Test driving the iPhone 6.

I’ve talked about the iPhone 6 Plus here before. Overall, it’s a fantastic device, but its shortcomings do stand out to someone like me who might notice them (read: for lack of a better term, a power user). The reason I’d initially wanted the 6 Plus was to have a completely new iOS experience, wildly different than my previous phone, which was an iPhone 5. The iPhone 6 didn’t seem like enough of a jump to be exciting, and I was certain I’d be using the 6 Plus for all kinds of new things because of its size.

At first, I did. I marveled at how much I could see on screen at once. The keyboard is large and comfortable. The screen is really very nice. The battery life is mind-blowing. I could VNC into remote machines and pop around easily. I watched some TV shows on it and it blew me away. But apart from some isolated use cases that I haven’t run up against in a while, I’ve started to realize that I’ve begun using it almost exactly like my previous device again, and not like something new. I find that the split-view landscape feature isn’t well-implemented as while it might speed up certain activities, you lose so much viewable space in that orientation that it often isn’t worth it. (I attribute this to the fact that the phone is 16:9 while the iPad’s 4:3 is far better suited to these changes.) I also picked up an iPad Air 2 last fall, and I’m hard pressed to do anything outside the norm on my phone. That thing is phenomenal, and an absolute joy to use.

It got me thinking. If I wasn’t really using the immense screen for more than my usual “phone” activities, what’s the point of carrying something this big around? Certainly I’m used to it, so it’s not that, it’s been four months already. But we have a 2-year old, and she’s a handful. I’m always pulling it in and out of a pocket while I play with her, and it can sometimes be a pain. Also, we’ve got another baby on the way, and one-handed use, while totally achievable with the 6 Plus, isn’t really a great feeling (I’ve got smallish hands). You get used to it, and I’m obviously making it work, but there’ve been some real scary moments, I won’t lie. In real-world applications, I’ve found using Apple Pay to be workable, but often a little awkward just because I’m usually holding a bag of something already, which means a one-handed Touch ID balancing act over the reader.

So I’m doing an experiment. I’m going to set up and use the iPhone 6 I have at the office exactly as I’m using the 6 Plus and see how it feels. I’ll do all the things I’m used to doing, and put it through its paces. If I vastly prefer it after a period of time, perhaps I’ll stick with it. If I decide I miss the vast expanses of the behemoth’s screen, I’ll go back, no harm, no foul, my mental condition satiated for the time being. I’ll make some notes about the experience so as to make this a bit more scientastic, and so that I can actually form a cogent verdict that isn’t based on my vacillating emotional state, brought on by the miserable ice-hell that is winter right now. I’m curious to see how this goes.

Author: Seth Clifford

I'm here for the open bar.