- Excellent battery life
- Elegant design
- High-quality display
- Fast and reliable performance
- Top-notch camera
- Effectively requires two hands to use
- Too little storage on default model, no microSD support
- Non-removable battery
- Lackluster front-facing camera
The iPhone 6 Plus' massive display and slightly altered software makes it closer to a smaller iPad mini than an iPhone in practice. It's got the same stellar design language, camera, and overall performance of any other iPhone out there, and its display is a joy to behold, but unless you really need the extended battery life and bigger panel, you're probably better off sticking with the more restrained iPhone 6.
Apple held off on joining the phablet fray for as long as it could, but it’s finally given in to the changing ways of the smartphone world with the iPhone 6 Plus. The 5.5-inch device is essentially a bigger version of the iPhone 6, but several software and hardware details make working with it more akin to using an iPad than an iPhone.
The phablet has the greatest pixel density among Apple products, a battery that’s surprisingly strong, and arguably the best smartphone camera available today. Still, several flaws make it feel uncharacteristically unpolished and imperfectly engineered for an Apple phone. And no, we’re not saying that it bends. Instead, we have a device that has many of the same strengths and weakness we found in the standard iPhone 6. We encourage you to go back to that review to get a fuller understanding of some of those details, but for now, let’s take a look at Apple’s first jumbo-sized offering.
Build and Design
The iPhone 6 Plus, like the iPhone 6, feels exceptional in the hand. Its big, mostly aluminum body is solid, modern, and distinctly “Apple-ish,” and its build certainly won’t feel out of place to previous iPhone users. It’s quite light for an aluminum phablet at 172 grams (6.07 oz), and it’s rather slim as well, its side measuring only 7.1 mm (0.28 in).
Still, the iPhone 6 Plus is undeniably huge, even when compared to other 5.5-inch devices. Rival manufacturers have had no problem installing larger displays on smaller surfaces than this, and the ratio of screen to overall real estate here is pretty subpar. It most definitely is not usable with one hand.
With that said, the same rounded edges and elegant design cues of the iPhone 6 still keep it feeling great when you do wrangle it into your palms. Rounded glass edges which cover the display perfectly blend with the device’s body and offer an exquisite feeling under the fingertips, but the shift to constant two-handed use will take some time to get used to if you’re not familiar with phones this large. iOS has spoiled its users, making them accustomed to the idea that everything could be done with just one hand, and anything that did otherwise might as well be an iPad. The iPhone 6 Plus is Apple’s first stab at drawing a middle ground between the two, and it’s not immune from the occasionally awkward results you would expect from such a change.
The general arrangement of iPhone 6 Plus is identical to that of the iPhone 6. The Power button has been lowered so it can be pressed with a thumb, but your finger will have to be slightly longer than average in order to reach it comfortably. Otherwise, all the other ports, buttons, and the like are the same as they are on the smaller handset, and they’re all in the same spots.
The 5.5-inch IPS screen featured on the iPhone 6 Plus comes with a full HD (1080p) resolution. That’s good for a pixel density of about 401 pixels per inch, which is the greatest of any Apple mobile device. While the iPhone 6/5s/5/4S/4 only have a density of 326 ppi, the numbers are misleading, as the increase here doesn’t lead to any significant improvements that are visible to the naked eye.
Going 1080p is still the right move for a display of this size, though. The iPhone 6 Plus’ panel comes off as wonderfully sharp, with crisp fonts and no noticeable stuttering during animations. The 1080p resolution allows it to play Full HD videos without scaling, and games made for lower resolutions are scaled very well to the naked eye as well.
Just like with the iPhone 6’s screen, praise is also in order for the Plus’ vivid and precise colors, strong contrast ratios, wide viewing angles, high brightness, and capable performance in direct sunlight. And just in general, viewing any sort of multimedia on a quality enlarged screen like this is a much more luxurious experience than it is on a smaller, comparatively cramped device.