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Review: Apple iPhone 6 for Verizon Wireless

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Sep 25, 2014, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

The Apple iPhone 6 is the smartphone for everyman, a Goldilocks device that is sure to please the widest range of people. It has a few advantages over the larger 6 Plus, but some disadvantages, too. Here is Phone Scoop's in-depth report.

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It It Your Type?

The iPhone 6 is the smartphone Apple lovers have always wanted. If you're looking for a truly modern device that places a strong emphasis on elegance and refinement, the iPhone 6 fits the bill. It's a well-crafted piece of hardware that should appeal to the masses.

Body

Apple debuted two new iPhones this year, the 6 and 6 Plus. This 6 is the smaller of the two, though it's bigger than every other iPhone before it. It relies on the same design language as the larger 6 Plus. In fact, little differentiates the two devices apart from their footprints.

Apple changes the iPhone design every other year. The iPhone 5s looked pretty much the same as the iPhone 5, so Apple was due to debut brand new hardware with the iPhone 6; that's exactly what it did. The 6 and 6 Plus look quite different from earlier iPhones.

Apple stuck to a minimalist design language. The 6 uses a mix of aluminum, glass, and plastic (eek!) to form the outer skin. The shape of the device is simple and straight-forward. It is elegant and refined. The metals look and feel good. Apple tapered the edges of the glass so it meets the aluminum frame in a smooth seam. With the rounded side edges, the overall effect creates a smooth device that's comfortable to hold and use.

Body  

The iPhone 6 is what I'd call an average-sized phone. It falls in line with most other flagships in terms of its length and width, but it is thinner and lighter than many of them. The 4.7-inch screen is easier to reach with one hand, though it still includes the Reachability trick offered on the 6 Plus. (Tap the home button twice and the all the content of the screen slides down so your thumb can reach it.) The 6 truly feels great in the hand, more so than any other iPhone. I can say the same when comparing the 6 to devices such as the HTC One and Galaxy S5. Pockets? Easy. Even the pockets of your skinny jeans. If you're averse to large phones, have no fear; the iPhone 6 is the Goldilocks iPhone. It's just right.

As is typical of iPhones, there are thick bezels above and below the screen. Apple is sticking with its over-sized, circular Home button below the display. In keeping with Apple's design principles, it also likes balance. This means the bezel above is as thick as the bezel below. The bezels along the sides are slim, but not the slimmest I've seen. Bottom line: the screen is swimming in more framing than some competitive phones (think Galaxy S5). The Home button, which also acts as a fingerprint reader, is a depression in the front surface. It is dead simple to find and use. Travel and feedback is good, but I've felt better. There's a tiny slit in the glass above the screen for the earpiece speaker. The user-facing camera is little more than a pinhole.

Apple has long favored a three-button setup on the left side of the phone. There's a switch at the top that sets the phone in either ring or silent modes. It's a good switch. Below that are two separate buttons for the up and down volume functions. The buttons are dashes that have great profiles and even better travel and feedback. The up button doubles as a shutter release when using the camera.

Apple wisely moved the screen lock / power button from the top to the right edge. Though the 6 isn't as large as the 6 Plus, the screen lock button could be difficult for some to reach were it on top. The button itself is of decent size and shape, and works really well. The tray for the SIM card is built into the right edge, as well. You need a paperclip or SIM tray tool to eject the tray. Most people will probably never bother with it. The iPhone 6 takes a nano SIM card.

Both the stereo headphone port and Lightning port are on the bottom of the phone. It's annoying that the Lightning port is proprietary and doesn't work with standard USB cables. However, it is among the strongest, easiest ports in which to jam a cable. It's especially useful that the Lightning port is reversible and accepts the cable in either orientation. There are also drilled holes on the bottom for the single, mono speaker. It's a bit of a shame that Apple didn't include stereo speakers.

The back surface is mostly aluminum, but there are lines running from side to side that help frame out two plastic panels at the top and bottom. The plastic panels, which allow the wireless radios to function better, are a bit of a let down. Apple used glass for these panels on the iPhone 5 and 5s. The plastic just isn't up to snuff, and I'd even call the seams somewhat uneven in places. This is the one real detractor of the hardware. Apple should have stuck with the glass, even if it added a little weight.

The upper plastic panel houses the camera module, which is the first on an iPhone to protrude from the body of the phone. I've seen some criticism online about this design choice, and I find it a bit unwarranted. The number of smartphones that have protruding camera modules is innumerable. The slight protrusion means the iPhone 6 gets a better camera. It is the smallest of compromises. As with all iPhones, the phone is sealed up tight; there's no access to the battery at all, nor is there support for expandable memory.

The iPhone 6 is a really good piece of hardware from Apple. It's not without compromises, but that's par for the course these days. No phone is perfect.

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Comments

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This forum is closed.

wecivus

Sep 25, 2014, 1:25 PM

VoLTE

Has anyone tested VoLTE on the iPhone 6? Im curious as when the LTE singnal degrades how is voice quality maintained? Also, if the other caller does not have VoLTE phone, can you still use data while on a call? In other words, do you still use VoLTE even if the other caller does not?
iPhone 6 has a "Cellular" menu, then LTE selected as "Data Only" by default. Changing this to "Data and Voice" enables VoLTE. All VoLTE calls use the data channel, and as such effectively let you use data and voice simultaneously for every call (ass...
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erikclarke

Sep 29, 2014, 3:46 AM

Difference between OIS and Non-OIS images should have been quantified.

That difference is something that regular consumers cannot test. Given the past comments regarding phone details like pen tile LCD pixels, the width of bezels, and uneven display scrolling the ability to identity differences in image quality should have been too compelling to pass up. Furthermore, if there is actually zero difference between cameras, regardless how images are taken, that is a scoop in and of itself, because Apple would be guilty of false advertising. Hopefully, these cameras will be scientifically compared in a future OIS specific iPhone 6/6+ review.
Jarahawk

Sep 28, 2014, 8:54 PM

VoLTE: Simultaneous Voice and Data

So the one thing Apple's iPhones have been incapable of doing on CDMA is simultaneous voice and data. With VoLTE this is supposed to be remedied and yet no mention that you tested the ability to surf the Web while on a call with VoLTE enabled.
walpoleauto

Sep 25, 2014, 6:19 PM

VoLTE is a battery killer on the iPhone

I have an iPhone 6 128gb. Great phone and all, but the battery seems comparable to the 5s. Turn VoLTE on and your talk time will be cut in half, but you will be able to talk and browse at the same time.
msteven3

Sep 25, 2014, 4:58 PM

VoLTE voice quality?

Eric, have you been able to test the voice quality of a VoLTE call with another VoLTE-capable device on Verizon? It's supposed to be better, but I'm curious as to how much better.
 
 
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