First of all I’m sorry I’m so late on this. I promised my Facebook friends I’d have something up in less than a week after getting the phone and here it is almost a month later. I wish I had an awesome excuse but honestly it is just life. Hopefully you all still find some value in reading what always ends up being a lengthy entry when I’m solo blogging (wife and little girl are sleeping). So let’s get into it:
Why did I choose the bigger phone?
There is only one other person I can think of that does more homework when it comes to making purchases and that is my father-in-law. In the “pre-buying” research phase he absolutely destroys me. However, I definitely put in my work to make sure I am pretty educated about what I’m about to spend money on – especially when it could mean the difference of having a small and portable phone versus a goliath “mini-iPad”. Some of the more important factors that I looked at in considering the iPhone6 or the 6Plus were:
- Could I use it one-handed and does that even matter?
- Will it fit in my pockets?
- Is it too big for normal things like cupholders in my car?
- Will upgrading to the regular 6 be enough of a change from my current iPhone 5?
- Does a bigger display really matter that much?
- Am I concerned at all that the lens cover on the rear phone protrudes?
These are just a few of the myriad of things I tried to consider. I knew I wanted the iPhone 6 and was eligible for an upgrade (I’m on AT&T for whatever that is worth). When I first saw the new iPhone 6 I didn’t know what I was looking at (the 6 or 6P). My local AT&T store had two phones on display under their “iPhone 6” display. I instinctively though one was the 6 and one was the 6P. My gut reaction to seeing what I thought was the 6P was “that’s not that big”. However, I soon learned that very few stores actually had any 6P phones to display. What I was looking at was the iPhone 5S versus the iPhone 6. I held my personal iP5 up against the iP6 and said in my mind “that isn’t that much of a change in size”. To be honest I was disappointed.
The salesman showed me two phones, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note. He said that the iPhone 6 Plus was right in the middle of those two. I put the bigger of the two (the Note) in my pocket and it fit no problem. I immediately had hope for the size of the 6P.
Fast forward a few days and I went on a guy’s weekend trip with a bunch of my buddies. There were very few iPhone 6 phones anywhere at that time and trust me I looked. The first actual 6P I was able to hold was in New York in an AT&T store. I remember holding it and immediately thinking “yes”. The size, the balance, the thin and rounded edges, but most importantly – that DISPLAY. Never did I have a clue how much a big display changed your perception of a phone.
Within a week I had ordered my phone. I had a month to wait, research articles and read forums about user experiences. Over this month I saw more and more iPhone 6 devices in public. Folks seemed very happy with them but I did hear some complaints about the battery life. I believe the iP6 battery life is still worse than the iP5S but they may have fixed that with the recent 8.1.1 iOS update. The battery life in the 6P is stunning but I’ll get to that later.
I was actually on a work trip when my phone arrived. My wife opened the package and took some pics with her phone and sent them to me. It looked pretty big to say the least. She immediately started ripping on me for carrying a tablet, etc. She’s seriously a lot of fun to be around but to this day she gives me crap about my phone. And in all fairness compared to her iPhone 5C it does look like a monster.
So I now have the phone in my hands and I’m pretty jazzed. I love the design changes, with the power button on the side and the longer vibrate toggle and longer volume buttons. The phone feels absolutely wonderful in your hands. My Dad says it feels “slippery” and that is a good adjective for it. The form and visual appeal of the iPhone 6 Plus is there, and I was pumped up to finally set this thing up.
I’ve owned a variant of every iPhone ever produced and set up was pretty painless once I stopped making a crucial mistake: If you have a backup of your phone on a desktop (which you should), make sure you don’t do anything with your new phone until you restore it from that backup. I kept signing into my new phone and not realizing I was setting it up as a “new phone”. Only when I completely restored it and started with it plugged into my iMac did it load like I was hoping for. As usual everything came over except my music which is how I like it. I don’t keep any photos on my phone (transfer them often to the iMac) so my total boot time was about 40 minutes after I stopped being an idiot.
I’ve now been using the 6P for almost a month and I can’t tell you how happy I am with the overall daily benefits of such a big phone. Things that never mattered to me are suddenly high points of using the device and almost all of the major benefits are from this beautiful display. Things like your Facebook feed, GPS maps, weather radars, FaceTime, and a whole slew of things take on a whole new life when you have that much real estate to work with. Your fantasy football feed now has your entire team without scrolling. You can actually surf the web and not feel like you are constantly pinching and sliding. It is great, and even though I’ve appreciated a ton of other things about the phone – the display is my #1 selling point.
So let’s rapid fire through the other things that I’ve noticed that are high-points:
- Battery Life: Amazing, awesome, noticeable. I have seen the phone broken apart and they are right when they say most of the inside is battery. It shows during usage! I am a pretty heavy user of my phone and on my busiest days I am maybe at 35-40% by the evening. A quick charge for an hour or two gets me through the night no matter how late it gets. This is the first iPhone I’ve owned that I actually think has great (not just good) battery life.
- Wi-Fi and LTE speeds: With both hardware specs for this being updated, you would expect a performance increase and yep it is there. I have an “n” band router at home and pay for the maximum speed I can get and if I configure my router to the 5Ghz spectrum I can pull over 100Mb down on the phone via wi-fi. LTE seems much snappier as well although I haven’t been in a market where I can really test it. In general usage the LTE responds a little quicker than my old phone. It isn’t night and day but when you are someone who uses your phone a lot you notice subtle changes like that.
- Photo Camera: Apple took a lot of heat for not upgrading the actual camera sensor to a higher megapixel option. What they have done however, it completely refine the way the hardware works and upgrade a few components. To save a bunch of technical jargon, it is just a better camera. The pictures in the daylight are shocking how good they are. They are good enough that we’re about to go on a cruise and we’re not bringing our Nikon 5100 D-SLR camera because the iPhone 6 plus takes pictures that are that good. Regarding the protruding camera lens, I did confirm that the lens cover is made out of sapphire (along with the home button cover). The only harder substance than sapphire is diamonds so unless you plan on scratching your lens with diamonds you are OK to set the lens down on tables an other surfaces. This was a big win for me because I don’t like cases on my phones.
- Video Camera: When I took my first 60fps (frames per second) video, it looked fake. It seriously looked like something made in a CGI studio. You soon realize that it looks fake because it is so amazingly clear. I absolutely love the video camera on this phone and liken it to the first time you really saw a TV in true HD. It is one of those things that would be hard not to have now that you’ve owned it for a bit.
There are many other neat little things about the phone like the much louder speakerphone and the way it acts like an iPad if you go into landscape mode in emails, texts, or certain applications. Some of these things I think it is better if you discover on your own (they act as neat surprises) and I’m sure many of them I am not even aware of yet. This phone combined with iOS 8 is pretty bad ass.
So we’ve passed sixteen hundred words and I haven’t talked about the elephant in the room which is the size of the iPhone 6 Plus. It took me a while to find a very concise way of describing the size of the phone to someone without them being able to see it. I’ll tell you what I’ve been telling everyone else: This is NOT a one-handed device. Unless you are over 6’5 and/or have enormous hands, you will be using this two-handed for over 90% of what you do.
So if you are a back-pocket phone person, don’t get this phone. If you are someone who is so active that they use their phone one-handed most of the time, don’t get this phone. For everyone else, get this phone as soon as you can! And in case you are wondering, yes it fits in my front pocket although it will be the only thing in there. The 6P is a pocket dominator but it fits fine without causing any kind of discomfort.
In all seriousness it was an adjustment for me to move to a two-handed gadget. I use Siri a lot more now, and I use dictation so much that I’d pay for it if it didn’t come as part of iOS 8. I find myself doing the hand wiggle to move the phone up and down my hand to try to reach apps if I absolutely have to use the phone one-handed. Using the phone with two hands is an intuitive, comfortable experience. Trying to use it in a pinch with one hand can be frustrating.
BUT – going back to the display, the sacrifice of one-handed usage is worth it in my opinion. The display is seriously that good. I actually enjoy using my phone to read now, and don’t mind doing anything on it that I’d do on an iPad or small laptop. Even typing on the 6P is much better because they have the room to put some spacing between the keys.
Some other small things that are great are the Touch ID and Apple Pay. I didn’t have the iP5S so Touch ID is new to me. What a great way to lock and unlock your phone.
Is there anything you don’t like?
Sure. Because of its size it does not fit in the normal things designed for phones. My car is a 2006 and the 6P does not really fit in the cup holders. I have to angle it this perfect way. I also get annoyed sometimes when I try to use it one-handed and I miss what I’m trying to do. Case in point today I was trying to take some weather pics really quickly as the weather was changing in front of me. I had to use my knee when driving to free up both hands to snap the pics because I couldn’t use the phone one-handed in an efficient manner.
Thanks again for reading this much. I just broke two thousand words which is crazy for a blog post but what the heck I love this crap. My overall thoughts about the 6Plus are extremely positive. I purposely did not buy an iP5S because I wanted something different. I wanted a big change and I believe Apple delivered on that desire. I absolutely love the display and cannot say enough about it. I love and appreciate the battery life. Those two things alone are worth the jump.
I’d recommend the 6Plus to anyone who likes Apple products and is OK with using their “phone” with two hands. The size sure is not for everyone but the regular iP6 was just not enough of a change for me to switch. On a daily basis I am grateful that I took a chance and got the iPhone 6 Plus.
If I left anything out or if you have further questions please leave them in the comments section. Thanks again for reading and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!! (for my USA readers).