After launching last week, Apple’s new iPhones will go on sale later this week. Today the first reviews of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have surfaced online. Let’s first concentrate on the smaller of the two new iPhones — the iPhone 6. It may be smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus, but with a 4.7-inch display, it is still bigger than any iPhone currently available in the market. Apple has not only increased the size of the display, but has also changed the design, and given the internals a boost. Here’s a roundup of the reviews of the iPhone 6.
Let’s take a look at the specifications first. The iPhone 6 sports dimensions of 138.10x67x6.9mm and weighs 129 grams. It flaunts a 4.7-inch Retina HD display with a pixel resolution of 1334×750 pixels, and is powered by a 64-bit A8 processor paired with an M8 coprocessor and 1GB of RAM. Also featured are 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front-facing Facetime camera, 16GB, 64GB and 128GB internal storage, and it runs on iOS 8.
As mentioned the iPhone 6 boasts a new design, with a thinner body and curved edges. What has impressed the reviewers however is how the iPhone 6 doesn’t feel too big in one’s hands despite the bigger size.
Re/code’s Walt Mossberg says,
Recent iPhones have rounded corners, but they have flat edges and a screen that stops sharply at the phone body’s edge. The iPhone 6 is thinner, and has curved edges. The screen’s borders also curve slightly to meet the body, and the areas to the top and bottom of the screen have been reduced. The power switch has been moved from the top to the side, for easier access on the taller phone.
The result is that Apple has managed to grow the screen’s real estate by 38 percent compared to the iPhone 5s display, while making the overall volume of the phone just 13 percent larger, and its footprint just 22 percent larger. In my tests, it still fit very comfortably in my hand, in the pockets of my jeans, and even in a shirt pocket.
There are however a couple of flaws in Apple’s design. The first as TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington describes,
If Apple has faltered anywhere with design, it might be that protruding iSight camera lens on the back, which sticks out a tiny fraction of an inch thicker than the rest. It’s something that hasn’t yet caused me any issue in daily use, but it does seem like a potential area for grit build-up, and it also means that the phone will be resting on its lens when placed face-up on a flat surface – though that’s somewhat mitigated by the use of sapphire in the lens cover.
The other flaw is down to the curved edges, as Mashable explains,
It also feels a bit slippery. If you buy one, get a case with some grip to it. The similarly sized Samsung Galaxy S5 does not have the iPhone’s spectacular design, but with a plastic, puckered back and rigged sides, it’s unlikely to slip out of anyone’s hands.
Apple calls its new displays as “Retina HD,” which boasts better resolution, but does it set new standards like the previous iPhones.
The Verge’s David Pierce is seemingly impressed with the new display, saying this is how large screen smartphones should be made. He says,
The screen, of course, is the whole reason the iPhone 6 exists. It’s 4.7 inches diagonal, 1334 pixels tall by 750 wide. It’s not the pixel density curve-breaker that the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is, but it’s an extremely good display. It has great color reproduction and phenomenal viewing angles, it’s viewable even in bright light thanks to a new polarizer, and my eyes can’t make out individual pixels anywhere. The glass on the front slopes ever so softly into the curved metallic edge, giving the iPhone 6 a sort of infinity pool effect: the screen just never seems to end.
There’s something perfectly polished about the way it feels to use this screen. I’ve never felt so much like I was truly moving things around under my finger, manipulating icons and pictures by hand. It’s organic and natural in a distinctly Apple way.
The iPhone 6 is powered by a 64-bit A8 processor paired with an M8 coprocessor and 1GB of RAM. In other words there is plenty of power and the overall performance should be a breeze.
Joshua Topolsky writing for Bloomberg Businessweek explains in very simple terms,
As you would expect, Apple has made all of the appropriate improvements to the guts of the phones as well: faster processors, better cameras, and of course higher-resolution screens. Apple will tell you that these are the fastest mobile devices it’s ever made, and it wouldn’t be lying. These phones scream.
Etherington echoes Topolsky’s views, saying,
Apple’s new A8 chip is the powerhouse behind the iPhone 6, and it delivers the kind of performance you’d expect from cutting edge processor technology. The A8 strains the limits of what you’d think was possible in terms of overall device speed and responsiveness, with the entire user experience feeling perceptibly quickened. It’s one of those situations where you don’t realize how the device you were using (iPhone 5S in my case) could get any better in terms of general speed, until you pick up the new device.
While Apple didn’t increase the megapixel count, it claims the primary camera is better than the snapper on the iPhone 5S thanks to a new image sensor. Same is the case with front-facing camera too.
There’s one feature that stands out, though, the one that most strongly makes the iPhone 6’s case as the best smartphone on the planet: the camera. It still shoots 8-megapixel images, but this time does so with a new sensor. It also uses what Apple calls “focus pixels” to achieve phase-detect autofocus, which is just astonishingly fast on the iPhone 6. I move the phone around and it never appears to be focusing, yet everything is always crisp and ready. There’s some manual control available like exposure lock, and I still tap to focus sometimes, but it’s never been faster to just whip the phone out of my pocket and fire.
The iPhone 6 takes panoramas in higher resolution now, and in general takes better pictures than any smartphone I’ve ever used. But shooting video is where this iPhone feels most improved. You can shoot 1080p video at 60 frames per second, which is cool, but I spent way more time shooting at 240 frames per second. Slow-motion video is awesome (and available on a handful of Android phones too), and at 240 fps even the most mundane activity becomes awesomely cinematic. Everything looks cool slowed down that much. Everything.
Everything also looks better thanks to the new Cinematic Stabilization, which does an impressive job steadying my shaky hands. I can film while walking, or out the window of a bumpy taxi, and the video comes out smooth and jitter-free. The picture warps and bends ever so slightly as it processes and compensates, but it’s well worth the tradeoff for video that won’t make you vomit. Like the slow-motion video and the time-lapses, this stabilization makes anything look better. I’ve already shot and shared far more video on the iPhone 6 than on any smartphone I’ve ever used.
With more real estate to utilize owing to the bigger size, Apple was able to fit in a bigger battery, and as you would expect, performance is an improvement over the battery on the iPhone 5S.
Mossberg echoes this view, saying,
Battery life on phones depends heavily on how you use them. In my daily use, the iPhone 5s generally lasted from eight to 10 hours between charges. But during my week of testing, the iPhone 6 did better, going 14 or 15 hours. Most people will still have to charge it nightly, but won’t be hunting for plugs during the day.
CNET’s Scott Stein too found the battery life to be better than last year’s iPhones.
In the quest to create a super-thin iPhone, maybe Apple should have thought about a thicker iPhone with better battery life instead. Apple’s claims are about an hour more Wi-Fi and LTE Web browsing, an hour more video playback, 4 hours more talk time, and 10 hours more audio playback than the iPhone 5S. Our CNET video-loop battery test, which tests playback of a CNET video with Airplane mode on and screen set to half brightness, lasted 10 hours and 38 minutes, versus 11 hours on the iPhone 5S (running iOS 7). We’ll be running that test a few more times, so stay tuned for a final battery score. My casual use, doing downloads, heavy Web browsing, endless social media checks, photos, video streaming, and all the stuff I normally do on my iPhone, showed the same type of battery drain I’ve gotten used to on the iPhone 5S. It’s enough to hang in for a chunk of the day, but it’s not the all-day-plus battery life I wanted on a new iPhone.
The overall verdict on the new iPhones is quite positive, with all reviewers coming to the conclusion that it is the best iPhone and for that matter the best smartphone you can buy.
The iPhone 6 is a great upgrade for current iPhone owners, or for anyone, really. It manages to provide a much larger display in a phone that’s still small enough to handle easily. It’s my recommendation for the best smartphone you can buy.
Everything is better and nothing is different.
That’s the story of the iPhone 6. Apple took this opportunity to upgrade nearly everything about the device, from Wi-Fi to LTE to build quality to the already-remarkable camera. And since it has a big-enough screen but still works well in one hand and fits snugly in my pocket, this is a device that almost every phone buyer on the planet will at least consider. The iPhone 6 is utterly without obvious problems or drawbacks – it’s going to be a huge hit. I’m going to buy one. (Space Gray, 64GB, Verizon, in case you were wondering.)
For a variety of reasons, from the camera to the app ecosystem to the hardware itself, the iPhone 6 is one of the best smartphones on the market. Maybe even the best. But it’s still an iPhone. The same thing Apple’s been making for seven years. A fantastically good iPhone, but an iPhone through and through.
Topolsky too echoes these views,
The iPhone 6 feels like the perfect phone in my hand. Not too big and not too small. Its thin frame still makes the device seem compact, but the added display real estate is a breath of fresh air if you’re coming from an earlier model. Yes, this is an iPhone 6 in my pocket. And yes, I am happy to see you.
Apple has proven that not only can it make a bigger phone, but it can make a bigger phone better than anyone else in the marketplace. Between the slick software, killer hardware, and deep integration into Apple’s amazing ecosystem, the iPhone is back in the spotlight. Let the performance begin.