Monday, December 1, 2014

Apple iPhone 6 Review

Apple's new flagship takes the fight to its Android rivals with a bigger screen, more power and new software tricks 


Looking at specs alone, it’s a miracle Apple sells any iPhones.

Wave after wave of Samsungs, Sonys, LGs and HTCs have surfed on to shelves and into our hearts, each toting a bigger screen than last year’s model.
Not only that but these Androids have got bigger and better in every other way too. BIGGER cameras! FASTER processors! LONGER-lasting batteries!
Meanwhile Apple has stubbornly refused to enter the smartphone arms race, hopping from a 3.5in screen to the 4in iPhone 5 and staying there for the 5s. Until now.
Enter the iPhone 6 with its 4.7in screen, A8 brain, iOS 8, NFC and bigger battery. Finally, Apple has an iPhone to compete on specs. And industrial design. And apps. And ecosystem.
It promises to be the best iPhone ever. So let’s find out if the reality lives up to the dream.

A screen dream?

Apple iPhone 6 review 

The iPhone 6's headline feature is its 4.7in display. And with good reason: Apple had only ever upped its screen size once before, and that from 3.5in to 4in. But let's not get carried away here - by anyone else's standards, 4.7in is not a huge screen. The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - note the word 'Compact' - is only a smidgeon smaller at 4.6in. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z3, the iPhone remains a pixie in a land of Android ogres.
For many people, 4.7in will be the ideal size: big enough to offer a better viewing and gaming experience, without being so big that you can't use it properly. Of course none of that matters if the quality isn't there too.
Fortunately, it is.
The iPhone 6 is no match in screen resolution terms when compared to the G3 (534 pixels per inch) and Galaxy S5 (432ppi). Apple’s screen has just 326ppi, the same as the iPhone 5s. But stats aren’t the whole story and one glance at the iPhone 6 confirms this.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has arguably the best screen on the market: rich, vibrant and unbelievably detailed, although the LG G3 runs it very close thanks to the extra pixels on its 2K display. And the iPhone 6 deserves to sit in that exalted company.
It’s lower-resolution than its rivals, but more than dense enough to look glorious. It also lacks the occasionally over-saturated look of the S5; the Samsung display, though unequivocally beautiful, can still tend to the garish. As far as the LG goes, those extra pixels only really make themselves known when you’re reading the tiniest of writing.
However we'd be lying if we said that we hadn't hoped for more. The 6 Plus has a full HD 1080p screen, as does almost every one of the iPhone 6's main rivals. While the 6's display is easily one of the best 720p efforts we've used, the differences between it and a full HD screen are visible if you look for them.
However, for day-to-day use, there’s a limit to what you can see - or at least to what matters. And in those terms, the iPhone 6 is as good as its keenest rivals. Plus, it’s just right there: the display seems so pressed up against the glass it’s like you’re making direct contact with the pixels.

Camera tweaks

 

Apple iPhone 6 review

 As the millions of sepia-toned hipster-food-photos posted hourly to Instagram prove, the camera is one of the most important things on any phone. So you might have expected Apple to want to match the 16MP sensor of the Galaxy S5 or the 20.7MP on Sony’s Xperia Z2 and Z3. But no, it’s stuck with eight megapixels. Eight.

Apple iPhone 6 review 

 Fortunately for Apple, the combination of a good lens, advanced image processing and sublimely simple camera controls in previous iPhones has served it very well. Plus, there's more to a good camera than lots of pixels - after all, the HTC One (M8) takes great shots with a mere 4MP sensor.



Where Apple’s camera is consistently better than rivals is in its superbly simple ease of use. No white balance to adjust, no extra granular controls to fiddle with. Now, though, you can deliberately over- or under-expose shots. But don't fret that this'll be an unwelcome distraction from the point-and- shoot ethos. In fact, it’s wholly intuitive: press on the screen until the yellow exposure box appears. Next to it is a little sun icon with a line through it. As you draw your finger up and down it shows you how dark or light the final pic will be. Easy as pie.
Video recording is also improved, with HD filming at 60 frames per second and enhanced slo-mo (now double the frame rate of 240 per second). But there’s no 4K video as found on some rivals. Apple’s skill has rarely been to be first, so we're not exactly surprised as its absence. Still, it would have been a nice thing to have. Quality-wise, footage is smooth and looks striking.
Apple iPhone 6 review
Performance is always a tricky thing to judge on iPhones. Look at the stats alone and most high-end Androids leave it in the dust. But use one, and it'll often feel like the fastest thing since Usain Bolt's sliced bread. The iPhone 6 is no different.
The new iPhone has an improved processor, namely the A8, and whizzes through tasks without the slightest of pauses. The previous A7 was shockingly fast thanks in part to the new 64-bit architecture that arrived on that chip, and that's obviously retained here. And while the new model doesn’t feel any faster, it has more pixels to move around and is probably doing more in the background to boot. 
There’s also a new motion co-processor, the M8, not to be confused with HTC’s flagship. The co-processor now measures altitude thanks to a built-in barometer, so it can monitor when you are climbing or descending stairs. Health apps will make much of this and Apple’s own Health app has a dashboard to record your steps, cycling and more, made possible by the new hardware.

A bigger Battery

iPhone 6 40 

The slimness of a phone can give an indication of its stamina. If we judged the iPhone 6’s battery life like that we’d be worried.

The iPhone 6 is powered by an 1,810mAh non-removable battery, which is a little larger than the one on the iPhone 5S, but then it needs it to supply the bigger and brighter screen. Compare that to the power packs in the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 (2,800mAh) or the LG G3 (3,000mAh) and the battery on the iPhone 6 looks titchy.

But Apple does things differently and the iPhone 6 performs on par with most of the competition. It also manages to last a few hours more than the iPhone 5S before it.
 

Our video test, where we loop SD video until the phone dies, lasted ten hours, an hour more than the iPhone 5S but one less than the Galaxy S5 manages. In terms of 3D gaming the iPhone 6 managed two hours and thirty five minutes of non-stop action - an hour less than the Galaxy S5 and 6 Plus.

In real world testing we found the iPhone 6's battery lasted 35 hours of low mixed usage (including standby) and 14 hours of heavy usage, with the brightness set to 50%. 

All this means that you can eek two days of life out of it if you're very careful, but on most days you'll head home after work with between 30-60% of your battery left depending on how much you use it.

One major positive about the battery is that it charges very quickly. You get 31% from a 30 minute charge and it charges fully in two hours exactly.

The iPhone 6's battery life is solid but we can’t help but feel that we would happily give up a millimetre of thickness for a few more hours of use.

Features

Apple iPhone 6 review 

The new hardware is faster and more powerful, some of it to service the bigger screen and updated iOS 8 operating software. Eventually, it will lead to more sparkly games, faster and more powerful apps. Already, Apple has added its own Health app, of which more below.
Sadly, some of the newest, spangliest of features on the iPhone can’t be reviewed yet in the UK. One of the most striking is Apple Pay, which uses a combo of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a newly arrived NFC chip in the phone to turn the handset into a contactless credit card. Demonstrations we saw last week in Cupertino were certainly seamless and speedy, so assuming Apple is able to do the deals with UK banks and credit card companies that it’s done in the States, this could be a very big deal.
Of course, Android phones have had similar features for some time. EE customers have the Cash On Tap app on various phones, including the S5, which turns the phone into a virtual Oyster card, for instance. But NFC hasn’t really taken off yet. Apple Pay could change this.
Other phones have fingerprint sensors, too, but the Apple model is superb not least because it’s effort-free. By resting your thumb or finger on the home button as you would to wake the phone, the Touch ID feature is invoked. The Samsung Galaxy S5 by contrast requires a swiping movement to make it work - definitely a little less intuitive.
Similarly, there's VoLTE - that’s Voice over LTE - which promises to deliver voice calls through 4G data; handy if your 2G signal is weak at home, say. It needs both handsets to be on VoLTE and for networks to play ball. EE is involved but the service hasn’t been rolled out yet. The feature is partly made possible by a faster LTE chip which can deliver up to 150Mbps downloads, when the networks can match this.

iOS 8  

The iPhone 6 arrives running Apple's new iOS 8, available from today on all iPhones from the 4s onwards in addition to various iPads and iPod touch models.

                                                       Apple iPhone 6 review

 

It looks mostly like last year’s radically restyled iOS 7, but if 7 was all about design changes, 8 is all about openness, customisation and communication.
There are immediate benefits to apps such as Messages, which will now let you easily send voice files, photos and videos at the touch of a button in the text area. And below that you'll find the all-new predictive keyboard, which aims to guess which word you’re about to type before you’ve keyed in the first letter. This is splendid and works well. Third-party companies such as the excellent Swiftkey are also now able to produce their own keyboards for the iPhone – something Apple hadn’t permitted until now.
Bigger improvements still include Handoff, which enables you to start tapping an email out on your iPhone keyboard and then carry it on seamlessly on a Mac using the latest Yosemite software. This also means that when a phone call comes in you can answer it on your Mac or on another Apple device – handy if your phone is snuggling on the windowsill where the mobile phone signal is strongest while you’re ensconced next to the TV in the other room. We weren't able to test these features, as Yosemite is still in beta release mode, but we'll update this review as soon as we're able.
Most importantly of all, there’s the new Health app, which allows other apps to contribute to the fitness monitoring that Health collates. This is another feature that’s in its early stages and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens if you have multiple fitness devices which report different step counts, for example. Apple stresses that each app only takes part if you give it permission.
Still, the basic app looks pretty neat, with the restrained, classy styling you’d expect, though Samsung's S Health app looks spiffy, too and both are outclassed by the LifeLog software on Sony’s phones.
And finally there’s iCloud Drive, which brings Apple up to date with the document-sharing capabilities other platforms already boast. Just as with iCloud, which syncs your contacts, calendars and more across multiple devices, iCloud Drive saves documents across all of your Apple gadgets and on icloud.com.

 FuLl SpeCiFicAtion OF IPhone 6


Screen: 4.7in 720x1334 IPS LCD (326ppi)
Processor: 1.4GHz Apple A8 processor
RAM: (unspecified)
OS: iOS 8
Storage: 16/64/128GB
Battery: (unspecified)
Camera: 8MP 1080p@60fps, 720p@240fps rear, 1.2MP 720p front
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC (Apple Pay only), 3G/4G
Dimensions: 138x67x6.9mm
Weight: 129g

 



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