iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s: 7 Things Buyers Need to Know

The iPhone 6 Plus is an exciting device, but it is a major step up in size and price from the iPhone 5s. For buyers who are trying to decide between the iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s, here’s a look at seven important details and areas you need to look at.

Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus earlier this month with bigger screens, slimmer designs and exciting new features. At the same time Apple dropped the iPhone 5s price to $99, making it an attractive option for upgraders who aren’t sure if they need a 5.5-inch screen.

There is certainly a lot to learn after using the iPhone 6 Plus for a day, but this large iPhone isn’t a device you can only describe based on size. Here’s a closer look at how the iPhone 6 Plus compares to the iPhone 5s. In my case the iPhone 6 Plus is an upgrade from the iPhone 5s.

Here's what buyers need to know about the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 5s.
Here’s what buyers need to know about the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 5s.

Apple sells the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, offering a range of screen sizes including 4-inch, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch with various resolutions and other standout features. We’ll walk through important differences between the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5s so you can make an informed buying decision about upgrading to the biggest iPhone yet.

Read: iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus

Here are the most important details you need to know before you upgrade from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6 Plus or before you choose between which new iPhone to buy in 2014.

iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s Video Comparison

This six-minute iPhone 6 plus video compares the size and screen of the two devices, and offers a rundown of some of the items we talk about below.

iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s Size

There’s no mistaking the iPhone 6 Plus for an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 5s. The first time you show someone the iPhone 6 plus, “Huge” and “Ginormous” are the words most often used to describe it — especially from iPhone 5s owners who aren’t used to bigger devices like the Galaxy Note 3 or LG G3.

Do not discount the size of the iPhone 6 Plus.
Do not discount the size of the iPhone 6 Plus.

The iPhone 6 Plus is wider, taller and heavier than the iPhone 5s, and it is slightly slippery. The iPhone 6 plus is thinner than the iPhone 5s, but not as thin as the iPhone 6.

  • iPhone 6 Plus – 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm – 172 grams
  • iPhone 5s – 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm – 112 grams

Even though it is bigger the iPhone 6 Plus fits in a pocket, at least in most mens jeans anyway. It’s too big for the pockets in a pair of womens jeans we tested. There are some iPhone 6 Plus case options that fit the device in a small handbag.

iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s Display

When you get down to it the biggest difference between these two devices is the display. The iPhone 6 Plus display is bigger and it features a higher-resolution that packs more pixels per inch into the display. The simplest comparison is that the iPhone 6 Plus display looks stunning, and I prefer using it to the smaller lower-resolution iPhone 5s display.

If you can handle the larger size, the iPhone 6 Plus display is beautiful.
If you can handle the larger size, the iPhone 6 Plus display is beautiful.

By cramming in more pixels, photos show more detail on the iPhone 6 Plus than on the iPhone 5s. It also helps that the screen is much bigger which makes it easier to use for extended viewing of videos and games.

Read: iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5s

DisplayMate calls the iPhone 6 Plus display the best performing smartphone LCD display, beating out the iPhone 5S, but not beating out the Galaxy Note 4.

iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 5s Price

The iPhone 6 Plus is the most expensive iPhone that Apple sells now, and if you are choosing between the two phones based on your budget the iPhone 5s will win out for many users. The iPhone 6 Plus is $299 on contract and the iPhone 5s is $99 on contact.

$200 separates the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5s.
$200 separates the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5s.

You can also buy the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 5s on a payment plan. This helps make the iPhone 6 Plus more affordable with monthly payments from $35 to $42.

A payment plan option is tempting, but keep in mind that this is just a new type of contract tied to a phone instead of service.

iPhone 6 Plus Features vs iPhone 5s Features

Apple delivers a collection of new iPhone 6 Plus features that you won’t find on the iPhone 5s. Both phones run iOS 8 and include a number of useful features, but you’ll get more on the iPhone 6 Plus. Here’s a closer look at the iPhone 6 Plus features that are not on the iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 6 Plus includes more features than the iPhone 5s, even with iOS 8.
The iPhone 6 Plus includes more features than the iPhone 5s, even with iOS 8.

Apple Pay

Apple finally adds NFC to the iPhone 6 Plus. this allows users to turn the device into a wallet that they can tap on credit card readers to make payments. This feature is coming in an iOS 8 update in October, and will only work with merchants who are equipped for Apple Pay.This requires hardware not found in the iPhone 5s.

Battery Life

Thanks to a larger battery the iPhone 6 Plus battery is capable of lasting a full day with no problems and can even last most of a second day for some users.

iPhone 6 Plus Camera

The new iPhone 6 Plus camera is 8MP like the iPhone 5S, but it features larger pixels and new faster focusing technology. The iPhone 6 plus can also shoot 240 frames per second slow motion, capturing more dramatic slow motion videos than the iPhone 5s can. Another great feature is Optical Image Stabilization that can help take better looking photos in low light or with shaky hands.

Power & Sensors

Apple packs in an Apple A8 processor and M8 co Processor that deliver more power for that should enable better looking games. Another important addition is a Barometer that allows the iPhone 6 plus to track the elevation changes so it knows when you go up or down stairs for fitness tracking.

VoLTE

The iPhone 6 supports VoLTE, which means better sounding calls and it also means Verizon users can finally talk and surf the web at the same time.

Specs Comparison

The iPhone experience is about more than specs, but for users who want to compare specs, this is what you’re looking for.

iPhone 6 Plus Specs

  • Apple A8 64-bit Processor
  • iOS 8
  • 5.5-inch display – 1920 x 1080  – 401 pixels per inch
  • 16GB / 64GB / 128GB storage options
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with Optical Image Stabilization
  • 2915 mAh battery
  • 4G LTE
  • 802.11ac WiFi
  • Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor
  • NFC
There's more to both phones than specs, but here's how they compare.
There’s more to both phones than specs, but here’s how they compare.

iPhone 5s Specs

  • Apple A7 Processor
  • iOS 8
  • 4-inch display
  • 16GB / 32GB storage options
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera
  • 8MP rear-facing camera
  • 1,570 mAh battery
  • 802.11 a,b,g,n WiFi
  • 4G LTE

Apps & Software

Both of these iPhones run iOS 8, and they share most of the same iOS 8 features so you don’t need to worry about missing out, but the iPhone 6 plus will see more updates to iOS in the future. If you keep your iPhone for years this is an important thing to consider. Apple also starts to hold back features after a few years, so you’ll also miss out on some new iOS 9 and iOS 10 features in the coming years if you go iPhone 5s and use it for three or more years.

Get ready for some surprises with iPhone 6 Plus software & app.
Get ready for some surprises with iPhone 6 Plus software & app.

Right now there are not a lot of iPhone 6 Plus apps, which means iPhone 5s apps are blown up to the larger screen. Gmail and many other top apps look blurry and they use a different keyboard, which messes up touch typing. Developers are updating apps, but you’ll need to live with this temporarily.

Availability

You won’t have any trouble finding the iPhone 5s in stock, and you’ll certainly find some iPhone 5s deals in the coming weeks, but it is harder to find an iPhone 6 Plus in Stock.

If you order an iPhone 6 Plus, you can count on waiting weeks or even over a month, but you can use this iPhone 6 Plus stock checker to find one at an Apple Store or get a notification when one is in stock. It may be until late November that you can just walk in and buy an iPhone 6 Plus.

2 Comments

  1. Jay

    09/23/2014 at 6:41 pm

    It’s the 5S for me. I like to feel like I’m holding a phone to my ear, not an ipad

    Reply

  2. Unimpressed

    09/24/2014 at 12:00 pm

    Bono: “Hey, my new iPhone just crashed!”

    The Edge: “U2 huh?”

    Reply

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