A month with the iPhone 6 Plus: Surprisingly useful for work functions

After picking up the new iPhone on opening day, it's clear the big screen is ideal for getting work done.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The day the new iPhones were available for purchase I picked up a gold iPhone 6 Plus with 128GB of storage. My previous iPhone was the iPhone 4s as I skipped a generation. Instead of getting an iPhone 5, I toyed with Android again — with a Galaxy Note 2. The Note 2 affirmed my preference for big screens; so, instead of getting the smaller iPhone 6, I only considered the iPhone 6 Plus.

Now that I’ve spent a lot of time with the new iPhone, how is it holding up? I’m getting asked that question a lot, and the quick answer is: This is the best smartphone I’ve ever owned.

The hardware on the iPhone 6 Plus is nice. I’ve experienced no issues with it and no, I haven’t bent it. The phone is so thin it doesn’t feel big when I hold it, and the display is just the right size. The back of the phone is slippery so I always put a case on it for a more secure grip. There are lots of thin cases that don’t add much to the slim dimensions, so that’s OK.

Without a doubt, the construction of the iPhone 6 Plus is great. The metal casing is solid, especially after years of using plastic phones. Using a plastic phone that creaks and flexes instills no confidence in the build quality. There is no lack of confidence in the build quality of the iPhone.

The only thing I haven’t liked about the iPhone 6 Plus is that too many apps don't work in landscape.

Having a secure grip on the phone is important, as I regularly have the iPhone 6 Plus in my hand. I am using it far more than any other phone in the past. I spend literally hours each day, iPhone in my left hand and my right hand working the screen. While I have large hands and can hold the big phone comfortably, it is definitely a two-handed phone. Operating it with one hand can be done for certain things — but not often.

The battery life of the iPhone 6 Plus is outstanding. Even with all the hours I spend using it each day, it always has gas in the tank at the end of the day. The lowest the battery has dropped since I’ve owned it is 30 percent, and that is after a 17-hour day of heavy use.

The phone is fast and runs everything smoothly. There are no hiccups nor lags to mar the user experience. That’s a tribute to the hardware, iOS 8, and the apps. 

Speaking of apps, the only thing I haven’t liked about the user experience is that too many iPhone apps do not work in landscape. They lock the user into typical portrait orientation, and that’s infuriating on the iPhone 6 Plus. The large screen cries out for use in landscape regularly, and it’s a shame that far too often the app stays in portrait and is thus unusable. It causes a frustrating phone flip that is ridiculous in this day and age. Developers must get apps updated to handle landscape, and handle it well.

I’ve already detailed the positive impact the iPhone 6 Plus has had on my work so I won’t rehash it. Suffice it to say that I am surprised how many of my typical work functions are nicely served by the iPhone. That’s a big reason why the phone is always in my hand. The iPhone 6 Plus is handily the most useful phone I’ve ever used.

Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I recently discovered how well the big iPhone works with a portable keyboard, and that surprises me. I don’t set out to use the two as a primary system, but in a pinch I lose no productivity when it’s all I have with me.

It’s obvious that the iPhone 6 Plus and iOS 8 were made for each other. Operation is so intuitive that the OS never gets in the way. That’s another reason why I use the phone so much; it’s a matter of picking it up and doing stuff. Both system and app controls are where they should be for intuitive operation. Never having to think about how to do things is liberating.

I never thought of iPhones as particularly good in the workplace, but after a month of heavily using the iPhone 6 Plus I have changed my mind. Using the iPhone is so productive that I can easily see mass deployments of them in the enterprise.

This article reflects my personal, hands-on experience; I’m not saying that the iPhone is best for everyone. I’m sure that others will have equally pleasant experiences with other phones. I’m a firm believer that folks should use what works best for them, no matter what it is. 

My colleague Matt Miller has been using the iPhone 6 Plus and has shared his thoughts that are worth checking out.

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