People following this blog know that I was waiting to decide between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus modes, till I actually get to try them out myself. So since I am not (yet) one of those who get the review units from Apple, I had to wait to go to an Apple store to get to see the new beauties in person. So this afternoon I got to go to a local Apple store in the Bay area, that is located inside a mall. Firstly there were at least fifty to a hundred people still waiting in line (two lines, I guess for different models or something) for the iPhones, so the demand seems to be steady in the opening weekend, but the store itself was jam packed, with all the display iPhone areas being fully occupied by eager potential buyers. So after waiting for a few long minutes, I got to see the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in person.
Awesome, so I get to play with the new iPhones all I want, right? That is what I thought, but unfortunately none of the display iPhones had any charge left in them. I mean NONE of them had any ounce of juice left in them. I cannot blame the store staff though, there were approximately fifty iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models on display and there were at least four or five times more people waiting to play with them! So what can the Apple store staff do? Nothing much. But they could have done one thing. All the iPhones have a security lock like device attached to them, that allows customers to handle the iPhones at a reasonable distance from where the security wire is connected under the table. But the charging cable is docked to the table and the you cannot have the iPhone is hand and have it charge as well, if you want it to charge, you need to keep it docked to the table. So I had to spend most of my iPhone 6 time with it connected to the dock and hence not being able to try out much.
Anyway, enough cribbing. Here are my impressions of the two iPhones. I was myself surprised by some of these!
- Both the iPhones are impossibly thin and feel even lighter than iPhone 5S. How is that possible when the iPhone 5S weighs the least amongst these three iPhones?
- The first thing you notice is the edge to edge glass display that makes it look like you are just holding a slab of glass and nothing else in your hand. It is truly beautiful, like nothing I have seen before.
- The iPhone 6 can comfortably replace the iPhone 5S with the one handed use, while giving a good boost in screen real estate.
- Unless you have them side by side, the iPhone 6 itself offers a significant improvement in display quality to the 5S, though it has the same pixel density. But if you compare the 6 Plus and the 6, 6 Plus beats 6's display to a pulp. 6 Plus display is outright gorgeous.
- I hold my iPhone 5S with three fingers circling it and a thumb on the longer side and the little finger supporting the bottom of the iPhone. I don't know if this is common, but for me this the most comfortable position to use my iPhone 5S one handed. I can do this with the iPhone 6 with a little difficulty but it is impossible with the iPhone 6 Plus. The only way to hold the iPhone 6 Plus in one hand is to wrap all the four fingers around it with the thumb supporting the longer side closer to your hand.
- I can still reach the top left hand corner of my iPhone 5S's screen using the above mentioned scheme of holding it one handed (I am right handed). But with the iPhone 6, I can only reach the second row's top left of the screen with my 5" 11' sized hands. With the iPhone 6 Plus, third row top left is itself a tough reach. I can reach both the power button on the side and the home button holding the iPhone 6 Plus, one handed, quite comfortably.
- Both the iPhones are extremely slippery, I will not recommend using them without a case. Also the fore mentioned edge to edge curved glass display is not going to bode well if you drop your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. If a case was just for added safety on the iPhone 5S or the previous modes, a case for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus is a must.
- The iPhone 6 Plus's optical image stabilization works wonders. I shook the iPhone while recording a test clip (quite vigorously) and the resulting video was almost shake free. I was actually surprised that even the iPhone 6 with its digital image stabilization did almost as good as the iPhone 6 Plus.
- And yes I did try to put them in my Levis slim jeans pocket (like so many people I saw doing in the store). I was surprised to find that the iPhone 6 (without a case) fit in just like the iPhone 5S (albeit with a case). Even the iPhone 6 Plus (that I had previously thought would never fit into my pocket), fit just well. It was not protruding out or anything but was just in.
- The speaker on even the iPhone 6 is at least 30 - 40% louder than the iPhone 5S.
- The Apple cases for both the iPhone 6 models, actually look good and for once worth their price tag, unlike the iPhone 5S and 5's cases.
- Finally this was probably the first time, I have seen so many Samsung smartphones in an Apple store. Almost 2 in 3 of them were comparing their Samsung (Galaxy or Note) phones with the iPhone 6 models, mostly for the screen size comparison. Looks like a lot of people bought Samsung phones mainly for their bigger sizes. Size apparently does matter in smartphones, nowadays!
So what is my conclusion? Unfortunately since there were literally many people waiting in line, behind me to just check out the new iPhone 6 models, I got to spend only a few minutes with each one of the two new phones and that too with them docked to the charging station most of the time. So I could not reach any conclusion. My wife definitely likes the iPhone 6 and she did not think it was too uncomfortable to hold one handed, compared to the iPhone 5S, so Apple might get away with not having a "new" 4" iPhone 6 after all... And I want the iPhone 6 Plus so badly and the fact that I might have to do some adjustments to even hold the iPhone 6 to use it one handed (similar to the iPhone 5S), might actually convince me to buy the iPhone 6 Plus. But its not that, even if I decide on the model anytime soon, I will get it immediately. Most of the Apple stores are out of the iPhone 6 Plus models and the model I want, 64GB space gray iPhone 6 Plus seems to be the most in demand and out of stock. So I will have to wait a while before I buy an iPhone 6 myself. Even the AT&T and the Verizon stores in the mall had long lines with more than a few dozen people in each queue, waiting for the iPhone 6!