New Samsung and HTC devices on the way, but Apple's iPhone 6 Plus still the best

After five months use, the iPhone 6 Plus remains Matthew's choice for every core function -- phone calls, quick control access and notifications. Well, maybe not every function.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

New phones from Samsung, HTC, and others will soon be revealed at Mobile World Congress. As I look towards those new phones, my iPhone 6 Plus keeps proving itself as the one phone that meets all my needs and will be the standard the new phones are measured by.

Smartphones are a passion of mine and I have the opportunity to test models running every operating system. They all have strengths and weaknesses and each one of us has specific needs that make one platform better for each of us.

I am not trying to say that the iPhone 6 Plus is the best phone for everyone, but as I get older and less tolerant of failure it is tough not to just stick with the iPhone 6 Plus.

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It's now been almost six months since I started using the iPhone 6 Plus. I listed several reasons I liked the phone in my one month article. I prefer to use the iPhone 6 Plus for the following additional reasons.

  • Phone call experience: While many smartphones today are focused on the data experience, I've found that some provide substandard calling experiences. The iPhone 6 Plus performs well with a strong RF signal, solid audio performance, simple switching between audio output devices, and ease of using your phone for other things while on a call.
  • Control center: The iPhone 6 Plus doesn't have a physical camera button, but the camera is easy to launch via the control center. I love the quick access to the flashlight, airplane mode, brightness slider, and music. I don't understand the need for quick access to the timer and do wish I could customize what appears in the control center.
  • Fast app switcher: I like the visual task switcher, but more than that I love the quick access to people I communicated with recently. This top row lets me easily continue communications with a simple double press of the Touch ID/home button and makes the iPhone 6 Plus very efficient.
  • Notification center: Android set the bar for the notification shade, but Apple has since taken it further. I have some fantastic widgets in the Today tab that improve my productivity with a smartphone. With the iPhone 5s, I rarely accessed the notifications, but now I have them setup in iOS 8 so that they are indispensable to my daily needs.
  • Apple Pay: I've been using Google Wallet for a few years, but am enjoying the Apple Pay experience with its ease of card selection, Touch ID functionality, and growing list of retailers.

Apple has added features from Android and Windows Phone while the other platforms have improved their application selection, camera performance, and battery life so that we have almost reached parity in terms of functionality.

There remain several functions that Android has that iOS 8 doesn't, but many of these are not as useful as one might think. It is nice to have a microSD card for storage expansion, but I find microSD to be slower and less reliable than integrated memory. Having a removable battery is handy for those times when you are away from a power source, but it's just as easy to have a Mophie or external battery pack in most cases.

Cross platform messaging

There is one awesome function for which I have not yet found a solution on my iPhone 6 Plus -- and this capability actually comes from BlackBerry in the form of BlackBerry Blend.

Since I spend much of my day as a professional engineer on a Windows desktop computer, I value the ability to text my family and fully manage the same information on my phone from the PC. BlackBerry Blend is so good I almost kept a BlackBerry 10 device around just to use it. Motorola has Moto Assist for some of its phones and there are some Android apps that provide similiar integrated messaging functionality, although reliability has been an issue with most.

I will continue to bounce my SIM between other platforms as new devices are released and I want to test things such as Android Wear. However, the iPhone 6 Plus remains at the top when I travel and want just one reliable and capable device on hand.

Protect your iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note Edge with Urban Armor Gear (in pictures)

Protect your Galaxy Note Edge and iPhone 6 Plus with Urban Armor Gear (in pictures)

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