2 Big Reasons Why You Might Want to Buy iPhone 6 Plus Over iPhone 6
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):
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:
Mail app showing an email in Standard vs Zoomed (these are previews snapped from the Settings panel):
Messages app in Standard vs Zoomed (image also snapped from Settings panel):
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:
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.