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The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus won’t go on sale until Friday, but the first reviews are already coming in. Keep in mind that Apple hand-picks the reviewers who get early access to pre-release iPhones, so these early reviews may not contain the most cutting criticism.
Still, the early reviews paint a picture of a very important mobile device: The latest generation of iPhones is clearly the best so far, and the iPhone 6 Plus, while unusually large, has several tricks that makes its size more manageable.
Darrell Etherington at Techcrunch thinks the iPhone 6 is the “best smartphone for your money” but was surprised by how much he liked the iPhone 6 Plus:
I went into this review expecting to find it was a niche gadget, reserved for those seeking the absolute top-of-the-line, convenience be damned. Instead, I found myself getting strangely comfortable with a phone I still find difficult to use one-handed. In short, the 6 is my favorite current smartphone, but the 6 Plus is its closest competition.
Geoffrey Fowler writing for the Wall Street Journal generally liked the iPhone 6 but was disappointed in its battery life:
The iPhone 6’s biggest drawback is its battery. It isn’t a deal-breaker—I was able to make it through the day on a single charge. But when I stress-tested the handsets by cranking up screen brightness to 100% and streaming video, the iPhone 6 battery died just before my iPhone 5S’s did.
The Verge’s David Pierce wrote that the standout feature on the iPhone 6 was the improved camera:
There’s one feature that stands out, though, the one that most strongly makes the iPhone 6’s case as the best smartphone on the planet: the camera. It still shoots 8-megapixel images, but this time does so with a new sensor. It also uses what Apple calls “focus pixels” to achieve phase-detect autofocus, which is just astonishingly fast on the iPhone 6. I move the phone around and it never appears to be focusing, yet everything is always crisp and ready.
Nilay Patel, reviewing the iPhone 6 Plus for the Verge, writes the iPhone 6 Plus could end up being his main computer:
With the right software changes, I could basically use an iPhone 6 Plus all day long, for everything from sending messages to editing documents to watching videos. A do-everything phone like the 6 Plus would eventually allow Apple to push the iPad even further towards becoming the true laptop replacement it was always meant to be.
Joshua Topolsky, writing for Businessweek, found the iPhone 6 Plus too unwieldy:
While consumers are already clamoring for the larger of the two phones, I found the iPhone 6 Plus too large and unwieldy to use as my daily driver. It does offer better battery life and an improved camera stabilizer compared with the iPhone 6, but its size proved to be more than I wanted to grapple with on a regular basis. Think of it this way: The iPhone 6 Plus is only slightly smaller than an iPad Mini, which means one-handed use is messy even with Reachability, and holding it up to a normal-size head looks slightly absurd.
USA Today’s Edward Baig assures people who have preordered that they have not made a mistake:
People have preordered on faith, since they haven’t seen these super-sized iPhones up close or experienced what they feel like in pockets and handbags. I have and let me be reassuring — you won’t regret your decision, though going big may require a small adjustment, and my experience wasn’t totally trouble-free.
In its quest to deliver bigger phones to a market clamoring for them, Apple has made one phone that is actually a little too small and one that’s a little too big… The slim new iPhones aren’t a big-screen slam-dunk, but they work well, as we have come to expect from Apple.