IPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone goes super-sized, but can you have too much of a good thing?
5.5 inches is a lot of inches. Going from 4.7 inches in the iPhone 6 to 5.5 might not seem like that big a jump, but it gives you an increase in display area over the 6 of more than third – and nearly twice the space of the iPhone 5s. And given what we’ve said in our iPhone 6 review about the size of that device needing a few days before you get used to it, you can imagine that the 6 Plus is an even more dramatic transition. Again, it’s a change that happens fairly naturally.
The suggestion is that (as with the 6 Plus) one-handed use is just about out the window, that you’ll just have to use two hands to really use it. This isn’t totally true (particularly for those with larger hands), but it’s not an unreasonable guide. The sense that you might drop the 6 Plus when trying to use it one-handed is strong – it feels top-heavy in the hand, and with a screen this size, you’ll have to frequently move your hand position to reach everything, meaning your grip is less sure. Using the iPhone 6 while walking along is a matter of tweaking your one-handed use to better grip it, but when using the 6 Plus while walking, we found ourselves subconsciously pulling a second hand up and gripping it by the bottom corner, freeing the other hand to support the back of the phone while also moving loosely. This was our adjustment to the iPhone 6 Plus, and yes, it did involve a second hand – there’s no getting away from that.
At home on the sofa, the iPhone 6 Plus is more in its element. Prop it up, hold it in two hands, hold it in one and jab with the other, hold it landscape to watch a video – when you’re using it however you want in an easy environment, most of its ergonomic concerns shrink in the face of the utility of the larger screen, and we don't mean that just for people over 6 feet tall. We gave the 6 Plus to a 5 foot tall tester for a few days. At first, like many, she found trying to grip it in such a way that it was usable in one hand (using it as she would her iPhone 5s) was difficult and uncomfortable. Before long, though, she stopped trying to use it the way her muscle memory was telling her to, and instead just using it in whatever way suited it best for doing the same tasks – and the complaints were almost completely retracted. Smaller hands definitely make its one-handed use even less practical (as with the iPhone 6, Reachability is often only mildly useful), but the big screen offers its own rewards. Playing games, watching movies, browsing sites – they’re all that little bit better on the 6 Plus, and since in many cases they don’t require you to be pressing buttons all over the screen all the time, they don’t suffer from the changed ergonomics. A game might have buttons near the edge: the 6 Plus means you can press these without obscuring the action in the middle. In Safari, you’ll mostly be scrolling, and you can do that anywhere on-screen (and you won’t have to do as much, since the 6 Plus gives you more space to view sites).
When you play with a phone in a shop – testing its size in one hand and typing – it’s easy to forget that this is often the most difficult usecase scenario for our phones – the most frantic reaching and pressing. The 6 Plus has ergonomic issues
Even the huge box the 5 Plus comes in is a reminder that this is a big, big phone.