iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus review roundup: What the others are saying

SINGAPORE - The Internet is flooded with reviews of Apple's latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

As with convention, Apple embargoes a full review of its latest devices for about a week after its announcements. This allows tech journalists and bloggers to spend some time using the review units before giving their take.

Digital Life's Trevor Tan got to spend some time with the phones (catch his review of the iPhone 6 here and iPhone 6 Plus here), and so did many others. Here is a round-up of the phones' reviews from other technology media outlets.

iPhone 6 Plus

The Verge

At first glance, the iPhone 6 Plus doesn't have the killer looks like its predecessors, The Verge's Nilay Patel notes. It's so huge that "I found myself carrying it around almost like you'd carry a Moleskine notebook, tucked into the curve of my fingers", he writes.

Its single mono speakers are also poorly placed, requiring some major grip adjustments when watching videos. "HTC and Motorola have solved this problem by putting stereo speakers on the front of their phones; it might be time for Apple to take that cue from the competition as well."

Patel raves about the phone's camera though, calling it the "best smartphone camera" he has ever used. "The iPhone 6 Plus focuses faster, works better in low light, and generally produces the best photos I've ever seen from a phone."

The iPhone 6 Plus gets an 8.7 rating.

Re/code

Fresh and desirable. Those are the two words Re/code's Lauren Goode used to describe the iPhone Plus. She writes that while the iPhone 6 Plus' retina display is not as high, nor does it have a pixel density as great as its competitors, the display is still clear and bright.

She also notes that photos shot using the phone at the beach and in a dark restaurant all look better than those of the iPhone 5s - possibly due to a combination of the new camera features and the optical image stabilisation.

The size of the iPhone 6 Plus is overwhelming for her though, adding that it is just too big and impractical to hold in her arm or wear on her arm while exercising.

Still, Goode concludes: "Some other jumbo phones have felt like plastic toys to me. Apple has designed a giant phone that offers a few key large-screen features without overwhelming the senses, and it has a pretty good camera to boot."

TechCrunch

TechCrunch's Daniel Etherington explains that the curved sides of the phones make it "easier to page back and forth through content with swipes," and how a design with right angles would have "resulted in an uncomfortable grip" for a phone this huge.

Like many others, Etherington also points out how the screen is the star of the phone. He notes: "The improved contrast and colour rendering Apple has also worked into its screen tech is also even more obvious here than it is on the iPhone 6, and that results in a display that's perfect for viewing photos or watching movies…"

However, despite attempts by Apple to make the phone easier to use with one hand with its "reachability" feature, Etherington found the iPhone 6 plus to be a two-handed device, likening it to an iPad with voice features.

He concludes by saying that while the smaller iPhone 6 is still best value for money and his favourite current smartphone, the 6 Plus is its closest competitor.

The New York Times

In a combined review of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Grey Lady's Molly Wood highlights that while Apple tries to mitigate the size of the 6 Plus with Reachability, which lets you bring down the screen to the bottom half with a double tap of the Home button, its function is limited. " If you're in an e-mail, for example, you can't get access to any actions like Reply or Archive," she writes.

Apple could have done better with its bigger screen by allowing multiple windows to be opened simultaneously, she adds.

While the cameras on the new phones are impressive, the real magic is in iOS 8 she points out. She ends off by saying: "The slim new iPhones aren't a big-screen slam-dunk, but they work well, as we have come to expect from Apple. Ultimately, it's what's on the inside that keeps them just in front of their competitors."

Next: What they are saying about the iPhone 6

iPhone 6

The Verge

When it comes to ergonomics, David Pierce writes that iPhone 6 is really much taller than it needs to be. "But it's still usable in one hand, comfortable enough that I never feel terribly awkward using it. I have found myself holding it slightly differently, though: I tend to rest it on my fingers rather than grip it in my palm, the better to reach the furthest corners of the screen."

The iPhone 6's camera is the one feature that truly stands out, he writes. The new sensor Apple calls "focus pixels" works "astonishingly fast on the iPhone 6. I move the phone around and it never appears to be focusing, yet everything is always crisp and ready".

"For a variety of reasons, from the camera to the app ecosystem to the hardware itself, the iPhone 6 is one of the best smartphones on the market. Maybe even the best."

Pierce gives the iPhone 6 a 9.0 rating.

Re/code

Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg quickly gets to the point in his review by declaring the iPhone 6 "the best smartphone on the market, when you combine its hardware, all-new operating system, and the Apple ecosystem whose doors it opens".

He notes that while Phone 6's 4.7-inch screen is a catch-up feature, it is "very well done". "In my tests, text, photos and videos appeared clear, sharp and vivid, with great colour that avoids the oversaturation I have found in some Samsung models," he writes.

He also gives the new keyboard a shout out, calling it a vast improvement. It now quickly predicts what your next word might be, and makes fewer errors.

TechCrunch

Daniel Etherington echoes Re/code's Walt Mossberg in calling the iPhone 6 the best new smartphone.

The iPhone 6 is a much more comfortable device to hold versus the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5s, all of which preferred straight edges and right angles to the 6's sloping curves. He does however highlight the camera's protruding lens, which "hasn't yet caused me any issue in daily use, but it does seem like a potential area for grit build-up".

He calls Health, a activity tracker which is new to iOS 8 and in the iPhone 6, a "nice, passive feature that Apple has managed to make power efficient and accurate with the new M8 (processor)".

He ends his piece by saying: "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…"

The New York Times

In her piece, Molly Brown points out that the dimensions of the iPhone 6 make it slightly smaller than the top Android and Windows devices on the market. This helps a user slip it into the pocket of his jeans. But "compared with a Samsung Galaxy S5 or the HTC One (M8), though, the iPhone 6 screen feels constrained", she adds.

She notes the battery life on the smaller iPhone 6 to be impressive. She writes: "I went almost two full days without a charge. Battery life on the iPhone 6 Plus is more like a day of constant use and not much more, but that's not terrible on a phone that size."


This article was first published on September 17, 2014.
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