Bigger and better: Apple’s iPhone 6 reviewed

Apple’s change to its juggernaut smartphone is here, and it’s not just a number change with a fingerprint sensor. This time, the iPhone includes a bigger screen, faster processor, and a new design. Is this Apple’s best yet, and can it take on the ever growing competition from the likes of Sony, Samsung, HTC, and LG?

Features

Ready for a new phone? Of course you are, and if you’ve been itching for a bigger, brighter iPhone, your time is at hand.

The next stage of the iPhone 6 is ready to be touch, held, prodded, and spoken to, with a larger display, new design, and more features than you can shake an iStick at.

The first thing you’ll notice about the model is the screen, which has jumped from a 4 inch display running 1136×640 to a 4.7 inch screen with the resolution of 1334×750. With this screen size and resolution employed, the pixel count measures the same as the previous model, with 326 pixels per inch in the iPhone 6.

Apple is protecting its display with a highly strengthened glass, too, so while it probably won’t survive a large quantity of drops, it should survive one or two (depending on how it fell), as well as the odd scratch here and there.

Underneath this screen is a new set of components, with a 64-bit processor controlling things here, the new A8 chip an update on last year’s A7, working alongside 1GB RAM and either 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage. A new motion coprocessor is also here to track movements and store them, found in the M8 coprocessor.

Connection options are fairly normal, with 4G LTE updated to Category 4 4G, capable of achieving up to 150Mbps download speeds on supported networks, and 100Mbps for regular Category 3 networks. WiFi has also been updated, with 802.11ac supported finally, though older networks on 802.11a/b/g/n will also work here.

Bluetooth 4.0 is also included here, as is Near-Field Communication, the latter of these very new to Apple. Assisted GPS and GLONASS support is also included.

Over on the camera side of things, the 8 megapixel rear camera from the iPhone 5S has seen an upgrade, but not in the available megapixels, with the same 8 megapixels helped with an f/2.2 aperture, improved capture controls for light changing, five-element lens, “Focus Pixels” autofocus technology, and a lens cover made of Sapphire crystal which we’re told is very, very hard to scratch or break.

Video is also possible from this rear camera, with Full HD movies shot at 60fps, while a slow motion mode has also been added offering 120 and 240fps modes, as well as a time lapse video mode.

The front camera is still one of Apple’s “FaceTime” cameras, sporting the same 1.2 megapixels from last time, once again with f/2.2 aperture.

All of this sits in a body made from aluminium, with a design reminiscent of the previous iPod Touch.

As is the case with other Apple phones, buttons have been included, but moved around, with volume buttons on the left edge below the mute/vibrate switch, the power button now on the right edge, and the home button up front and at the bottom including the fingerprint sensor known as “Touch ID.”

Ports are limited, however, with the Lightning dock port found at the very bottom, sitting in between the 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side and speaker holes on the right.

The iPhone 6 is available in three colours, with silver, gold, and space grey.

The battery for the iPhone 6 is rated at 1810mAh.

Performance: what we love

There was a time when Apple didn’t believe in big phones, or “phablets” as we now call them. It was four years ago when the former head of Apple answered a question at a press conference to say “no one’s going to buy that,” in reference to phones so large your hands would have trouble wrapping around them.

My, how times have changed.

Since Steve Jobs said that four years ago, we’ve seen several generations of Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablet, the occasional competitor, and the average flagship screen size jump from 4 to 4.5 to 4.8 to 5 inches, with the current sizes sitting between 5 and 5.5 inches for big phones that aren’t phablets.

Turns out Steve was wrong: people do want big phones.

That’s an issue Apple has had to come to grips with, and with the latest version of iPhone, hopes it is dealing with the complaint.

The result is the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, the former of which is being reviewed in this article. Both are big devices, with a 4.7 inch screen gracing the iPhone 6, and a bigger 5.5 inch display on the iPhone 6 Plus.

If these sound like too much, too bad, as this is the path Apple feels like it’s traversing, leaving the 4 inch compact 5S only in place as an entry level phone, and making the iPhone 6 start at 4.7 inches.

Bigger is better, we’re being led to believe, whether you like it or not.

Frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised to see if Apple changes its mind in the next generation or two, and with the iPhone 7, releases the iPhone 7 S, iPhone 7 M, iPhone 7L, and iPhone 7XL variants, as it would offer a few different phone sizes for a few different hands, but that’s a thought for another day, because right now, we have a phone to review.

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