Can an iPhone 6 Plus Replace Your iPad mini with Retina?

People seem to love the new iPhone 6 Plus and the iPad mini with Retina Display, but with the larger size of the new iPhone, should Apple customers carry both?

The new iPhone 6 Plus comes with a huge 5.5-inch screen and a beautiful aluminum design. Many early comparisons say it looks and feels a little like the latest iPad mini with Retina Display, with a similar rounded edge and lightweight metal design. The iPad mini with Retina Display served a certain segment of the population that wanted a tablet larger than their phone, but not as big as the iPad Air (which costs $100 more for the same storage capacity and weighs more).



Now that Apple sells an iPhone with a screen just 2.4-inches smaller than the iPad mini, buyers can potentially combine two devices into one, saving money and clutter. So let us see if the iPhone 6 Plus can replace your iPad mini with Retina Display.

What Do People Do On an iPad mini with Retina Display

What do people use an iPad mini with Retina Display to do? Thousands of tasks, thanks to huge collection of apps available. People do things like:


  • Read books or magazines
  • Get information online
  • Watch videos on or off line
  • Listen to audio/music on or off line
  • Check email and social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+
  • Play games
  • Keep track of schedules, tasks and contacts
  • Compose documents, spreadsheets or presentations
  • Take notes in a class or meeting
  • Shoot and/or edit pictures or video and post them online
  • Record, create or edit music and audio
  • Get directions to a place

Looking at this list, we see some things that work fine on a phone, while others work much better on the iPad mini. Users can do some of these on either device interchangeably, with little difference in experience.


Things we think work best on a phone show up as bold above. Things that seem to require a tablet are underlined. The rest don’t require one or the other form factor.

Does an iPad mini Work Better than an iPhone 6 Plus for Office?


While a person could connect a physical Bluetooth keyboard to the iPhone 6 Plus and create documents, spreadsheets or presentations, it’s painful. The iPad mini is almost too small for this kind of activity for most people, so the iPhone 6 Plus screen is certainly too small to enjoy doing office work.

Creating a presentation requires some layout of text with images, charts or video. This gets difficult on even a large 5.5-inch phone. While a short typing session goes great on the iPhone 6 Plus screen, working longer than a half an hour will cause some strain on the eyes or on the back as the typist hunches over to get a close up view of the screen.


All of the above concerns go away if the person can mirror their iPhone 6 Plus screen to a larger display hooked up to an Apple TV.

Taking notes isn’t technically doing “office” work, but we put it in this category because it’s document creation. I tried taking notes with the Alupen Digital stylus on my iPhone 6 Plus using my favorite note taking app Metamoji Note and I hated it. I can’t image using it for anything other than a quick note.

Does iPad mini Work Better than iPhone 6 Plus for Games?


Some games work better on a larger screen. The iPad mini with Retina Display makes a great mobile gaming device. Despite the onslaught of in-app-purchases threatening iOS and Android gaming, there are still some fun games available that need a bigger screen for the on-screen controls to work well. Even on the larger 5.5-inch screen, fingers get in the way more than they do on the 7.9-inch iPad mini. That’s why gaming gets underlined in our list above.

However, games that don’t use virtual on-screen gaming pad style controls play well on the iPhone 6 Plus screen. FIFA 15 is an awesome example of this, while many other EA Games don’t use the touch as well. Still, I’d much rather play games on a bigger screen. Hooking up to an Apple TV alleviates this concern, but we’re mostly talking about using the iPhone versus the iPad in mobile situations away from home.


What Works Better on iPhone 6 Plus than iPad mini


Looking at the list above, anything that a user wants to do while in a car, or traveling, works better with a phone than a tablet. For example, it’s hard to find a good car docking solution for the iPad mini. Users don’t have to dock their tablet or phone, but it’s more convenient. Listening to music, podcasts or audio books works better in the car on an iPhone 6 Plus.

Getting directions is also more convenient on a phone. The larger iPad mini screen tempted me to use when I carried a 3.5-inch iPhone, but the iPhone 6 Plus handles the visual part of turn-by-turn directions so well I would never consider using an iPad for navigation.

Dock the phone using something like the awesome Kenu Airframe+ Car Mount for Phablets that’s big enough to hold the iPhone 6 Plus and doubles as a desktop stand for only $25.


kenu airframe+


The iPhone 6 Plus also works better than an iPad mini for taking photos and shooting video. The camera takes far superior images and the larger screen makes seeing the scene easy.

The iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t work as well when editing photos or videos. A quick color correction, adding a filter and simple cropping work fine, however doing anything more complicated will get frustrating. The same holds true for shooting and editing video. Simple edits like trimming the beginning or end, and adding a simple title, or ending credits, works okay on the phone, but putting a bunch of scenes together will get frustrating.

I didn’t think that the iPhone 6 Plus would work well for music recording, but I talked to Ricky Rodriguez of Bomb House Recording, who plans to use his 128GB iPhone 6 Plus for mobile recording. He said that the slightly smaller iPhone 6 Plus will be easier to carry along with an instrument. Users can connect an instrument or mic directly to the phone and use simple apps like Garage Band, or a more complex professional music recording app. Ricky can even do simple edits that will then sync back to his studio computer for the finer editing on his Mac Pro.

For consumer level recording, check out IK Multimedia’s lineup of products for the iPhone that connect via Lightning.

Things that Work Well Enough on iPhone 6 Plus


There are a few things that work well enough on the iPhone 6 Plus that a user could get away without carrying an iPad mini and not miss it. This includes most web surfing, checking email and social networks, reading books that don’t include a lot of images and layout patterns, and personal information management tasks like calendar, contacts and task lists.

Watching videos will depend on the user. Some people don’t mind watching on a smaller screen because its more portable and easier to hold. Others expect a bigger screen. However, people who want that bigger screen will likely not even enjoy watching on an iPad mini either. So it seems like the iPhone 6 Plus will handle video well enough for most people.

Some people might prefer to read on a larger device. We already mentioned above that text-based books look fine on the iPhone 6 Plus, but magazines are a different story, since they usually include complicated layouts (especially in digital editions, like Wired Magazine).

The Amazon Kindle app handles magazines well. Tap on the text twice to go into text-based reading mode. The iPhone 6 Plus shows text crisply enough for reading books and these kinds of magazines. People who want to see the beautiful layout should stick with a larger iPad mini with Retina Display.