RE-REVIEW

Six months in, the iPhone 6 Plus is the best computer I’ve ever had

Obsession
Mobile Web
Obsession
Mobile Web

The strangest thing happened the other day when I picked up my iPhone 6 Plus: It looked and felt like a normal smartphone—no longer a comically large pocket computer.

It’s now been six months since I started using a 6 Plus, which Apple released in September 2014. That’s roughly one-fourth of the way through its expected two-year lifespan. And I’m happier than ever with the decision to go for a gigantic phone. I haven’t bent or dropped it yet, and considering its power for portability—and that it cost less than $1,000—it’s the best computer I’ve had.

I’m totally used to the size (now)

At first, it was a bit jarring. After a month, I called it “luxuriously comfortable.” Now it’s just normal. I don’t think I’d like to go back to a smaller iPhone. Until the 6 and 6 Plus, Apple was simply wrong about big phones, and it’s smart that the company has changed course. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have both been huge hits.

Its best features haven’t changed

From the beginning, my favorite things about the phone have included: a gorgeous screen that makes reading and typing efficient (there are still many tasks I need a Mac for, but I’m more productive on-the-go than ever before); a consistently impressive battery life; an amazing camera; and the subtle convenience of Apple Pay. Six months later, those are still my favorite features.

Most apps are now (theoretically) “optimized” for the big screen

This mostly means that they show more information than before. I haven’t yet seen any that use the extra space to do anything really interesting. Meanwhile, keeping important buttons in the upper-right corner—a stretch for the left thumb—probably isn’t a great long-term design strategy. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple tweaks iOS 9 and its system apps with whatever it’s learned about iPhone 6 Plus usage.

Big screens are optimized for today’s smartphone uses

The size of the 6 Plus is proving to be great for fast-growing activities like mobile video, messaging, and business chat. I’m eager to see where Apple takes this, especially if its new “taptic” feedback system—which adds a spooky sensation of depth while touching a flat surface—makes it to this year’s iPhone 6 Plus update.

Some weaknesses are starting to appear

Multi-tasking sometimes seems a bit too much for the 6 Plus to handle. Closing one app to grab a web URL, for example, sometimes resets the text field you’re writing in another. Apple could afford to put more memory in these.

I have a reason now for buying an Apple Watch

There are still a few activities that are better on smaller devices, such as one-handed text messaging, quick map checks while walking down unfamiliar streets, and shuffling podcasts on a moving train. I haven’t worn a watch in more than a decade, and I’m not sure I’ll like having something on my wrist all day. But the idea of having basic information and remote-control features available at a glance—and keeping my big phone in my pocket when it’s not convenient to take out—is now compelling.

Previously: A month in, the iPhone 6 Plus was the right choice

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