Seven days on from getting an iPhone 6 Plus I thought it might be useful to report back on how I’m finding it. Apple and the iPhone range in particular is getting some bad press at the moment so I wanted to offer my objective opinion on what the new model is like.

After watching the Apple announcements on September 9th (sorry, attempting to watch what was the worst stream in the history of Apple event streams),  I was undecided on which option to take when it came to the upgrade I was eligible for with my phone contract. It took me a while to make a decision on which model to get because moving from a 4” iPhone 5 to a 5.5” iPhone 6 Plus was definitely going to be a mjor change. That said, I was more tempted by that model because of the supposedly superior battery life and also the Optical Image Stabilisation in the camera’s lens (in theory this allows you to take better, less blurry images in dark environments, and more stable video footage) . But it did take me a couple of days to finally decide that the 6 Plus was going to fit my pockets (in every sense).

Having placed an order with Apple for an iPhone 6 Plus just three days after release (I was in the US at the time and wanted to see them in person before choosing between the 4.7” and 5.5” model), I was more than a little disappointed to be told it would be the end of October before I received mine (there is a subplot, but I won’t bore you with that right now).

To cut a long story short, I got lucky last week when I noticed that one of the local Apple Store’s had the exact model I wanted in stock. Quick as a flash I cancelled my online order, and reserved the local one. Later that afternoon I picked up my iPhone 6 Plus (White & Silver 128Gb if you are interested) and took it home to migrate my information across.

As always the process of transferring my data form one phone to another was relatively straightforward. I strongly recommend backing up to a computer (not iCloud) before activating the new phone as this is much quicker than shifting large amounts of information in both directions. I do wish however that the data transfer worked at USB3 speeds over Lighning cables rather than USB2 which is 1/40th of the speed of USB3 (this seems rather backwards to me). I’m hoping that Apple will do something about this in future, as syncing 128GB at 12MB/s is painfully slow…….

As reported elsewhere, iOS 8 is still rather buggy, and at this stage I’m going to blame some of the irritating transfer issues I had on the earliest release of the new OS. Perhaps when iOS 8.1 (and later) come out we’ll see improvements to the base OS installed on the phones available to buy.  I did get a few apps that were just mysteriously not installed on the new phone during the transfer which I had to go and redownload from my Puchased list. None of my data had been lost so it wasn’t an issue, just a minor irritation. I found it easiest to have the old phone (set in flight safe mode) alongside the new one and compare the screens for missing apps.

Anyway, the point of this blog post was not to knock the transfer process or how long it took to get hold of the bloomin’ thing! I really wanted to get it down in writing how my feelings towards the phone, in particular its increased physical size, had changed over the first week.

Despite my initiial reservations on seeing the 6 Plus in store I got one anyway. And when I opened my own phone up, I have to say that there were a few moments of “have I done the wrong thing”. The thing is, the new phone is significantly bigger in your hand than an iPhone 5 or 5s. On the other hand (sorry, thats probably a bad choice of words), it’s absolutely stunning. The screen quality is way, way better than the earlier phones (the iPhone has been ‘Retina” since the iPhone 4, but comparing the screen of an iPhone 6 Plus even with its smaller sibling iPhone 6 there is a noticeable increase in image quality), and as always with Apple products, it feels like a quality product compared to its cheaper competitors. But it’s still Big.

As usual though, the human reaction to something new is generally to adapt, and without deliberately doing so I guess that is what has happened over the past week. Hand me an iPhone 5 today, and I think “wow, that’s so small, how did I ever cope?”! The truth is I’m beginning to really appreciate that extra size. Things like SatNav are so much clearer to see when I’m driving, and it’s almost big enough to consider not needing an iPad (not quite, but almost).

While the screen is larger, it’s also thinner (not hugely, but it does feel that way), and because of that I don’t find it’s causing me any problems in terms of putting it into a pocket (my days of skinny jeans passed in the 1980’s). And because I haven’t yet suffered the most frustrating of all smartphone problems (zero charge) I’ve not needed to put the new phone into an external battery pack (not that I’ve seen any available yet), so it feels lighter than my old iPhone 5 with its Mophie Juicepack Air case.

That leads me onto battery. I’d read reports of two day battery life in the new phone, and while I can’t say I’m getting that, it is definitely massively improved from the previous generations. I use an app called Rove which keeps a GPS track of my movements constantly (I use this to double check car mileage), which reduces the battery life somewhat. I also use TomTom in the car whenever I’m driving, and always plug in to a car charger when there to make sure I top up wherever possible. But working that way with my lats phone, I’d have got through a full charge and the Mophie battery in a day no problem at all. So far, I don’t think the iPhone 6 has dropped below 50% in a day (so maybe I would get two days…….trouble is I couldn’t leave the house with only 50% charge just to test the theory!)

My testing with the camera has not been exhaustive, but from my initial tests I’d have to say it’s as good, if not better, than your average point and shoot camera…….except for when you are using flash. The LED flash, while it’s better than previous models, is still not as good as a true flash like those found on ‘proper’ cameras. But for your average snapshots while out and about, when you don’t have your other camera, this new iPhone is exceptionally good. It’s not a replacement, but its a worthy stablemate for a dSLR or point and shoot.

So in summary, a week after getting the iPhone 6 Plus, would I be willing to swap to an iPhone 6?

In all honesty, I don’t think I would. I’m used to the extra screen size now and feel that going to a smaller screen would be noticeably worse for me. I don’t have particularly large hands, but it fits me quite nicely and it doesn’t feel too conspicuous making a phone call with it next to your face (as I expected it would). Yes, I’ve adjusted the way I hold and use my phone, but I’m more than used to this now.

That said, I think it’s very much a decision every person will have their own perspective on. My wife has an iPhone 6, and there’s no way she would want the bigger phone. Even the 4.7” model is a little bigger than she would like, but I’m sure given time she too will get used to it. It very much depends on your own use case as to which model will suit you. If you wear tight trousers and don’t carry a hand (or man) bag, the 6 Plus is probably not for you unless you’re prepared to make some lifestyle changes, such as changing your dress style to accommodate the benefits the bigger phone gives (better battery, optical image stabilisation and bigger, better screen).

For me though, despite the frustrating number of iOS8 bugs, the iPhone 6 Plus is a welcome refresh of the Apple range, and I don’t see anything out there at the moment that would offer a serious challenge to it (and here’s the important bit…….in my opinion).

Have a great day