Hands on with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus!

I spent as long as the very, very polite Apple staff at the iPhone 6 event would allow trying out both the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus today. I tried them multiple times each and I tried multiple apps and as many new features as I could on both of them. So, how did they feel?

The iPhone 6 didn't really feel much bigger than an iPhone 5. It is, of course, 4.-7-inches to 4, and 1334x750 to 1136x640, but because it's so thin — which makes it so light — and so rounded, it was very similar to transition from two years ago. Almost unreal. I have no doubt that, just as I look back at the original iPhone as an iPhone mini now, the iPhone 6 will feel absolutely normal in a week or so.

The iPhone 6 Plus is another story. 5.5-inches with a 1920x1080p display at 401ppi, it definitely feels bigger. Not tablet big, but bigger. The reachability mode, where you double-touch the Touch ID sensor to literally pull the screen halfway down, making everything from the messages app icon to cancel buttons easier to reach is goofy to look at but really instinctive after only a few tries.

If more pixels aren't your thing, you can switch to Display Zoom mode and get the iPhone 5-sized screen scaled up to the iPhone 6 dimensions. Meaning, instead of seeing more stuff on the new iPhones, you get to see the same stuff as the old one, but bigger. That'll be great for accessibility.

Thanks to its bigger screen, the iPhone 6 Plus gets the added benefit of adaptive UI-powered, iPad style two column interfaces in landscape mode. So you basically have a big iPhone in portrait and a small iPad in landscape. That'll be a huge boon for productivity and I really like it.

Thanks to the larger size, the iPhone 6 Plus also gets optical image stabilization (OIS) for the iSight camera. Basically it "floats" the lens to eliminate hand shake so it can keep the aperture open longer and bring in more light. That leads to better photos in darker conditions. I didn't have a chance to try it out but the samples looked great.

Both iPhone 6 models have faster, powerful, more efficient Apple A8 processors and barometer-equipped Apple M8 motion coprocessors. Both have NFC and secure elements for credit card payments. Both have 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE Advanced cellular.

iPhone 6 starts at $199, iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299. Sizes include 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. Colors include gold, silver, and space gray. And they both ship on September 19.

The iPhone 6 would be an easy upgrade since it feels so much like an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s. Within a few days I don't think I'd notice the difference anymore. The iPhone 6 Plus, however, might be an even more compelling one. What you sacrifice in pocket-ability and manipulability you make up for in productivity and low-light photography.

I think I'll make that sacrifice.

Check out the video up top and tell me — which one are you getting?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • While I haven't had the chance to see them in person (and in hand ;-) , I'm 90% sure I'll go for the regular 6 over the 6 Plus. We've all done pretty well all these years with the 3.5 and 4.0 screens, so moving up to 4.7 seems plenty big. And giving up the pocketability by choosing the Plus seems like it would be a MAJOR sacrifice. I don't want my phone jabbing my leg every time I shift or move, and switching to an external carrying case is so 90's. Also keep in mind, with about 2.5 times the number of pixels to push around, the Plus will likely struggle to keep up with the regular 6 on demanding games. I imagine the frame rate on the 6 will be able to far exceed what's possible on the Plus. Finally, I am most interested to see the new Display Zoom feature in action. For me, showing everything a little larger is more helpful than the increased real estate. In fact, this feature pretty much compensates for not having the larger screen of the Plus. So the only feature I'll miss by not getting the Plus is the vastly improved battery life.
  • TipMe I agree with the 4.7. I have seen some people around work with these larger Android phones and they are just to big. I am not looking to replace a tablet and I just don't want a phone that large. I do like the optical image stabilization of the 6+, the landscape home screen is cool and a 1080p screen is awesome but 5.5" phone is to large for my taste.
  • I'd really like to know what size or kind of pants some of you people are wearing lol! I've kept the galaxy note 1 and 2 in my pockets with absolutely no problem at all. With plenty of room to go! If I were to get an iPhone, it would be the iPhone 6.
  • I have the S5 and completely agree with you. Even with my otter box case it fits in my pocket. Guys have roomier pants with bigger pockets, so I don't see any reason why most guys would have a problem. I'm a woman and, if it fits in my jeans, it shouldn't present a problem with most other pockets. I think that 5.1 inches is perfect phone size. That's right between Apple's 4.7 and 5.5.
  • I've been running around with my iPad mini in my back pocket since November 2013. Yeah, it's the 6+ for me.
  • I'm willing to make that sacrifice too. That was originally my plan to try and get the 5.5 over the 4.7 first to see if I could get used to it (assuming both had same specs and features) now I think this is a no brainer for me. Can't wait. Sent from the iMore App
  • iPhone 6 Plus all the way
  • 4.7 against the face as opposed to 5.5 monstrosity.
    What am disappointed with, is the same outdated chunky top bottom bezel style despite it's incredible construction.
    Also can you elaborate on the weight compared to 4s which feels heavy. Sent from the iMore App
  • One more thing...I am SO glad for the 128 GB option! Now I can carry all my music and have plenty of room for apps and the photos and videos I take. Omitting the 32 GB option was a very smart move for Apple (in fact, it's exactly what I hoped they would do). As most people go for the cheapest option and then have to fret over space shortages, giving them 4x the memory for $100 will likely motivate many people to get the 64 GB model. This will vastly improve the overall experience for most people, while giving Apple a nice increase in their margins.
  • I wish they would have dropped the 16 GB version and made the entry point 32 GB for $199/$299.
  • Same. 100$ is a lot. I have 750$ but I'm rather inclined to get the plus rather than more storage. Sent from the iMore App
  • I agree. 16 is more like the old 8G. Just to operate these new phones takes almost 5G. A 16 is really a 12G more, or less, and would not take long to fill it up. Sent from the iMore App
  • My wife will need the 128 GB version. She never deletes photos off the phone.
  • Agreed! Sent from the iMore App
  • agreed, but they do it to make the money from charging double for memory options.. I want the 4.7 but the battery is still stupidly small considering its not removable. Honestly who wouldnt sacrifice 3mm of thickness to get 3+ hours of use out of it? My S2 is about the same size, with the upgrade battery of 2000mah it will thrash the 6 and its over 3 years older tech......hmmm
  • Only battery issue I have ever had with an iPhone was that I had the iPhone 5 with the bad battery that Apple recently recalled. Other than that I have had Android phones in the past for work and the batteries in them have SUCKED!!!
  • Or you could get a phone that allows you to add an SD card. Just saying. I would buy iPhone if I could remove the battery and add memory. I don't want to feel restricted. I wish they would add these options.
  • I always purchase the 32Gb versions so I'm guessing I'll be getting 64Gb which will be cool, even with the new iCloud storage options. I'm drawn to the Plus, but that's mainly because my bro just bought a LG G3 which has an amazing screen. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple loves them some bezel. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • Lol
  • Hello @ReneRitchie, thanks for all of the of the work! With the power button now on the side and opposite the volume rockers, did you find it easy to use the power button without adjusting the volume? (My wife has a Nexus 5 and it drives me mad each time I wake it up and adjust the volume, because I can't hold it any other way without hitting the volume...)
  • Am in love with iPhone 6 + Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • A coworker has a phone about the size of the plus and I seems so huuuuge. I'd probably go 6. But I did the 5s thing not long ago so I get to wait. My daughter is the next up with a 4s. No way in hell she upgrades to the 6+. Maybe not even the 6. With the 5s $99 now she may get that.
  • Why don't you use your daughter's upgrade to purchase the 6, and hand down your 5S to her? This is what my wife and I do each year as our two year contracts rotate.
  • René, what about the protruding camera while laying the phone oh a plain surface? That's what no hands on review covered...
  • I also noticed that & think its a floor given the fussy history of immaculate aesthetics of the past devices, i guess putting a case on will make it sit flat on a table :@
  • They won't talk about a design flaw for people who don't use cases...
  • I have had the LG G3 and Galaxy Note 3. Both were pocketable for me in many instance. Definitely going 64 although I felt the 16 should have been replaced by 32. I believe app sizes are going to increase to account for the variations of screen sizes- iPad/iPad Mini, iPad Air/iPad Mini Retina, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6+. 16 is going fill up very fast. Right now, leaning towards the 6+.
  • 6+ all day. That battery life
  • You mean you guys won't have to hug walls at airport terminals anymore? Welcome to 2012...
  • 925 + HTC One M8 = iShit6
  • I am really disappointed by the lack of a small format option. I have checked 4.7 Android phones and I found them to be to big. I don't find likely that Apple will release an iPhone mini of some sort. And considering the larger phones trend is much more accentuated in Android and Windows Phone, I will be screwed by the time to buy a new phone.
  • Agreed, I'm surprised the conservative option isn't at the most 4.3... sure not a big difference, but I've got a 4", 4.3" and 4.7" in front of me (ipod, moto-g, htc), hard to picture the new smallest size is the biggest phone in my office here.
  • I'll go for iPhone 6 Plus for sure... it's basically the size of LG G3 and less in size than Note 4... and that's absolutely fine with me .. less strain on my eyes.. Thank you Apple for launching both .. more choices for customer and let them decide what they want .. you have made them happy.. these choices are perfect this time around. Sent from the iMore App
  • I will be buying the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus in June when my contract is up.
  • You mean subsidizing. Posted via iMore App
  • So you are all excited about a bigger iPod touch with phone capabilities, lol. Posted via iMore App
  • What's the difference to note 4? Basiccally the same as note 3 Sent from the iMore App
  • Your point is Posted via iMore App
  • Girl Sent from the iMore App
  • God this is the hardest decision: prefer the 6 or 6 +? I'm leaning towards the + simply because I'd hate to get the 6 and it just be an incremental increase from the 5S but then worried that it may be TOO big! What to do, what to do? Lol Sent from the iMore App
  • Ditto!!! I'm facing the same "dilemma" :)
    #firstworldproblems LOL!!!
  • As a die hard electronics fan, I am in trouble. I was leaning towards the 6+ but after reading up on the size of it in comparison to the Note 4/3 (which were my max), I think I'm going to have to pass. That 5.5 inches is Great, but the phone is bigger than the Note 3/4. Now I'm stuck with the decision of a Moto x (2014) or the Iphone 6....Oh such 1st world problems I do have.. I have to replace my G3 (love t, but HATE the dim display) and I just don't know what I will do.... Leaning towards the 6 because of the Camera, but I'm worried how 750p will look on a 4.7 inch screen , 720 didn't really impress me on last years Moto X, so I can't imagine the minor bump in pixel density will wow me...but this is Apple. Now Windows need to release something to make my decision harder.
  • You are getting resolution confused with screen quality. 750p will be fine. The screen on the Moto X was garbage but it wasn't because of resolution.
  • No not really. legibility and appearance of small text is result of the lower resolution. The display other than resolution was beautiful on the X. Colors were brilliant and the screen was pretty bright...My issue is with text legibility, I hope it is not a concern with the 6, because I don't really want the 6+ because of the size of the device. Less Bezel please. Apple please see LG G3.... #Virtual Apple home button in Iphone 8
  • Text resolution/legibility will be exactly the same as it is on the 4/4s/5/5s, the resolution has remained the same, just added pixels as the screen has gotten larger.
  • wait, so only the 6 plus gets the landscape mode home screen and the image stabilization? i thought they both did. i'm having a difficult time finding the differences between the 6 and 6 plus besides screen size and resolution.
  • I think that's more or less it. OIS for the plus, full HD display, bigger battery, and software tweaks. Someone else correct me if I'm wrong :) Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • dumb...i don't even want one now after learning that
  • What, Einstein. Sent from the iMore App
  • So what's the actual capacity of each battery? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Easy for me. I'll be getting the 6Plus! Have iPhone 4. So bigger faster better for me! 64GB! Go big or go home. Been waiting years for an actual LARGE screen, not stretched! Lol. And te rounded edges back again. Thank goodness! Plus it'll be my 'iPad 2 mini' in a sense since that's outdated anyway. Yay. ;-). Kinda sucky in price but guess since feb 2011 with iPhone 4 will be worth it for me--especially considering how long (and smart) I am waiting for the next best from Apple.
  • I'm a fan of android and iOS. I currently have a Galaxy S5 (5.1") and previously had a Moto X (4.7"), previous to that was the iPhone 5.... I regularly switch phones and I think the Moto X's 4.7" screen was the best all around feel. I was really hoping for the iPhone 6 to have wireless charging or to improve the camera to more than 8 megapixels so that I would REALLY want it. I am not a fanboy of either iOS or android, I enjoy them both and I may eventually get an iPhone 6. I would recommend to most people to go with the 4.7" screen. I do find it funny that most people that absolutely love Apple products have bashed the Samsung Note phones and other "phablets" due to their size, but now that Apple released one, many people are on board.
  • Neither, unfortunately. Only than a year into my 5s and full price is too much $$ for me right now.
  • Same here, I got the 5s last year... however, my kid is due for an upgrade and I am trying to convince her to take my 5s so I can use that upgrade for a 6/6+. So far it's a no-go because she wants an android. I tell her (jokingly, of course) that she will get what she gets and like it. :)
  • Why jokingly? Does she pay her portion of the bill or buy her own phones?
  • The 'jokingly' part was sarcastic :)
    90% of the time, I really am that mom where I'll say "you'll get what you get and you'll like it... if not, tough" :)
  • Rene, Since apple expanded the LTE bands in the iPhone 6, can you use a GSM phone on a CDMA network now? Say buy a T-Mobile phone and put a Verizon SIM card in it and have full functionality?
  • Ip6 for me. If I could get an ip5+ with the NFC and updated security chips, I'd do that. I like wearing jeans, not phone carriers!
  • Can we talk about the battery life of the new iPhones? Will it be better? Sent from the iMore App
  • I haven't seen them but I think I'll go for the regular iphone 6 if I can afford it. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm definitely going for the 64GB silver iPhone Plus. I'd be very happy to stick with my 32GB gold 5s for another year if it weren't for its small screen size. I've been waiting for a larger iPhone since last year. The iPhone 6 Plus will be my 5th iPhone so far (3G, 4, 5, 5s). By the way, I'm definitely getting an Apple Watch as well next year, most likely the 42 mm stainless steel with the link bracelet. It looks awesome.
  • I just know that mobile gaming and productivity apps will look amazing on a bigger screen. Definitely skipping the baby steps and taking the leap from a 5s to a 6+
  • Agreeing with those who aren't happy about the lack of a 32gb option. The 16gb is almost worthless, and they insult you some more with the 5C having 8gb only, but now offering 32gb with the 5S for only $50 more than the 16gb 5S. Also still think the antennae bands are fugly. But I'll end up getting the 4.7" 6 in black (excuse me, space grey) in 64gb to replace my ancient flip phone feature (aka, dumb) phone. Sent from the iMore App
  • Its kind of frustrating that the 6 doesn't have OIS -- but the plus is WAY TOO BIG imo... I like to throw my phone in my pocket when I go to the gym, bicycling or running... I'm going for the 6, 64, silver!!!
  • they can make the iPhone as crazily and thinking so different people think jony I've is on drugs but i and i imagine am not alone can't easily pocket my phone that is deal breaker don't matter how god dam earth shattering it is if i can't easily carry it around it becomes a smart landline not a smart mobile phone
  • I'll go for the iPhone 6+ it fits in my pocket and it feels great I like the extra productivity factor. Sent from the iMore App
  • I made cardboard mock-ups to help get an idea what they feel like. Both are true to size and weight. It's the 6+ for me!
  • Luv em Sent from the iMore App
  • I like the larger screen on the 6 for older eyes. Productivity isn't a problem at all on my 5s, so I doubt it will be an issue with the 6 vs 6+. By most reports, both screens deliver comparable, gorgeous image quality to the viewing eye, no matter the insane pixel density of the 6+, so that's not a problem either. OIS is sweet, but it's the only sweet thing missing from the 6. My experience has been that in all but low light situations, the software solution of the 5s works wonders, and that solution is reported to be much improved in both 6 models. In low light, OIS does nothing to correct subject movement, and the best cure for camera shake is some kind of steady rest. Don't get me wrong, I love OIS, and own or owned most every stabilized Canon lens made. But if it ruins the pocket comfort factor, I'll live without it, and bring a Canon monopole clipped to my belt if I plan to take many low light/non flash photos at an event. In movie mode, it appears that OIS doesn't do anything for the 6+, but we have to wait and see for sure. What I can't do without is having my phone comfortably, and safely with me wherever I go. Work or play, I need the phone. My 5s fits in a half sandwich Zip Lock bag, and goes swimming with me. The 6 still fits, and fits in the pocket of my swim shorts. The 6+ is simply too much for me to carry around without constantly making accommodations for it. Even with my 5s, if I need a big screen with awesome color, I use the Lightning/HDMI adaptor, and plug in my desk monitor or a TV for gorgeous full 1080p on a really useful screen size... It's the 128 gig gold 6 for me, and the baby arrives Friday:)
  • iPhone 6 Plus for me. It's been a long wait, but the size is finally what it needs to be.
  • I am in a wheelchair. So swapping from the iPhone 5 and iPad mini to the iPhone 6+ seems a no brainer - one device, simple. Ordered in a very lucky sense on Friday night, despite Aussie competition being super fierce. 128Gb silver. Cannot wait. Yay.