/>
X

Is the iPhone 6 Plus just big, or is it too big?

When Apple opened up preorders for the new iPhone 6 I immediately – pretty much instinctively – pulled the trigger on the iPhone 6 Plus. My thinking was "why would I want the 4.7-inch display when I could get a 5.5-inch display?" Have I made the right choice?
001-v3.jpg
1 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Introduction

When Apple opened up preorders for the new iPhone 6 I immediately – pretty much instinctively – pulled the trigger on the iPhone 6 Plus. My thinking was "why would I want the 4.7-inch display when I could get a 5.5-inch display?"

After all, if I think of all the work I've done on my iPhone 5 with it 4-inch display, then going to 5.5-inches will mean much more screen to work with. 

But a 5.5-inch display is a huge ramp up from the 4-inch display that I've been used to on my old iPhone, and so over the days between placing the order and receiving the handset, a question has nagged at my brain:

Is the iPhone 6 Plus just big, or is it too big?

I didn't manage to score an iPhone 6 Plus on launch day, but one has fallen into my hands this morning, so after tearing off the cellophane and freeing it from it's little cardboard delivery vessel I decided to find out for myself.

Note: This is a first impressions review based on a few hours of handling and using the iPhone 6 Plus. I will follow this piece up in 10 days with another, where I will pass on further thoughts, and decide whether I will keep the iPhone 6 Plus or move to the smaller iPhone 6.

  iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6 iPhone 5s iPhone 5c
Dimentions 
HxWxD (mm)
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 138.1 x 67.0 x 6.9 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 124.4 x 59.2 x 8.97
Weight (g) 172 129 112 132
Display size 5.5-inch 4.7-inch 4-inch 4-inch
Resolution 1920 x 1080 1334 x 750 1136 x 640 1136 x 640
Pixels per inch 401 326 326 326
Contrast ratio 1300:1 1400:1 800:1 800:1
Processor 64-bit A8 64-bit A8 64-bit A7 A6
Motion coprocessor M8 M8 M7 N/A
Original storage capacities (GB) 16/64/128 16/64/128 16/32/64 8/16/32
Wi-fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.0
iSight camera Updated 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels, f/2.2, and optical image stabilization Updated 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels, f/2.2 8-megapixel iSight camera with 1.5µ pixels, f/2.2 8-megapixel iSight camera, f/2.4
Flash True Tone True Tone True Tone LED
Facetime camera 1.2-megapixel photos (1280 by 960), 720p HD, f/2.2, with burst mode and auto HDR for photos and video 1.2-megapixel photos (1280 by 960), 720p HD, f/2.2, with burst mode and auto HDR for photos and video 1.2-megapixel photos (1280 by 960), 720p HD, f/2.4, with auto HDR for photos 1.2-megapixel photos (1280 by 960), 720p HD, f/2.4
Video 1080p HD video recording
at 30 fps or 60 fps
1080p HD video recording
at 30 fps or 60 fps
1080p HD video recording
at 30 fps)
1080p HD video recording
at 30 fps
Slo-mo Slo-mo video at 120 fps or 240 fps Slo-mo video at 120 fps or 240 fps Slo-mo video at 120 fps  N/A
Talk time  Up to 24 hours on 3G Up to 14 hours on 3G Up to 10 hours on 3G Up to 10 hours on 3G
Standby Up to 16 days Up to 10 days Up to 10 days Up to 10 days
Internet Up to 12 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on LTE, up to 12 hours on Wi-Fi Up to 10 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 11 hours on Wi-Fi Up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi Up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Video/Audio playback (hours) 14/80 11/50 10/40 10/40
Sensors

Barometer
3-axis gyro
Touch ID
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Digital compass

Barometer
3-axis gyro
Touch ID
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Digital compass
3-axis gyro
Touch ID
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Digital compass
3-axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Digital compass
Colors

Space gray
Silver
Gold

Space gray
Silver
Gold
Space gray
Silver
Gold
White
Yellow
Blue
Red
Green
002.jpg
2 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Yes, it's big

The iPhone 6 Plus is big. Very big.

I've handled handsets this big – and bigger – before, and yet an iPhone with a 5.5-inch display still comes as a bit of a shock. It feels like I've upgraded from an iPhone that fits comfortably into the palm of my hand to one that barely fits into my hand. I know that this is partly down to muscle memory, since I've been handling my iPhone 5 with its 4-inch display almost daily for nearly three years.

But change is change, and by going up to the bigger display I've sacrifices – for the time being at any rate – ease of holding for a bigger display. At this stage this bothers me because I've traded one form of usability for another. 

003.jpg
3 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

One-handed typing is out

Another thing that has become apparent is that one-handed typing is out – at least for now. My thumb can't make it all the way across they display to reach the far side of the screen.

I'm either going to have to will my thumb to evolve to the task, adopt a different grip, or switch to two-handed typing approach where I use one hand to cradle the handset, and the other to type. However, at this point in time I'm skeptical that one-hand typing is possible on this handset.

004.jpg
4 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Very little gripability

Even handling the iPhone 6 Plus isn't easy. The length gives it a top-heavy feel, while the rounded contours don't give the hand anything to hold onto. It has all the gripability of a wet bar of soap.

Dropping the iPhone just became a whole lot more likely.

This might change when I get a case for it, but even without the case the iPhone 5/5s was easy to handle and manipulate, partly because it was smaller, but partly because it had square edges as opposed to curved edges.

005.jpg
5 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Not very pocketable

Gone are the days of tucking the iPhone into a pocket unless you have gianormous cargo pants pockets. A shirt pocket might work, but it's going to feel like a slab of body armor rather than a phone.

I've not pocket carried an iPhone for years – I carry too much junk in my pockets – and have been using a Nutshell leather belt pouch, and the good new is that the iPhone 6 Plus will fit in the oversized iPhone 5 case I bought. But if you're used to pocketing an iPhone, the iPhone 6 Plus might present you with a challenge.

006-v1.jpg
6 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Were my eyes bigger than my stomach… and hands?

The extra screen space is indeed welcomed, and the display is gorgeous to look at, and turn the iPhone into a mini-tablet that I can see myself using more and more for content creation. But the size of the handset, combined with the thinness and rounded corners, makes it hard to make proper use of the screen.

I certainly need a case of some description – I have a silicone case on order from Apple but it isn't scheduled to arrive until October – and that might improve gripability as well as flatten out the "camera nubbin" on the rear of the case that otherwise make s using it on a flat surface a pain.

I'm going to spend the next 10 days with the iPhone 6 Plus and see how I get on, and at the end of that time decide whether the iPhone 6 Plus is the handset for me, or whether I should switch to the smaller iPhone 6.

Related Galleries

Jabra PanaCast 20 review: in pictures
jabra-panacast-20-1.jpg

Related Galleries

Jabra PanaCast 20 review: in pictures

9 Photos
Bluejay Sport electric bike review: in pictures
bluejay-sport-electric-bike-1.jpg

Related Galleries

Bluejay Sport electric bike review: in pictures

22 Photos
Sony LinkBuds review: in pictures
sony-linkbuds-1.jpg

Related Galleries

Sony LinkBuds review: in pictures

20 Photos
Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar review: in pictures
garmin-fenix-7-series.jpg

Related Galleries

Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar review: in pictures

14 Photos
Nomad iPhone 13 Pro Max case review: in pictures
nomad-iphone-13-pro-max-7.jpg

Related Galleries

Nomad iPhone 13 Pro Max case review: in pictures

12 Photos
First look: Products revealed at Samsung Unpacked 2022 [in pictures]
galaxy-unpacked-2022.jpg

Related Galleries

First look: Products revealed at Samsung Unpacked 2022 [in pictures]

20 Photos
Garmin Instinct 2 Solar review: in pictures
garmin-instinct-2-solar-3.jpg

Related Galleries

Garmin Instinct 2 Solar review: in pictures

8 Photos