Ars Technica reviews Apple iPhone 6/Plus: There’s a lot more going on here than just big displays

“Big-screened iPhones are what the people want, and Apple has acquiesced. After months of part leaks and rumors, you can finally buy the newer, bigger, faster iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and it looks like plenty of people are doing so,” Andrew Cunningham writes for Ars Technica.

“Any review of the new phones needs to spend an extensive amount of time with these screens, since they’re the headlining feature and the one that the most people will notice,” Cunningham writes. “We’re going to spend a lot of time with them, too, but there’s a lot more going on here than just big displays — Apple has upgraded the phones’ cameras, expanded their batteries, and replaced last year’s 64-bit A7 chip with the brand-new A8. iOS 8, a large release even if you’re not upgrading your phone this year, has picked up some features (and some challenges) unique to these new phones.”

“For many people, the larger iPhone 6 is well within ‘you’ll get used to it’ territory. It’s certainly larger, but after a couple of days your hands will have adjusted, and going back to an iPhone 4 or iPhone 5 screen is going to make that screen seem tiny,” Cunningham writes. “Now, let’s talk about the iPhone 6 Plus. It’s got a fundamentally different feel than the iPhone 5S, one that most current iPhone users won’t just get used to. That’s not to say it’s a bad phone, but you should actively want an iPhone this big to really appreciate an iPhone this big… What’s frustrating is that the 6 Plus gets some major, useful improvements—OIS in the camera, landscape mode for most apps, a sizable increase in battery life—that the standard iPhone 6 isn’t privy to. If you want to get the ‘best’ iPhone available, you have to make room in your life (and in your pockets) for a gigantic phone.”

Much, much more in the full review here.

Related articles:
Apple posts new how-to guide: Switching from Android phone to iPhone – September 16, 2014

iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus tested at Disneyland: ‘So badass’ – September 17, 2014
Re/code reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘A statement phone,’ not a ‘plastic toy’ – September 17, 2014
Megapixels mean nothing: Apple iPhone 6 trounces Samsung Galaxy S5 in camera shootout – September 17, 2014
The Telegraph reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘It’s peerless’ – September 17, 2014
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone available’ – September 17, 2014
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus: ‘Smartphone stars’ – September 17, 2014
Walt Mossberg reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone on the market’ – September 16, 2014
The Wall Street Journal reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone you can buy’ – September 16, 2014
Macworld reviews 64-bit iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Bigger is better (in the right hands) – September 16, 2014


  1. Waiting on my iPhone 6+ Gold 128GB. I won’t have to worry about getting used to the large phone size from previous iPhones because this will be my very first iPhone as all the stars have finally aligned themselves for me to pull the trigger. And what a time to go bang!

    Enjoy your new 6 and 6+’s out there!

      1. So playing Devils Advocate here are Fandroid correct that we as Apple fans have been defending and justifying Apple size choices too long? Just because it was not available to us? (I do see a LOT of people eagerly jumping into the big Apple iPhone 6 pool.)

        1. This is my 4th day with the iPhone 6 and tonight I will be switching back to my 5S. It’s a beautiful device, and I would love to keep it, but I just can’t get used to the bigger screen. Here’s one loyal customer hoping Apple continues to update it’s “tiny” phone line.

        2. Well, think about it like this: a large part of the reason the iPhone 6 Plus is such a joy to use (for me) is:

          1. The body of the device has been redesigned to be thinner, with rounded edges that make it much easier to hold so that the larger size isn’t as much of an issue.
          2. Apple has implemented new software features to take advantage of the larger screen, or compensate for the deficiencies of larger screens. For instance, I can still largely use my iPhone 6 Plus one-handed.
          3. Apple has (smartly) allowed certain third-party extensions that make certain aspects of the larger device easier to use, such as third-party keyboards.

          So while Android kinda half-asses its way through point 2 and (if you set aside security concerns completely, which would be stupid) beats Apple at point 3, Apple still had to provide point 1 for a large-screen iPhone to work as well as it does. Taken together, though, those three points prove why Android devices themselves are deficient, even if they were right in theory that larger screens are good.

          In other words, the Fandroid crowd is half right: we did justify the smaller size too long. But Apple had to have multiple ducks in a row to actually make a large screen iPhone right. If they just released a larger iPhone 5/5s-design phone running iOS 6 or iOS 7 as-is, it wouldn’t have been as good of an experience. If it took them until 2014 to get all the pieces in place, so be it.

        3. I liked the one-handed operation but never bought that line as an excuse/defence/rationale for keeping the screen smaller.

          Finally tried out the 6 and the 6 Plus in the Apple store. The double-touch to shift screen down works better than I expected it to, letting me continue (mostly) one-handed on the Plus.

          I have two problems with how Apple’s done things though.

          First: I brought my personal iPhone 5 and work HTC One M8 to compare against. The 6 is actually slightly taller than even the HTC. But, even on the 6 Plus, when doing a side-by-side comparison of the MDN homepage, the text of the headlines was SMALLER than on the HTC. My biggest hope with larger screens was that text would be large enough for my bad eyesight to read comfortably in portrait mode, sadly this is not the case. Increasing system font size did nothing for text in Safari, and I haven’t found any other way of increasing font size in Safari relative to page contents (i.e. without zooming into the page itself).

          I wanted to compare the actual article text sizes, but the store wifi went unresponsive for a few minutes and I had to leave.

          Second: Despite the 6 Plus having optical image stabilization, in video mode it STILL crops about 25% of the field of view compared to normal picture mode, just like on the 6 and earlier models! The cropping is handy for software image stabilization but NOT needed as much if you have OIS, so why continue cropping out so much?

  2. I wish they would say big screens are what “many people” or even “most people” want. I grudgingly ordered the iPhone 6 because I couldn’t pass up all the new functionality, even though I really wanted it in the size that I (and Steve) preferred.

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