“We go hands on with Apple’s latest, the mesmerising iPhone 6”
January 9th, 2007. Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the world. The all-touch device was greeted with awe and what followed has been etched in golden letters in the annals of smartphone history. Over seven years later, as we hold the eighth generation iPhone, the Apple iPhone 6… it’s tough not to think of the original phone and consider its impact on the phone world. Not only did it went on to become one of the most iconic gadgets ever, it helped change the primary mode of interaction with a phone from physical keys to touch. From the original iPhone to 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, 5S/5C, and now, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus… a lot of water has flown under the bridge in this time. Smartphones now tote enough computing muscle to put computers to shame, can rival standalone cameras when it comes to shooting prowess and offer an entire world full of useful apps and entertaining games. Some of them can even measure your heart rate or respond to your queries without the need to even lift a finger. One look at the Apple iPhone 6 though, and it’s as if nothing as changed – the so-called Jesus phone is still a design benchmark for others to follow, it oozes class and enjoys the same fan following around the globe.
With all that history behind it, it’s tough to review the latest iPhone without losing objectivity, but since we have one with us to try out, we’re going to give it a shot. The review will take a little bit of time, but we’ll start with a quick unboxing followed by our initial thoughts.
The device comes encased in a plain white box with just the word “iPhone” mentioned on the sides. Opening the lid reveals our gold review unit, and ignoring the urge to check it out closely right away, we put it to the side for a quick look at the accessories. Our review device didn’t come with a pair of earphones, but we did get a wall charger and USB to Lightning cable.
Moving on the iPhone 6 itself, we couldn’t help but express amazement at how thin and light the device felt in our hands. While it may not the slimmest or the lightest around, its svelte profile and the metal body feels absolutely divine. The corners are more rounded as compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 5S, and quite obviously, the new device is larger in size. In fact, the tagline being used by Apple for promoting the new iPhone duo says “bigger than bigger”, and that’s exactly the mainstay of the devices. With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple has finally acknowledged the usefulness and popularity of large-screened smartphones. The iPhone 6 offers a 4.7-inch screen which isn’t much compared to most mid-ranged and premium offerings in the Android space, it’s still significantly larger than the 4-inch displays offered by the iPhone 5S and the 5 before it. The 6 Plus in fact, moves on to phablet territory with its 5.5-inch screen.
Our gold unit sports white bezels around the display, and when observed carefully, you’d notice that the glass layer over the display curves slightly towards the sides… matching similar curvature at the rear. It’s the attention to detail that we love Apple for, and the iPhone 6’s design certainly reflects that. The top of the screen holds the earpiece, the front FaceTime camera and the sensors, while below the display, you’ll find the circular home key that hides the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, just like the iPhone 5S. The home button is encircled by a chrome ring, making it stand out.
The left spine is where you’ll find two separate volume keys, along with a sliding button that switches the device to mute. Notably, the volume keys are elongated now, as against the round volume buttons on the older generation iPhones. The power key has been moved to the right – the ideal position for large-screened smartphones. The tray that holds a nano-SIM is also placed on the right, and you’ll see a tiny orifice in which you need to insert a pin to eject it.
Turning the device over, you’ll spot the shiny Apple logo placed in the middle. Up top is where the camera lens that hides an 8MP sensor is, protruding slightly from the body. The flash is placed right next to it. Very distinctive white bands at the top and bottom of the rear break the monotony of the otherwise seamless sea of metal, and also double up as antennas. iPhone branding is located closer to the bottom, along with the usual regulatory information.
Software-wise, the iPhone 6 runs the latest version of Cupertino’s mobile OS – iOS 8.1. The platform was given a major makeover in terms of look-and-feel (not to mention the new features) with iOS 7, and the latest build maintains the same UI. It does come with tons of new features too, and we’ll be exploring them as part of our review. The device comes loaded with all the usual Apple apps, including Health, iBooks, Newsstand, Passbook, Stocks and more. The drop-down notification panel is there, along with the Today screen that offers useful info like weather and stock updates at a glance. Swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen brings up the Control Center, a panel that displays toggles for airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb mode and locking the screen orientation. A slider for controlling brightness, music playback controls, AirDrop options and shortcuts to common apps such as the flashlight, timer, calculator and camera are also displayed here. Of course, if you’ve played around with an iPhone before, none of these would really be new to you.
It shouldn’t really come across as a surprise when we say that we found the 1,334 x 750 pixel display quite sharp and responsive, and didn’t encounter any speed bumps during our initial playing around with the preloaded bunch of apps. Our full review will take a closer look at all the various aspects, including camera and battery performance.
Our journey with the iPhone 6 has just begun, but based on our first impressions alone, it’s easy to say that the phone comes across as a highly desirable device. It doesn’t come cheap, but the perception of value for money is different for different individuals and if screen size is what was hitherto keeping you away from the iPhone, now could be a great time to reconsider.