As I write this, I’ve been using the iPhone 6 Plus for less than a day. I was surprised by my own reaction to it, so I thought I would share my experience. I’m even breaking my Friday release schedule to get this out earlier for those of you who are trying to make a decision.
I am an Apple guy and a gadget junkie. I love my Macbook Air, iPad, and iPhone. I’ve had the iPhone 3, 3S, 4, 4S, 5S, and now the 6 Plus. As much I love my iPad, I was excited when I started hearing rumors about a larger iPhone. I liked the idea of having a device big enough to replace the need for carrying both the iPhone and iPad.
I’ve been waiting very impatiently for the 5.5" iPhone 6 Plus. I thought the bigger the screen the better, so I didn’t even consider the 4.7” version. I didn’t stay up until midnight to be one of the first to order on September 12, but I regretted waiting until 7 am after the estimated delivery slipped from September 19 to mid-October. But Apple pulled the exceeding expectations trick. I was very excited to receive an email last Friday notifying me of the Monday, September 29 delivery (yesterday).
Until then, there was no question in my mind that I would like the big screen. But as I took it out of the packaging (an emotional experience, by the way), it hit me how massive it is. It’s huge! As I fumbled awkwardly while picking it up for the first time, I realized it might take some getting used to.
Here are some pros and cons I’ve come up with in the few hours I’ve been using it.
I don’t need an iPad. I fully expect to stop using my iPad. The screen is big enough to do anything I would have done with an iPad. There are only two exceptions I can think of, both of which are minor and can be solved by using a laptop.
First, the keyboard isn’t big enough to type with all fingers like you can with an iPad in landscape mode. This isn’t a big deal because I can type almost as fast with my thumbs, and I use my laptop for large typing jobs anyway.
Second, it’s not large enough to effectively show a group of people photos or videos. I teach a church class of 5-10 people, and I sometimes use my iPad to show videos. But even the iPad is a little small for this situation, so I don’t mind bringing my laptop.
Weight, thickness, and design. The 6 Plus is slightly thinner than the 5S, which feels good. The edges are rounded, giving it a sleeker look and feel. It’s 50% heavier than the 5S, but I don’t notice much of a difference.
Screen size. I read Forbes magazine for a while, which I normally do on my iPad, and I could comfortably read one page on the screen. It also works to turn landscape and see the two-page spread, although older eyes may have a hard time with the small print. It’s also nice to see more of each page on the Kindle app. Photos and videos look incredible.
Updated specs. None of the new specs are earth-shattering for me compared to the 5S, but I always appreciate a faster processor and upgraded camera. I look forward to Apple Pay, but I expect it to be a while before I can ditch the cards completely.
I was surprised by the cons. I thought I would love everything about it, but now I’m not so sure. I’m hoping the cons will go away as I get more used to it.
Awkward. One word describes it all. I find it awkward to pick up, carry, put in my pocket, set down, and find the right grip.
Difficult to use one-handed. I’ve got relatively big hands, and I still can’t reach all areas of the screen with my thumb while holding it one-handed. I find myself continually shifting my grip depending on the app and what I need to do. This feels awkward and increases the chances of dropping it.
This is probably my biggest complaint. I use my phone for everything, so I am used to quickly picking up my phone with one hand to add a task to Remember the Milk, write a quick note in Evernote, add a calendar item, write an email, or take a photo.
Screen size is not utilized very well. As expected, most apps just expand to fill the extra space. Apps that I could already see comfortably on the 5S, such as Facebook, now just look magnified. It reminds me of when the iPad first came out, and not many apps had been modified to take advantage of the screen size. However, I expect this to change as developers update their apps.
Lock button location. Given the way people have to grip the phone, the lock button location makes sense. It’s normally close to the index finger. I’m always tapping the top where the lock button used to be, but I’ll get used to it. Another problem, however, is the lock button doesn’t work when you squeeze a volume button at the same time. I found myself doing this often while gripping the phone with one hand.
I’m still excited about my new phone. I’m just not as blown away by it as I thought I would be. I’ll probably get used to the bigger screen size and end up loving it, but perhaps I should have taken a closer look at the 4.7” version.
Hopefully this helps if you are deciding whether or not to upgrade, and if so, which size to choose.
Question: What do you think of your iPhone 6?
Update after a week. I went into AT&T last week and would have traded if they had the 4.7" available. I learned that business accounts have 30 days to return, so I decided to give it more time. I'm glad I did because I'm starting to get used to it. It doesn't feel as awkward now that I'm learning how to handle it, and I love the big screen for reading and video.
I learned to double-tap the home button to slide the screen down halfway, which allows me to reach the top of the screen with one hand. I think it's a keeper!