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A Review of the iPhone 6 After One Week of Power Usage


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Sep 22, 2014
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After a week of solid usage by myself (a self-proclaimed iOS power-user), I thought it would be good to write a bit about how the iPhone 6 Plus is holding up. More than anything I continue to state I am star-struck by this gadget and have fallen in love all over again with the “iPhone”. I'm still amazed on slow days when I have that moment of clarity, that I touch glass to do things. The lure of the iPhone (for me) has slowed down, and now it’s back - all because of the iPhone 6.

I concede, it’s a phablet, straight up. I always thought the term “phablet” was just gimmicky, particularly with the first gen of them running Android. Mainly because the ONLY thing different was the screen size, the usability of the “phablet” was the same as the smaller counterpart. It was just a big phone, not a phablet. Here, the iPhone 6 Plus is truly a phablet - it has iPad functionality, and again that functionality was the deciding factor in my decision to go big. So, it’s a phablet. If you are thinking of upgrading or already have (or whatever), understand the iPhone 6 Plus is straight up not a phone but a phablet. Let your decisions be based off of this: “Do you want a phone or a tablet in your pocket?” (I opted for no. 2).

That being said, it’s the best phablet on the market. Yeah yeah, others have some really cool features, but I don’t use them nor do I want to - nor do I think I’ll ever have a need to. I am mainly referring to the “Galaxy Note’s” capacitor pen feature. Capacitor screens are awesome, but I don’t have a use for one. Nor do I think there are apps that properly make full use of the capacitor screen. Before I stated things like “it’s an extension of your hands”, and that is still 100% true - until you put a case on it. More on this later, but you NEED a case on it. I opted for Apple’s Leather Case. It’s fantastic, it’s beautiful, and it feels like you are holding royalty. It’s the first case I’ve ever see on a phone that enhances the device vs. covering it up. BUT… it adds “just enough” bulk to the phone where that “extension of your hand” meets sand paper. It’s just enough where things start to get abrasive. The same case on my wife’s iPhone 6 is flat out 100% perfect. It actually feels better now. But alas here, it’s just enough bulk to make me concede, yes, the phone is big. However as a phablet, size… you get my point (I hope). It’s all about perception.

This thing is amazing. I think it is the best looking phone on the market without a case. With a case it’s like any other phone… it’s a phone with a case. It’s solid though, as the aluminum casing is fantastic. I’ve dropped it a few times from my waist, not a single scratch or anything. That said, I’ve dropped it a few times and I’ve only had it for a week. I’m not a butter-fingers. I’ve owned 3 iPhones now since 2009 and a variety of iOS devices since 2008, and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve dropped them. This means 1) I’m absolutely awesome and should be a professional footballer, because I can hold on to anything, and 2) I’ve understood for a long time now in my hands is a mighty piece of glass. I think twice when I have my iPhone (iPad) in my hands. I’ve done this for so long it’s second nature to me. Well, the iPhone 6 Plus is a sloppy, sloppy fish - it wants to fall out of your hands. With that said so far it’s held up amazingly well.

The interwebz aren’t without a plethora of videos stating the opposite. For the first time these videos have me scared, mainly because there is one critical design that is so beautiful it does lead to risk. It’s like punching a super-model. Gorgeous, but still gonna get a black-eye. The curved glass… feels amazing… looks amazing. It’s… just amazing. BUT this is the first time a large chunk of the edge of the glass screen is exposed directly to the (inevitable) fall. This equals breakage. Perhaps this phone was designed for Sapphire glass all along and at the last second they had to go with glass because the Sapphire technology just isn’t there. Not sure, but this is the only ‘risk’ with owning an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

This leads me back to the case and durability stuff above. I got an Apple Leather Case after seeing a few video reviews about it. Everyone seemed to love it, and after watching some pretty funny drop tests with the case, it looked like everything held up remarkably well. But I’m using a case on my iPhone really for the first time ever. Personally I don’t like it, it’s a “me thing”. These things are work of art, so why ‘case ‘em all up?’. Because this one will break, eventually… at least that's my fear. Alas I am looking for a new ‘shield’ that is a full body model. I’ve had fantastic success with full body shields, and here the 6 Plus begs for one.

Here is where the 6 Plus outshines the iPhone 6 and older models: usability. What do you get when the iPhone 5S makes a baby with the iPad Mini? The iPhone 6 Plus… duh. I cannot believe I have phone that acts like a tablet, fits in my pocket so well, and that works great. I started a work day last week while receiving a scheduled medical procedure. I didn’t bring my iPad Mini for the first time, and I didn’t open my laptop up (although the Macbook Air is an AMAZING traveling companion). It was liberating. Yeah, I will admit, normally I’d have my Macbook open, but on that day I just didn’t have to - I could quarterback my day. It doesn’t happen much, but here it did, and here I COULD NOT have done this with my iPhone 4S. Only the big screen and the ease of the ‘tablet like’ features allowed this. The battery after constant usage only went down by 40%… that’s for the entire day BTW - even after I came home. That’s me emailing, having and running phone conferences, web lookups, some app (networking) usage, and streaming in 720 HD (Youtube) videos (during my procedure). Yeah, the battery life is phenomenal. Oh yeah, and a huge shout-out to Verizon’s LTE for giving me a constant data connection. That connection was super super fast.

I'd say about 95% of my personal computing is done on my iPad and it's been this way for years. Now, come to think of it, I haven’t used my iPad Mini for a week. Now it comes down to this very honest and ridiculous reason - the screen. The screen on the iPhone 6 Plus is big, almost as big as the iPad Mini whilst in 6:9 ratio. When surfing the web, Steve Jobs was 100% right - you lose like 30+% of screen usage. A 4:3 ratio screen is superior, but the 6:9 is fine. Here’s the ridiculous reason, the screen on my iPad Mini is SO BAD in comparison to the iPhone 6 Plus’ technology. Like, I can’t go back to a non-retina display. I’m serious, I can’t. The display in the iPhone 4S is junk and the display on the typical LED stuff is beyond junk. Thanks to the iPhone 6 Plus, I’m now ruined (or, wait, blessed!). Here’s an unfortunate truth: once you get used to this screen size ALL other phones look like toys. It is so sad. I look at my 4S and it’s a POS now. That's a little sad because at one point that was the “it”.

AND HERE’s where it can be improved… it’s a phablet, so go all in on the tablet features. I want that iPad “there’s no wrong way to hold it”, thing. Apple has provided a brand new screen ratio and usability with the iPhone 6 Plus, so ALL native Apple apps should utilize the tablet like controls. That does not happen enough. Only a small handful (albeit important ones) of native Apple apps use this new format. If I’m in the Music app (and I always am), then darn it let me rotate it to landscape and use it that way. Heck, the way the iPad’s landscape feature is set up in the Music app, the iPhone 6 Plus lends itself to a better look! USE IT, APPLE! Also, this is technically an iPhone, ergo it uses iPhone apps, unlike the iPad where it can use either native iPad or iPhone apps. Okay, so native iPad apps won’t work, but a refreshed new iPhone 6 Plus app could. Here’s a great example: Flipboard. Oh here’s another one: Zite (which is a dead man walking). Oh here’s another: <fill in the blank>. Bottom line - the iPhone has for years utilized either portrait or landscape. With the iPhone 6 Plus these apps don’t need to hold on to that… it can act like an iPad. Here’s to hoping developers (and Apple) start making use of the new screen size/format.

The one thing they nailed was the one-handed feature. They have a one-up on the industry here, as there’s no other component on any other phone like TouchID. Yeah there’s finger print readers but they don’t double as an additional ‘touch’ button. When I’m using the phablet in ‘one hand phone mode’, the one-handed feature is great. Again, I think the feature is ugly looking, but it is extremely useful. There’s simply nothing else out there like it, I’m sure Samsung will do something similar next year. And while touching on the subject - TouchID is fantastic. It’s something I didn’t think was needed and now I can’t live without. It’s just awesome. (At least it is on the iPhone 6 Plus).

And what about this… you want to know where the iPhone 6 Plus would be PERFECT at? In the dashboard of my car. It’s the perfect size. Just think for a second… if Apple would put a CarPlay feature in the iPhone 6 Plus, car makers would then make an in-dash mounting system - so when you put your iPhone 6 Plus into the ‘radio deck’, CarPlay is enabled, and BOOM! You would then probably have one of the best car radios on the market. That. Would. Be. Awesome. The iPhone 6 Plus is the perfect size for a car radio.

Final Thoughts
I think I stated all I have to say. The iPhone 6 Plus is a phablet true and true. If you concede to this, then its size becomes 100% expected and fine. It’s all about that “certain point of view” (~Obi-Wan Kenobi - Return of the Jedi). Because I love my iPad and because I depend on being more mobile now than ever, the iPhone 6 Plus is a perfect fit for me. I treat it like a tablet, and I do get frustrated when I’m reminded I’m on a phone due to ‘iPhone apps’. The size doesn’t bother me because it’s a tablet - er phablet. It does lose a sense of that sexiness with a case, albeit my Apple Leather Case is amazing.

If you are up for a new phone, the iPhone 6 is the best. If you want to upgrade your experience to more of a phablet usage, hands down the iPhone 6 Plus is the winner.