I’ll admit it right out of the gate, I love this phone. It’s simply awesome. And now I sound like the typical Apple fanboy who can see the iPhone do no wrong. But that’s not the case. I love (and hate) Apple and Android both equally. I’ve had both devices over the years. I just switched to the iPhone 6 from the HTC One (M8) which was an excellent Android smartphone. In my opinion, the iPhone 6 is simply better; and this is especially true for the casual user. And that’s who I’m most interested in.
Disclaimer: Many of the items I will discuss here are also available on the iPhone 6 Plus, which I’ve reviewed previously. I intentionally focused on what makes the “plus” different from the iPhone 6, as not to be too repetitive. So if you like what you see here, but would like the larger 5.5 inch screen, the iPhone 6 Plus might be a better choice. But read my review before dropping the coin!
It seems like Apple has always been mired in one debate: is the company revolutionary or evolutionary? Apple fans believe that their beloved company is truly revolutionary, creating new markets for products out of thin air (iPhone, iPad, iTunes). Others, mostly Android fans, would argue that Apple doesn’t “innovate” but is rather copying already existing technology while, arguably, evolving the devices along the way (iPhone, iPad, iTunes – see what I did there?). As a true tech junkie, I don’t have a horse in that race. Apple is both in my mind. And the rest is just marketing (which no one disputes they do better than anyone else). For the sake of this review, I will side with evolution, because that’s really what the iPhone 6 is all about.
The Cup Half Full
I’ve mentioned the amazing design in previous posts, but it can’t be overstated. The difference between the iPhone 5/5S and the iPhone 6 is stunning. And the most stunning is that it isn’t as revolutionary as it could have been. All sorts of “mock-ups” flooded the internet leading up to the announcement of the iPhone 6. Many showed a major departure from the previous model; truly revolutionary design. Apple didn’t go that way. And for a company dominating the US Market with millions of consumers using their devices, major shifts are usually not advisable. The iPhone 6 is bigger but skinnier. It has the same alumimum/glass construction, but the glass is rounded on the corner, giving the face of the phone an entirely different look and feel. So first and foremost the iPhone 6 is a brilliant evolution of the design of the iPhone. It fits perfectly in the hand. I have bigger hands, and always felt the iPhone 5/5S was actually a little too small for me. I think there’s a reason Apple went with 4.7 inches for the screen versus 5.0, and it’s all about how that device sits in your hand for one-hand use.
In addition to the form factor, the iPhone 6 has many new features coming with iOS 8. The inclusion of Near Field Communication (NFC) partnered with Apple Pay will only prove useful if retailers adopt the program. I, for one, like the idea of using my phone to make purchases. And if you are concerned about security, I suggest checking out this link to see how Apple Pay works, because if anything this system would be more secure than our traditional swiping credit cards (assuming it works).
iOS 8 also allows you to respond to text messages and emails directly from the notification as they come in (I just did this while writing this review). It’s all about fast interactions with your phone. The iMessage app has also been updated to allow for voice messaging with a single button push, and instant pictures and videos sent over iMessage. I’m in favor of anything that makes my tech interactions faster. While I love interacting with technology, I prefer to use time efficiently, and clicking through six screen when it could be one tap is a great evolution in speedy tech. Third party keyboards are now also available (via the App Store). If you’ve longed for the ability to swipe your words versus tap them, now you’ve got options. Swiftkey and Swype are two good places to start for keyboards.
The Cup Half Empty
Apple is a closed system, famously so. Coming from Android this time around there are things I can no longer do that I liked doing on my HTC phone. I’ve sung the praises of “launchers” that replace the Operating System with different hybrids. Nothing of the sort will be found in the App Store, no matter how deep you dig. You get the grid. Apple did allow for widgets in the Notification Screen, but widgets are easily the most confusing piece of the Android system, and so Apple has hidden them away to keep distractions from their clean ecosystems to a minimum.
HealthKit was supposed to revolutionize how we see mobile health, and it failed on the first day. Apple is quickly putting out new updates to iOS 8 to rectify this problem, but it’s still a problem. So if you planned to have the iPhone 6 be your one stop shop for fitness and health tracking, you’re gonna have to wait a bit longer. Though the pedometer element is currently working (my phone is tracking my steps just like my old FitBit Flex).
The Whole Cup Summed Up
I’m sure as my eyes come back into focus in the coming weeks after being star-struck by the iPhone 6, I will find more things to add to my “half empty” part of the cup. But at the moment there’s not a lot I can say that’s negative about this phone. It’s better than all of the current flagship Android devices. Granted, it’s only in that spot because they took many features straight from the Android ecosystem and added them as “innovations” to the iPhone (What’s App has had all of the functions of the new iMessage for some time now).
If you’re debating between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, head to your nearest retailer (Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Cellular Carriers) and get both devices in your hand. I’m on the side that says the iPhone 6 Plus is simply too big for the casual tech consumer. But you’ll have to be the judge for yourself.