Hands-on with the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

What's new with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus?

Simply put: The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are bigger, thinner, and more powerful than previous iPhones. The camera remains at 8MP, but with new sensors and phase detection autofocus, which is the same kind of autofocus used by DSLR cameras. The iPhone 6 Plus has a slightly better camera, with optical image stabilization for steadier shots, and also longer battery life than the 6. The 32GB model is gone; 16GB stays, 32GB is dropped in favoured of 64GB and there's a new 128GB model.

Prices stay the same for the iPhone 6 compared with the iPhone 5S at launch, while the iPhone 6 Plus is US$100 more at each level. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be launching on 19th September in select markets (including Singapore), with pre-order starting on 12th September.

How do the new iPhones look and feel in real life?

Apple's newest iPhones are its biggest, and yet thinnest yet. So how do the bigger iPhones feel in the hands?

The iPhone 6 feels more like the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G/3GS did. Unlike the iPhones 4/4S and 5/5S, which are hard-edged and blocky, the iPhone 6 feels smooth and organic in the hands. They also feel incredibly light, despite the 4.7-inch (129g) and the 5.5-inch (172g) models both weighing slightly heavier than the iPhone 5/5S (112g).

Both new iPhones look and feel impeccably well-made. The curved corners of the screen catch the light with an attractive gleam, and the aluminium body looks confidently strong. Nothing here is unapologetically plastic. The iPhone 6 looks like a single shape, and you feel like you're twirling a smoothly polished stone rather than a block of machinery.

The curved forms of the iPhone 6 really remind me of the original iPhone. I wonder if there's more than a hint of coincidence there, knowing how obsessive Jony Ive is with the details. The power button has been moved from the top to the side, where it's more easily reached with the bigger sizes. The rear camera juts out slightly from the body, but when you place it on the table you hardly notice it. I certainly didn't feel any bump or unevenness when using both new iPhones on a table.

Apple never mentioned it in the keynote, but the iPhone 6's slim figure might be the reason they waited eighth generation iPhone to increase its screen size. Its thinness makes it easier to reach around the body and touch the screen.

Hands-on with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch screen feels like the right size for my big hand, and you can see it briefly compared against the 6 Plus in this video:

Now see how I try to reach across and use the bigger iPhone 6 Plus. I don't think most can use this phone with one hand.

How big is big?

I have pretty big paws for an Asian guy, and the 4/7-inch iPhone 6 feels just right in my hands. I can reach for apps without much of a problem and the phone fits nicely into my jeans pocket.

The iPhone 6 Plus with the 5.5-inch screen, on the other hand, feels big. Real big. It's a stretch to reach across and tap on the furthest icons, and it really feels like you want to use two hands with this one. Double-tapping (not pressing) on the Home button for both iPhone 6 models activates 'Reachability', which slides the display down so that you can tap the software buttons in an app. There's also a new Display Zoom feature that increases the icon size.

In addition, Apple has made the iPhone 6 Plus easier to use and maybe even more productive in a new landscape mode, which you can see on the next page.

The iPhone 6's bigger screen not only makes things bigger, it also shows more

It's pretty amazing that the new iPhones retain their pixel density even with the bigger screens. Apple calls it 'Retina HD', but what it means is that even though the screen is bigger, it's still as rich and crisp as the Retina displays on the iPhone 5/s and 4/s. Things look slightly bigger on the big screens, and you also see more on the screen.

Check out the shot below to see what we mean, you can see how the last story on our website gets clipped on the iPhone 5, but more of the thumbnail picture shows up on the iPhone 6 and especially on the 6 Plus. The video box on the right (with the blue headline) is also larger in the new iPhones. So, for example, if you're reading text on the new iPhone 6, you'll not only see slightly bigger text, you'll also see more of the page at the same time.

The new landscape mode (only on the iPhone 6 Plus) makes better use of the larger screen

So Apple didn't just make the screen larger on the iPhone 6 Plus, but also tweaked iOS 8 to make better use of it. Landscape mode, only available on the iPhone 6 Plus, changes the design of certain apps when you use it on the side, so that you can see and do more at the same time. The keyboard also expands with more buttons for easier typing.

When is the iPhone 6 coming and how much will it cost?

Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be released on 19th September in gold, silver and space grey editions. Prices for the iPhone 6 remain the same as the iPhone 5S at launch, but you're actually getting double the storage at the same price if you get the 64GB or 128GB version. The iPhone 6 Plus is US$100 (varies from S$140-160) more at each storage option.

This is the new iPhone - what do you think?

Last year, Apple released two new iPhones at the same time for the first time ever with the iPhone 5S and 5C. But this year is different: while the iPhone 5S was clearly the flagship and the 5C the lower-spec model, this year's new iPhones are essentially the same inside, with the key differences being size, price and battery life. So while you could make a decision last year largely based on specs, this year you can make one based on which look appeals to you more.

What do you think of Apple's new iPhones? Which version - the 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch - do you prefer? Hit us up on Twitter @hardwarezone or on Facebook and tell us what you think of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

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