iPhone 6 Plus: A Hands-On Look at Apple's Largest Smartphone Ever

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2014-09-25
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    iPhone 6 Plus: A Hands-On Look at Apple's Largest Smartphone Ever
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    iPhone 6 Plus: A Hands-On Look at Apple's Largest Smartphone Ever

    By Don Reisinger
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    That Is One Big Display
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    That Is One Big Display

    The size of the iPhone 6 Plus' display will shock anyone who has owned an iPhone in the past. Coming off an iPhone 5 with its 4-inch display and going to the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus was a shocking change for me. After the shock wore off, I found the screen to be ideally sized for watching videos and scrolling through apps.
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    Apple's Design Is Still Quite Good
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    Apple's Design Is Still Quite Good

    Although Apple could have done more to build a truly revolutionary design with the iPhone 6 Plus, it's hard to take issue with the product's look. The iPhone 6 Plus is just 0.28 inches thick, and the combination of its black face and small bezel makes the screen feel even bigger than it is. The Space Grey color is also quite nice.
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    Health Could Have More Usability
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    Health Could Have More Usability

    Due to a delay in HealthKit apps, Health, the feature built into iOS 8 that allows for users to track and share health data, isn't all that usable. In fact, right now the app is little more than a repository for health information. Over time, HealthKit apps should make Health a crucial component in our lives, but until then, don't expect too much out of it.
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    This Is One Mobile Device
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    This Is One Mobile Device

    Apple has done an exceedingly good job at building a smartphone that's actually mobile despite its larger size. The device weighs just 6 ounces. While it's longer and wider than previous iPhone devices, it will still fit easily into a pocket or purse and won't add too much weight to either. Apple has found a way to make its phablet far more mobile than one might expect.
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    The Camera Quality Could Be Better
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    The Camera Quality Could Be Better

    The rear-facing, 8-megapixel camera in the iPhone 6 Plus could be better. In my tests, I found that its video and image quality could be grainy at times and in many cases failed to live up to the hype Apple had placed upon it when the company unveiled the device earlier this month. Still, for the majority of owners who want good quality photos and videos, the iPhone 6 Plus will do the job.
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    iOS 8 Performance Is What You'd Expect
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    iOS 8 Performance Is What You'd Expect

    Although there have been some complaints about iOS 8 performance on legacy devices, so far the operating system has performed quite well on my iPhone 6 Plus. I've experienced no bugs or significant issues and found that it is able to handle resource-intensive apps, like high-quality video games, with ease. Although iOS 8 might be too much for certain older iPhones, it was handled with ease on the iPhone 6 Plus.
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    That Screen Is Gorgeous
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    That Screen Is Gorgeous

    The quality of the screen built into the iPhone 6 Plus is beyond anything Apple has launched to this point. The screen is downright gorgeous and displays images, videos and other content in a crystal-clear setting. The Retina HD display built into the iPhone 6 Plus is officially my favorite mobile screen so far.
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    Call Quality Is What You'd Want
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    Call Quality Is What You'd Want

    Although there may be some devices out there that deliver slightly better call quality than the iPhone 6 Plus, as an iPhone 5 convert, I can say unequivocally that Apple has done a better job at handling background noise and overall call execution. Those on the other side of my conversations said I sounded crystal clear, and the speaker built into the iPhone 6 Plus is solid. I've yet to be in a position where the iPhone 6 Plus didn't hold its own on call quality.
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    Will I Drop It and Break It?
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    Will I Drop It and Break It--or Bend It?

    One of my biggest concerns with the iPhone 6 Plus is the sense of fragility I get when holding the handset. Yes, Apple has said that it will be able to withstand a solid blow, and some tests have shown that it can be dropped at a few feet and survive the fall. But I found that the back of the case is somewhat slippery and could easily fall out of my hands. As someone who has experienced a cracked screen in the iPhone 5, I fear it happening again after holding the iPhone 6 Plus. But regarding all the talk about the bendability of the iPhone 6 Plus, I'm not seeing that as an issue. Maybe I'm just not trying hard enough to bend the phone?
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    It's Worth the Money
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    It's Worth the Money

    Ultimately, you must be wondering whether spending $299 to start for an iPhone 6 Plus is really worth the money. In my opinion, it is. Apple's iPhone 6 Plus is an outstanding phablet that will hold up for the next two years and be a reliable handset for consumers and business users. The iPhone 6 Plus might be somewhat expensive compared with competitors, but it's hard to find too much fault in the device and the value it offers customers.
 

Against the odds, I was able to pick up an iPhone 6 Plus on launch day. Over the past several days, I've used it extensively and gained insight into Apple's vision for the future of its phablets and perhaps its take on the future of the smartphone industry. The iPhone 6 Plus represents an opportunity for the company and customers to learn whether scaled-up smartphones will become the standard in the industry. In many ways, the iPhone 6 Plus succeeds where so many other larger mobile handsets have failed. The device has a nice design, a great display and features that can actually justify its price tag. And since it's available on any major wireless carrier, getting it working on your preferred network is no issue. But like any other device, the iPhone 6 Plus has its fair share of issues that will hopefully be addressed in a future iteration. This eWEEK slide show examines the features that allow the iPhone 6 Plus to stand apart from competing devices and those that detract from an otherwise appealing experience. The findings in this slide show are based on an evaluation of a 64GB Space Grey iPhone 6 Plus running on AT&T's network. Depending on the version of the device and network you choose, your experience may not reflect my own.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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