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We didn’t love the 6 at first, but now you can’t prise it from our grip
Read our verdict on the latest hardware and software for Apple devices, including games and iOS apps
It’s quite hard to love the iPhone 6, initially. Indeed, if you’ve been using either the 4-inch design that Apple introduced with the iPhone 5 or the 3.5-inch design that preceded it, when you first pick up an iPhone 6 you might not like it at all. It feels oddly weighted. Peculiarly light. Worryingly slippery. Too thin to grasp well. And unless you have big hands, you’ll struggle to reach even across the width of the phone with your thumb, never mind stretch it all the way to the top. It feels, in short, like a mistake, like Apple has lost its way and instead of giving the public what it needs, it’s giving the public what it wants.
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It’s only when you’ve been using it for a week or two that it starts to make sense. Partly, this is because you’ve become used to the ergonomics; you’ve adjusted your grip and have learned how to hold it. But partly too it’s that you’ve fallen under its spell. After about a week you’ll have realised that the compromises that have been made by Apple – and that you’ll have to make yourself in using the iPhone 6 – are worth it. Unlike with the iPhone 6 Plus, the iPhone 6 isn’t functionally a dramatic change from the iPhone we know and love; the rich, deep screen just gives the content a bit more room to breathe. That might not sound hugely exciting or even particularly important, but the acid test is simple: after a couple of weeks of using the iPhone 6, we forced ourselves to go back full-time to an iPhone 5s, and while it felt better in the hand, the screen just felt pokey. A screenful of tweets felt cramped, movies didn’t feel as luxurious, and while we’d become used to viewing some nonoptimised websites in portrait with some degree of comfort, we felt we had to flip the 5s into landscape more often.
It’s nevertheless true that those first few days with an iPhone 6 are tricky. The back and sides really do feel slippery, and the rounded edges – which make it feel even slimmer than its already svelte 6.9mm – combine to fool the brain into constantly thinking you’re going to fumble it. If you’re going from an iPhone 4 or 4s it will take you a long time to acclimatise to the tall screen – you’ll spend days worrying it’s going to tumble forward out of your hand – but it’s unfamiliar even if you’ve been using a 5-series. Happily, as you’ll know if you already made the switch from a 4-series to a 5 (where you probably experienced something similar), you do get used to it, and a few weeks in you may well start to forget how you ever found it a problem to begin with.
There’s still a concern about operating it one handed, though. Apple has introduced ‘Reachability’: double-tap the Home button to slide the screen down towards your thumb to bring stuff at the top into reach. It’s tough to critique it; on one hand it feels like a terrible kludge, the kind of thing we’d lambast an Android device for having to do, but on the other, well, what else was Apple going to do? Broadly, it works; the only major problem is that most ‘back’ functions for apps are at the
The new rounded-edge design feels like an homage to the original iPhone.