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A Road Warrior Review of iPhone 6 Plus 5.5" Smartphone

I am always on the go.  I do everything from office work to motorcycle rides to the pistol shooting competitions to Australian trips to the deep outback.  I demand much from my electronics, so I have high expectations.  Look at my previous posts and you will see that it is hard to please me.

So lets have a look at the new iPhone 6 plus.
It is hard for me to create a review that is comparable to other reviews.  Maybe that is why you are reading mine?  Who knows, hope this is helpful.

The short-short review? I like it.  Love it? Time will tell, but it has its pros and cons.

First some background:

I switched away from iPhone a few years ago and settled into a Galaxy Note II, and loved the 5.5" HD screen.  Not because of game bling or HD movies, but because the phone worked better for making calls and these old tired eyes like a bigger screen.  I liked hardware buttons too, but you know, that isn't "cool" anymore.  Oh, and yeah, I suppose I totally depend on smartphone features now.

Android still isn't as slick as iOS, though it is getting there.  Overall the user experience with iOS is still better than Android.  With iPhone 4, the phone portion (you know, making calls?) just always frustrated me.  Lots of dropped calls, poor quality etc.  Android phones almost universally (and using the same carrier) performed MUCH better for making calls.  The smartphone features for email, web, apps were always better on iOS.  I put up with Android shortcomings for the bigger screen and a better "phone call" experience.  Ive heard iPhone phone service reliability is better so I'm taking a gamble on that.

Lets start with my complaints.  Why? Because everybody else pukes Apple technicolor rainbow adoration first, and that isn't me.

lets face it, smartphones aren't about productivity, they are about convenience
1. App compatibility. rrrr maybe also app scalability?

Many people have said that an iphone 6 plus with a 5.5 inch 1080p screen will eliminate the need for an iPad or other 7-10" tablet.  Granted, tablets are *still* 90% for entertainment purposes.  (it used to be 99% 2 yrs ago hehe).  Sure there are some biz apps, but iPad is still mostly about media consumption, and Android tablets are even further behind in meaningful and productive business apps. (shameless plug: I am involved with an Android app that hopes to boost productivity for businesses -- called "Areshay" [piglatin for "Share"].  Clickey here to get to the freshly launched app.)

So, with "tablet is mostly for entertainment" in the crosshairs, the iPhone 6 plus, at the time of release, does NOT adequately replace an iPad or Android tablet, for entertainment or the occasional clunky work related task.  And to be very crisp: We are talking about iPad-designed apps and how they work on this supposed "eliminates need for a tablet" phone.

Evidence or its a load of bull:  Microsoft Office for iPad doesn't work on iPhone 6 plus.  Sure I know it would be small, but it at least would be possible, and lets face it, smartphones aren't about productivity, they are about convenience.  It wasn't all that easy on iPad either, but it worked, and it maintained all the compatibility.  Not on iphone 6 plus? bleeaaccchhh.  The MS Office release is at least part of my reasoning for going back to iPhone.  If they fix it, I will retract part of this complaint.

Many iPad games recently updated to support iPhone in anticipation of bigger-est iphone 6+ just don't scale as well as advertised by Apple or its evangelists.  A modern app like Star Wars Commander are way too small.  Legacy-ish apps like Baldur's Gate for iPad are so small it is laughable to consider playing them on a 5.5" screen at such high resolution.  Others are a little better, but only apps designed to use the resolution real-estate at a high DPI will be worthwhile.

2. iOS 8 glitchy-ness.

Yeah yeah, I get it, its a new OS release, blah blah.  Im sure much of it will be better in 8.02.  Its about first impressions, yo.  Cool that iPhone now shoots slow-motion video, but my first couple tests are all glitchy, with mega-fast video first that slows down to slow-mo after a few seconds. Hmm, thats kinda dumb.

Also, doing settings changes, the iphone hung on me a few times.  Especially after restoring my ipad config to the new iphone.  I ended up erasing the whole thing and setting it up as a new phone, and it is much better.  Most people won't have that much patience or know-how.  Android peeps maybe, but iPhone is marketed as the "easy-to-use" choice, and this self-support situation would certainly not be easy for most of those end users.

3. Double tap button to scroll the screen down?

Ugh, what an ugly hack.  Whoever came up with that 11th hour band-aid fix to the "my fingers dont reach that far" problem.  At least we can turn that crap off so that when you accidentally double tap the home button you don't have to freak out that your screen is all screwed up.

Ok, now on to the happy feedback.

1. Performance. Battery. Screen.  Yep, all together because they are obvious.

Yep, its the newest iphone, so of course its "the best iphone yet." duh, nobody would buy it if it was lesser than the last iphone.  It performs VERY well.  Battery in the 6 plus model lasts well more than a full work day of hard use.  FINALLY!

Seriously, for apps designed to take advantage of the new screen, it looks and performs great.

2. Build quality and style.

I hesitated to include style, because the new iPhone isn't necessarily sexy looking.  There isn't much new that you can do to keep it thin.  It feels solid, and light at the same time.  It is thin but I don't feel like I'm going to break it, even with a gentle drop.  The beveled glass on the screen feels very nice.

3. Size.  Love it. EOM.

4. App Compatibility.

Heresy! Hypocrite! You used this as a negative! 

Yeah, well, fine.  True app compatibility for scaling apps (mostly games) are acceptable.  The fact that they work already without needing a specific compiled release (like Android) is good.  There are a lot of high quality apps, and they all "just work."  Its the iPad apps that don't translate well to iPhone that was my primary complain.

5. iPod-ey goodness.

Apple owns the mobile music market.  No surprises here.  Having ONE device and also having your whole music library everywhere you go? Yeah, that's a big +1.

Summary

I think this iPhone 6 plus is a worthy replacement for my Samsung Galaxy Note 2.  Big screen: check, performance: check, build quality: check, all my music n junk n stuff: check.

Will I feel the same in 6 months? I am hopeful that I will.

My bet is that Microsoft realizes that an iPhone version of Office is critical and they get that fixed.  Games? well, some of them just aren't feasible with such a high resolution screen in such a small device. #reality

There you have it.  If you liked this? then share it! twitter shares appreciated :)

p.s. Apple Watch

Sheesh, much like Google glass, cool idea, and a decent transitional step for the new IoT world.  If I was 13 and wearing one of those, I'm pretty sure I would get beat up on the school bus.  Its like the 1980's calculator watches.  Sorry, I'll pass.

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