It doesn’t come with 1080p resolution or Optical Image Stabilization, like the iPhone 6 Plus, but Apple’s new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is the best iPhone for most people. Our iPhone 6 review takes a look at how the smaller iPhone compares to the iPhone 5 and some of the Android smartphones it will battle over the course of the year.
For years, Apple’s iPhone toiled at 3.5-inches. Then, two years ago, Apple made the jump up to a 4-inch Retina Display to appease consumers that had campaigned for a larger display for gaming, multitasking, reading and browsing the web. This year’s iPhone 6 is the biggest iPhone yet. Instead of a 4-inch display, the iPhone 6 delivers a larger 4.7-inch Retina HD display.
It’s not as big as the iPhone 6 Plus or the Galaxy Note 4, but that’s a good thing. The added real estate comes without a massive jump in size making the iPhone 6 ideal for those that want a larger display but don’t want to be toting around a smartphone that feels like a small tablet. For those coming from an iPhone 5s or iPhone 5, it will take some adjustment. When that adjustment period ends, though, you’ll find that the iPhone 6’s size opens doors that weren’t open on the earlier models.
The iPhone 6 starts at $199 on contract at Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile as well as direct from Apple, Best Buy and many other retailers in the United States. Apple sells the iPhone 6 with three storage options, 16GB, 64GB and 128GB. The 64GB model replaces the company’s well known 32GB storage option, though it keeps the same $299 price point.
iPhone 6 Review Summary
Here are the most important iPhone 6 review details that outline the overall experience of using the iPhone 6. These touch briefly on the features that we like, and don’t like, about the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.
What We Like: Size, Battery Life, Apple Pay, Speakers, Touch ID, Larger Display
What We Don’t Like: Slippery Design, Durability, iOS 8 Bugs
Bottom Line: The iPhone 6 is one of the best phones on the market and the iPhone that most people will want to buy. Those that need more screen real estate will want to check out the iPhone 6 Plus.
Read the rest of the iPhone 6 review to find out what the iPhone 6 can do and if the iPhone 6, and not the iPhone 6 Plus or some other phone, is the right smartphone for you.
iPhone 6 Design
The iPhone 6 is a big phone. Not as big as the iPhone 6 Plus, but large nonetheless. It’s bigger than the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, and it’s actually larger than the 5-inch Nexus 5, a device that I still think is the perfect size for a smartphone. The iPhone 6 delivers the same metal design as the iPhone 6 Plus, though at 6.8mm thin, it’s slightly thinner.
With the new iPhone, Apple’s done away with the glass and metal combination used on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Left in its wake is an iPhone 6 that comes with a full metal back that includes antenna breaks at the top and bottom of the device. These breaks simply do not look as nice as the glass found on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, though that shouldn’t trouble those of you who are planning to use a case. Apple’s new all-metal approach does not earn a full set of style points but it’s still better than the designs found on most high-end Android smartphones.
The all-metal design and its curved edges are pleasant on the eyes but the added metal makes the iPhone 6 very difficult to hold. The iPhone 6 has slipped out of my hands more times than I can count. In one instance, I was holding the phone above my head in bed. It fell out of my hands and hit me right in the mouth giving me a fat lip. It’s happened to me several times. I’ve never used a case with my iPhone, and I might be forced to use one with the iPhone 6.
Apple’s new design also sees the power button shift from the top right to the right side of the design. It’s a shift that’s taken some adjustment, though I’ve come to appreciate the new location. It makes it easier to power down the phone when using it with one hand. I have big hands, but it would have been near impossible to reach the power button with one hand if it had stayed on the top of the device.
The iPhone 6 comes with the same Touch ID home button that debuted with last year’s iPhone 5s. Coming from the iPhone 5, I’ve come to appreciate the convenience and added security that Touch ID delivers. Like the power button, Touch ID takes some adjustment, but it’s a feature that I’ve grown to love over the past month and a half.
While the iPhone 6 doesn’t come with front-facing speakers like the HTC One, its one downward facing speaker is much improved from the speaker found on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5. It’s louder and it sounds better. It has come in handy a few times when I’ve forgotten to pack my Bluetooth speaker when traveling.
iPhone 6 Display
The iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch Retina HD display. Unlike the iPhone 6 Plus, the iPhone 6 retains the same resolution as the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5, with some minor improvements. After using the Quad HD displays on the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4, it leaves something to be desired. Even the difference between the iPhone 6 Plus’ 1080p display is noticeable. That said, it’s going to be good enough for most people.
Where the iPhone 6’s 4.7-inch display really excels though is its size. The 4.7-inches of real estate is a vast improvement over the 4-inch Retina Display on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5 and it’s perfect for gaming, reading and surfing the web. It’s also excellent for watching video content like movies, televisions shows and sports highlights. This is an area where it has begun to replace my iPad mini.
Not every application looks great on Apple’s big new display but that should start to improve as developers work to release updates with iPhone 6 support. Key applications like Instagram and Facebook have already been optimized for the larger display and both look absolutely stunning on Apple’s new Retina Display. The added real estate also means that I can see more, and do more, inside the apps themselves.
Is the iPhone 6 Too Big?
Not for most people. The iPhone 6 is just a bit bigger than the Nexus 5 which, again, I think is the perfect size for a smartphone. Those that find that they need the extra screen can simply opt for the larger iPhone 6 Plus.
I struggled a bit with the overall size at first when coming from an iPhone 5. Those of you that are coming from larger Android smartphones should not have such a long adjustment period. I have large hands and I am easily able to hold it with one hand. Very rarely do I have to swing my other hand over and use it with both. That’s a problem that you’ll find on the iPhone 6 Plus, not the iPhone 6.
The iPhone 6 fits inside most of my pockets though it could present some issues with tighter shorts and jeans. I was wearing some standard issue Vans shorts the other day and someone walking behind me told me that my iPhone was about to fall out of my back pocket. The phone was in no danger of falling out, it was just jutting out a bit. I was more worried about a pickpocket lifting it from my shorts.
iPhone 6 Camera
The iPhone 6 rear camera is one of the best I’ve ever used. The sensor is able to capture stunning images and video in most environments including low light environments, an area where the iPhone 5 struggles. And while it does not come with the Optical Image Stabilization feature found on the iPhone 6 Plus, most of you aren’t going to notice a difference.
I’ve effectively replaced my Nikon DSLR with my iPhone 6 and I’m not sure when or if I am going to pull it out again. A powerful pocket camera sure beats lugging a camera around my neck at important family gatherings and outings with friends. Come to think of it, I’ve already shared more video footage and more photos with family and friends than I ever did with the iPhone 5. The sensor and added software elements leave me feeling like an expert photographer.
Check out the iPhone 6 sample photos below to see how the camera performs in a variety of environments.
iPhone 6 Performance
Apple’s iOS 8.1 update fixed many of the initial performance issues plaguing the iPhone 6, but it hasn’t fixed them all. I’m still running into landscape issues and the occasional Wi-Fi freakout. However, app crashes and Bluetooth problems have dissipated in the weeks or so after iOS 8.1’s arrival. Issues aside, the iOS 8.1 update is the update that Apple should have released alongside the iPhone 6.
For the most part, iOS 8 is fast. The new Apple A8 64-bit processor handles games and other applications well and the software is extremely fluid, far more fluid than the iOS 8 experience on the iPhone 5. Games like Plants vs. Zombies look gorgeous thanks to the screen and the processor’s graphics processing unit.
AT&T’s LTE network is still fast and dependable and Wi-Fi is fast, when it’s working. The iPhone 6’s new 802.11AC Wi-Fi connectivity is also fantastic, provided you’re using a newer router. The iPhone 6 comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and it has been extremely dependable, both at home and in the car now that iOS 8.1 is on board.
iPhone 6 battery life is extremely impressive. I’m able to get more than a full day of use when switching between LTE and Wi-Fi, something that I was not able to get with the iPhone 5. Battery life is so good that I don’t need to carry around a charger or bring a battery pack case along with me on longer errands. In over a month and half of use, I’ve only run out of battery once.
iPhone 6 Software
Apple’s iPhone 6 runs iOS 8.1 which comes with two key features not found on the iPhone 5s or any older iPhones. Reachability allows you to double tap on the home button to bring the top half of the display down. Its goal is to help with one-handed use. I’ve only used it sparingly, but those with smaller hands might find it more helpful.
The iOS 8.1 update also delivers Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment service that allows you to add your credit card to your iPhone 6 and use it to buy goods and services where Apple Pay is accepted. I’ve already used Apple Pay several times and the process is fast, efficient and it allows me to leave my wallet at home if need be. Apple Pay is only going to get better.
iPhone 6 Specs
Apple’s iPhone 6 specs don’t make or break this phone, but they do enable features like the upcoming Apple Pay mobile payments, the battery life and the great photos. Here’s a rundown of the important iPhone 6 specs.
- Apple A8 64-bit Processor
- iOS 8
- 4.7-inch Retina HD display
- 16GB / 64GB / 128GB storage options
- 1.2MP front-facing camera
- 8MP rear-facing camera
- 1,810 mAh battery
- 4G LTE
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor
iPhone 6 Review Verdict
The iPhone 6 isn’t a groundbreaking device and one of its biggest features, Apple Pay, has been found in Android phones for years. However, the iPhone 6 delivers one of the best all-around smartphone packages that money can buy. From the excellent camera to its all day battery life to its intuitive software, there’s something here for everyone. And it makes it easy to look past some of Apple’s design decisions.
Those looking for a bigger, better display will want to opt for the iPhone 6 Plus, but for everyone else the iPhone 6 is the right choice. It’s not the cheapest smartphone on the market but it’s a sound investment. This is a smartphone that you can buy with confidence knowing that it’s still going to be good two years from now.