This year marks Apple’s first attempt at entering the so-called “phablet” market. I’m going to be up front with you and say that I am not a fan of these kinds of devices. While I actually do think that they’re pretty neat, my pockets are cramped enough as it is. Furthermore, they’ve skewed the market towards catering to users who prefer giant screens, and as such there’s no longer any high end options when it comes to ~4″ phones besides the aging 5S.
With that little diatribe out of the way, let me back track a little bit and say that even I can see that the iPhone 6 Plus has many enviable attributes, despite its inequities. Let’s do a rundown of the pros and cons, and see what we find…
1. It’s big!
The screen on the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5″. That’s not quite as large as some Android handsets, but it’s more than enough to sate the appetite of most phablet lovers. A bigger screen means that tasks like reading books and browsing the web will be far more enjoyable. Additionally, Apple included a landscape view for the iPhone 6 plus that allows you to use it like an iPad when holding it in the landscape position, which should be especially nice on long car rides or plane trips.
2. The battery life is awesome.
Being as large as it is, Apple was able to squeeze in a far larger battery in this beast than they were in the iPhone 6. This means you’ll be able to watch videos, listen to music, browse, and play games for longer periods of time than you can on other iPhones.
3. You’ll save money.
How could this be? Yes, the iPhone 6 Plus is more expensive than the 6, but I would bet that most people buying a Plus aren’t planning on also buying a tablet. That’s the cool thing about phablets: while they might be unwieldy when carried around for a significant period of time, their large size means that you really don’t have to shell out more cash for an expensive and somewhat redundant 7-10 inch tablet.
4. You can finally make the switch from Android.
If you’ve always secretly loved Apple’s ecosystem, but hated the 3.5/4″ screens on the iPhone, now is your time to jump ship. The Plus is perfectly suited for your needs, as most Android phones are larger than the 4.7″ iPhone 6, and thus you’ll feel right at home on the Plus’ beautiful 5.5″ 1080p screen. Note that I’m not saying that you should switch from Android, just that if you wanted to, here’s your chance.
5. It’s great for gaming.
The A8 SoC (system on chip) that powers the iPhone 6 Plus is equipped with a powerful GPU (graphics processing unit) that will allow you to play a number of graphically intensive 3D games on your device. While it’s performance is about on par with the iPhone 6, the Plus will provide you with a bit of a better experience due to it’s gigantic screen.
1. It’s big!
Yes, this is a pro and a con, simply because different people have different preferences when it comes to screen size. I like larger screens, but I don’t like lugging them around, and so something like the iPhone 6 or even it’s predecessor, the 5S, would be perfect for me. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. At the end of the day, it all comes down to whether you prefer portability or a better viewing experience.
2. It bends.
In my opinion, bendgate was a bit of an overblown scandal. Still, I think it’s indicative of a problem with Apple’s design, in that they keep going for slimmer and slimmer models instead of boosting battery life or improving internal specifications. While your Plus probably won’t bend, I still wouldn’t risk putting it in your back pocket unless you feel like risking all of the money you invested into the device.
3. It’s ugly.
One of the main failures of the iPhone 6 design in general is that they removed the glass paneling present on the back of the 5 and 5S, replacing it with ugly plastic lines that pretty much ruin an otherwise flawless aluminum back. This is an even bigger issue with the Plus, since it’s larger and the lines are more apparent, as you can see from the featured image at the top of the article. Since most people slap a case onto their phones, this isn’t too big of an issue. Still, design is one of the biggest factors when it comes to buying a phone nowadays (since they all pretty much do the same things), and I think it’s more than a little underwhelming that the 5S arguably looks like more of a bleeding edge product than it’s successor.
4. It’s a little underpowered.
As I said above in the pros section, the A8 SoC is pretty powerful, but I worry that the Plus’ 1080p screen will strain the chip too much over time. This is because the 6 Plus has a higher resolution screen compared to the 6, despite having essentially the same A8 processor, meaning the A8 will have to work harder to push pixels on the 6 Plus as opposed to the 6. While this isn’t a problem now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the iPhone 6 Plus lag behind the 6 and even the 5S in terms of performance as the years drag on, especially since each new iteration of iOS seems to slow down older iPhone models. That’s one of the drawbacks of a large, fully HD screen; while they certainly look nice, it takes more to power them.
5. It might not be worth an upgrade.
At the end of the day, unless you really must have a 5.5″ screen on your smartphone, you can get more bang for your buck by buying the iPhone 6, or its older brother, the 5S. Indeed, I’d say that the 5S is the deal of year, as all benchmarks show it to be about on par with the 6 in terms of performance, and yet only half the cost on a two year contract. As long as you don’t mind having a 4″ screen you’ll save $200 going with that instead of the 6 Plus. Or, if you currently have an iPhone 5, 5C, or 5S, you can just wait until next year’s iPhone 6S Plus, which should address all of the manufacturing defects and design flaws of this years model.
At the end of the day, a smartphone is a smartphone. Pretty much anything released in the last two years can get all of your basic tasks done exceedingly well. That being said, don’t let me or anyone stop you from picking up the 6 Plus if that’s what you’ve been waiting for. It’s definitely a nifty device that’s sure to please lovers of both Apple’s ecosystem and the kinds of large screens previously only available on Android handsets for years to come.
Featured photo credit: iPhone 6 Plus – Rear/ William Hook via flickr.com