#Tech: iPhone 6 Review: Meet The New Best Smartphone



 Apple has debuted two new iPhones , including the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is the heir apparent to the flagship line of Apple smartphones, as it comes in at the same price point as the iPhone 5s, but Apple has done something new this year by introducing a premium priced iPhone 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6 is still plenty premium, however, and its 4.7-inch screen is likely going to be a better fit for most users, which is why it earns our vote as the best smartphone currently available.

 iPhone 6 Review: Meet The New Best Smartphone


Video Review

 

 

 

 

 

Basics

  • 4.7-inch, 1334 x 750 display, 326 ppi with 1400:1 contrast
  • 16, 64 or 128GB storage
  • A8 processor (64-bit)
  • 8MP iSight camera (rear) with 1.5 micron pixels, 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera (front)
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • 20-band LTE support
  • MSRP: 16GB for $199 on contract/$649 contract free; 64GB for $299 on contract/$749 contract free; 128GB for $399 on contract/$849 contract free
  • Product info page
Pros
  • The best mobile camera, made better
  • Industrial design beats all previous iPhones
  • Cons
  • Rounded edges could mean the phone’s a little less easy to grip


Design


Apple has outdone itself with the iPhone 6’s design – despite gaining a significant amount of screen real estate, it doesn’t feel huge compared to its predecessor, and it’s still a very easy device to use one-handed. The new, thinner case means it weighs just over half an ounce more than the iPhone 5s, and the even weight distribution across a broader surface area means it isn’t noticeably heavier than the older phone.

 It manages to make the 5 and 5s feel downright chunky, in fact, which is incredible.
New also to this generation is the all-metal back casing, which replaces the glass top and bottom panels with thin connecting seams instead. This makes for a more unified look when you turn the phone around, and something that gets closer to the unbroken single plane of the iPad mini and iPad Air’s rear shell. The Space Gray version I tested benefits very much from this unbroken look, and the front of the device is no less impressive.

It really makes the screen the star, which is crucial because Apple has created a display like no other with this generation, beating back its would-be Android usurpers – but I’ll touch more on that in the dedicated display section below.

The iPhone 6 is a much more comfortable device to hold vs. the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5s, all of which preferred straight edges and right angles to the 6’s sloping curves. Its rounded edges call to mind the iPhone 3GS and earlier, in fact – and its closest design analogue might be the metal-backed original iPhone, which also had edges that rounded to a flat rear shell. Regardless of its inspirations, it fits more naturally in your grip, and will rest there more comfortably for longer periods, too.


The rounded edges all along the display help contribute to the near-seamless look that Apple was going for, but they also serve an ergonomic purpose. Using Apple’s swipe-back and swipe-forward gestures, which it began to use to replace back and forward button navigations in iOS 7, is much easier and more natural with the iPhone’s new front glass design, and when the device’s screen is darkened, these catch and bend light in a way that’s sure to appeal to a design fan’s eye.

If Apple has faltered anywhere with design, it might be that protruding iSight camera lens on the back, which sticks out a tiny fraction of an inch thicker than the rest. It’s something that hasn’t yet caused me any issue in daily use, but it does seem like a potential area for grit build-up, and it also means that the phone will be resting on its lens when placed face-up on a flat surface – though that’s somewhat mitigated by the use of sapphire in the lens cover.


Performance

 


Apple’s new A8 chip is the powerhouse behind the iPhone 6, and it delivers the kind of performance you’d expect from cutting edge processor technology. The A8 strains the limits of what you’d think was possible in terms of overall device speed and responsiveness, with the entire user experience feeling perceptibly quickened. It’s one of those situations where you don’t realize how the device you were using (iPhone 5s in my case) could get any better in terms of general speed, until you pick up the new device.

The iPhone 6 deals better with iOS 8’s various animations, transparency and other visual effects as a result, and can handle powering that larger, high-resolution display without breaking a sweat. It can handle more powerful games, and best of all, delivers better battery life even when tackling visually intensive tasks. Plus it enables new imaging features that really make Apple’s mobile camera far and away the best in the business, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Apple has also improved the motion coprocessor it introduced last year, which is a dedicated activity tracking chip. The M8 in the iPhone 6 offers continuous monitoring of not only accelerometer, compass and gyroscope data, but also introduces monitoring of information fed from the new barometer for determining changes in elevation.

 The M8 can also detect walking, running and driving activity. In practice, using it to monitor and display my daily distance travelled, steps and flights climbed worked extremely well, and didn’t seem to have a significant negative effect on my battery.


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Bottom Line

The iPhone 6 is the best smartphone available. It offers improvements in almost every way that matters, and it delivers those in a striking new design that balances consumer demand for larger screens with a thin, light and durable case. It’s Apple’s most attractive phone, visually, and the 4.7-inch size is going to be more generally appealing than the iPhone 6 Plus’ larger proportions.

More than anything, the selling point here is that Apple has managed to recapture the energy and excitement that came with the original iPhone with the new iPhone 6. It feels like a return to form in all the right ways, in addition to packing a ton of new features like Apple Pay that light the path for what Apple as a company is to become.

For users, though, it’s all about delivering the best computer you can keep in your pocket, and that’s exactly what the iPhone 6 is.












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