The Ultimate iPhone 6 and 6 Plus review we have been waiting for : AnandTech Review

hasanahmad

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 20, 2009
1,152
846
iPhone 6 review:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8554/the-iphone-6-review

Summary

Overall, the iPhone 6 is a significant step up from the iPhone 5s. One of the first areas where we see noteworthy changes is in the industrial design of the phone. Instead of the hard edges that we saw with the iPhone 5 design, the sides of the phone are now all curved in nature to give much better in-hand feel, and the result is surprisingly appealing as well due to how the glass curves down to meet the metal body. The iPhone 6 is also sitting right around the best balance of display size and one-handed usability, which helps with the in-hand feel aspect. I really have to make it a point to address size in the case of the iPhone 6. While this is definitely a matter of personal opinion and will vary from person to person, I find the size of the iPhone 6 to be refreshing after using phone after phone that pushed display size too far. While Reachability is definitely helpful, the size of the iPhone 6 is such that I really wouldn't miss such a feature on the iPhone 6 because it is an appropriate size. I never really had any issue handling a flagship from 2013 like the Nexus 5, Galaxy S4, G2, or One (M7), so this is a recent issue for me. Those that find those phones to be a good size will likely find the iPhone 6 to be similarly fit for their hands.

While I like the iPhone 6’s industrial design, increasing overall thickness to eliminate the camera hump could be an interesting variation as it would also bring a larger battery. Some users may also dislike the thick plastic lines, though I personally don’t notice this in day to day use.

The display itself is also a solid improvement, with incredible native contrast, high brightness, great viewing angles, and great calibration. I still feel like I’d want higher pixel density to make it the “perfect” display, but it’s clear that there are some very real limitations on resolution selection for iOS devices due to the point system used. Given that the resolution cannot be changed, the iPhone 6’s display is ultimately one of the best I’ve seen all year.

The SoC is also a significant upgrade, although not quite the jump that we saw from A6 to A7. For the most part, the architecture of the new CPU cores is relatively similar and we see a jump in GPU performance that puts the GX6450 on par with the Adreno 420. Apple continues to ship some of the best CPU and GPU choices on the market, and in our GFXBench rundown test it’s obvious that Apple has an extremely efficient system as skin temperatures remain in check while running at maximum performance for the duration of the GFXBench test. It’s clear that the NAND is also of high performance, although random I/O performance isn’t quite as amazing as sequential performance.

In battery life, once again Apple has managed to successfully maintain good battery life despite a relatively small battery capacity. The iPhone 6’s battery life is consistently near the top tier in this category. In the GFXBench rundown where the iPhone 6 falls short it makes up for it with incredible sustained performance.

Outside of the basic user experience, there are still even more improvements. The new camera seems to have better low light performance than before, along with significantly improved focus speed. The continuous auto focus enabled by phase detection autofocus is a killer feature for video when combined with the improved stabilization function. For a relatively small sensor size, Apple has managed to drive performance that rivals the relatively larger cameras of the competition. At the 1/3” sensor size, I’m not aware of a camera that is more balanced in its capabilities for daytime photography, low light photography, and anything in between.

In audio quality, Apple has delivered a solution on par with HTC’s audio solution, which places it among the best for this generation that we’ve tested. While there are some issues, there’s relatively little value to pushing audio quality any further unless high resolution audio becomes common.

Finally, the software experience continues to be great. Apple has taken advantage of the increased display size to increase information density out of the box, and generally improved the polish of iOS with iOS 8. We continue to see strong integration of TouchID into software, and with time I expect to see its value increase even more as Apple Pay and the use of TouchID for third party apps becomes widespread. There are only two significant issues that I noticed in my week with the iPhone 6, and one is because the application was originally intended for iOS 6. The only flaw that the iPhone 6 has is a lack of RAM, and this is only an issue if you also felt it was an issue on the iPhone 5s.

Overall, the iPhone 6 has been a surprise for me. While not all that much changed on the surface, this is the first phone that I’ve reviewed all year where I’ve found more to like the deeper I dug. The iPhone 6 is a great phone in its own right and needs no qualifications in that recommendation. While as a current Android user I’m still reluctant to use the iPhone 6 as my only phone, the iPhone 6 is good enough that I’m willing to consider doing so.


iPhone 6 Plus

The first key point is the display size. This is fundamentally the most important difference between the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6. While there are other differences, none of them matter when compared to size. I personally found the iPhone 6 to be right around the ideal balance between screen size and one-handed usability. If one is looking for that combination, then the iPhone 6 is really the better choice, even if it doesn't get everything that the iPhone 6 Plus does. However, if one doesn't care about using their phone with one hand on a regular basis, the iPhone 6 Plus starts to be a much more appealing choice.


There are really a few key advantages of the iPhone 6 Plus over the iPhone 6 once the size issue is settled. The first is the camera. While rarely active, optical image stabilization has made it possible to achieve far better photos in almost any situation where longer shutter speeds can be used. Apple has really made it painless to take long exposures, as even a quarter of a second doesn't incur significant motion blur due to the multiple exposures combined for each photo. Even though this seems to be the only application of OIS, Apple has managed to make the overall camera experience better in a way that no other OEM has.

The next advantage is battery life. While the iPhone 6 has competitive battery life, the iPhone 6 Plus manages to extend their lead while also maintaining the same thin and light profile that we see on the iPhone 6. The difference in battery life can be quite significant, especially in compute-bound cases where battery life scales mostly linearly with battery size.

The final advantage is resolution. While the iPhone 6 Plus does have a bigger display and all the advantages that come with the bigger screen, Apple has also provided an even higher pixel density than before with the iPhone 6 Plus. While it's certainly not as incredibly high as what we see in phones like the LG G3, the improved pixel density is definitely visible. There are definitely performance trade-offs in GPU-based benchmarks, but otherwise Apple has managed to make this bump in resolution compromise-free. I definitely notice the improved resolution, but this is a mostly subjective area that requires personal experience to judge whether the higher resolution has value.

Overall, the iPhone 6 Plus is definitely a great phone that builds on the foundation of the iPhone 6. Whether it's right for you will be based upon whether you want the larger display or not. Once again, it's pretty easy to see the strength of Apple's integrated hardware and software approach as it's only a matter of time before most applications take advantage of the iPhone 6 Plus' additional screen size. However, comparisons between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are mostly pointless as they fall into distinctly different categories with different target audiences. There's also relatively little value to testing the iPhone 6 Plus against the Note 3 as this would give the iPhone 6 Plus a massive lead due to differences in time of launch. The iPhone 6 Plus must be compared to the Galaxy Note 4, which looms large on the horizon as Samsung has consistently succeeded in holding on to their first-mover advantage in the phablet market. If one has to buy a phablet now though, the iPhone 6 Plus is the best one available.
 

TJ82

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2012
904
408
That Huawei phone was destroying everything in the battery life tests. Would love a 6+ with that battery life.
 

PTLove

macrumors 6502
Sep 12, 2014
382
566
Dont discount the review, its in depth, and its very good. The cherry picked lines about certainly sound like PR, but that doesnt discredit the good research done in the article.
 

nouspa

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2014
50
7
Wow, what an unbelievable performance. iPhone 6 is easily most powerful smartphone out there. Even battery life is one of the best what money can buy.

Now i see why samsung is in panic mode :cool:
 

sammich

macrumors 601
Sep 26, 2006
4,289
218
Sarcasmville.
That was an incredibly procedural review. Informative as usual, but completely dry and unusually boring for an iPhone review.
 

Gromet

macrumors regular
Jul 27, 2007
104
0
The iPhone 6 Plus has single stream wi-fi, what does that mean?
Single-stream 802.11n is a slimmed-down version of the 802.11n wireless local area network (WLAN) specification.

The goal of single-stream 802.11n is to improve the quality of service on mobile devices by taking advantage of 802.11n's wider radio frequency channel and mechanism for decreasing time between transmissions. Single-stream 802.11n takes advantage of the fact that the second draft of the 802.11n specification does not require the number of antennas on the sending station to be equal to the number on the receiving station.
 

bnekic

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2013
1,012
262
Cleveland, OH
Single-stream 802.11n is a slimmed-down version of the 802.11n wireless local area network (WLAN) specification.

The goal of single-stream 802.11n is to improve the quality of service on mobile devices by taking advantage of 802.11n's wider radio frequency channel and mechanism for decreasing time between transmissions. Single-stream 802.11n takes advantage of the fact that the second draft of the 802.11n specification does not require the number of antennas on the sending station to be equal to the number on the receiving station.
Wow thanks for the info!
 

erzhik

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2010
486
394
Wow, what an unbelievable performance. iPhone 6 is easily most powerful smartphone out there. Even battery life is one of the best what money can buy.

Now i see why samsung is in panic mode :cool:
Where do you ifans come from? Does Apple pay you for your comments?
 

erzhik

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2010
486
394
What are you talking about? Did you read review and test results?
I did. How exactly is it the most powerful smartphone? There are phones that are more powerful with better cameras and better batteries.
 

nouspa

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2014
50
7
I did. How exactly is it the most powerful smartphone? There are phones that are more powerful with better cameras and better batteries.
Read them again, seems like you have skipped all tests.

And like you like to say:
It's sad that you cry when Apple takes a nudge against other makers, but you laugh when others strike back. Live a little.
 

Coupz

macrumors regular
Dec 24, 2013
200
20
You guys should really read the text in this review and not just look at the pictures and charts ;)
 

BasicGreatGuy

macrumors G5
Sep 21, 2012
13,116
12,524
In the middle of several books.
In my opinion, the best review is one that is hands on by the consumer, and is done in light of whether or not the phone is the right phone for his or her needs, not whether or not it is better than phone x or has x feature, when the consumer isn't going to be using x feature as a whole or at all.
 

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Feb 2, 2013
791
240
Wonderland
This was a very interesting piece from the review, taken from the software section. For those of you concerned about the lack of RAM and how Safari is handled on an iPhone 6.

The other issue has the potential to be far more serious. While iOS' software architecture is more RAM efficient due to manual garbage collection and the use of precompiled binaries, it's quite easy for me to push the phone past the breaking point in Safari. For example, six tabs of common websites for mobile devices cannot consistently be held in memory. If I continuously go through all six tabs, at least one will need to reload. In my first attempt at running this test, Safari crashed as I tried to go through all tabs constantly to keep them in memory. I didn't notice this behavior in the new Moto X, which can do the same test without issue. Outside of memory intensive use cases though, the iPhone 6 does respectably and I usually don't notice the lack of RAM. I have to emphasize that this should be a generally unlikely problem, and that the same behavior can be replicated on the iPhone 5s given the same workload. If you did not have issues with out of memory crashes before, there won't be any issues now.
 

erzhik

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2010
486
394
Read them again, seems like you have skipped all tests.

And like you like to say:
It's sad that you cry when Apple takes a nudge against other makers, but you laugh when others strike back. Live a little.
You clearly dont understand what I was talking about. It's one thing to give a company credit where it's due, but it's something else entirely to say that the phone is the best just by looking at a test. You say that iPhone 6 is the best smartphone all around, yet you forget that Lumia 1520 has a better screen, better camera, bigger battery, more ram, and better specs all around. Again, companies taking a hit at each other is fun, fanboys like yourself claiming their phone is the best based on one biased review is something else entirely.
 

nouspa

macrumors member
Aug 20, 2014
50
7
You say that iPhone 6 is the best smartphone all around, yet you forget that Lumia 1520 has a better screen, better camera, bigger battery, more ram, and better specs all around. Again, companies taking a hit at each other is fun, fanboys like yourself claiming their phone is the best based on one biased review is something else entirely.
Where did i say it is the best? I said it is most powerful. You are confused.
 
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