I’ve tested and reviewed dozens of smartphones over the years. But a few things have remained consistent: The iPhone has the best physical design, app selection, and operating system. The competition, like Android phones from Samsung and HTC, have big, beautiful screens, but software and apps that don’t feel quite as polished.
On Tuesday, Apple filled the gap.
Its two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, come with screen sizes that match what its competitors offer. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen. The iPhone 6 has a 5.5-inch screen. As a reminder, the iPhone 5S only had a 4-inch screen, which was pretty puny compared to the other top-tier phones it was competing with. But the new iPhones are still thinner, lighter, and much more beautiful than many of the other chunky, plasticky big-screen Android phones.
I spent about an hour noodling around with both new iPhones following Apple’s splashy launch event Tuesday, and I think they’re about as close to perfect as you’re going to get.
The real head-scratcher is going to be which device is better. I found myself drawn more towards the iPhone 6 instead of the 6 Plus. The two are essentially the same phone (the camera is a little better on the Plus), but I think the 4.7-incher will hit the sweetspot for most folks. It’s the Goldilocks phone: Not too big, but not too small. Just right.
Still, there are plenty of people who have been aching for a large “phablet”-sized device from Apple, and the Plus feels like the best of the category I’ve used. Even though Apple used a premium metal construction on the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s still super thin and light, just 7.1 mm thick, which is still thinner than the iPhone 5S. It’s also deceptively light and comfortable to hold for a phone of that size. And the screen just pops.
One of Apple’s biggest reasons for not making a bigger iPhone (until now) has been it’s tough to use those devices with one hand. So, while the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus might be a lot to handle if you have tiny mitts, Apple made some clever software improvements to help you out. And it’s much better than other “one-hand” modes I’ve seen on other smartphones.
First, you can adjust the settings to enlarge icons and apps on the two iPhones, which makes them fill the screen nicely.
You can also lightly tap (but not push!) the home button twice to squish the top portion of the screen down so you can easily reach it.
It looks like this:
I’ll admit, I hated giant phones like Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablets at first. It took me until last year’s Note 3 to finally come around and see the value of big-screen phones. I missed a huge emerging trend.
Apple, while late to the trend, clearly saw the value in big screens too. And it executed on that much better than anyone else.
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