Today is Launch Day for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus! Whether you’re in line waiting to make your purchase or merely pondering the purchase of a new phone, you may be debating which iPhone to get. For the first time, Apple has introduced two brand new phones that cause people to have a serious debate about which one to get.
While size and price seem to be the biggest differences between the two phones, other factors should be considered as you decide which phone to buy. Chances are you’ll have your next phone for at least two years, so consider this purchase an investment for your future.
The Differences between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus
Choosing between the two models of phones may be challenging. The difference go far beyond price and size. Here are some considerations for you when choosing between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus:
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are by far the largest phones Apple has ever introduced. Many people, including Apple, said people didn’t want larger phones. They were wrong, judging by pre-orders. Apple sold 4 million phones in the first day of pre-orders, twice as many as the iPhone 5 on its first day in 2013.
While the world may be pleased with Apple’s latest phones, you need to consider whether you want a larger phone. If so, how large?
The iPhone 6 screen measures 4.7″ diagonally while the iPhone 6 Plus screen is 5.5″, entering it into the “phablet” category.
The iPhone 6 Plus is really big. You may not realize exactly how big until you hold one in your hands. If you can get to a store to hold one, try to do that before making your purchase decision. If the larger 6 Plus isn’t comfortable in your hands, you won’t be happy with it for the next two years (unless your hands are still growing larger).
Do you carry your phone in your pocket or your purse? If your pockets aren’t large enough for the 6 Plus, then you might want the 6.
Do you take your iPad with you because your phone screen is too small for you to be productive? Getting the 6 Plus may mean you don’t need to carry two devices around any more.
No. Don’t even go there.
Yes, the iPhone 6 is the thinnest iPhone ever at 0.27 in/6.9 mm, making it 0.01 in/0.2 mm thicker than the iPhone 6 Plus at 0.28 in/7.1 mm, but come on! If a mere hundredth of an inch of thickness is the deciding factor for buying your phone then perhaps your jeans are just a bit too tight!
The different sized screens offer different displays.
- 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
- 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical)
iPhone 6 Plus
- 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi
- 1300:1 contrast ratio (typical)
If you’re really curious about the screen displays and/or an app developer, check out this in-depth look at the different displays check out iPhone 6 Screens Demystified.
The 6 Plus makes the most of its screen with Zoom View, a feature that enlarges what you’re seeing on the home screen and in some apps.
The iPhone 6 Plus keyboard comes with some extra keys in landscape mode, such as a copy, paste , bold and undo keys, that the iPhone 6 doesn’t have. Of course, with iOS 8 you can use 3rd party app keyboards instead that may come with these keys.
Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus offer better battery life than previous generations. If you need the best battery life, the iPhone 6 Plus is your best bet.
From Apple, stated battery life is much longer on the 6 Plus:
- Talk time: Up to 14 hours on 3G
- Standby time: Up to 10 days (250 hours)
- Internet use: Up to 10 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 11 hours on Wi-Fi
- Video playback: Up to 11 hours
- Audio playback: Up to 50 hours
iPhone 6 Plus
- Talk time: Up to 24 hours on 3G
- Standby time: Up to 16 days (384 hours)
- Internet use: Up to 12 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on LTE, up to 12 hours on Wi-Fi
- Video playback: Up to 14 hours
- Audio playback: Up to 80 hours
Both phones have cameras with advanced features such as faster focusing and larger panoramic photos. The iPhone 6 Plus offers Optical Image Stabilization to make your videos seem focused even if your phone is shaking. The camera lens of the 6 Plus can move in more directions to stay steady even if the phone doesn’t.
The iPhone 6 in landscape mode works just as past generations of iPhones do. The iPhone 6 Plus works more like the iPad, with different views of screens such as Mail, home screen, Messages and more when you turn the device 90°.
Features on Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
These features are on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus so shouldn’t be a deciding factor, but still can get you excited about your new phone!
With both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus you’ll be able to use Apple Pay, Apple’s new payment system that promises to be more secure and more convenient than using credit cards.
Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have a barometer, a new feature that can detect change in elevation based on the change in air pressure. This feature will make fitness tracking much more accurate than with previous phones as your phone will know the difference between you walking on flat ground and climbing stairs.
I’m no meteorologist, but I’m also thinking that the barometer might be put to good use in some weather apps.
Both phones offer storage of 16, 64 and 128 GB of space, increasing in $100 increments. I recommend the minimum space you consider be 64 GB because you’ll need extra space for photos and apps. The high resolution cameras produce photos that take more space on your phone, plus you’ll probably be taking even more photos and videos using the phone. More sophisticated apps will eat up more space on your phone.
You cannot expand the space on your iPhone after you buy it. If you run out of space you’ll have to move photos and videos off of your phone and onto the Cloud and/or your computer.
You may have to delete apps to manage space on your phone if you get the smaller 16 GB iPhone. App sizes are getting bigger as screen displays improve, so your favorite app may take up more space on your phone with the next update.
If your choice is between spending the extra $100 on a larger 6 Plus versus spending that money going from 16 GB to 64 GB, consider choosing the extra storage space instead of the extra screen space if you like to keep all of your photos and videos on your phone. Having to manage your photos and apps so you have space on your phone can quickly become frustrating.
NFC stands for Near Field Communications and comes on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Like Bluetooth, NFC is a way for phones to communicate with other things, but NFC can do more tasks than Bluetooth.
NFC is going to be used for Apple Pay but there is so much more developers can do with NFC. While Android phones have had NFC for years, general use of the technology hasn’t been as widespread as Bluetooth. Look for exciting new NFC uses from developers beginning in the next year.
The new A8 chip on the 6/6 Plus is smaller, faster and more efficient than the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s.
iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 6/6 Plus
Unless you truly want a phone with a smaller screen size (the iPhone 5s screen measures 4 in/10.16 cm diagonally), invest the extra money to get the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. By spending an extra $100 over the iPhone 5s you can get:
- a better camera
- Apple Pay
- NFC technology
- faster speeds
- more storage
That’s a lot for $100.
The 64 GB iPhone 6 is $150 more than the iPhone 5s with 32 GB of storage. So for $150 more, you’re getting all of the new features plus double the storage space (which you will be needing within the next two years).
Before you make your final decision, be sure to check out this fun quiz from Network World that will reveal some surprising facts about the two phones and test your knowledge of some facts from this article: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Quiz.
Worth the Splurge?
If you want the biggest and best, and have the bank account to satisfy your wishes, then by all means get the 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus for $949. But if your budget or sensibilities require you to make some choices, consider these factors:
1. iPhone 6 over 5s: Worth the splurge, unless you truly want a smaller screen. As stated above, the extra features you get for the iPhone 6 are a bargain at $100/$150.
2. Extra Storage Space: Don’t even think about getting 16 GB. That’s not enough space now and certainly won’t be enough for the next two years. To choose between the 64 and 128 GB sizes, check to see how much space you’re using now and add at least 50% more to estimate how much space you’ll need in the next two years.
To see how much space you’re using on your iPhone go to Settings => General => About => Available
3. iPhone 6 vs. 6 Plus: Getting the iPhone 6 Plus will cost you an extra $100 but will give you:
- Bigger screen size
- Significantly longer battery life
- Optical Image Stabilization for better video quality
- Advanced iOS 8 Features such as landscape view for screens such as the home screen, email and more.
If your vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be or if you’ll be using your phone for a lot of reading, watching videos, viewing photos and other visual tasks, you may enjoy having the added screen space. If you’ll be using the phone as a fitness tracker, when you’re running or doing other exercises, the iPhone 6 may be a better choice.
Another factor to consider: resale. Investing extra money now may pay off later when you sell your phone to get a new one. While you might not recoup your total investment, you should get more money for a later model and more storage space.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus go on sale in stores today, if you can find them. The iPhone 6 Plus is especially difficult to find with supplies running low
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are available in silver, gold and space gray for:
- 16GB $199
- 64GB $299
- 128GB $399
- 16GB $649
- 64GB $749
- 128GB $849
- 16GB $299
- 64GB $399
- 128GB $499
- 16GB $749
- 64GB $849
- 128GB $949
One Last Tech Tip
If you do get your hands on an iPhone today, don’t be like Jack Cooksey, the first person on Perth, Australia to get an iPhone today. He was so excited to be on live TV that his hands were a bit shaky when he opened his iPhone 6 box:
No worries, he declared that all was good after he picked his shiny new iPhone off of the pavement.
You’ll be using your new iPhone frequently over the next two years. Be sure that you’re making the right decision by balancing your budget versus your tech needs. Figure out what you can afford versus which phone will make you the happiest. Consider selling your old tech to afford the new iPhone you want to get. Be sure to hold one in your hands to be sure you’re comfortable with the size. And enjoy your new phone!
Are you debating which iPhone to get? Which factors are most important to you? Are you in line right now to get a phone? Let us know in the Comments section below!
The Wonder of Tech at Aha!NOW
Many thanks to Wonder of Tech reader Harleena Singh for featuring me in her latest article at her wonderful blog, Aha!NOW: The Aha!NOW Chat With Carolyn Nicander Mohr [Interview]. Please stop by her place and check out my answers to her insightful questions!