iPhone 6 review, rating and latest UK deals and offers
The new iPhone 6 has arrived, so it is a bold new exciting iPhone or is it a case of same old same old... This time we have two versions, a 4.7 inch screen and a 5.5 inch screen version named the iPhone 6 Plus
We apologise if you have heard it a thousand times before but there is a simple truth about the iPhone 6 that there is no escaping from.
That simple truth is that once again, the new iPhone is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Furhermore it has to be recognised that Apple are still playing catch up with better phones already available on the Android platform, such as the excellent Sony Xperia Z2 and the superb LG G3, and even on the Windows Phone platform with Microsoft-owned Nokia producing the stunning Nokia Lumia 930 and 41 megapixel camera touting Nokia Lumia 1020.
And the iPhone 6 doesn't kill any of these. All have a higher resolution, better cameras and larger screens. One thing that might have set the iPhone 6 apart was the much-vaunted Sapphire glass but that didn't appear either, although it has made it's Apple debut on their new smartwatch. The watch was dubbed by many as the iWatch but rather unusually, Apple have dropped the "i" moniker this time and chosen to simply name it the Apple Watch.
Bringing back the buyers
The iPhone 6 is an attempt by Apple to pull back some market share from those looking for larger screens, with the iPhone 6 sporting a 4.7 inch screen and the iPhone 6 Plus offering a 5.5 inch display.
Some might argue that Apple have still missed the target, with the Nokia Lumia 930 and HTC One M8 both offering you a 5 inch screen. You get 5.1 inches with the Samsung Galaxy S5, and 5.2 inches on the Sony Xperia Z2. Only the larger iPhone 6 Plus matches the 5.5 inch screen of the LG G3 but that android handset has a much higher Quad HD resolution, better features and is cheaper.
But you're not interested in any of that are you? You're interested in the new iPhone, so this is what's on offer this time around.
All new stylish casing
The new look is perhaps the biggest talking point of the iPhone 6, with the 6.9mm depth also making it the slimmest iPhone to date. Other changes see the power button moved to the right hand side.
The casing is a departure in design from previous iPhones, with rounded edges this time making it easier and more comfortable to hold. It feels a lot more natural in the hand too. Those honed edges that started to dig into your skin after holding it for a while are now a thing of the past on the new iPhone 6.
The new curved edges have been a long time coming but give it a classier look, while the edge to edge screen has gone, replaced by a new screen which curves gently off Nokia 930-style to meet the curved sides of the phone.
Those curved edges glide around to the back panel, which is made of anodised aluminium with a stainless steel Apple logo. Two horizontal lines appear near the top and bottom splitting the smooth flat panel, reminiscent of the HTC One M8.
This is to do with the aerials of course, but whereas HTC's version blends in those two lines adding to the designer look, unfortunately Apple's version manages to look slightly odd as these lines curve around the top and bottom edges to form a frame leaving what looks like two pieces of casing stuck on separately, almost as an afterthought.
The HTC One M8 isn't a bad comparison in terms of looks, both have a full metal design although their casing is more comfortable to hold with it's curved rear panel while Apple retain their traditional flat back design, which makes it easier to use on a flat surface.
The iPhone 6 is also much slimmer than the HTC at just 6.9mm thick and weighing just 129 grams. There is no denying that it really is a marvel of modern engineering and keeping the weight and thickness down to that level in a metal design is admirable. You will be left in no doubt as soon as you pick the phone up that this is a premium handset.
New curvy body - same old design?
Around the front, well it's just another iPhone really. The larger 4.7 inch screen obviously stands out from previous iPhones but we think it might split a lot of people into two camps, those who don't think a larger screen is necessary - after all, 0.7 of an inch is quite a jump in smartphone terms from the 4 inch iPhone 5s - while those of you who prefer a larger screen might have preferred the now more popular size of "around five inches" for your premium smartphone of choice.
Perhaps it's just us - having been used to looking at screens of around 5 inches for some time now, 4.7 inches looks slightly smaller than we feel it should be, while the 5.5 inches of the iPhone 6 Plus looks slightly too big to be practical.
The technicals show that this screen has 750 x 1334 pixels offering a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, despite the fact that Apple have dubbed it the Retina HD screen - that's our understanding anyway - unless that description is intended solely for the 6 Plus which does have a Full HD 1080p screen. Which means that the screen on the iPhone 6 is exactly the same density as the screen on the iPhone 5s.
Bigger, but not better, screen
This effectively means that the display will look exactly the same, just bigger. It has to be repeated that this is still well below the class leading Android and Windows phones, and placed side by side you will notice the obvious difference in resolution between Apple and Android. The positive side is that at least your apps will look no different, other than being slightly larger.
Apple will claim this is an advantage and is why the resolution has not been changed (but then why change it on the 6 Plus?) but the point is it's this area where possibly Apple have a big problem - put simply, change the resolution and the apps have to be rewritten, which effectively wipes out their app market.
No sapphire glass this time - no surprise
The oleophobic coated (that's fingerprint resistant to you and me) shatterproof screen has been retained and improved, apparently, but as we mentioned at the top there is no sapphire glass here.
That's not too much of a surprise as sapphire screens are expensive and slow to produce, and the last thing the Cupertino outfit need to do is add something that is likely to hike the price of what is already one of the most expensive phones you can buy.
There are no new colours here either. The colourful experiment that was the iPhone 5c hasn't really worked with slow sales recorded and is probably consigned to history now so we're back to the three popular gold, silver and slate grey colours found on the 5s and previous models.
Same camera, yet completely revised
Inside you will find the same 8 megapixel camera with the same 1.5µm pixel size as it's predecessor. However there is now an enlarged f/2.2 aperture which will help the previously poor low light performance of the camera. Super smooth video can be recorded in Full 1080p HD at 30 or 60 frames per second and hopefully the weak low light video performance has now been addressed. Additionally you can shoot in super slow mode at 240 fps, which is fun but unlikely to be genuinely useful for most people.
Selfies should now also be improved with a new FaceTime sensor on board the front facing camera, and single shot HDR photos can now be taken. In fact the whole software suite powering the cameras is said to be new, while a feature called Focus Pixels is said to improve focusing and allows the camera's autofocus to work a lot faster.
More power and performance
This is accompanied by the new A8 64-bit chip which Apple claim offers up to 25% better performance with up to 50% improvement on graphics performance. The iPhone was always a smooth operator in this department so an improvement on that scale has to be admired.
Power for this increased performance arrives in the form of a slightly larger ARM based 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, which although smaller than most flagship Android devices now carry, the architecture of Apples iOS operating system does require less power so phones should not be compared on processor size alone.
At last! You get NFC
Perhaps the biggest new announcement comes with the announcement of Apple Pay, a virtual wallet which allows you to store your plastic card details in the phone securely and pay for your purchases by touching a compatible terminal without the need to remove your credit or debit card from your wallet.
This is a feature that has been used by Google and Microsoft for some time now but has never really taken off because of that need for a terminal to be compatible. For that reason it is impossible for these devices to replace the need to carry your cards, though it will probably happen eventually.
Your details are secure if you should ever lose the phone, say Apple. The big news here of course is that this technology requires NFC, which appears on an iPhone for the very first time.
The unique selling point of course is the excellent Apple iOS 8 operating system, and if you want a smartphone with iOS your only choice is to buy an iPhone. Beyond that, sorry folks but there is nothing revolutionary here.
You will read countless reviews raving that this is the best iPhone yet (again). Of course it is! You would expect improvement in the natural course of time. The design is excellent, if you can look beyond those odd lines on the rear panel, and it's curved edges are actually a diversion for Apple.
That aside though we think that yet again it doesn't live up to the hype. The screen is bigger but the resolution is no different and therefore well behind the class leading flagship handsets. The size is subjective of course, but the two new iPhones fall between the "ideal" 5 inch screen size, and the 8 megapixel camera is very, very good but again below class leading in both resolution and performance.
The bottom line is that fans of the American firm will love the new iPhone 6 and because of the new larger sizes available will not be left feeling inadequate or quite so envious of their friends Android or Windows handsets.
It will no doubt again sell in it's millions but most of the new features, such as they are, are old news to the rest of us and we are left wondering yet again exactly what all the fuss was about.
iPhone 6 UK Price Comparison
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