iPhone 6 and 6 Plus review roundup

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Yoni Heisler
September 17, 2014 11:00 AM
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus review roundup

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It's certainly a busy week for Apple;iOS 8 drops today and later in the week Apple will officially launch two brand new iPhone models -- the iPhone 6 and the gargantuan iPhone 6 Plus.

With launch day just a few days away, media outlets on Tuesday evening began publishing their reviews of Apple's next-gen iPhone models.

Below are a few takeaways and recaps from some of the more notable reviews.

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Joshua Topolsky, BloombergBusinessweek

While some reviews were downright effusive about battery life on the iPhone 6 Plus, Topolsky was unimpressed:

Battery life has been improved in the two models, but I'm sorry to report that even a big iPhone 6 doesn't deliver an all-day charge if you're a heavy user or in an area without strong wireless signals. It is better than the 5S, and the iPhone 6 Plus yields better results thanks to its size. This is a notable whiff given the fact that so many iPhone users have complained about the current model's battery, and I think most consumers would have sacrificed some thinness for a more robust daily life span. I experienced several days during the review period where I barely made it to the charger before the phone lost power.

Battery issues aside, Topolsky was particularly praiseful of the enhanced iPhone camera.

NIlay Patel, The Verge

Regarding the iPhone 6 Plus:

Huge phones get to have huge batteries, and the iPhone 6 Plus is a huge phone with a huge battery: I consistently got about two days of battery life from the 6 Plus in regular daily use - slightly more than the day and half we got from the iPhone 6, and basically the same as the Note 3. iPhone battery life tends to fade quickly, however, and I dread the day I inevitably stuff 6 Plus into a battery case and make it even bigger.

Patel was also enamored with the new vibrant display technology Apple implemented on its iPhone 6 models.

Apple's using some other tricks to make the display look amazing, though: there's a new polarizer that makes the phone easier to see in sunlight, wider viewing angles with more accurate color reproduction, and overall higher contrast than previous iOS screens. And perhaps most importantly, the entire display stack is thinner, so it looks more like you're touching the pixels directly than ever before. It's like the screen is painted on. This, more than anything, is what makes the iPhone 6 Plus display pop - I haven't seen another phone display that looks quite so immediate.

David Pogue, Yahoo Tech

Pogue is a big fan of Apple's two new iPhone models and review provides a broad and easy to understand overview of all the new bells and whistles.

Here are Pogue's thoughts on the advanced camera technologies Apple packed into its new iPhones.

There's phase-detection autofocusing, which compares incoming light from two pixels for fast, precise focusing - or quick, smooth refocusing while recording video (hallelujah!).

The Plus model has optical image stabilization - the lens jiggles in precise motion to counteract the handheld movement of the phone itself - that works supremely well. To test it out, I fastened an iPhone 6 Plus and an iPhone 5s to a bike on this rig so that they would film exactly the same thing.

Video of Pogue's makeshift bike test can be seen in the full review. Spoiler alert: it works really well!

Brad Molen, Engadget

Engadget gave the iPhone 6 Plus a score of 87/100 while the iPhone 6 netted a score of 90

With respect to the iPhone 6 Plus, Molen enjoyed its large display and solid battery life but noted that the phone might simply be too big for some people to use one-handed.

The iPhone 6 Plus is difficult to use one-handed, not to mention more uncomfortable than similar-sized phones. In exchange, though, you get more of an iPad-like user experience on a much smaller device. It also has better battery life than the smaller iPhone 6, as well as a better camera.

Engadget's review is extremely exhaustive and highly recommended if you're on the fence about which new iPhone model is right for you.

Stuart Miles, Pocket-lint

On the new iPhone design:

Immaculately crafted, the iPhone 6 shows that you can create a device that blows everything else out of the water when it comes to design. That might sound like an Apple fanboy cliché, but we've put the iPhone 6 in the hands of ardent Android fans and they agree: the iPhone 6 sets a new standard for smartphone design.

We heralded the HTC One (M8) as having the best design and build for most of 2014 and the iPhone 6 appears to owe a lot to HTC's previous efforts. The zero-gap construction in an aluminium body is along the same lines as HTC, but refined to the nth degree. The execution is remarkable.

Some of that nuanced design you can't appreciate without holding the new phone. Photos don't give you the feeling of how light the phone actually is at 129g, how smooth that curved glass at the edge is, or how - within a split second - it makes the iPhone 5S look bland, bulky, and out of date.

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

I think he likes it:

The iPhone 6 is the best smartphone available. It offers improvements in almost every way that matters, and it delivers those in a striking new design that balances consumer demand for larger screens with a thin, light and durable case. It's Apple's most attractive phone, visually, and the 4.7-inch size is going to be more generally appealing than the iPhone 6 Plus' larger proportions.

More than anything, the selling point here is that Apple has managed to recapture the energy and excitement that came with the original iPhone with the new iPhone 6. It feels like a return to form in all the right ways, in addition to packing a ton of new features like Apple Pay that light the path for what Apple as a company is to become. For users, though, it's all about delivering the best computer you can keep in your pocket, and that's exactly what the iPhone 6 is.

Jason Snell, Macworld

Though he now writes for Six Colors, Snell didn't leave Macworld without leaving behind a great and well-written review of the latest additions to Apple's iPhone lineup. Notably, the iPhone 6 received a slightly better review score than the iPhone 6 Plus here as well.

Here's Snell's take on Reachability, the new gesture Apple added to iOS to account for easier one-handed use on the larger iPhones.

Reachability isn't the most elegant concept I've seen Apple develop, but it does make the size of these phones more manageable when you're using only one hand. After a few days, Reachability became something that I used without thinking, and it generally did what I needed it to. However, I did find it to be a bit inconsistent. The iPhone home screen doesn't slide all the way down, for instance-it scrolls the main icons down, leaving the dock and the top bar where they were. No other app interacts with Reachability in this way.

I also found that in some cases, the contents of the screen immediately snapped back to the top when I tapped something. In other cases, there was a pause of a second or so after a tap, enough time to tap something else, or scroll, or interact with the interface in other ways. I don't like this inconsistency, and in general I think it would be better if the iPhone always waited a second to make sure everything's done before turning off Reachability. Right now, I never really know what's going to happen when I tap something when in Reachability mode, and that's not good.

Below is a video review from Molly Wood of the New York Times:

Additional reviews from other media outlets are listed below:

Harry McCracken, Fast Company

Ed Baig, USA Today

Geoffrey A. Fowler, Wall Street Journal

Jim Dalrymple, The Loop

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