The Prom Queen arrives. An iPhone 6 review.

Fist bump! Man-hug (or if you’re a chick quick beso with or without malisya – bahala ka na mag-isip). My search for an iPhone 6 on Day 1 without having to live like a hobo for a night ended in a no phones scored. The demand for this phone was overwhelming. Not even my trusted and reliable spots can deliver. Good thing there is PoundIt. Not only did I not have to pay through the spine for the iPhone, I got a sampling of the service they provide. So when they requested me to do a review, I said “Why not?”. Welcome to my review of the iPhone 6. 

Before I start, let me tell you some bits about me. Opinions need to be taken in the context of the one giving it so I think this part is important. I do forensic tech for my day job. You know the dudes in CSI who analyse any digital evidence whether laptops, USB sticks or phones? That’s not me. I help provide the systems that do that and train those guys in those systems and help them with process/ workflow issues. I AM NOT A FANBOY. Fanboyism is lame. Aside from my iPhone 6 which I got from Poundit, I also have the One M8 by HTC (one of the best Android phones for the current round of releases) and the Xiaomi Mi3 (pound-for-pound or peso-for-peso, the best value Android phone there is). I have a Macbook Pro, three Windows laptops (one with gaming specs) and a monster gaming PC which I told my wife will be my last gaming machine (complete with a Bose Accoustimass sound system)…that’s the second time I told her that. Speaking of gaming I also got a PS4, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS XL. All these on top of my iPad Air, iPad Mini (first gen) and Kindle Paperwhite. I play basketball on Sundays whenever I’m in Manila, I ride my bike in Singapore when I muster the will to do so and swim. I love pasta and pizza. I watch a bunch of TV shows. One weekend my buddy and I decided to have a nerd day and the goal was to get Netflix at home and we did it. 

So now we have that out of the way, let’s look at the iPhone 6. For frame of reference, we’ll compare it with the last two iPhones because that’s probably the current device you have unless you’re a fandroid and if your plan is to troll and post how so much better your device is, get lost. Better read the news how Samsung’s revenues fell because apparently, the next big thing is here and still doesn’t quite sell. 

First let’s look what’s inside and examine the specs:

DIMENSIONS

 

What this means for you: It’s basically a bigger phone. The weight difference between the iPhone 6 and the 5s/5 is unnoticeable unlike the weight difference between the 5 and the 4/4s.

DISPLAY

What this means for you: It’s the same retina display in terms of pixel density. The 6 Plus has a higher pixel density (401 ppi) so it should be visibly better. It's not really shatterproof but should be reasonably scratch proof. There were rumors Apple was going to use Sapphire glass on the new iPhone but that proved to be not the case. They did use the Sapphire glass on the new Apple Watch though. Oh, the contrast ratio on the iPhone 6 does make it seem brighter and watching stuff on it should be better (provided it’s hi-def).

PROCESSOR

What this means for you: Unless you plan to do weather forecasting on your phone, this really doesn’t matter. Really. What about gaming? If you just play the usual stuff like Candy Crush or Angry Birds then yeah, it doesn’t matter. It will run like before. If you consider yourself a “hardcore gamer”, there is a far better gaming device out there. It’s called a PS4. 

Don’t worry about it being “just dual-core” while every fandroid flaunts theirs is a quad or octa-core. If it helps you feel better, Apple’s always had the ability to maximize and optimize performance on their devices because their chips are designed specifically for the devices they put them on.

If you insist looking at how the new chip performs, Apple gave us this chart.

CONNECTIVITY

What this means for you: THEORETICALLY, your wifi will be faster on the iPhone 6 with its AC connectivity but you also need to be connecting to an AC router to take advantage. I had THEORETICALLY on ALL CAPS because unless that AC router is connected via wormhole to say, South Korea or Singapore, your internet speed is really going to be anywhere between a high speed dial-up connection and a glorified DSL. You can ACTUALLY be connected to a 2006-vintage G wifi and not notice it. It’s THAT BAD. But it has nothing to do with Apple and everything to do with government regulations and the telcos. Let’s face it, your enjoyment of this phone and its bells and whistles depend on how good your Internet connection is. 

What about NFC? You probably saw the Apple Pay demo. That is actually happening in Korea with Samsung/ LG phones but I’ll bet you won’t see it in Manila for quite a while. We can’t even get ATM’s secure enough, and you’re going to put your wallet in your phone??? Plus there’s the little matter about robbery and thievery of phones. 

BATTERY

What this means for you: You need to bring your charger or get one of the portable batteries. The phone won’t last all day and with the traffic, flash floods, and celebrity flash mobs you don’t want to be out there with your battery in the red. The battery life is actually fairly decent and will get you through your workday. I’m a believer in being prepared for anything though so I charge my phones from time to time. Don’t worry about overcharging. These phones have the ability to regulate their power intake so you can leave them plugged in. Don’t use them while charging though. I’ve seen news reports of phones exploding while in use and while the risk is minimal, it’s something you can manage. Use a headset if you need to take a call while charging (and definitely while also driving). And charging the phone for 8 hours before using it? That’s for the old batteries on your Nokia 5110. The phone takes around an hour and a half to go to full charge. And yes, you can use straight out of the box. 

CAMERA

What this means for us: I’m no camera junkie so I’m not pretending like I know what the aperture differences mean. I do like to take the occasional scenery and post it on FB and so far, the iPhone 6 is as easy as point, focus, click. I’ve always liked the iPhone cameras because they have always been easy to use. The One M8 is by far the coolest camera I’ve used on a phone (dual cams!) but I digress…I suppose the added size makes it slightly more difficult to do selfies. I do want to try the slomo feature when I watch my first PBA game or when I shoot fireworks on New Year’s Eve. 

Now on to the other core features.

Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE)

Apple added a new feature which THEORETICALLY allows you to use the LTE network for voice calls. Again, in Manila this depends on how fast your LTE is, if the other person also has an iPhone 6 and if the telcos will allow this.

TouchID

I haven’t used TouchID and we’ve all read the issues about it. Really, it boils down to your preference. Potentially it is more secure if your phone is stolen or lost. I use a tempered glass screen protector though and it seems to obstruct the TouchID.

iOS 8

I have to say, doing this review made me realize how much I was underutilizing the iPhone. A quick run through from the Apple website and the phone’s Tips app shows a bunch of features.

  • Messages - Swiping messages left shows the time the messages were sent. You can even add voice messages. Again, good for places with A-grade networks.

  • Email – Swiping emails left allows you to mark them as unread. Swipe right and you open a whole menu of things to do like forward, flag or trash. Definitely more intuitive to use.

  • Quick type – Predictive text input. No biggie but I noticed it really doesn’t impose on you by autocorrecting. Maybe that’s just my settings.

  • Family sharing – Up to 6 from 5 people sharing your apps. Be careful with sync settings as you might end up having the kids’ stuff populating your “work phone”.

  • iCloud – 5 GB of storage for everything. Personally I use Dropbox plus there’s that small issue of hacked iCloud accounts. Not that I have those kinds of pictures or videos anyway.

  • Siri – Siri seems to be able to understand me better. I asked a bunch of questions from “What’s the weather?” to “Show me Lebron’s stats and it did work fine.

  • Continuity – This is one feature I have been waiting to try. Pairing your iPhone via WiFi with your iPad (as long as it’s also on iOS8) and a Mac on OSX Yosemite to allow you to hand-off work, take calls, or continue surfing looks neat. I’ll have to wait til October 16 when Yosemite releases to upgrade my Macbook Pro. I have had calls and texts showing up on my iPad.

  • Health Kit – OK, Apple has a grand design here. I like the concept. I would love to be able to sync my Nike + Fuel Band and my bike’s computer plus possibly input from Xbox One Fitness into the Health Kit. Too bad we have to wait for the developers to catch on. Plus it will be interesting how this unfolds in Manila. MVP owns a telco and a hospital already.

SUMMARY

Remember when the prettiest chicks seem to always show up late for parties? This is what’s happening here. Apple was late in the large screens party but when they showed up, they have the prettiest phones. That is beyond dispute. The iPhone 6 is eye candy. And it has the feel of premium A-grade device.

Videos look better with the bigger but equally good display. I’m no audiophile so I’m not that fussy about sound quality. Did I mention that you get the new U2 album for free on iTunes? Yes, it just appeared there ready for you to download.

As I said, I’ll have to wait to see how it all integrates when Yosemite releases. Practically though, I doubt I will use that feature much. I’m tied to my phones and they are always nearby. Starting something on your phone and then taking it on to your Mac seems pretty cool.

The phone will take a bit of adjustment especially if you have been used to handling your iPhone 5 with one hand. Typing is easy, plus the Quick Type feature is helpful.

Who doesn’t want one? Even the most fanatical fandroid will not refuse an iPhone 6. But do you need to get it? If you have an iPhone 5s, probably no and the best play for you is to wait for the “tock” in Apple’s tick-tock strategy of releasing phones, similar to how Intel does with its processors. The iPhone 6 is a tick, it’s a totally new device. The next one will in all likelihood be a tock, an iteration or upgrade of the one before it. If you’re on the iPhone 5, then probably you should get this. One, you’re probably itching for an upgrade anyway. Two, it’s also probably time to renew your contract. Did I tell you don’t need to wait til next year? That’s a safe bet for when the iPhone 6 arrives in Manila. You should know that the iPhone 5 can handle iOS8 just fine (as far as I was able to use it til I switched to the 6). If you’re on the 4/4s, and you want to have iOS 8, then you definitely need to get it.

Other stuff: 

  • Do get a case. Preferably a transparent one because like all iPhones since the iPhone 4, this one is meant to be seen. The fine aluminium casing is quite resilient but I doubt it will survive for long in a backpack or handbag without getting scratched.

  • Screen protector is optional with the Gorilla Glass but better safe than sorry. I got a tempered glass protector by Spigen. My One M8 was just in my pocket while I sat at the dentist and I got a cracked screen.

  • Very easy. Do not stuff your phone in your front pocket if you’re wearing tight jeans and don’t sit on your phone. No amount of engineering or advance in materials science will compensate if you’re just plain stupid you’re not careful.

  • The iPhone 6 is not waterproof. There is a moisture sensor inside that lets Apple know that the phone has taken a swim. This will void the warranty. 

Info Sources:

  • GSM Arena

  • Apple.com

  • Tom’s Hardware


Kenneth Inocencio
Kenneth Inocencio

Author