Apple debuted the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and discontinued the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus remain available, however, and Apple has increased the storage capacity of the entry-level models to 32GB and lowered prices to $250and $255, respectively. The full iPhone 6 Plus review, first published in September 2014 and updated in June 2015, follows.

In 2014, Apple forked its iPhone product line, simultaneously introducing the next generation of its flagship model — the iPhone 6 — and debuting its super-sized sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 is an exceptional phone in nearly every way but for its middling battery life. The iPhone 6 Plus is also impressive; larger and thinner than other iPhone models, and with the capacity for far more endurance on a single charge than most comparably-sized and smaller competitors.

As great a phone as it is, the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t for everybody. Its defining characteristic is its size, which occupies a nice middle ground between the 4-inch iPhone 5S and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini. While the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is considerably more portable, the 6 Plus will hit the sweet spot for those who want a bigger display on their smartphone (and prefer iOS to Android).

And remember: a 5.5-inch screen may feel gigantic at first, but it may end up feeling just right in no time.

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Design

Befitting its moniker, the 6 Plus is on the large side, measuring 6.22 inches high by 3.06 inches wide (158mm by 78mm). At 6.07 ounces (172 grams) it’s just a touch lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 but noticeably thinner — just 7.1mm in thickness, compared with the Note 4’s 8.5mm.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Apple iPhone 6 LG G3 Samsung Galaxy Note 4
US base price (with 2-year agreement) $250 $199 $216 $176
UK base price (unlocked) £184 £174 £165 £136
Australia base price (unlocked) AU$331 AU$320 AU$260 AU$280
Display size/resolution 5.5-inch 1,920×1,080 IPS (401ppi) 4.7-inch 1,344×750 IPS (326 ppi) 5.5-inch Quad HD 2,560×1,440 IPS (538 ppi) 5.7-inch 2,560×1,440 Super AMOLED (515 ppi)
Processor 1.38GHz Apple A8 (64-bit) 1.39GHz Apple A8 (64-bit) 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (Krait 400) 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
RAM 1GB 1GB 3GB 3GB
Internal storage 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB 32GB 32GB
Expandable storage No No Yes (microSD) Yes (microSD)
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating system iOS 8 iOS 8 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4

Dimensions aside, the iPhone 6 Plus feels better in the hand than the Note. Like previous iPhones, it’s made of matte aluminum, but where harsh lines and chamfered edges give the iPhone 5 a stark, industrial feel, the iPhone 6 Plus nestles more comfortably in your hand rather than cutting into it.

That noted, the rounded shape — complete with glass that blends into the rounded edges — provides a less distinctive appearance. That curved glass will be familiar to owners of Nokia Lumia devices, and the inset lines of plastic on the back are reminiscent of the HTC One . Though the iPhone 6 Plus looks and feels great, it lacks the unique styling of its predecessor.
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Owners of earlier model iPhones will need to adjust to different button locations; the iPhone 6 Plus’s power/lock button is located on the right side – a good thing, given how far one would need to reach if it were placed on the top. The volume buttons, wide and flat rather than round, are located on the left directly beneath the ring/silent toggle switch. The 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the bottom, as it does with the 5S, next to eight holes that allow sound from the (surprisingly powerful) internal speaker to escape.

Then, of course, there’s the home button, front and center below the display, featuring Touch ID functionality, which allows you to unlock the phone quickly with a fingerprint. While this feature is no longer as novel as it was when it debuted, Touch ID remains quicker and more reliable than the fingerprint detection capabilities we’ve seen on other smartphones. And with iOS 8, you can use fingerprint access for a wide variety of apps beyond the lock screen and iTunes Store.

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‘Reachability’

To avoid any unfortunate thumb-straining incidents, Apple provides the “Reachability” feature: two quick taps on the Home button slide any content at the top of the display — app icons, Safari’s URL bar, whatever else is up there — down to the bottom. (That’s a double tap rather than a double press — the latter of which opens up the app switching screen, as it does on earlier versions of iOS.) Though it’s handy in theory, we did not find it particularly useful in practice.

For example, if you want to open a folder of icons on the top of the display, a double-tap brings that folder down. Tap on the folder and it opens, but then slides back up to the top again. You need to double-tap on the Home button again to bring it down a second time so that you can select an icon within. It’s simply too much tapping to be of regular use, even for those with short thumbs, though it could be handy if you’re standing on a bus or train and need your other hand to hang on.

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Landscape mode

Another software tweak exclusive to the Plus is a special layout for some apps when the phone is held sideways in landscape mode. Mail and Messages give you an iPad-like view, with a list of messages on the left and their content on the right.

Pocketability

The size of your hands, and your ability to reach the corners of the device, will play a large part in determining whether the 6 Plus is a good fit for you. Another deciding factor will be whether it fits into your pockets. Unless your pants are of the cargo variety, you’re probably going to want the iPhone 6 Plus in a back pocket when you’re out and about.

For phablet newbies this can take some getting used to. So, too, will remembering to take it out of that back pocket before sitting down. In the interest of fully comprehensive testing I sat on the 6 Plus numerous times and it registered nary a creak nor a crack. Still, I wouldn’t advise doing so regularly, if only for your posture’s sake.

Camera

The iPhone 6 Plus features an 8-megapixel rear shooter with optical image stabilization. In our testing we found the Plus consistently shot with a slower shutter speed than the iPhone 6, yet delivered images that were just as sharp. Longer exposures mean lower ISO and noticeably less image noise, plus better color.

The iPhone 6 Plus’s camera also offers video stabilization, and though it’s a digital effect, the results are quite impressive. I shot multiple videos free-handed, even while moving, and the footage is smooth, without any of the distortion you sometimes see from other digital stabilization technologies. The phone features real-time autofocus while filming, too, so you won’t have to tap-tap-tap on the screen to follow the action. The phone captures video at 1080p, at either 60 or 30 frames per second, and slow-motion video at up to 240fps.

The front-facing camera lacks stabilization capabilities but offers an f2.2 aperture, allowing more light to hit the sensor than on previous models, which translates to better selfies in dark conditions. Perfect for pub crawls.

Performance and battery life

The iPhone 6 Plus is very snappy and responsive in daily use. Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are equipped with the A8 processor, though curiously the Geekbench benchmark reported it running slightly slower on the 6 Plus — 1.35GHz versus 1.39GHz. Otherwise, benchmark results are very comparable between the two, and consistently 10 to 20 percent faster than the previous-generation iPhone.

The iPhone 6 Plus delivered a solid 13 hours and 16 minutes in our battery rundown test. It backed that up with impressive real-world performance, easily and repeatedly making it through a full day of heavy use — featuring constant Web surfing, gaming, video streaming and GPS navigation — and often lasting well into a second day before needing a charge.

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