While we’ve also written about the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus needs its own review in order to really understand the various features of the device that would otherwise be buried in the context of the iPhone 6. Without question, this device represents a significant departure from the way Apple has competed in the smartphone space. Until now, Apple hasn't competed in the phablet space and has thus avoided competing with Galaxy Note line that has been established as the dominant phablet for the past 3-4 generations. As a result, Apple occupies a fast-follower position at best.

This brings us to the iPhone 6 Plus, which really is an extension of the iPhone 6. Both phones share the same SoC, NAND configurations, front and rear camera sensors, LED flash module, industrial/material design, TouchID home button, earpiece and speaker configuration, WiFi/BT chipset, modem, and button layout. At this point, I’m going to stop listing similarities because the iPhone 6 Plus is interesting for its differences. Unlike similarities, the differences are simple. The iPhone 6 Plus is bigger, the display has higher pixel density, the camera has optical image stabilization, and iOS 8 has new app designs to take advantage of the larger screen. The iPhone 6 Plus is also more expensive, with the 16GB version starting at the same price as the 64GB version of the iPhone 6.

While I’ve already discussed the design of the iPhone 6, it’s important to see whether the same design translates to the iPhone 6 Plus. To this end, the iPhone 6 Plus does well. While the angular design of the iPhone 5 line would have looked and felt enormous in the hand, the shape is quite similar to the iPad line and is similarly comfortable in the hand, although the rounded edge really differentiates it, as does the control scheme. The only real issue here is that the top bezel on the front becomes surprisingly large, and this seems to contribute to a sense that the phone is top-heavy even though the phone is evenly balanced.

  Apple iPhone 5s Apple iPhone 6 Apple iPhone 6 Plus
SoC Apple A7 Apple A8 Apple A8
Display 4-inch 1136 x 640 LCD 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 LCD 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 LCD
WiFi 2.4/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n, BT 4.0 2.4/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, single stream, BT 4.0, NFC
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/64GB/128GB 16GB/64GB/128GB
I/O Lightning connector, 3.5mm headset
Size / Mass 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm,
112 grams
138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm,
129 grams
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm,
172 grams
Camera 8MP iSight with 1.5µm pixels Rear Facing + True Tone Flash
1.2MP f/2.4 Front Facing
8MP iSight with 1.5µm pixels Rear Facing + True Tone Flash
1.2MP f/2.2 Front Facing
8MP iSight with 1.5µm pixels Rear Facing + True Tone Flash + OIS
1.2MP f/2.2 Front Facing
Price $99 (16GB),
$149 (32GB)
on 2 year contract
$199 (16GB),
$299 (64GB),
$399 (128GB)
on 2 year contract
$299 (16GB),
$399 (64GB),
$499 (128GB)
on 2 year contract

Overall, even though the iPhone 6 Plus is noticeably taller than the Galaxy Note 3 both feel similar in size. The iPhone 6 Plus is on the thinner side which makes a significant impression in the hand. At any rate, it’s physically impossible for me to use this device with one hand for most situations. It’s definitely a tablet in this sense, but in a much more compact and pocketable form factor.


Of course, drawing the comparison between the iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 3 inevitably raises the question of “bendgate”, which draws interesting parallels with “scuffgate” from the iPhone 5 generation. Unfortunately, I can’t destroy multiple review units in order to thoroughly investigate this issue. However, we can look at Consumer Reports’ data and come to a few conclusions about this problem. The first is that in the case of the iPhone 6 Plus, there appears to be an area near the bottom of the volume buttons that is a weak point as we see a clear failure of the casing in this area.

However, it seems that there is a significant amount of force needed in the first place in order to cause permanent deformation. Otherwise, everything that we’ve seen is primarily the result of fundamental differences between the two materials. It’s clear that in the case of the Galaxy Note 3 that a great deal of the structural rigidity is tied to the display itself, so the case doesn’t quite provide much in the way of protection as the polymer used is clearly in the elastic region all the way to failure. LG seems to have a different design though, as their polymer material has a clear case of brittle failure at the limit, which saved the display from shattering.

It's certainly possible to bend the iPhone 6 Plus (or really any phone or tablet), but the real issue here that hasn’t been addressed is the level of force needed to cause a certain level of elastic or plastic deformation in the material. This matters far more when discussing drop protection as the level of force in such a scenario is relatively small but applied over an extremely short period of time. There’s also no mention of force per unit area in any of these figures, so we can’t really have a serious discussion about this issue without the necessary data.

Battery Life and Charge Time
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  • BillBear - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    On the subject of drop testing, the gadget insurer Square Trade's results are available as data. The iPhone does a significantly better job of surviving accidental drops.

  • Narg - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    I wish these reviews would stop listing the "Contract Price", and put the full price instead. That's really what matters, and Carriers are trying hard to not subsidize phones anymore.
  • zero2dash - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    Obvious shill article is obvious.

    "If you have to buy a phablet now though, the iPhone 6 Plus is the best one available."

    Yes because it clearly has a stylus and 3 product cycles worth of maturation in it's form factor.

    And "we can't have a serious discussion about 'bendgate' without any force data"? Yes, surely people with 6 Plus' in their pockets who now have bent phones exerted Incredible Hulk levels of strength using their thighs & hamstrings in order to do so.

    I expect biased Apple articles on Engadget, not Anandtech. You should be ashamed.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    How come iphone 6+ is the "best" pablet? It is larger than 5.7" note 3/4 yet having smaller screen, has lower resolution, has no active pen, has no battery and storage expansion, has worse camera and so on. Oh and it bends easily too.
  • Parhel - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    It's a solid 20% smaller than the Note. Not sure what you're talking about.
  • nerd1 - Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - link

    Check the actual size. 6 plus is larger than note in spite of having smaller screen, mainly due to huge bezels.
  • Parhel - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    I don't see the point in lying about that when the specs are readily available.

    Note 4: 153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 = 102553.35
    iPhone 6+: 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 = 87331.28

    The Note 4 is 17.4% larger, while the screen is only 3.6% larger.
  • nerd1 - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    LOL.. who cares volume at a all? Is slimmer phone any better to grip and carry at all?
    Area and width matters, and 6+ is a good 5mm taller and only 0.8mm less wide than GN4, which makes 2% larger in AREA than GN4.

    158.1 >153.5
    158.1*77.8 >153.5*78.6
  • GigaMonster - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    iPhone 6+ is also lighter.
  • Parhel - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    So because the iPhone is smaller in every dimension except height, you define "size" as one dimensional and decide that height is the only dimension that matters.

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