Apple iPhone 6 Plus: An in depth review

Some things don't work at 5.5-inches, like the design of a small iPhone

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • High resolution screen
  • Great software
  • Finger scanner
  • Strong battery performance

Cons

  • Uncomfortable to hold and use daily
  • Apple's strict governance

Bottom Line

An iPhone that is uncomfortable to use contradicts what the iPhone is all about. This is a niche smartphone intended for a tiny group of multimedia junkies. And even then, the smaller 4.7in iPhone 6 should appease even the most demanding content users.

Would you buy this?

Ordinary specs, Silky performance

Encased within the aluminium body of the 6 Plus is modest hardware. The processor is a custom A8 chip from Apple, partnered with a second generation M8 processor that captures motion data. These processors are joined by 1GB of RAM, storage options of 16GB, 64GB and 128GB, and a 2915 milliamp-hour (mAh) internal battery.

Good Gear Guide tests the battery life of smartphones by using them in everyday situations. We were charged with using the 6 Plus as our primary smartphone for a week.

Our usage during the test period ranged between moderate and heavy. We took advantage of the smartphone’s multimedia repertoire by watching movies, listening to music and by using the camera. We made phone calls, emailed plenty, sent texts and surfed the web. The 6 Plus was linked to our Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and LinkedIn social networking accounts throughout the period. It was also used for GPS navigation.

Throughout the period, brightness was set to auto, while notifications and location services were permitted. The iPhone 6 Plus averaged a commendable full day of battery life under these conditions. Our lowest recorded battery life was 14 hours following a television show marathon, with 26 hours of use recorded as our longest.

Read more: Apple iPhone 6: In-depth review

Fantastic LTE support, Connectivity on lockdown

Connectivity is a mixed affair. The iPhone 6 is compatible with 20 LTE bands globally — that’s more than any other smartphone — and it should work fine with the upcoming 700MHz band from Optus and Telstra.

Apple’s take on open standards Bluetooth and NFC is a closed one. The iPhone 6 supports audio streaming over Bluetooth 4.0, but it doesn’t permit the transfer of files. This has been part of the company’s iPhone lineage from day one.

The inclusion of near fields communications is a first for any iPhone. Apple has even refined the technology by making the entire top of the iPhone 6 a hot zone for NFC tags; however, the company has undone this good deed by disabling its use in Australia. Turns out NFC is reserved for use with the Apple Pay system, its innovative solution for tap-and-go style payments, which thus far is not available outside of the US.

The stainless steel Apple logo is part of the smartphone's radio antenna
The stainless steel Apple logo is part of the smartphone's radio antenna

The competition: spec-for-spec

New to iOS 8

The iPhone 6 Plus has caused Apple to rescind its stance on large screen smartphones. Commercials ran during prime time following the launch of the iPhone 5, in which Apple claimed its 4-inch screen was a “dizzying display of common sense”. Fast forward two years and Apple’s tune has changed to that of 4.7- and 5.5-inches.

Software has been used to hedge the increase in screen size. Double tapping the home key shifts the top half of the display downwards. This mode is called ‘reachability’ and it’s available on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

The iPhone 6 Plus can use certain parts of the OS in landscape orientation.
The iPhone 6 Plus can use certain parts of the OS in landscape orientation.

Additional tweaks to iOS 8 include an easy-to-use photo editing suite, improvements to Apple’s 'iMessage' application and an aggregate health application.

Apple’s mobile operating system has been a work in progress since its debut in 2007. Time has kindly seen it mature in design, functionality and in content support. iOS remains free from bloatware and packs only features of relevance. This is in stark contrast to select manufacturers, such as Samsung and LG, which mask Android in a cumbersome and counter-intuitive overlay.

Click here to read about the full list of updates made to iOS 8

Click over for camera performance and the final thought

Read more: Apple's Wi-Fi Calling innovation neglected by Australian telcos

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Read more on these topics: Apple, iPhone, Touch ID, iOS 8, 6 Plus, 6
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