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Thoughts on the iPhone 6

Entry 1680, on 2014-09-29 at 19:42:12 (Rating 1, Computers)

I have now been using an iPhone 6 (not a 6 Plus) for a few days so I think now is a good time to report back on my experiences with it. Before choosing the smaller 6 I evaluated both it and the 6 Plus using a mock-up laser-cut from a sheet of MDF. In that time I found the bigger phone would be just too awkward so I chose the 4.7 inch screen iPhone 6 with the maximum 128G of storage.

When I unpacked it I immediately thought it looked bigger than I expected, especially compared with the iPhone 5 I had at the time. But now, after a few days use, the screen seems just about right. There are times when reaching the top of the screen is awkward so I certainly wouldn't want anything bigger, but I find reading email, web pages, etc, a lot easier so I guess it's all about the compromise between reading the screen and ease of carrying it around.

The screen is not only a good size (maybe just slightly too big) but it is also beautiful. The clarity, colour accuracy, contrast, viewing angle, and even performance in full sunlight are all impressive. It is a step up from the earlier phones which were already very good. Whether AMOLED is better or worse depends on what your priorities are, I guess.

The iPhone 5 was no slug but the 6 feels so much faster. Certain apps (the Tom Tom GPS app for example) took a while to launch on the older phone but are much faster on the new one. And the sharing screen appears much faster now, there are just no significant delays at all.

In the past I have always had the screen lock off because I didn't want to enter a PIN every time I unlocked the phone, but I can say that the fingerprint sensor on the 6 works perfectly. It unlocks every time for me and has never unlocked for anyone else, so I can have good security without any inconvenience at all. I just rest my finger for a fraction of a second on the sensor (which is also the wake button) and the phone is unlocked.

The new camera is still just 8 megapixels but the quality is really good. It's hard to believe that the photos it takes are from a phone. it easily beats other phone cameras and a lot of compact cameras although it still falls a bit short of the best compact cameras and SLRs of course. Many reviews are rating it well ahead of cameras with higher resolutions which is no surprise because higher resolution means smaller pixels which means lower quality and higher noise. Sometimes having less pixels is better and Apple knows this.

The new iPhones are bigger in height and width but are thinner than their predecessors, in fact they are ridiculously thin. Maybe they're too thin if the latest fuss about them bending (mainly the bigger 6 Plus) is true. I haven't been brave enough to try to bend mine but it will be interesting to see how it survives the usual fairly rough treatment my gadgets are exposed to.

I always use my phones heavily and have all the features turned on, but battery life is still useful. I do need to charge every day but unless I am playing a lot of games once a day is enough.

So the iPhone 6 is fantastic but there are a few things I might list as possible deficiencies. You could make a case for making the phone a millimeter or two thicker allowing a bigger battery, increased strength, as well as avoiding the small camera lens bulge. You could make a case for having a higher resolution camera but that would not necessarily give better images. And you could make a case for water resistance. That would be useful, but my previous phones have all survived the occasional minor "dampening incident".

All products have compromises and the best ones are those where the right compromises have been made. I think the iPhone 6 gets very close to getting that right. It's not perfect, but it's the closest to perfection I have seen.

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