Apple's take on the phablet - iPhone 6 Plus
Form factor8
Build quality9
Ease of use9
Performance8
Value for money7
8.2Overall Score

Perhaps the device that got the most curiosity from Apple’s recent announcement is the iPhone 6 Plus. This time, Apple didn’t just introduced a bigger iPhone. It created one in the phone-tablet (phablet) territory. So, how does Apple stack up in the bigger device market? We find out below.

  • The move was so uncharacteristic for Apple. Many will say that the iPhone has caught up with the times. And in some sense, that is true. However, there’s a caveat. The iPhone 6 feels humongous, especially when you’re used to the rather small sizes of the iPhone 4/4s and iPhone 5/5s. And coming from a 4-inch 5s, the 6 Plus looks more like a smaller iPad mini.
  • Some of the design changes for the iPhone 6 Plus include more rounded corners and curved edge where the glass meets the metal frame. It gives the entire front panel a refined look and it makes it look like the device is entirely made up of thick glass. It is reminiscent of the iPhone 4.
  • The button placement has been slightly re-arranged with the power button now on the right side for easy reach by the right thumb and the volume controls along with the lock button on the left side. The rear camera also protrudes from the back panel. This can be distracting and prone to scratching. The camera is also too close to the corner that it could be frequently obstructed by the fingers when taking photos.
  • Those Band-Aid stripes at the back look a bit distracting to the contiguous monochromatic and matte finish of the iPhone. We think it’s a way for them to isolate the multiple internal radios and minimize signal interference from the metal body. However, the coating and tone don’t do justice to the elegant finish of the phone.
  • Just like the iPhone 6, the Full HD display of the iPhone 6 Plus looks stunning, clear, and crisp. It really is the nicest display we’ve come across from any iPhone to date.
  • The iPhone 6 Plus comes with iOS 8 right out of the box. The look and feel of iOS 8 didn’t depart much from iOS 7. The refinements introduced in the new iOS are mostly found under the hood.
  • With a large screen real estate, the iPhone 6 Plus allows for both vertical and horizontal orientation. This is a first in an iPhone ever (although the feature has been a staple in any Android device for some time now).
  • This is the first UI execution that gives us a hint that Apple designed the iPhone 6 Plus to be used like a phablet. Also, the larger display comes with an additional row of icons—giving it a total of seven rows instead of six on the iPhone 5 and 5s. It has been upscaled like the iPhone 6, which means it retains the 16:9 aspect ratio. Your apps and games will scale just fine on this device.
  • Tweaks were done to the menus and shortcuts that make more sense and make the smartphone more intuitive. The one we really appreciate is the bigger virtual keyboard. It allows for better accuracy and improved typing speed.
  • The iPhone 6 Plus’ camera sensor that Apple boasts has a large 1.5-micron pixels and is paired with a lens that has a ƒ/2.2 aperture. The camera can also record 1080p Full HD videos at a fast 60 fps, a super slow-mo of 240 fps at 720p, and time-lapse video.
  • It also comes with an optical image stabilisation (OIS), which the smaller iPhone 6 doesn’t have. This results in less-shaky handheld video recordings and pictures. We also noticed significant improvement in terms of shooting speed, autofocus, and really smooth recording of moving subjects.
  • When it comes to gaming, the iPhone 6 Plus handled almost all games we played on it. We were able to play Infinity Blade and Asphalt 8 very smoothly with this smartphone. However, we were a bit puzzled that we experienced significant lags when playing Men vs. Machine. Audio was also really good and we’re pretty much contented with the quality and volume.
  • You get good call quality on the iPhone 6 Plus. It gives you clear and crisp audio when making voice calls. Signal reception for cellular and Wi-Fi are also at par with the iPhone 5s. The new A8 chip supports up to 20 LTE bands, which means it is compatible with more networks in different countries, including our local telcos.
  • The new iPhones are the first to get an NFC chip. However, it is meant to support their Apple Pay mobile payments service. It is only available in the US at the moment and we don’t think it’ll make its way here any time soon. And you also can’t use NFC chip to pair with other NFC-enabled devices.
  • Our standard battery test puts the iPhone 6 Plus at 11 hours running an HD video in a continuous loop at 50 percent brightness and no volume. It is a good score compared to other flagship handsets. Once we used the device as a daily driver, we managed to get about 14-15 hours with Wi-Fi turned on. Of course, battery life depends heavily on your usage behavior.

The verdict:

So yes, the iPhone 6 Plus is legitimately a phablet. It just feels a bit weird that we’d see an iPhone this big. It’s either you will like the iPhone 6 Plus because of its size and performance or you will avoid it because it’s a bit bulky and unwieldy to use.

Price: TBA


 

Spec sheet:

Display: 5.5” IPS LCD (1920×1080 resolution, 401ppi)

Operating system: iOS 8

Processor: Apple A8 1.4GHz dual-core Cyclone, PowerVR GX6450 quad-core GPU

Memory: 1GB RAM

Storage: 16GB/64GB/128GB

Connectivity: HSPA+/LTE 150Mbps, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band), Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC

Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera (dual-tone LED flash; 1080p@60fps, 720p@240fps), 1.2-megapixel front camera

Other features: Fingerprint sensor

Battery: Li-Po 2915mAh

Dimensions & weight: 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm, 172g