iPhone 6 Plus review, rating and latest UK deals and offers
It's bigger and better, we're told, and the iPhone 6 Plus for the first time ever has a Full 1080p HD screen. But is it good enough to match the current crop of Android flagships? Let's see what's on offer this time around
It's been a long wait, but with the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple have finally caught up with the android pack, to a point anyway, and have now realised that their sub-HD sub-5 inch screens are not what everybody wants.
But it doesn't have the Full HD screen that we all have come to know and love on all those other smartphones.
So what does the iPhone 6 Plus have to offer you? Well if you are expecting a larger version of the iPhone 6 you will not be disappointed. The new style casing seen on the iPhone 6 which was released the same day features here too, with it's curved edges and slimmer profile.
Slim and curvacious!
The new curves are necessary it has to be said. The slim 7.1 inch profile is an admirable feat of engineering when you consider what is inside, but the downside of ultra slim handsets is that they are more difficult to hold.
The honed edges of older models such as the 5s would soon begin to dig into your palm and be uncomfortable to hold if held for even relatively short periods of time, so they had to go. Another change is the power button, which has been moved from the top to the side, no doubt because it becomes much harder to reach to the top of a phone this size.
New look, same old unmistakable iPhone
The front is pure, unmistakable iPhone to look at but the screen now tapers off at the edges, Nokia Lumia 930 style, while the back has the same gorgeous look as the iPhone 6, with a stainless steel Apple log set in the aluminium back cover.
Sadly it also includes the odd horizontal lined frame at the top and bottom, necessary because of the aerial arrangement. But as we pointed out in the iPhone 6 review, the HTC One M8 does it so much better while the same split lines on the Lumia 930 can barely be seen on the top and bottom edge.
Worse still, to get the thickness down Apple have chosen to leave the camera lens protruding. This obviously leaves it more open to damage while it also means that you can not use the phone flat on a table - it simply rocks about.
As necessary as these things are it does detract from the overall premium feel though neither issue will bother you if you use a case, as most people are likely to do.
A break with tradition!
The screen is the major talking point here. Not only have Apple broken with their traditional stance of insisting that their Retina display of around 326 pixels per inch and 4 inch screens were sufficient, they have shot up to a 5.5 inch Full HD 1080p screen of 401 pixels per inch.
This, incredibly, is the first iPhone to sport a Full HD screen. Yet somehow we can't help feeling that Apple fell so far behind virtually every other flagship phone on the market they are still some way behind.
Most premium smartphones have had HD screens for quite some time now while the LG G3, introduced three months prior, has an amazing Quad HD screen as well as a much better set of feature for considerably less of your hard earned.
We'll compare the two further later. But if you want an iPhone and want one with a Full HD screen you can now at least have one, albeit at a price.
Premium, at a premium price
That price is an expensive £619 for the 16GB version - that's not a lot of storage space these days and the operating system and built in apps take up around a quarter of that. That's before you start adding anything else.
And remember, Apple steadfastly refuse to add a memory card slot. The 32GB version has been dropped too, while the 64GB will set you back £700 and a new 128GB option comes in at an eye watering £789.
Wealthy Apple fans won't care but it is worth considering for a moment that this is a mobile phone we are talking about. You can buy a very decent laptop or desktop computer with that sort of money with a ton of storage space built in, while a top branded Samsung 250GB solid state drive can be picked up for under £100 or a 128GB memory card for under £40.
So £170 for an extra 112GB of storage is a lot of cash on top of what is already the most expensive smartphone on the streets - and you get nothing else extra for your money if you plump for the 128GB one.
Finally, a full HS screen!
The 1920 x 1080 resolution is essential on a premium rated product, especially at these prices, as the lower resolution iPhone screen, almost astonishingly retained on the iPhone 6, would look really poor on a phone this size.
Some of you might also find the camera disappointing as the 8 megapixel format is retained, though with much improved features, not least optical image stabilisation.
The larger 1.5µm pixel size, one third inch sensor will allow more light in which will improve the previously poor low light performance, as will the dual LED flash.
There are plenty of other features here including HDR, simultaneous image and video recording, geo tagging, face detection, smile detection and what Apple refer to as Phase Detection autofocus. Super smooth Full HD video recording at 60 frames per second also features.
Improved camera, but still 8 megapixels
The secondary front facing 1.2 megapixel camera records 720p video at 30 frames per second, and also includes face detection with Apple's FaceTime app allowing you to call other Apple device owners over Wi-Fi or cellular if your network supports it. though this is unlikely in the UK.
This is also the fastest iPhone ever, marginally quicker than the Samsung Galaxy S5 although we're not going to concern ourselves with to much detail here as in real terms it is almost impossible to tell, and you will not find any lag on any of the flagship handsets available today.
NFC, but no use for it in the UK yet
The other most talked about feature that comes with the two new iPhones is NFC, Near Field Communication seen for the first time on an Apple handset.
Don't get too excited though because you can't use it for anything except Apple Pay, the American company's contactless payment solution, and it's not available yet in the UK. So it's practically redundant as far as you and me are concerned.
Slide-down screen accessibility feature
Another feature designed to help you use the iPhone 6 Plus more easily is the Reachability screen. This clever idea sees the whole home screen slide half way down if you tap the Home button twice, and is designed to help you reach the icons on the top half of the screen.
However we could not get it to work at all, while others have reported that sometimes it works, allowing you to select an app and other times the screen shoots back to the top as soon as you touch an icon. It's a nice idea if it works though.
New on screen keyboard
There is also a new keyboard - yes, completely new, not just larger - and it now includes additional keys such as Cut and Paste. Remember the days when you could not cut and paste with an iPhone?
Almost every other top-end smartphone feature you could imagine is here, with of course the exception of a memory card slot, USB slot and that redundant-in-the-UK NFC aerial.
Why you won't buy an iPhone for value for money
And that brings up to the main issue. We just don't get iPhones. Sure, they are a fantastic piece of kit and there is no getting away from the fact that when they were introduced they were groundbreaking. But that's all gone now.
We mentioned earlier in the piece the LG G3, which has the same size screen and that's about where the comparison ends.
The G3 has a stunning Quad HD 5.5 inch screen with a resolution of 534 pixels per inch, also known as True HD and QHD. It has a built in FM radio, Dolby mobile sound enhancement, a 32GB version with 3GB of RAM memory. That's 3x the amount of RAM of the iPhone, and a memory card slot which allows you to add up to a further 128GB of memory for £40 or less.
The LG G3 also has a 13 megapixel camera with similar features to the 6 Plus, a 2.1MP forward facing camera, recording Full HD video, Java, wireless charging which once you try it you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
you can also enjoy almost 170 hours more battery life on standby (553 hours v 384 hours) if you can forgive the plastic rear cover of the LG all this comes at less than half the price of the most expensive 6 Plus.
While Apple have caught up with the big screen, high resolution phones of their Android counterparts we doubt if it will be too long before Samsung, Sony, Nokia et al announce their new flagship handsets which will raise the bar again. In fact it's started already - the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, while encroaching into into tablet size area at 5.7 inches, already has a QHD screen and digitizer pen input and is also considerably cheaper.
None of this will matter to iPhone fans of course, but we do wonder how many will want the 6 Plus. Most traditional fans are likely to stick with the more familiar 4.7 inch size of the iPhone 6.
But even then of course they will have to compromise on screen resolution and even size as most flagship handsets are now over 5 inches in size, so we're not entirely sure what the market is for the iPhone 6 Plus.
iPhone 6 Plus UK Price Comparison
(Don't worry, there's no obligation and you can change price plans and choose various options such as colours and memory size before you decide to buy)