As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I decided to get an Apple iPhone 6 Plus. It’s arrived, and here’s some of my thoughts. (Granted, there’s probably nothing earth-shatteringly new here, but sometimes, ya just gotta say stuff.)
First off, the device is big. Really big, and that’s something that’s probably important to some people. For me, the way I use my phone is more as an Internet terminal rather than a phone, so the larger size is not all that important. When I need to use my phone as a phone, I’m usually using it with the speaker phone function turned on, so that mammoth physical size is really not that big an issue.
And frankly, while the width and height are generous, the thing is really slim, and doesn’t seem to weigh a ton. And yes, it does fit in your pocket nicely … at least in my jeans. If you’re a painted-on skinny jeans person, first off, I’m jealous, and secondly, it probably ain’t gonna fit in your pocket nearly as well as me in my baggy 550’s.
I love the rounded corners. I tend to vacillate on this quite a bit. When the iPhone 5 came out, I wasn’t a huge fan of the sharp edges, but I grew to like ‘em. Now, the smooth contours of the iPhone 6 Plus have really seduced me. It feels slick, curvaceous, and well molded for your hand. I did buy a case (Spigen Thin Fit A), and while the case nicely fits the phone, and feels very protective, I really like the feel of the phone without it. This case is small enough (but still sturdy!) that if you didn’t know the phone had a case on it, you might mistake it for part of the phone. I’ve run with my phones both naked and covered, and this might be a phone that is prone to running around naked. It’s just that nice.
The new screen is gorgeous. It’s full 1080, and watching HD video on it is a dream. Star Trek: Into Darkness is my favorite film to show off the crisp new display. It just rocks on this device. Really, really sharp, clear images from a well-done HD film.
One of the factors that drove me to this model over the regular iPhone 6 was the optical image stabilization in the camera. On paper, this sounds like a really good thing. In practice, I’ve only shot once where I was rocking’ and rollin’ (in the Jeep, handheld, going over some rocks), and it seemed to make a difference. That’s not very scientific though, and is something I should try in a little more controlled environment against something like a GoPro, that doesn’t have IS.
Battery life seems to be much nicer than my iPhone 5. I’ve found that the Facebook really drained the battery on my iPhone 5, and that seems better with the iPhone 6 (and that was with running the new iOS on both phones). On the iPhone 5, I’d drain out to about 30% across a day of normal usage (including Facebook). On the iPhone 6 Plus, I might drain down to 70% or so across the day.
And I really like TouchId. Being able to identify my via the “belly button” is awesome. I love not having to key in a passcode to unlock, and now having some applications using that as authentication within the application just makes it more magical. Very, very cool!
Now for the ugly… The buttons.
The case redesign moved the volume and power switch, and I’m just not a fan of where they landed. I like the fact that the power button isn’t on top, but my muscle memory always goes to the right side of the phone for volume, and that’s where the power button was relocated. So when I try to change volume when listening to music, I turn off the iPhone. Boo. It’s just retraining, and I get that, but for someone that relies on knowing how to use his tools without looking, I don’t like changes to where controls are. That’s one of the reasons that I tend to stick with the same brand on my toys — Canon cameras, Taylor guitars, etc. — so there’s not much (if any) retraining of my old brain. I’m sure there’s a reason the volume control was moved, but I think you could move the power switch without relocating the volume control too.
One more thing I’d mention is the camera lens. I really don’t like that the lens protrudes beyond the back case. I don’t think you could hurt it, but that’s another great reason to have a case on the thing. It’ll definitely keep it flat on a table.
So… a whole lot of goodness, and just those silly button relocations as a negative for me. YMMV!