2 Big Reasons Why You Might Want to Buy iPhone 6 Plus Over iPhone 6

Sep 27, 2014 - 36 Comments

Why iPhone 6 Plus

Much has been said about the iPhone 6 Plus already, and there are plenty of thorough reviews describing the hardware, the design, camera, and every other little improvement and detail of the device. After using one for a week, two things in particular really stand out to me which differentiate the iPhone 6 Plus over every other iPhone ever made, and for many users they could be the determining factor as to why you’d want to get an iPhone 6 Plus over another model. And no, this is not a geeky technical-based preference at all, this is based entirely on two significant usability factors.

True All Day Battery Life

The iPhone 6 Plus is the first iPhone I’ve had that easily lasts a full day and well into the next day on a single charge. Here’s a screen shot of the iPhone 6 Plus Battery Usage indicator, found within Settings > General > Usage (a really great feature in iOS 8):

iPhone 6 Plus Battery Life lasts a really long time

I’d say that 9 hours of usage with 20% battery remaining, and 1 day 20 hours of standby time (meaning sitting around not in use, but not plugged in) qualifies as really good. For comparison, my replaced iPhone was lucky to last 4 to 5 hours of actual usage, and I typically had to charge it twice a day and plug it in every night.

If you care about battery life and a device that lasts all day, the iPhone 6 Plus is a big deal. I haven’t done anything special to get it to last this long, I’m not disabling any settings or making any tweaks to iOS 8 to conserve battery life, though I do turn down the tremendously bright and beautiful screen at night since it’s a bit like staring into the sun when in a dimly lit room.

Of course batteries age and over time their capacity reduces. So while it remains to be seen how well the iPhone 6 Plus battery lasts over its lifespan, the preliminary experience is very encouraging. If you care primarily about battery life, this is probably the best iPhone there is.

The Unmistakably Huge Screen

This is the most obvious thing you immediately notice when you see an iPhone 6 Plus, the whopping 5.5″ of viewable screen real estate. Yes it’s beautiful, it’s it’s ridiculously pixel dense, and yes it’s big. But big can mean two different things; you either see a lot more content on the screen without scrolling around, or, and perhaps a much bigger deal to many of us, stuff on the screen can actually be made to appear quite a bit larger. This is a settings choice that you can toggle between at any time, choosing either a “Standard” or “Zoomed” view, but the latter of which is an obvious choice if your eyes tire easily or your vision is less than 20/20. Zoomed mode means bigger text, easier reading, and for me at least, considerably less eye strain.

The main problem with Zoomed mode and the larger user interface elements provided with it is that screen shots don’t really demonstrate it well. Perhaps that’s why Apple doesn’t really emphasize this feature enough on their iPhone 6 page (you can find a little “Standard vs Zoom” thing near the bottom of this Display page), but here’s a rough idea of what this means for the Home Screen and app icons:

iPhone Standard vs Zoomed display mode

Mail app showing an email in Standard vs Zoomed (these are previews snapped from the Settings panel):

iPhone zoomed vs Standard in Email app

Messages app in Standard vs Zoomed (image also snapped from Settings panel):

iPhone Zoomed vs Standard display mode for Messages app

Zoomed mode also pairs very well with settings-based text size adjustments and bold fonts, both of which have a broader readability impact on the iOS experience now than they did before. Here’s an idea of what the general Settings app looks like if you use the Larger Text feature – this is with the text-size slider about halfway, meaning it can go much bigger if your eyesight prefers it:

Settings Text Size small vs larger

For someone like myself who has less than perfect vision, the difference is significant and meaningful. I know it will be that way for a lot of other users too, so if you’ve ever squinted painfully to read itty bitty text on an prior generations smaller smartphone display, you won’t have to do that anymore. Really, for me at least, it means no more squinting at micro fonts, and no more holding a screen 6″ away from my face to see details of an app or a picture.

It’s hard to emphasize that screen shots don’t do this part of iPhone 6 Plus any justice. If you’re at all curious about this yourself, get your hands on an iPhone 6 Plus in an Apple Store or retailer and play around with the two most impactful display features. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness > View > and choose “Zoomed”, and while you’re in the Display & Brightness settings, try increasing the Text Size and using Bold Text. Then poke around in iOS and apps, you will find everything is much larger.

So, after using iPhone 6 Plus for a week, I think it’s a really great iPhone and I’m happy with it. The concern I’ve heard from most people is that the iPhone 6 Plus is too big, and the truth is it may be for some users. If you’re looking for a purely one-handed tiny device that you can keep in a small tight jeans pocket most of the time, the iPhone 6 Plus will probably not fit the bill. It’s big, it can sometimes be awkward to use one-handed (even with reasonably large hands), and it’s an obvious presence in most slimmer fitting pant pockets. But if you’re like me and usually don’t have the iPhone sitting in a pocket all day, those trade-offs don’t mean as much, particularly compared to the dramatically improved readability and a better battery life. Whether or not it’s right for you is going to depend on a variety of things, but those are two big issues for me, overall I think most people would be best served seeing the two devices in person and then making a decision.

Oh and by the way, whether you decide to get an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, I would recommend the 64GB model over the 16GB model. If you’ve ever had a concern over storage capacity for apps or photos, having that extra 48GB of storage capacity is fantastic.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

36 Comments

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  1. Gary says:

    I went with it for screen size too. Screen is fantastic, makes the IPhone 5 look outrageously small.

    The 6 is ok too, but better for the pocket crowd I think.

  2. zoy says:

    does anyone in apple thinking about iPhone mini?

    • Pete says:

      Pretty sure the iPhone Mini is the iPhone 5S

    • Punditius says:

      I think that the Apple Watch could turn out to be the mini. At first, this will be by a link to the iPhone, using bluetooth to feed the call to a jawbone type earphone without having to dig out the actual iPhone. So you use the Watch to dial or Siri the number, & hang up.

      But eventually, the Watch + earphone might function as a phone without the need for an iPhone.

  3. Pete says:

    I really like the iPhone 6 Plus except for two things: the aluminum is much softer this time, and the glass scratches really easily compared to iPhone 5S glass.

    I dropped mine (it’s so slippery, very easy to drop) about 1 foot onto pavement and the aluminum has craters in it from the fall. It then landed screen down, which resulted in tons of small scratches. Never had an iPhone scratch or dent that easily, and I don’t really pamper my iPhones. But huh, makes you wonder how this thing will survive for 2 years. Maybe these are production run things that will get ironed out, so I’m experiencing the public beta test of first generation Apple products… you’d think I’d have learned by now!

    ;)

    Overall, great iPhone.

    • benj says:

      Same observations, too, regarding the body. Dropped my 1-week old iPhone6+ and had a few visible scratches. Good thing it has a “protective” case (how much more if it didn’t?). Had to look for another case where it can hide those marks. My 4S never had scratches even though it had been dropped for quite a number of times already.

      But so far, this is the best phone for me. I can leave the house without having to worry about the battery. Very reliable and the calls are really perfect no matter what apps you’re using. Looks classy, too, on the hand. :)

  4. Dave N says:

    I completely agree!!!

    The iPhone 6 Plus’ battery life and screen are just amazing and I would not part with it for everything. I picked up my old GS4 to get a file off it the other day and was amazed at how tiny it fit.

    Size Does Matter!

  5. Robin Thomson says:

    It is just way too big. For goodness sake it is supposed to be a “phone”? I use a wallet to carry my phone and the plus just ain’t going to fit in any wallet that is going to fit in my pants pocket. The iPhone 6 is at the limit of my one handability. But the extra size is enough that I often choose to use it rather than my iPad mini. You just don’t need a “phone” that is as big as the plus. Read an article where some poor bastard tried to take his plus back to Apple to exchange for a 6!

  6. Walter Walter says:

    I wish the 6 had the battery life of the iPhone 6 plus because the fork factor is a little bit better for most use. Also wish they had gone with a 5″ screen at the 6 size like the Nexus 5 which is really great size and good if you like android. Me. I am app apple.

  7. Punditius says:

    Adding to my original comment, think about how the Watch+jawbone +iPhonePlus will probably interact.

  8. InTheory says:

    I’m very glad I have a year left on my 5S contract. It’s going to be a tough decision between the 6s and 6s+. My aging eyes love the idea of the 5.5″ phone, but every time I have to use a friend’s big Android it feels unnatural.

  9. benji888 says:

    One reason not to get the 5.5″ “iPhone”: it’s not a phone anymore, too big!

    This is my big beef with Apple, I don’t want a phone that big, I wanted the best put into the 4.7″ model, but, Bottom line: now that Apple has 2 new iPhones, they can leave some things out of the smaller one and charge more for the biggest and best. Bigger is not always better in my book.

    I’ve had several iPhones, currently iPhone 5 and plan to get 4.7″ 6, but, feeling ripped off, cheated out of getting the best.

    (besides what you already wrote, not only is the screen smaller on the 4.7″, but not the same quality, 6 Plus camera gets hardware stabilization, left out of 6, shall I go on? :( )

    But, I did expect the biggest one to also be the thinnest, so, on a positive note, at least I’ll have the thinnest one. (I was hoping, actually, that they would both have the same battery life, even though the larger would have a larger battery, that would be because of the larger screen).

  10. MMMM says:

    One side note for zoomed view on the 6 Plus is that you can’t use the home screen rotation.

  11. Liarfig says:

    Size of the 6 has room for a bigger screen if they cut down the top a half inch. Should be 5″ and it would be a no brainer.

  12. Lo says:

    Should I ? This iphone6 plus looks like to imitate other phone’s appearance.

  13. Stephen Ryan says:

    While some say the 6+ is too big for a phone, for many it is not a phone but a very portable computer that just happens to also make phone calls. If I were making dozens of calls a day, particularly if on the move, this wouldn’t be the phone for me. But my usage is mainly the other apps, particularly Safari, Google and Zite, so the large screen is much more important to me as I’m am predominantly either using the keyboard or reading content and that overrides its awkwardness as a device for making and taking calls.

  14. AtlDane says:

    Robin YOU don’t need a phone as big as the 6 Plus. I do. Fits my profession perfectly and I can’t believe how perfect this phone is. Why would I want to read about the guy who wanted to exchange his 6 Plus? I could care less about him or anyone that says the 6 Plus is too big. ITS TOO BIG FOR YOU. THATS IT. NOT FOR ME! Ridiculous for anyone to complain about the 6 Plus or even the Samsung Galaxy Phones. If you don’t like those phones, then for crying out loud don’t buy them and don’t even try to complain about them. So many choices of phones to fit everyone’s needs. How awesome! I think the 6 Plus is the best phone ever developed because it’s perfect FOR ME! Obviously not for you. Thankfully you have other choices. I am always happy for anyone that has something that they found and it can help THEM. I feel sorry for people that complain about something so trivial as a phone that won’t fit in a wallet. Don’t complain. Don’t buy it. Enjoy the phone that works for you.

    • Brigitte says:

      For AtlDane! I wholeheartedly AGREE WITH YOU! I couldn’t have said it any better myself!
      Hey Folks! This is AMERICA!!! You can buy what you want, when you want, how you want, who you…(ok, maybe that’s not legal in all States).
      I ordered the iPhone 6Plus and was just notified that it has shipped and will be delivered Oct 2. I can’t wait to get my little hands on this big and beautiful 6 PLUS!!!!!

      • Clasqm says:

        “you can buy what you want”

        No you can’t, you can only buy what the factories make. I want a small phone. I held on to the 4s as long as I could (the absolute high point of Apple phone design), waiting to see if the 4″ model would also get a chip upgrade when the two phablets were announced. It was not, but I ordered a 5s the next day.

        The 5s is a good phone. Not as perfecly balanced in the hand as the 4s was in its day, but good. And the way things ate going, it will be my last Apple phone .in two years’ time my money will go to whomever makes a phone-sized phone.

  15. Before the iPhone 5s, I was using Samsung Note II, and loved it for it’s 5.5 screen. To me a 5.5 isn’t a big phone; it’s a very compact laptop/pad which also makes calls. I’m getting the 6+ for sure, but I’ll wait until Christmas. Firstly because my 5s is hardly a year old, and secondly because by then they’re sure to make improvements if necessary, and fix all bugs if any.

  16. Neil says:

    Yes the battery life is great, yes the screen is really nice and you can easily read on it… but it’s also a full fledged pocket computer. This thing is legitimately usable for work, easily as much as an iPad.

  17. Dee says:

    5.5 inch screen isn’t too big for a phablet…

    However, the problem with the iPhone 6/ 6 Plus is that the bezels are too big. You could feel it when you grip it, when you try using it with one hand. And it’s not very pocket friendly, especially when your pockets are shallow.

    Apple, it is time to get with the times and use software keys. Get rid of the Touch ID button: move fingerprint recognition and Siri activation to the side of the phone.

    And for the top half of the phone, you can further reduce the size of the bezel while still keeping the receiver and front-facing camera. Refer to the LG G3.

  18. patrick says:

    did anyone forget about MOTION STABILIZATION? that’s the key!

  19. If you choose the Zoomed display mode, you use the ability to rotate the Home screen. Nope, not giving that up!

  20. PK says:

    I personally think the iPhone 6 plus is way too small! Apple needs to make a 6-8.5″ screen iPhone! It would make it way better than the 6 plus and guarantee it won’t ever fit in any pocket!

    I’m surprising hippies are not complaining how the bigger screens are contributing to the global warming/climate change scam (yet).

  21. Me says:

    I was one of the vocal proponents of a big-screen iPhone, telling anyone who’d listen and writing a blog entry about it.

    After trying the iPhone 6+ in the store though I think I was wrong. It’s too big and too heavy. My hand hurt after holding it for an hour and my arm was slightly tired.

    My opinion now is that the perfect size for a phone is 5″, assuming the bezel always takes up about the same area.

    I’ll buy the 4.7″ iPhone. It’s not perfect but it feels and looks great. Until Apple comes out with a 5″ phone it will suffice.

    And I’d say the only realistic alternative to it would be a 5″ Samsung Galaxy with Replicant running on it instead of Android since Samsung has been caught putting an NSA backdoor in their phones.

  22. Basso says:

    Can a stylus be used on the 6+ as can be done with the iPad?

  23. One thing I wanted to add is that I noticed my reading (Pocket, Quora) and writing (Evernote etc.) habits have improved a bit more with this new larger display. I used to keep those at the end of the day when I can get back to my MBP but with this larger display things get done earlier, and I like that aspect so much.

    I wanted to also return this for an iPhone6 when I got it the first time but now I just want to keep it, even though it’s a bit awkward on some cases.

  24. Maryann says:

    I’ve had them all, and the iphone 6 plus is the absolute best one yet. Especially when you are over 40. I will always grab it before my ipad now. I am in love with this phone. When I used my iphone 5 yesterday, I thought “how could I ever have been happy with this small version?” Ladies….you will love it.

  25. Rama says:

    OMG iPhone 6 plus is the best! I can use it with one hand because i have humongous hands. Camera is great, love the Zoomed display, speaker is improved, battery life is epic, and processor is really smooth and hasnt even glitched kn me once. The thing i dont like is that it is slippery as and i almost dropped it on concrete today. But im ninja and a i caught it.

  26. Mike says:

    My iPhone 6 Plus is arriving tomorrow. I chose it with the hope that it has both a larger battery and a larger antenna. You have confirmed the first.

  27. Ed says:

    Disappointed with aesthetics of iPhone 6 when saw it in the flesh. Top bezel looks way too big and weird back case colour, almost champagne. First iPhone let down a bit by its looks. Before launch was expecting no bezel at all.

    • pal says:

      The good phone is the iPhone 6 Plus, not the normal iPhone 6. Battery life, and a really nice large high DPI screen. It’s not for everyone, but it’s the real upgrade.

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