Call quality

The iPhone 5s was one quality device to make calls with, and the iPhone 6 is just minutely better all-round. Voices through its earpiece sound loud and relatively natural, while callers usually don't have issues hearing our voice. Than again, the situation is almost the same with the iPhone 5s.

The new thing here is the Wi-Fi calling abilities of the iPhone 6 – it's able to utilize hotspots in order to improve call handling and quality, and in a seamless way at that, but the thing is that this feature is carrier-dependent, so it'll need time before it gets widely available. In the US, T-Mobile is currently the only carrier to support it.

Battery life

Sadly, the iPhone 6 doesn't bring a substantial improvement when it comes to battery life. Putting them through our custom battery life benchmark, the iPhone 5s managed to last for 5h 2 min, while the iPhone 6 slightly bumped this up to 5h 22 min. It's a welcome enhancement, but not big enough to make it perfectly competitive with the flagship Android smartphones of late, which easily reach 6 or even 7 hours in our test.

Official statistics back these observations up, with 3G talk time going from 10.4 hours in the 5s to 14 hours in the 6, and stand-by going from 10 hours in the 5s to 10.4 hours in the 6. Once again – not that big of a change, but still slightly better than before. Well, we guess having an ultra-slim metal phone requires some trade-offs.

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
5h 22 min (Poor)
Apple iPhone 5s
5h 2 min (Poor)


It's clear that if you're on the lookout for a new smartphone now, the iPhone 6 will be a much better investment, seeing that you'll be getting a phone that improves on the 5s' experience in almost every way, with the exception of one-handed comfort. Naturally, the smaller handset will be easier to handle and use, but there's obviously a lot to gain from having a larger screen. That is why many users will be willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort for a significantly larger diagonal. Plus, the new iPhone 6 is not really pushing things too far.

Still, in terms of technical differences, we've seen that, save for some not-so-important features, the iPhone 5s is by no means underpowered. It can do the same things as the iPhone 6, and in many cases, it does them equally well. These facts should make current iPhone 5s owners really question whether they need to upgrade to the 6. Yes, the bigger screen is a great feature, but it doesn't improve things so dramatically.

If you're doing a lot on your phone, like really using a lot of features and consuming significant amounts of content on a day to day basis, then getting the iPhone 6 will certainly be worth it – it does make things easier to look at, and it adds some lovely new things such as built-in support for Apple Pay, 240 FPS slow-motion capture and Cinematic Video Stabilization. If you're just fine the way you are now with the 5s, and you don't feel like you could get so much more out of your mobile device (meaning you aren't that impressed by what the iPhone 6 brings to table), then in this particular case, upgrading should probably wait for another year, when the amount of new features, and the reasons for an upgrade will get more, and harder to resist.

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