Apple iPhone 6 Plus review: Following the curve

Following the curve

GSMArena team, 30 September 2014.

Display

The iPhone 6 Plus features Apple's first standard display on a mobile device, a unit of 1080p resolution. It has the 16:9 aspect ratio first adopted by the iPhone 5 but is sharper than the Retina displays standardized with the iPhone 4. It has a pixel density of 401ppi (Apple's first) though there's barely a perceptible difference between the two.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review

Another first for the iPhone is that the 6 Plus supports landscape mode and some apps offer split-screen in landscape, two things that were so far reserved for the iPads.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review
The brilliant screen of the iPhone 6 Plus

Anyway, the screen is an IPS LCD with picture perfect viewing angles - you can tilt it in any direction and the image stays put as if printed on top of the screen.

Excellent color rendering and great contrast also help the overall image quality, the iPhone 6 Plus has one of the very best mobile displays on the market.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone 5s 0.14 163 1145 0.49 596 1219
Apple iPhone 6 0.17 207 1230 0.61 740 1213
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 0.17 208 1197 0.52 705 1361
LG G3 0.14 109 763 0.72 570 789
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 0 149 0 379
Samsung Galaxy S5 0 274 0 529
Oppo Find 7 0.22 248 1135 0.4 448 1123


The large 5.5" screen is almost as bright as the 4.7" iPhone 6 screen and one of the brightest LCDs we've tested. The reflectivity is slightly higher though, so sunlight legibility isn't quite as good but still among the best. There are few challengers in this screen size category, it's down to Samsung's Super AMOLED screens.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows Phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

The iPhone 6 Plus screen is much larger than what Apple users are accustomed to, we made the table below to illustrate our point if the comparison shots above aren't clear enough. Using the 4" iPhone 5s screen as base, the iPhone 6 Plus screen offers nearly twice as much room. That dwarfs even the size increase offered by the iPhone 6 over its predecessor.

Screen diagonal Relative size PPI
iPhone 5s 4" 100% 326
iPhone 6 4.7" 138% 326
iPhone 6 Plus 5.5" 189% 401
LG G3 5.5" 189% 534
Galaxy Note 4 5.7" 203% 515

While we love the extra screen real estate we're not pleased with the screen bezels. The LG G3 has the same screen size (and with nearly 80% more pixels at that) and a much more compact body. We get it that Apple needs the Home key at the bottom for Touch ID but the bezel above the screen could have been smaller, especially since the front-facing camera is no longer stacked above the earpiece.

Faster connectivity

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus wireless connectivity is a dizzying array of GSM, CDMA and LTE. You'll have to consult your local carrier to check if the correct bands are supported by the version of the phablet you're buying but that's only if you're importing it.

The standard quad-band GSM and CDMA support ensures voice connectivity around the world. Then there's 3G GSM with up to 42Mbps downlink speeds and 3G CDAM (1xEV-DO) for a much slower 3.1Mbps.

The real speed for mobile Internet comes from the LTE connection though, which has been promoted to Cat. 4. That means the iPhone 6 Plus is theoretically capable of downloads of up to 150Mbps and uploads of up to 50Mbps. That's an improvement over the Cat. 3 LTE (100Mbps downlink) of the iPhone 5s and as fast as is practical today, carrier support for the faster category is lagging.

Note that Apple has enabled Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), which includes support for high quality audio in calls with HD Voice. Keep in mind that to use these technologies your carrier must support it and so must the receiving phone.

Local connectivity has grown faster too, the new iPhones support Wi-Fi 802.11ac alongside the traditional a/b/g/n. If you have an Wi-Fi 802.11ac -capable router and a fast home connection you should feel a boost in speed. Apple has also added Wi-Fi calling to the list of chops the new iPhones possess. Of course, availability of the feature is carrier-dependent.

Bluetooth is at version 4.0 with Low Energy support, which is Apple's preferred connection for sports accessories.

The iPhone 6 Plus supports the short-range NFC standard but that's exclusively for use with the new Apple Pay system. It seeks to replace your credit cards with your phone but sharing files locally is still done via the Air Drop system, there's no tap to pair or tap to send functionality (yet).

Wired connectivity brings no surprises, it uses the ubiquitous (on Apple products) Lightning adapter. It's symmetrical so it can be plugged in regardless oforientation. It provides charge to the phone, carries data to a computer, does TV out (with the right adapter) and supports various accessories.

Battery life test

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus has a 2,915mAh Li-Po battery, which stacks up very well against Android competition (for comparison the LG G3 has a 3,000mAh battery). The smaller iPhone 6 has just 1,810mAh in its tank and the previous iPhone 5s has about half of the 6 Plus' capacity.

We mentioned the charging rumors that you can fill up faster with an iPad charger in the unboxing chapter. There's a grain of truth to that, the iPhone 6 Plus does indeed charge about 25% faster on an iPad Air charger but it doesn't use anywhere near the full 2.4A capacity (it draws 1.25A).

The larger battery is a boon for talk time, helping the iPhone 6 Plus rebound from the disappointing time of its smaller sibling. The web browsing test lasted a bit over 9 hours, a solid performance though we've seen better, while the video playback test ran on for 11 hours. The new screen is the perfect resolution to watch FullHD videos but keep in mind we use an SD video for the video battery test.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review

Our proprietary score also includes a standby battery draw test, which is not featured in our battery test scorecard but is calculated in the total endurance rating. Our battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you want to learn more about it.

You can also have a look at our detailed battery life test for the Apple iPhone 6 Plus.

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Yes

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  • Azim

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