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printed October 22, 2017
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Review: Apple iPhone 6 Plus for AT&T

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Screen

The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixels. Apple traditionally uses LCD panels, and the 6 Plus is no different. It is truly one of the finest displays I've ever seen. It is bright, colorful, and vibrant. Content pops off the screen. It may match many other devices in terms of resolution, but man does it look good. I can't recall seeing better viewing angles on any display I've ever tested. There's no brightness drop off and no color shift. I really like that colors are accurate and not over-saturated as on some AMOLED screens. I was able to use the iPhone 6 Plus outdoors under a sunny sky with no trouble. It truly is a fantastic screen.

Signal

We tested the AT&T variant of the iPhone 6 Plus. This thing snags signal in places I never knew AT&T reached. Seriously, the 6 Plus is a total signal hound. I tested it in areas with the weakest/worst AT&T coverage that I know of, and still it managed to connect calls, send messages, and load web pages. It didn't drop any calls during my review period, nor did it miss any. LTE speeds were quick across the board, slowing down only a little bit in poor coverage areas. I noticed a dramatic uptick in WiFi performance, too. The 6 Plus supports faster WiFi protocols, and I could tell when surfing via my home network (when compared to the iPhone 5). Bottom line, the 6 Plus is the best iPhone I've ever tested when it comes to signal performance.

Sound

I was mostly pleased with the quality of calls placed via the 6 Plus, but it's far from the best. Calls in weak coverage areas were noticeably crummier than calls in strong coverage areas. I heard far more interference when the 6 Plus showed just one bar of coverage. Earpiece volume has always been a problem with Apple's iPhones. The 6 Plus makes some progress in this respect, but it's still far from being a leader. I was able to hear calls at a crowded Oktoberfest celebration and at a semi-loud house party, but construction easily drowned out the speaker. The speakerphone is decent, but also not quite loud enough. Quality through the speakerphone was good, though. Those with whom I conversed through the 6 Plus said I sounded generally good, but I got a few negative responses, too.

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Ringtones are audible in your home or office, but crowded coffee shops made the 6 Plus hard to hear. I wouldn't be surprised if people missed calls because they couldn't hear the ringer. On the flip side, the vibrate alert is among the strongest ever. In fact, it's too strong. The point of a vibrate alert is to be somewhat subtle. There's nothing subtle about the 6 Plus's vibrate alert. You can hear it loud and clear in a range of settings. Apple needs to dial it back a bit.

Battery

The 6 Plus boasts the best-ever battery life from an iPhone. Apple's smartphones are notoriously cruddy when it comes to battery life. The 6 Plus, with its bigger battery, resolves the iPhone's power woes. I had no trouble getting a full day and a half from the 6 Plus on a single charge. I used the iPhone 6 Plus with LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth on throughout the review period, and had the screen set to auto brightness. I took lots of pictures, shot video, listened to music, made phone calls, posted to Instagram and Twitter, and more. The iPhone 6 Plus offers very good battery life.

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