker on the iPhone 6 Plus packs more punch than on the iPhone 6 and is louder as well as having extra depth and bass. All of these things add up to the iPhone 6 Plus being one of the best phones on the market for entertainment.
One feature we rather like is that, unlike the iPhone 6, the 6 Plus can be used in landscape mode all the time, a lot like a tablet. This is a feature of iOS 8, which has many useful improvements over iOS 7 and is another good reason to upgrade from the iPhone 4s or 5s.
For the first time in iOS 8, Apple have started opening up their operating system to third party apps and extensions which marks a real change in approach. For example, you can now choose from a number of 3rd party keyboards and it’s easier for apps to interact and share content.
One thing Apple is master of is building an ‘ecosystem’ of devices and software that works seamlessly. This is evident again with iOS 8 which contains a new feature called ‘Handoff’, an app which feels really quite futuristic.
Handoff lets you pick up exactly where you left off across all of your devices. Looking at a map on your Mac but need it on your phone when you leave your house? – no problem. Maps will automatically open at the same point that you left it on your Mac. It works the other way round too - we like this very much.
There’s loads of practical additions to iOS 8 as well, like being able to see exactly which app is draining your battery, setting text messages to auto-delete after 30 days or a year, and archiving emails with the swipe of a finger. There’s Touch ID fingerprint recognition and it’s set up for Apple Pay too.
The final thing we should mention about the iPhone 6 Plus is the quality of the camera. 8 megapixels is, well, fine. It’s the ‘optical image stabilisation’ feature that helps makes the iPhone 6 Plus one of the best camera-phones in the market. This is the first Apple phone to feature OIS and virtually guarantees blur-free images, even in low light.
There’s also an array of photo-editing software on the iPhone 6 Plus and it takes slow-motion video – a fun feature that we really love. If snapping pics or filming on your phone is your thing, you could do a lot worse.
It’s hard to pick out downsides of the iPhone 6 Plus, the most obvious one being the size if you’re someone who doesn’t like larger phones (in which case this device is most definitely not for you). Other than that, it’s easy to see how this phone picked up a hatful of accolades on launch and why it’s still considered one of the best smartphones available today.
Our view: A supersized smartphone from those clever people at Apple which delivers a whole heap of awesome. Refurb pricing just makes it better.
- Send self-destructing video, audio & pictures via iMessage, just like Snapchat
- Easily recover recently deleted photos, up to 30 days later – no more ‘oops’ moments
- 50 shades of grey: change your display to grayscale if you’re visually impaired or just don’t like colour