2014 iPhone buyers guide: How to choose between the iPhone and other phones, including Samsung Galaxy, HTC One, Moto X, Nexus, Nokia Lumia, BlackBerry, and more!
Apple has released the brand new, top-of-the-line, flagship iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But is either of them the right phone for you? While everyone here at iMore certainly believes the iPhone is absolutely the best phone for most people, most of the time, we're lucky that every major platform now has one or more great phones for us to choose from as well. The iPhone may have the best overall user experience, the highest quality apps and games, the widest range of services, the biggest selection of accessories, and the best customer support, but there are also things the iPhone doesn't offer that other phones do, like physical keyboards, high power cameras, digitizers, or simply no Apple logo anywhere near them. So, how do you know the iPhone is for you?
User interface and interactions
Apple prioritized iPhone user experience from the get-go. It didn't have as many features as other phones of the time, but it had an interface that made every other phone look obsolete by comparison. From slide to unlock to pinch and zoom, it became a mainstream sensation. Over time, Apple's built on that with everything from FaceTime for incredibly easy video calls to Siri for incredibly engaging voice control. A lot of other companies throw a lot more features at the wall, hoping something sticks. Apple's focus on the best, more coherent, most usable features. iOS 8 makes it even better. Last year Apple re-built the entire interface on top of a game-style physics and particle engine, so it's even more discoverable, playful, and powerful than ever before. This year they've added extensibility for custom keyboards, widgets, inter-app communication, and more, and continuity to seamlessly move between iPhone, iPad, Mac, and, coming next year, Apple Watch
Plus, with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, you get Touch ID, a breakthrough fingerprint scanner that lets you unlock your iPhone and use Apple Pay as your digital wallet.
Apps and games
Apple is neck-in-neck when it comes to sheer number of items in the App Store, but they're still way ahead when it comes to the quality of items in the App Store. Sure, every platform has more than its fair share of junk, but the best of the App Store is still unmatched. There are a couple reasons for this. First, Apple's frameworks for developers are still unmatched. Everything from audio to accelerate to metal just don't exist in useful form anywhere else. Second is the developers themselves. Early iOS developers came from the very design-centric, experience-centric Mac developer community. That set the bar very high. Likewise, some of the biggest and best gaming franchises came to the iPhone early, and still come to the iPhone first. While you can get a lot of name brand apps on multiple platforms now, many of the boutique apps are still iOS exclusive, including Tweetbot, Capo Touch, Storefront, Fantastical, Drafts, Screens, Twitterrific, Vesper, Launch Center Pro, Infinity Blade, Tiny Wings, Letterpress, and more. That's not even including Apple's own apps, some of the best in mobile, like GarageBand, and iMovie. Other platforms are attaining breadth. iOS has kept ahead on depth.
Range of services
When you get an iPhone, not only do you get instant access to all of Apple's great services, like iCloud backups, and iTunes in the Cloud re-downloads, but you also get access to pretty much all of Google and Microsoft/Nokia's best services — Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, Google Drive, Google+, Hangouts, Outlook, SkyDrive, Bing, Skype, BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) and to the best third party services like Dropbox, Box, Spotify, Songza, Pandora, Netflix, Amazon Kindle and video, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and many more. Apple doesn't offer their stuff on any other phones, but almost everybody offers everything on iPhone.
Selection of accessories
Because Apple only makes two new phones and a year, typically keeps the same design for two years in a row, and sells hundreds of millions of them, it makes it a no brainer for accessory makers to support them. Almost anything and everything that gets made in the next year will get made for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
No matter what kind of case you want, what capacity battery charger, what kind of photo mount or lens, what type of Bluetooth accessory, what kind of lights or speakers, door locks or openers, chances are you won't only find it, you'll find several great options to choose from.
If you have an Apple Retail Store near you, there's no point choosing any other phone. Apple will not only sell you an iPhone, but they'll help you set it up and show you how to use it, give you free lessons on all the main features. More importantly, if anything goes wrong, they'll fix it for you or swap it for a new phone, usually while you wait. You can make a Genius Bar appointment, walk in with a broken iPhone, and thanks to Apple customer service and iCloud, walk out half and hour later with a replacement phone containing all of your stuff, that's essentially a clone of the one you walked in with. No one else comes close to matching Apple's level of customer service. Appallingly, no one else even tries.
Even though the iPhone's user experience is unmatched, the app, accessory, and services unequaled, and the customer service the best in the business, there's still more you may need. That's where iMore comes in. We'll help you get used to your new iPhone, help you figure out which are the best apps, accessories, and services for you, and help show you all the things you can do with it, like photography, music, and more. And when you're ready, we'll help you upgrade to your next phone.
Whether you keep up with us on the web, with our iPhone app, or via RSS, Twitter, App.net, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, or iTunes, or some other way, you'll quickly find out the iPhone doesn't only come with great stuff, it comes with a great community!
Who should get the iPhone?
If you want a phone that just works, and that has all the great user experience, app and game, accessory and services, customer support and iMore community benefits, then the iPhone is for you. And if you've been holding out for a bigger screen or extensibility, hold out no more!
The iPhone remains the single best phone in the world for most people, and for most people it remains the single best choice.
Who should get not-an-iPhone?
Of course the iPhone still doesn't have a hardware keyboard, there isn't a wide variety of makes and models, custom interfaces, digitizers and pens, rugged models, or giant cameras. If you have a very specific need, you'll need a very specific device to fill it.
|Feature||Apple iPhone 6 (4.7-inch)||Apple iPhone 6 (5.5-inch)||Samsung Galaxy S5||Samsung Galaxy Note 4||LG G3||HTC One M8||Moto X (2014)||Nokia Lumia 930||Nokia Lumia 1520||BlackBerry Z30||BlackBerry Passport|
|OS||iOS 8||iOS 8||Android 4.4.2||Android 4.4.4||Android 4.4.2||Android 4.4.3||Android 4.4.4||Windows Phone 8.1||Windows Phone 8.1||BlackBerry 10.2||BlackBerry 10.3|
|Screen Size||4.7 inches||5.5 inches||5.1 inches||5.7 inches||5.3 inches||5.0 inches||5.2 inches||5.0 inches||6.0 inches||5.0 inches||4.5 inches|
|Screen Resolution||1334x750 (326ppi)||1920x1080 (401ppi)||1920x1080 (432 ppi)||2560 x 1440 (515 ppi)||2560 x 1440 (538 ppi)||1920x1080 (441 ppi)||1920x1080 (423 ppi)||1920x1080 (441ppi)||1920x1080 (368ppi)||1280x720 (295ppi)||1440x1440 (453ppi)|
|Screen Type||IPS LED||IPS LED||Super AMOLED||Super AMOLED||IPS LCD||IPS LCD||AMOLED||OLED||IPS LCD||Super AMOLED||LCD|
|Processor||64-bit Apple A8||64-bit Apple A8||2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801||2.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805||2.46 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801||2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801||2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801||2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800||2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800||1.7 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro||2.2Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800|
|RAM||—||—||2GB||3GB||2GB or 3GB||2GB||2GB||2GB||2GB||2GB||3GB|
|microSD Card||No||No||Up to 128GB||Up to 64GB||Up to 128GB||Up to 128GB||No||No||Yes, up to 64GB||XXXXX||Yes, up to 64GB|
|Cellular||LTE-A Cat 4||LTE-A Cat 4||LTE-A Cat 4||LTE-A Cat 6||LTE||LTE||LTE||LTE||LTE||LTE||LTE|
|Rear Camera||8MP, BSI, digital image stabilization, ƒ/2.2, phase detection focusing, 1080p||8MP, BSI, OIS, ƒ/2.2, phase detection focusing, 1080p||16MP with Phase Detection Autofocus and selective focus||16MP, BSI, OIS, 4K||13MP with OIS and laser autofocus||4MP UltraPixel, BSI, ƒ/2.0 + depth sensor||13MP, ƒ/2.5, 4K||20MP, BSI, OIS, ƒ/2.4, 1080p||20MP, BSI, OIS, ƒ/2.4 lens, 1080p||8MP, BSI, ƒ/2.2, 1080p||13MP, BSI, OIS, ƒ/2.0, 1080p|
|Front Camera||1.2MP, BSI, ƒ/2.2, 720p, burst mode||1.2MP, BSI, ƒ/2.2, 720p, burst mode||2MP, 1080p||3.7MP, ƒ/1.9||2.1MP||5MP, ƒ/2.0||2MP, 1080p||1.2MP, ƒ/2.4, 720p||2MP, 720p||2MP, 720p||2MP, 720p|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE||Bluetooth 4.0 LE|
|Wi-Fi||802.11ac 2.4GHz / 5GHz||802.11ac 2.4GHz / 5GHz||802.11 ac||802.11 ac||802.11 ac||802.11 ac||802.11 ac||802.11 ac||802.11 n||802.11 n||802.11 n|
|GPS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS||aGPS, GLONASS|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Infrared, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Infrared, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light RGB, Barometer, Compass, Gesture, Gyroscope, Hall, Heart rate, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light RGB, Barometer, Compass, Gesture, Gyroscope, Hall, Heart rate, Proximity, SpO2, UV||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Compass, Gyroscope, Infrared, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity||Accelerometer, Ambient light, Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity, Time of flight|
|Fingerprint||Touch ID||Touch ID||Fingerprint Scanner||Fingerpring scanner||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|TV out||AirPlay, HDMI||AirPlay, HDMI||MHL||MHL||MHL||MHL||MHL||MHL||microHDMI||microHDMI||SlimPort|
|Size||138.1 x 67.0 x 6.9mm||158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm||142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm||153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5mm||146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9mm||146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm||140.8 x 72.4 x 9.9mm||137.0 x 71.0 x 9.8mm||162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7mm||140.7 x 72 x 9.4mm||128.0 x 90.3 x 9.3mm|
|Wireless charging||No||No||Available Qi back||Available Qi back||Available Qi back/Powermat||No||No||Qi||No||No||No|
|Waterproof||No||No||IP67 rated||IP67 rated||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Applications||App Store||App Store||Google Play||Google Play||Google Play||Google Play||Google Play||Windows Phone Store||Windows Phone Store||BlackBerry World / Android apps||BlackBerry World / Android apps|
|Availability||September 2014||September 2014||Now||October 2014||Now||Now||September 2014||Now||Now||Now||September 2014|
If you're still not sure about the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, jump into our iPhone discussion forums and the best community in mobile will happily help you out. If you're not sure in general, head on over to your local big box or carrier show and ask to try them out. Don't settle for dummy phones, ask to use demo units, and ask a lot of questions.
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