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iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? That is the question. Here's an answer.


Remember those days when we were all trying to get the smallest possible cell phone? If you don't, you're probably young. That all went out the window with the introduction of the iPhone and its competitors, since fairly quickly we started seeing a trend towards larger screens. Now Apple has kept the screen size growth relatively slow in the past, but the two newest iPhones have suddenly undergone a growth spurt that rivals a teenager during puberty. If you decide to go with one of Apple's new phones, how do you know if it's going to fit your hands, your pants pockets, and your lifestyle? Never fear, TUAW's here with some answers.

The best way to do this is to carry around a mock iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The folks at WonderHowTo have made a pair of exact size templates that you can download (it's a PDF file), print, and then use as your pretend play-pal iPhone 6.

Almost immediately after printing out the templates, I realized just how big these new phones really are compared to the iPhone 5s I carry around now:

iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 mockup, iPhone 6 Plus mockup

These templates have one problem -- they're thin. So I started the search for cardboard that would approximate the thickness of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (the 6 Plus is the thickest of the two at .28 inches). Turns out that's pretty hard to do, since most of the cardboard boxes I have were 1/8-inch thick at the most. Two layers would be required.

With the help of Pippin the kitten (who inadvertently lent some of his sleek black fur to the "iPhone 6"), scissors, and tape, I quickly assembled my faux phones. The only problem was that they didn't have enough heft to feel like real iPhones. For the iPhone 6 , I needed to add about 5.47 ounces. This is where a box of coins I have sitting around came in handy ... until I realized that even quarters are pretty lightweight. 23 of them and a penny made the mock iPhone 6 Plus feel pretty real.

Weight added to a mockup iPhone 6 Plus

My mockup ended up weighing about 6.2 ounces (an iPhone 6 Plus is 6.07 ounces) and was a bit thicker due to the quarters taped to the back, but I figured this would give me a better feel for the weight and size of the unit anyway. Since I'm probably going to go for the iPhone 6 Plus, I decided to stop digging through my stash of quarters and didn't add weight to the iPhone 6 mockup.

My verdict? I think I can put up with the weight and size of the iPhone 6 Plus. It fits the pocket of my shorts (real men don't wear pants, amirite @jgamet?) nicely. My iPhone 5s currently wears a Mophie Juice Pack Helium that brings its weight up to 6.3 ounces -- a full .23 ounces more than an iPhone 6 Plus -- so the weight isn't going to be bad.

How about holding the device? To be honest, although it looks much larger, I tend to use my iPhone two-handed anyway, except for making phone calls. Did I feel like I was holding a brick up to my head with the mockup? No -- I have fairly small hands and it fit nicely, and I think that the extra length of the iPhone 6 Plus is going to end up bringing the microphone closer to the mouth for better clarity.

There are a lot of other factors to consider when deciding which of these phones to get. First, the iPhone 6 Plus is $100 more in each capacity than its smaller brethren. Next, if you're considering doing a lot of photography with the new device, you might want to opt for the optical image stabilization in the 6 Plus. Finally, if you're an old guy like me and your eyes aren't the best, I think you're going to love having the biggest screen possible.

To end this post, I thought it would an interesting juxtaposition to take a photo of my mockup next to my Newton MessagePad 2100 and Mophie-enhanced iPhone 5s. Now there's a device that didn't even make phone calls, and it's much thicker and heavier.

Newton MessagePad 2100, iPhone 6 Plus mockup, iPhone 5s

In the end, what iPhone you buy (or don't buy) is all your decision, but if the size and weight of the new phones has you concerned, I think making a similar mockup will set your mind at ease. Let me know what you made a mockup and what your feelings are about the bigger size and heavier weight. The comments are below.

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