When it comes to the iPhone 6, one of the most immediate impressions will definitely be the industrial and material design. Going back to the launch of the original iPhone 5 one of the immediate impressions that we had was that the iPhone 5 felt incredibly light and thin. If nothing else, the same is true of the iPhone 6.

While the new iPhone 6 isn’t lighter than the iPhone 5, it feels incredibly thin compared to the iPhone 5s I had on hand for comparisons. In fact, the iPhone 6 feels a lot like the HTC 8X in terms of the thickness of the edge, but without the strongly sloped back to increase the size of the phone in the hand.

The size itself is also a key feature, and as I suspected the iPhone 6 feels very much like the One (M7) in size, which I still find to be a great fit and easily used with one hand. While it’s definitely possible for the iPhone 6 to be a bit bigger without being impossible to reasonably use with one hand, it manages to hit a good balance between ease of use with one hand and display size for media consumption.

Of course, the iPhone 6 Plus isn’t really easy to use with one hand, as just the 77.8mm width makes it difficult to reach across the display horizontally, much less from diagonally. It is definitely easy to hold with one hand though, and the rounded display feels great.

In terms of the design of the device, it’s clear that Apple had to break some trends that seemed to be present in previous iPhones. For one, the noticeable camera bump came from a need to maintain and/or improve camera quality while simultaneously driving down z-height overall, so there seems to have been an industrial design trade-off here for the sake of functionality. There’s also the relatively thick plastic lines which are a departure from previous designs but seem to be necessary for NFC capabilities. I’m personally unsure how I feel on these two design elements, but they may be an issue for some.

Looking past the size of the iPhone 6, there are a lot of noticeable subtle changes to the device compared to the iPhone 5s. In terms of low-hanging fruit, the side-mounted power button definitely helps with keeping a firm grip while turning on the phone, and I didn’t find any real issues when trying to turn the phone on or off. The slightly curved glass that helps to make for a smooth transition when swiping off the edge of the display is also a nice touch, although I’m concerned about the implications that this has for drop resilience and screen protectors. This is mostly based upon my past experience with such 2.5D displays, as traditional PET screen protectors generally don’t adhere properly to curved surfaces and Android phones with this type of cover glass tended to suffer from shattered displays more readily.

There are some changes that are subtle enough that I’m not sure if this is a product of production variance. In the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that I tried, I noticed that the home button seemed to be closer to the display when compared to the iPhone 5s, and that the feel of the button was a bit more positive, although the click is still relatively subdued compared to the volume and power buttons.

One of the highlight features of the iPhone 6 Plus is optical image stabilization, but it appears that it doesn’t run during preview so it was hard to see just how much accommodation the system has and how it works. Although the announcement seemed to suggest that the module moves vertically and horizontally, it seems more likely that we’re looking at a VCM that shifts the lenses around to compensate for horizontal and vertical motion.

Overall, it was rather hard to really notice any difference in responsiveness as the iPhone 5s almost never stuttered or hesitated in my experience. The iPhone 6 similarly had no such issues when casually trying various features but a full review may show that this changes when used in real world situations.

Unfortunately, many of the features that Apple has implemented in this latest iteration seem to follow the same pattern as they aren’t easily demonstrated. For example, seeing exactly what Apple means by dual domain pixels effectively requires a microscope to clearly see what Apple is talking about, and really seeing a difference in color shifting, along with improved maximum contrast requires a dark room with little stray light.

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  • kyuu - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    Er... the models with more storage have *higher* margins than the base model, not less. They're charging $100 for ~$5 worth of NAND (if that).
  • Zan Lynx - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    $5 would be assuming the cheapest sort of NAND. I like to think Apple buys better stuff than that. I could be wrong though.

    You're still right in that it can't cost nearly $100.
  • Mayuyu - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    $5 for 48GB or 64 GB of NAND. I would like to buy this in bulk thx.
  • zeagus - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    Apple doesn't use shitty bargain basement NAND.
  • nycionx - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    I've always been against Apple's whole "models" bullshit. Do u see ANY other company that has models??? NO! Cuz they're generous enough to give u a microsd slot. Something apple will never implement, cuz it won't make them nearly as much money as they do this way. But think about fascinating that is... Apple products are the only pieces of mobile/portable technology that DO NOT have a freaking microsd slot! I mean I've seen shitty 2$ MP3 players on eBay from China that give u a microsd. Nuf said!
  • DeathBecomesMe - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    I think it's a good looking phone. Been an Android user from day 1. Think it's time for a change.
  • puremind - Sunday, September 14, 2014 - link

    Holy cow! 77.8mm is huge for a 5.5" device when the phablet market has stabilized at around 74.5mm. Most manufacturers try to offer the largest possible screen in ever smaller frames. What were Apple thinking when they decided to keep the same bezel proportions on the 5.5" model? This is one fail of a phablet! I never thought Apple would observe the phablet segment for so long only to underdeliver on the single most important phablet characteristic.
  • AppleCrappleHater2 - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    Worship the holy apple.

    The apple way, selling over expensive crap to stupid consumers that like to
    get robbed.

    This has been a disastrous launch in every respect. The iwatch is such an
    ugly piece of crap, it is truly unbelievable how a company, formerly known for
    its remarkable design, dares to put out such a crap ton of shit. Some
    characteristics are glaringly obvious and inherent to it: over expensive,
    hardly innovative, limited functionality and usability (need of an iPhone to
    make it work), looks exactly like a toy watch and so on.

    There are of course way better smart watches out there, especially form the
    likes of Samsung, Sony, Motorola, Asus, LG, simply put, there is no need for
    another piece of over expensive junk.

    The iPhone 6 is technologically stuck in pre-2011 times, a base model witch
    a capacity of 16GB without the possibility to use SD cards isn't even funny
    anymore. The screen resolution is horrendous, it isn't water proof, shock and
    dust resistant, it offers nothing innovative, just some incremental
    updates over its predecessor, both lacking severely behind their competitors at
    their respective launch dates.

    Now the Iphone 6 Plus offers a „Retina HD“ screen, full 1920x1080p, oh wow,
    where have you been for the past 4 years apple, talk about trailing behind.
    That’s pathetic. The interesting thing about that is the fact that apple
    always manages to sell backwards oriented, outdated crap to its user base, all
    while pretending to be an innovative technology leader. The similarities
    regarding any form of sectarian cult are striking.

    You gotta love how Apple always comes up with new marketing bullshit terms,
    aka "Retina HD", with the intention to manipulate its users while preventing easy
    comparisons with its competitors by withholding the actual specs. Apparently it’s
    not enough to have an 1080p screen, you have to call it "Retina HD" to make those
    suckers buy it, otherwise someone could look at the 4K Amoled and Oled screens
    form LG and Samsung devices and get outright disappointed. Same goes for
    everything else. Every outdated „feature“ needs to get its own marketing label
    to persuade buyers with crappy „experience“ and „usability“ ads, while covering
    the truth with marketing gibberish, knowing full well that only a fraction of
    aforementioned buyers cares to look at the facts and dares to compare them.

    Car engines come to mind. For comparisons shake let’s look at a 1.0 liter, turbo
    charged petrol engine and a V8 compressor. What’s better should be obvious, but
    by calling the former an „ecobooster“, thus giving it a special marketing label,
    this joke becomes a „feature“, something positive that can be added tot the list
    of features of a car.

    By doing so a negative aspect is transformed into a positive one, the
    reality is distorted, non tech savvy buyers are manipulated and comparisons are
    made more difficult (another layer of marketing bullshit to overcome), well done
    marketing department. You see , if something is seriously lacking (of course for
    profit, what else), don’t bother explaining, just give it a nice marketing term, distort
    reality, make it a feature and call it a day. Fuck that!!

    The Apple Iphone 1 and Ipad 1 might have been innovative at their time,
    but since then, the bitten apple has been continuously rotting from the inside
    outwards, always swarmed by millions of Iworms which regale themselves with its
    rotten flesh, not forgetting all other Americans who support apple by means of
    their tax dollars to finance its bought US Treasury/Government bond interest rates.

    Last but not least, every Apple product includes a direct hotlink to the nsa,
    free of charge, something that might make it a good value, after all.

    Ceterum censeo Applem esse delendam.
  • puremind - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    You should entire the fact that it is 77.8mm broad, this is bloody large for a 5.5" device, even the Chinese brands have smaller bezels now (75mm) not to mention LG (74.8mm) and Sharp (73mm). I am astounded by the fact that Apple enters the phablet segment with the thickest bezels in the market!
  • puremind - Monday, September 15, 2014 - link

    And agree on trailing behind. Even with their first. Smartphone. It took them longer than everyone else to upgrade to 3G,and then later to 4g, or add a flash for their camera. On the hardware side they have never been ahead of the market. They only had a Software edge pre-Android. Back then HTC already had the best hardware.

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