It’s been a while since the term ‘phablet’ originated. Hardware manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony each have at least one flagship phablet to boast of. Such was not the case with Apple. Until recently.
Cowering behind Steve Jobs’ loudly proclaimed diktat that 4-inch screens were the only ‘usable’ screens, Apple held out almost long enough to make it his- and the iPhone’s epitaph.
Industry experts, competitors, naysayers, critics, customers – all clamoured for Apple to wake up and climb aboard the phablet brigade. Just as the clamour reached a crescendo, Apple unveiled their latest bombshell… and its proved to be a WMD.
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus represents one of the most comprehensive overhauls in the smartphone industry. When Tim Cook announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, he meant business. Apple needed a catalyst to bounce back into the market and they found just the right one.
The iPhone 6 Plus features a classy 5.5 inch screen with Apple’s A8 processor to back it up.
It is an extremely powerful device which looks just as gorgeous!
But will Apple’s gamble of shifting away from the standard 4-inch screen size pay off?
Let’s find out what the iPhone 6 Plus is all about and see if we can decide for ourselves!
The iPhone 6 Plus’ beautiful 1080p Retina HD display is the headline act. It grabs attention, reels you in, mesmerising you. No matter what you do on the phone, it seems clearer, crisper and content seems just a nanometer from your fingertip.
New technologies that make the displayer thinner, 400+ pixels per inch, and of course, Apple’s secret sauce that they employ on LCD screens make this one of the best displays they’ve ever made (maybe bested only by their latest iMac displays).
The full HD resolution (1920×1080) screen is a step up from the iPhone 5s’ 1136×640 resolution. The Retina HD (401 ppi) though, is the icing on the cake. The difference that this higher density of pixels makes couldn’t be starker than when holding the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus side by side – the former’s 326 ppi seems positively 19th century in comparison. Bear in mind that performance wise, the iPhone 6 itself bests some of the flagship devices!
Critics and competition point out that QHD (538 ppi) screens – like that on the LG G4, is where the puck is now at, however as always, Apple’s reticence to rely on numbers and measures instead letting the output speak for it’s self, seems to quell such “marketing mumbo-jumbo”.
Curved at the edges (a huge departure from the razored edges of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5), makes such a huge difference to the overall feel of the phone, that one wonders how we put up with the stark edges all this while! Fingers just glide on and off the screen creating an “infinite” feel to the screen.
Overall, the oleophobic, ion-strengthened glass feels rock solid (and has been tested to be fairly impact resistant).
A design overhaul for the iPhone was coming, we could almost feel it coming couldn’t we?
The iPhone 6 Plus gets a complete design makeover from the iPhone 5/5s, gone are the flat edges, perpendicular sides and sharp corners. One wishes though, that the back wasn’t as flat as a well-worn bar of soap (and just as slippery at times)!
The iPhone 6 Plus feels smooth and solid, yet it doesn’t feel as light as the iPhone 5s. So wholesome is the heft that the moment you hold the iPhone 6 Plus in your hands, you know exactly why you spent caboodles on the device.
There have been reports on how bendable the phone is – we tried. We used hands, thighs and butts, and came away with nothing more than our egos being bruised. It’s solid.
But we recommend you don’t try to prove us wrong. Costing INR 65,000-75,000 you shouldn’t be trying to bend the phone anyway!
Back to business, Apple has made a couple of tweaks externally. The power button is no longer at the top, it’s now at the right hand side, above the nano-SIM card tray, like most Android phones. This is a much more convenient location for the power button for both left and right handed users, given that most humans can’t singlehandedly reach the top of a 6.2 inch object!
All that explanation aside, the location just doesn’t feel like an iPhone’s. I’m so used to it being on top. Not a big deal though.
In terms of the layout, not much else has changed from the iPhone 5 and 5s. The volume buttons still sit below the mute toggle on the left and the 3.5 mm headphone jack retains its spot at the bottom left.
Also present at the bottom is the Lightning Port (for charging) and 8 stylish holes for the speaker. That’s two more than those on the iPhone 6, so you get better sound and louder output from the speakers. Its evident on those long conference calls, and even when playing music out loud (we could hear it quite well during a drive over, contrary to the iPhone 5’s whispery output).
The iPhone 6 Plus is perfectly weighted and amazingly balanced. At 172 grams it feels feather light for its size. The ease with which the folks at Apple have increased the size of the iPhone while keeping the overall balance of the phone just so perfect is indeed commendable.
The size though (6.22 inches tall, 3.06 inches wide) does tend to have a telling effect on trouser and skirt pockets.
Despite the heft, Apple have got the design spot on, yet again. It is a pleasure to hold this device – materially as well as comfortably.
One thing to take note of, the iPhone 6 is neither water resistant nor dust resistant. It might not be a deal breaker, but it’s something you should be aware of as Sony and Samsung both make flagships with this feature built in.
The iPhone 6 Plus houses 2 processors; one is Apple’s custom-built A8 processor and the other is the M8 co-processor which helps monitor user-motion, physiological and activity levels. It also helps save battery life by allowing the A8 processor to go to sleep from time to time.
The A8 by itself packs a dual core processor clocked at 1.4GHz. This doesn’t seem like a major upgrade from the A7 processor on the iPhone 5, which was clocked at 1.3GHz, but trust me, the iPhone 6 Plus is not only blazingly fast, its indefatigable and yet more battery-efficient than its predecessor, despite host a screen thats almost 40% bigger!
The additional M8 processor is the game changer. It looks after all the data captured by the various sensors on the iPhone 6 Plus; these include the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass and barometer. It’s a lot more energy efficient than the main processor and this boosts overall performance in handling any sensor-associated tasks.
The iPhone 6 Plus is powered by an impressive 2915 mAh non-removable battery. For me, this was perhaps my biggest reason to choose the 6 Plus over the iPhone 6. It easily lasts upto a day and a half, if your usage is relatively moderate. Rated for 24 hours of 3G talk-time it should definitely last you a full day of mixed usage (depending on the strength of the cellular network).
You cannot imagine the peace of mind that the iPhone 6 Plus gives you when comes to battery sustenance. I don’t carry a cable to office anymore, don’t have one in the car, and when it hits 30%, I smile because I know it’ll still last another 4-5 hours of use!! It changes your life.
Another major plus point about the battery is that it charges really quickly, using fast charging to juice up the first 80% (it gets to 30% in just half an hour) and then trickle charging to extend the lifespan of your phone’s battery. (In my experience) you can further reduce charging time by using a 10 or 12 volt charger (supplied with iPads) to get it to go even faster.
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus features a nano-SIM slot and does not have a microSD card slot, classic Apple. But that isn’t much of a concern as you get three internal-memory options; 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. Choose wisely though!
The iPhone 6 Plus is Bluetooth v4.0 enabled and has NFC capabilities as well (current used only for Apple Pay though).
You’d agree, a large part of a smartphone’s appeal lies in the OS it houses. The iPhone 6 Plus, as expected, runs on iOS 8 and is shortly due an official update to iOS 9.
Released alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple’s iOS 8 brought a lot of new features to iPhones and iPads. Interactive notifications, Notification Centre widgets, Battery Monitor, Health, Apple Pay and the ‘Hey Siri’ functionality are just some of the features that debuted on iOS 8.
Custom keyboards are another nice touch on iOS 8 and this unclenching of the fist by Apple, brought a lot of developers back into the fold, and they’ve created some really cool stuff with this new ability. This might be another game changer, in Apple’s favour (as it was one the most-cited reasons for people to stick with competitor’s OS’).
The combination of the inbuilt HealthKit software and the M8 co-processor too, is a killer combo. It provides detailed information about the user’s activities throughout the day (though those are available only to you, or someone you authorise). The Health app is not the easiest to understand and set up though.
Other cool features include the Reachability shortcut – Double-tap the home button and the screen’s contents will slide down towards your thumbs, to enable you to access and use any buttons/controls that appear at the top of the gargantuan screen.
Continuity is yet another unique feature Apple have sprung on us via iOS 8. If you own an iPhone and a Mac, for instance, they become seamlessly integrated with each other seemingly by magic. You can work on a particular task or app on one device (while away from your desk for instance) and immediately continue (get the name now?) it at the computer when you return. This handover is facilitated by iCloud. You could even make voice calls from your Mac through your iPhone (which could be lying in another room altogether or be on the table, charging)! This “handover” works only over wi-fi though, not iCloud.
I particularly love and use this feature, every single day.
iOS 8 is as smooth as ever and on the iPhone 6 Plus, everything feels like a breeze. The new features on iOS 8 are a blessing and make the iPhone experience even more satisfying; they also help Apple close the gap between its rival OS’ and strip them of their “USPs”.
Another place where Apple doesn’t play the ‘numbers game’ is with their cameras.
The iPhone 6 Plus continues with an 8 megapixel rear camera, but yet again, they’ve improved the internals and software so much you can’t know that. The camera experience sits firmly in the awesome category.
The lens and sensor have been improved to allow you to take better low-light shots. Outdoor shots are often DSLR quality!! Autofocus is significantly faster basis a technology called Focus Pixels introduced with the latest iterations of the iPhones. Similar to the kind of focusing technology used in the Samsung Galaxy S5, it’s accurate and saves time, and yeah, it recognises multiple faces.
Photo taking itself is faster, slo-mo rocks even better – upgraded to capture slow motion at 240 frames per second at 720p resolution (twice as much as the iPhone 5s’ 120 fps), which makes the video velvety smooth.
The 6 Plus gets one over iPhone 6 – its rear camera comes with Optical Image Stabilisation (for both stills and videos). Chip-Monks found the OIS to be extremely effective and witnessed it smoothen a lot of the shakiness that comes in photographs due to little hand movements. It shines in reducing blur especially in low light conditions.
On the software side, trademark Apple minimalism persists. You get only as many camera modes as you need, settings are easily accessible and there’s no unnecessary clutter. All this makes the camera on the iPhone 6 Plus a point and shoot dream.
The front camera is a 1.2 megapixel unit which is on paper very similar to the one on the iPhone 5s. However, that’s not entirely true. Apple’s rejigged it to work better for video calls, better selfies, in bright as well as low-light conditions. They’ve even added a timer and burst mode to the front camera, which makes it easier to take selfies!
The 6 Plus is a device built for business and pleasure. That’s clear from it’s screen resolution, its extra long battery life, landscape-mode browser and the presence of a powerful processor more than capable of handling perhaps even desktop-class games and animation.
Let’s start with the music and movies: There’s a better speaker at the bottom. There’s tons of music on iTunes (probably more than on any other single platform out there), lots of great movies; all of which you could buy using your Apple ID. Media you purchase from the iTunes store becomes available on all your Apple devices instantly and is freely downloadable on each of them.
You still can’t export media out from the device though, not even over Bluetooth. One could see it an instance of how closed Apple is or how secure they want to keep you, depending on how you look at it. It’s also no real surprise that Wi-Fi Direct also does not work on iPhones, instead Apple uses its own proprietary software (AirPlay) for getting its devices to communicate with each other.
Watching videos on this phone is a nice experience thanks to the Retina HD 5.5-inch display – the colours are spot-on, viewing angles are par-excellent, there’s absolutely no stutter while playing even 20 GB movies. If you watch a lot of videos on your phone then the iPhone 6 Plus is definitely better than the iPhone 6, as the bigger screen sure is easier on the eyes, and the battery lasts almost two lifetimes more than the iPhone 6!
The audio quality on the Apple earphones (called EarPods) is excellent and music sounds great even at full volume which is fairly loud! The onboard speaker has good sound clarity, but we propose you avoid using it altogether and instead use the EarPods or pick up a good bluetooth speaker – you can check out our Add-Ons section to see our recommendations for the iPhone.
When it comes to Gaming, this phone obliterates every other smartphone out there. The processor’s ready for anything, the display clarity is stupendous, and the App Store is your Mecca! The inbuilt Game Center app adds a social element to your games and even extends game status to other iDevices, if you want. With Game Center you can create an online gaming identity, upload your contacts to get personalised friend recommendations, earn achievements and challenge friends.
I personally tested two immensely popular graphic intensive games: Subway Surfer and Asphalt 8, and they both ran without any stutter or lag. I almost heard the iPhone languidly make a sandwich and a milkshake while I raced on!
iPhones have a lot of things happening around them right now.
Apple and IBM are working closely together to bring to you the next generation of business apps made exclusively for iOS. These apps will ease your business activities by making things simpler and easily achievable and integrated back to your enterprise software. They will cover a broad range of categories like Health Care, Industrial Products, Banking, Travel & transportation.
Presently, the iPhone 6 Plus has it in it to support all office related apps, design work, integration with Macs; its the first iPhone ever to have a dedicated landscape keyboard (distinct to the regular portrait version – surely thats to enable you to write your next Upanishad of an email!), enterprise grade emails and security protocols. We wonder if you knew that every iPhone since the iPhone 3G has had VPN capability built into them as standard fitment!
When it comes to security from viruses, Apple has an exemplery record and as such its devices do not even need anti-virus software.
Another great security feature is the Find My iPhone feature which allows you to locate your phone in case it has been lost or stolen. If one of your Apple devices goes missing, iCloud can help you work out where it is. Just sign in at iCloud.com or use the Find My iPhone app to see your missing iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac on a map. You can permanently lock it (to render the device entirely unusable for the finder/miscreant) or even wipe it entirely clean to securely destroy any and all personal information on the device, from anywhere in the world,.