iPhone 6: Review & Key Specifications

There has always been rivalries in technology . For me, the first was Sinclair Spectrum versus Commodore 64 (the 64's SID beat the Speccy's oddball Britishness, sorry), then came Sega versus Nintendo, ST versus Amiga, Sony versus Everyone Else, Mac versus PC. Heck, brick versus wattle and daub probably rattled on for centuries. Each argument is the same, often full of intelligent, lively conversation and pond-life idiocy in equal measure. What is more, none of these rivalries ever have a clear winner, the arguments usually end up with both sides having equal pros and cons.

The biggest and most vitriolic rivalry of recent years has been that of Android versus iOS Galaxy S5 versus the iPhone, Nexus 7 versus iPad and so on. Every year there is a new iPhone, and every year the argument rises up once again, while remaining laregely pointless. So in this review you'll find comparisons to other market devices that's only standard practice but let's leave any fanboyism at the
door , it's getting a little old. You already know what the iPhone 6 is, unless you have maybe slipped through a crack in time and appeared here in the last few hours from another dimension (good evening, Doctor). It's fair to say even small animals are aware of it. It's the only technology keynote that's as viewed by the number of people you'd usually associate with a major sporting event.

This year there was even more anticipation however partly because Apple was on a non-S year , so a new design was expected and partly because the Apple secrecy machine appeared to have been working only part time this year , and the supposed devices had leaked a while before.

So when the iPhone 6 was unveiled, it wasn't as big a shock as the 4 was, the last major overhaul. In fact, in retrospect the design was there to see all along in the 5th generation iPod Touch go check it out, it's practically the same. In the hand, though, the iPhone 6 is a work of beauty that pictures of it cannot encapsulate. Echoing the first iPhone's curved aluminium, the 6 is a delight to hold, and it sits in the hand very nicely. The roll of the edge of the screen's glass feels great and brings to mind previous devices with this idea, such as the HTC One X and the Nokia Lumia 800.

The version I have is black (sorry - 'Space Grey') and with dark wallpaper, the device begins to resemble a shiny pebble. It still lacks grip though, and the extruding camera is unsightly and breaks the device's balance on a flat surface. The screen itself has been a cause of consternation for some, with the lack of full HD prompting comparisons with Android flagships of 2012. That's fair criticism, they are technically similar , but in use the new “retina HD” display is sharp, vibrant and gorgeous.
Moving to it from a Nexus 5, I'd conclude it's every bit as striking with the dualdisplay pixels (also present in the One M8) giving a wide viewing angle and superb contrast. At times, the image is so close to the glass that it looks drawn on.

Underneath the screen you'll find the guts of the device, and unsurprisingly it provides as stage for the debut of a new set of chips: the A8 and the accompanying M8 motion co-processor . The former is a dual core 1.4GHz, 20nm CPU that at once doubles the transistors of the A7 while shrinking it by 10%.

The horsepower is up by 25% for CPU and 50% for the quad core GPU, but in practice it's not overly noticeable as these chips are pushing more pixels around with equal deftness as any iPhone before it. It's not an Octo-core monster but, thanks to iOS, it is just as fast as one (without the battery cost). Talking of which...

One spec that is more noticeable however is the battery life, with the 6 having the longest battery life of a regular iPhone ever . The 1810mAh isn't huge, but a combination of the lower resolution screen, efficient CPU and optimised OS means I would often have at least 30% left after a 15 hour day with above average use. It's not quite the best in the world but it's certainly up there with the market leaders and a marked improvement in the range.

The camera is also superb once again. While it hasn't had a bump in megapixels, additional goodies such as phase detection autofocus in the guise of 'Focus Pixels', 240 fps slow motion video, upgraded aperture and more means the images still look stunning. The Pureview Lumias still hold the smartphone crown, but few Android devices can hold a candle to the 6's imaging capabilities, even with more megapixels at their command.

I have been lucky enough to use many mobile devices on many platforms while writing for Micro Mart, and I've tried (and enjoyed) the iPhones on and off since the first one arrived. However , I have always found myself going back to Android, partly because the ecosystem is more open, partly because they offered great value, but mainly because the screens were bigger . The 'leap' to a 4” screen on the 5 series wasn't impressive at a time Android devices were launching with 5” screens in their flagships. With the iPhone 6, that hunger is finally sated, and the 4.7” device is right in that goldilocks size zone, especially with a rounded design that's the best since the One X.

An iPhone isn't cheap and likely never will be, and yes the memory price hikes are horrific. However, much as I love a device such as the moto g, I appreciate the extra money I pay for the 6 gets me a device that's far better designed and made. Some will begrudge that, asking why the OnePlus One can sell for half the price.

Truth is Apple doesn't really need to compete, it will sell regardless. Aston Martins could probably sell for less doesn't mean it will happen though.

Android remains the more open ecosystem, and I love having a Nexus tablet that'll connect to SMB shares, let me access its filesystem and generally tinker with it. However , in terms of app quality , iOS is still ahead as its apps often feel more in tune with the device they are on, given they only have to be written for the one device platform.

The bottom line is this the iPhone 6 is the best iPhone ever and arguably the most complete premium smartphone available today . Will it tempt you way from Android? Maybe... if you can afford it, and it could certainly tempt you back if you have previously left. Is it a better phone than a OnePlus One, Lumia 1530, moto G or One M8? Well, that's for the individual to decide, as each one of those, like the iPhone 6, is a superb device in its own right.

Key Specifications
• Chipset: Apple A8 dual-core 1.4GHz Cyclone (ARMv8-based).
• Display: 4.7" IPS LCD (750 x 1334, 326ppi).
• Memory: 16/64/128 GB, 1GB RAM.
• Camera: Rear 8.0MP / Front 1.2MP .
• Battery: 3,000mAh (removable).
• Operating System: iOS 8.
• Size: 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm.
• Weight: 129 g.
• Network: 4G / LTE / HSPA+ 21 Mbps.
• Connectivity: Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth .
• Colour: Space gray, silver , gold.

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