Look at the footage, though, and you'd swear I had elbows of steel or a Steadicam of some sort. As you can see, the iPhone also takes fantastic pictures of tiny black dogs, one of the most notoriously difficult subjects to capture.


Sure, the Lumia 1020 can take far more detailed images, and so can my DSLR. But now I can easily take photos and video with my phone that were difficult if not impossible for me before. You know all those people who hold up iPads to take pictures? This is the phone they want.


These days, a day and a half of solid battery life is par for the course for Galaxy Note-sized phablets, and I can't say I got much more than that out of the iPhone 6 Plus. But that still makes it one of the longest-lasting phones I've ever used — another weight off my shoulders.

Taking the phone off the charger at 7:30AM, I used it heavily for most of one day, downloading apps, playing games, accessing websites and dealing with email, plus an hour of turn-by-turn GPS navigation with the screen on. Without charging the phone, I still had 30 percent remaining at 9:20AM the next morning. After taking some adorable photos and video of our little Shih Tzu puppy, there was only 9 percent battery left by 11:14. But that 9 percent, left idle for emergencies, lasted seven more hours without dying. And after just two hours back on the charger, I was fully juiced once again. I've seen similar results in the days since.


To me, the most impressive part is how quickly the 6 Plus charges: in a pinch, you can get 10 percent charge in just 10 minutes. Keep a Lightning cable in the car and your phone will never go thirsty.


Surprisingly, it's the landscape keyboard that's the weakest link in the iPhone 6 Plus's formidable chainmail facade. Yes, the feature I had most hoped would be fantastic is the one that didn't quite work. Despite having all the extra horizontal real estate, Apple chose to fill it up with shortcut keys for copy / paste operations and common punctuation instead of actually making the basic letters any larger or easier to reach with thumbs. You can't invoke a split-keyboard like the iPad, which is a shame. Still, you can now install your own custom keyboards, and SwiftKey works pretty well in landscape.

I'm also ashamed to say I'm actually growing really fond of the iPhone's portrait keyboard, the one I mocked way back in 2008. Now that the iPhone hardware itself is finally wide enough to accommodate both my thumbs at the same time, I'm actually enjoying the responsive, clicky feeling. After only a few days of testing, I already feel like I can touch-type a whole variety of sentences without looking at the keys.


Overall, the iPhone 6 Plus is the best tablet I've ever used. With it on my person, I don't feel any need to own a Nexus 7 or iPad mini.



The build quality is fantastic. My Netflix movies look incredible. I never worry that I'll miss capturing an amazing moment with the camera, or that the battery won't last the day. I also don't worry about whether the phone will bend: this is a pretty solid, rigid piece of kit, and unless you have Chun Li thighs or have a major mishap I don't see it contorting easily.

It's also a fantastic attention-grabber and conversation-starter. People stop me to ask about the phone, and they're stunned by the crazy stabilized shots, beautiful panoramas and hilarious slow-motion videos it can create. (Cute puppies may also have something to do with it.)


I love Touch ID. It's fantastic not to have to enter passwords to purchase new apps, not to mention every time I want to quickly bypass my lock screen.


Lastly, coming from Android, I'm really growing to appreciate the selection on the iTunes App Store. In particular, iOS has better access to games, but there's also something to be said for just knowing that the store will have the app you're looking for.

No Like


I constantly worry that I'm going to drop the damn phone. I've dropped it three times already, thankfully onto carpet, and thankfully only while it was inside a case. I just can't find a good way to use it with one hand, which rules out using the phone any time I need to be multitasking. I guess that's okay. And while the 6 Plus does technically fit in all my pants pockets, it creates such a huge bulge that I worry it will tip off thieves. After all, I can barely hold onto the device with a single hand, so I'm going to be pretty damn vulnerable for that split-second when I pull it out of my pocket.

I hate having to use a case. I also hate the incredibly ugly plastic antenna lines on the back of this phone, though, so I suppose it's doubly necessary.


Other than a decent grip on its giant surfaces, the other thing I miss from Samsung's Galaxy Note is the active stylus. Split-screen multitasking, pinpoint control, and the ability to quickly capture and annotate screencaps are useful features even if you aren't fond of drawing or handwriting.

Call quality was not particularly great for me. I'm not normally a T-Mobile customer, so I don't know if it has anything to do with that, but I do know that the iPhone 6 Plus's earpiece doesn't get nearly as loud as I'd like. People didn't seem to have trouble hearing me.


And, so far, I prefer Google Now to Siri. Having to plug in the iPhone in order to activate Siri with my voice is an annoying extra step, and Google seems a teensy bit better at understanding my sentences.

For the life of me, I have no idea why Apple only allows you to download apps smaller than 100MB on a cellular connection. It wasn't a big deal after a few days, but when I was first downloading apps for my phone I couldn't grab some of them until I got home, which was never a problem on Android. It feels arbitrary.


Should I Buy It?


Occasionally, during the time I was testing the iPhone 6 Plus, my other phone would ring. I'd reach into my pocket and pull out my 4.7-inch Moto X, and immediately wonder what the hell I was thinking using this iPhone monstrosity. The Moto X just fits so perfectly into my palm, works so wonderfully with just a single thumb, that I don't know why I'd need anything else.

But that's the thing about the iPhone 6 Plus. You don't need it, but you might want it anyhow. As far as I'm concerned, it's a tablet, and to me tablets are optional computers for when you want more real estate than you can fit in your pocket but also want something you can carry around. They're fantastic for entertainment, and sometimes decent for productivity. Now, you can get one with a great portrait keyboard and an incredible camera too.


But if you don't have oversized hands and pockets and primarily need a new phone, I'd recommend something else. I'm impressed enough with iOS 8 that I might try the regular iPhone 6. If that's not the ticket, I'll go back to my Moto X.

iPhone 6 Plus Specs

• Network: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

• OS: iOS 8

• CPU: A8 with M8 motion coprocessor

• Screen: 5.5-inch 1920×1080 IPS LCD display (401 ppi)

• RAM: 1GB

• Storage: 16GB, 64GB, 128GB

• Camera: 8MP rear with optical image stabilization / 1.2MP front

• Battery: 2915 mAh Li-Ion

• Dimensions: 3.06 x 6.22 x 0.28 inches

• Weight: 6.07 ounces

• Price: Starts at $300 with a two-year contract for 16GB, $750 off-contract