iPhone 6 Plus and iOS First Impressions (from an Android user)

With the release of Apple’s iPhone 6, 6 Plus and iOS 8 there have been a flurry of reviews, some highly one-sided and some more favorable.  On DexJohn’s PC, I aim to be non-biased and look at things from a pure technological standpoint.  With that being said, let’s review this device shall we?

[This is an Android user’s review after having a brief hands-on with the iPhone 6 Plus.]

Feel of the device:

First off, the model I had time with was the iPhone 6 Plus, mentioned above, has an incredible build quality and overall solid feel to the device.  This phone does not feel cheap, overly light or bulky.  However, this cannot be said about the predecessor to this device, the iPhone 5/5S — this model looked well crafted; yet, after holding feels almost too light and unsubstantial (as if a breeze could whisp the phone away from your hands).  Many early reviews of the device balk at the fact that the camera protrudes slightly from the back.  My opinion, get over it!  Honestly, when you put a high quality sensor into a device it is o.k. for it to stick out slightly on the back (hence the Nexus 5, Galaxy series devices) or either the phone would be thicker.  But you wouldn’t want that would you?

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in hand comparison.
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in hand comparison.

Since I was dealing with the Plus version, I can say that although the device is the largest iPhone yet — it feels great.  My daily driver is a Nexus 5 with a 5″ screen and after using devices like this and the Galaxy Note, this iPhone doesn’t feel that large.  One thing to note is that bezels on this device are quite large, so many Android OEMs can put this same size screen (5.5″) into a device and it will be noticeably smaller in comparison.  Unfortunately, this seems to be something that the user will have to deal with…that home button seems to be permanently cemented into iOS devices (unless Apple switches to on-screen controls).

Responsiveness and Speed:

iOS has always been responsive, that is one of the “trademarks” of the operating system.  Upon the press of an app icon it almost loads immediately.  Notice the word, almost.  iOS and Android are built using entirely different frameworks with Android being built to mirror Blackberry initially and iOS built for ease of use.  With that being said, iOS app launching and Android app launching are essentially a toss up.  Here is one difference, while iOS apps launch almost instantly, the content within that app may be slow to appear (this happens in many cases).  So, the user will be in the app; however, you will be waiting on content.  This is almost the opposite for Android, the app and content load happen almost instantaneously.  Notice the word, almost.  Neither one of these mobile OSes are perfect and being the stickler I am for performance — I take note.

On the other hand, swiping and moving about the operating system are fine as always — no noticeable hiccups.

Operating System:

In this case, iOS is iOS — a lot really hasn’t changed, which may be my biggest sticking point.

However, let’s start with the good first.  The fact that not a lot has changed is a good thing for many seasoned iOS users.  The operating system is very familiar and inviting, not to mention easy to use.  Upon waking the device, the user will be greeting with a simple UI consisting of a grid of icons, for increased functionality, these icons can be moved into folders to “declutter” the home screens since iOS lacks an app drawer.  There are a few new features baked in such as voice replies on the keyboard and Apple Pay, which is essentially a new system for NFC payments — exactly how useful Apple Pay (NFC in general) will be is solely upon the shoulders of retailers.

The bad.  While iOS has stuck with the tried and true, many manufacturers (not just Apple) have become content with offering minor tweaks to their “latest and greatest” products.  This could have been prime opportunity for Apple to completely alter iOS and make the device that it powers more of a true mobile computer.  With that being said, apps still cannot talk to each other and customizations are still essentially non-exist (with the exceptions that keyboards and a few other apps can now be modified)…..unless Apple deems it “fine and good”.  One thing to note is that for this to happen, Apple may have to significantly bump up the hardware — if you compare the latest iPhone to any modern Android device, it is easily beaten in terms of hardware; however, the biggest difference is the UX that is achieved on a iOS device.

Overall, iOS itself is not bad as long as you like to stay within the realms defined by it.

Overall Impressions:

The iPhone 6/6Plus is good, darn good.

Is it worth it to upgrade if you have an iPhone 5S?  In my opinion, unless you need a larger screen and NFC payments — no; however, the next iteration should be an absolute upgrade.  Why?  Typically, phones that were released earlier with a newer OS on the hardware (even when tuned to certain devices, which is the case with Apple) will still result in a poor user experience.  However, for users that are stuck on the iPhone 4 or 5 — there is no question.  UPGRADE.

iOS and Android is all up to personal preference, what mobile OS you use is entirely up to you.  As there is no perfect phone, let’s rate this device:

  • Price point 3/5 (off contract prices)
  • Build quality 5/5
  • OS 4/5
  • User-experience 4/5
  • Customizations 2/5 (almost non-existent)