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iPhone 6 Plus: Review by Nilay Patel

2014.09.16 20:16 PT

Nilay Patel, The Verge:

The 6 Plus has an absolutely stunning display. It’s a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 panel, which works out to 401 pixels per inch. That’s the highest-density display Apple’s ever shipped, but there’s a whole range of Android phones out there with big and great-looking high-density screens: the 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S5 at 432ppi, the 5-inch HTC One M8 at 441ppi, the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4 at 515ppi, and the 5.5-inch LG G3 at an insane 538ppi.

Of course, it’s debateable whether your eyes can even perceive any of these higher pixel densities, and driving all those extra dots takes a toll on battery life. Apple seems to have aimed firmly at the middle ground with the iPhone 6 Plus: it’s a great-looking display that’s plenty sharp, but it’s not so crazy high-res in the service of specs that it needs a bigger battery to keep it lit up all day.

Middle ground, is accurate. The ability to visually perceive high pixel densities is debatable, too. And so I debate: I am over 40 and I can tell the difference, but my wife — who knows a thing or two about eyes — tells me I have unusually sensitive eyes.

The iPhone 6 Plus camera is the best smartphone camera I’ve ever used. Apple’s holding firm at 8 megapixels while everyone else is racing to put ever-bigger numbers on spec sheets, and it feels like the right decision: the iPhone 6 Plus focuses faster, works better in low light, and generally produces the best photos I’ve ever seen from a phone.

The 6 Plus has the same basic shooter as the iPhone 6, but it adds optical image stabilization to the mix, which improves low-light performance even more. It’s not going to help you when you’re shooting anything that moves, like people, but for sunsets and skylines, it’s clutch. It basically lets the camera hold the shutter open a little bit longer than it otherwise could without causing a blurry image, so more light hits the sensor. If you’re like me and you mostly find yourself taking photos at dusk and in dark rooms, you’ll end up with many more usable shots. Until you take too many shots and everything gets blurry regardless.

Funny. Optical image stabilization (OIS) paired with phase detection autofocus should be really fun to use. I hope autofocus accuracy is just as good as the non-phase detection autofocusing iPhone 5s.

Having two portable devices — an iPhone and an iPad — is getting tiring. Two devices to carry around, two devices to charge, two cables, two plugs, two devices to update, etc. I would like to have just one, and that is what makes the gigantic iPhone 6 Plus tempting.

If I do get the iPad Nano there will be something I will do that I have not done since the original iPhone: buy a case and keep it on. Why? Two things. The butt ugly antenna lines and the protruding camera lens.