Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review

Call Quality

It’s decent for phone calls, especially using the earpiece in noisy settings, but its speakerphone is a little subdued.

Calls are pretty decent with the iPhone 6 Plus. For the most part, voices are audible through the earpiece, thanks largely to the strong volume of the earpiece, which makes it easy to use even in noisy environments. Switching to the speakerphone, however, it becomes just a smidgen problematic due to its subdued tone. Thankfully our callers have an easy time on their end making us out.

Although it’s not something relatively new in the greater scheme of things, the iPhone 6 Plus has support for Wi-Fi calling – an added benefit of course, especially if you’re in one of those spots where cell phone coverage is spotty. However, it’s something that’s carrier dependent. Currently, though, T-Mobile is the only major domestic carrier to support this.

Battery

Its battery life is longer than the iPhone 6, but it’s underwhelming when pitted against some other notable flagship phones.

Complementing its gargantuan size, the iPhone 6 Plus is treated to a larger battery than the iPhone 6. Not surprisingly, it’s able to offer us a longer battery life – where it’s more than ample for an entire day of normal usage. Heck, even power users will be pleased by its longevity. However, we wouldn’t go far to say that it’s significantly better than the handful of flagship Android phones that are presently available.

Well, our reservations are confirmed after running our benchmark test, as the iPhone 6 Plus puts up a mark of 6 hours, 32 minutes, which is an hour longer than the iPhone 6, but still far from the 7.5 hours of juice of the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the over 8 hours of the Sony Xperia Z2. Generally speaking, phablets have been known to offer superior longevity, but that’s not the case here.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6h 32 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note3
6h 8 min (Poor)
Huawei Ascend Mate7
9h 3 min (Good)
HTC One max
7h 27 min (Average)
LG G3
6h 14 min (Poor)

Conclusion


No doubt, Apple is testing the waters with the iPhone 6 Plus. For the company, the move to compete in the phablet space is a logical one, since consumers are increasingly seeing the value of having a gigantic screen in a phone. Sure, it can make you look a little obnoxious holding a massive thing to your ear, but there are obviously advantages to having a big screen at our disposal.

Even though the iPhone 6 Plus is greeted to a few upgrades over the iPhone 6, what we have here in the end is still not much more than a larger iPhone 6. Yes, it has a higher resolution screen, optical image stabilization with its camera, and a longer battery life, but as a phablet, it still needs more to make it effective in being a true powerhouse. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a fantastic phone that earns high marks in a variety of categories – its design being the most notable, one that’s a cut above other phablets.

However, the software enhancements aren’t profound enough to actually make the most use out of the large canvas. Even though its iOS 8 experience brings along some added new functions to broaden the platform’s experience, as well as new landscape layouts with certain core apps specific to the iPhone 6 Plus, it still for the most part doesn’t have the insane productivity elements needed in making it a true workhorse.

Pricing isn’t too shocking for a phablet, as the iPhone 6 Plus starts off at $300 on-contract (or $750 outright) for the base 16GB model. Many of us are quite familiar with that pricing, but we know that some of you folks are wondering if it’s beneficial to fork over the extra $100 over the iPhone 6 to pick up this phablet. Well, it mainly hinges on size, which is what’s most apparent between them. If we look down the line and compare the two iPhones, the 6 Plus sees an advantage with its larger & higher resolution display, longer battery life, ideal video watching experience, and its more proper layout in landscape with certain apps – and that’s all folks! With the latter, we should mention that third-party apps support is non-existent at the moment.As the dust settles, what we have here is nothing more than a bigger iPhone 6 – or a smaller iPad mini with phone functionality on board. Quite frankly, the only decision you’ll need to make is whether having a larger screen is something that’s most pertinent to you.

Software version of the review unit: 8.0 (12A366)


UPDATE: You can now read our iPhone 6s review and iPhone 6s Plus review!

Pros

  • It has the highest resolution screen in an iPhone
  • High quality display produces accurate colors & strong brightness
  • Enhanced layout in landscape with certain apps make it more productivity focused
  • For a phablet, it has one attractive design & sturdy construction

Cons

  • Battery life is underwhelming in comparison to other flagships
  • Camera lens sticks out
  • No 4K video capture
  • Expensive
  • Few apps make use of the optimized landscape layout

PhoneArena Rating:

9.0

User Rating:

9.1
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