iPhone 6 Plus full review: Apple's best iPhone so far

Tech specs
Price: $1,148 (16GB), $1,288 (64GB), $1,448 (128GB); all without contract
Processor: A8 chip with 64-bit architecture, M8 motion co-processor
Operating system: iOS 8
Screen: 5.5-inch Retina HD display; 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.2-megapixel front camera
Weight: 172g

Many probably did not see an Apple phablet coming, especially given Steve Jobs' very public disdain for big displays on smartphones. Apple's late great co-founder famously said of big smartphones: "No one's going to buy that."

But Steve is gone. And now there's the iPhone 6 Plus.

The Plus has the same Retina HD display as its sibling, only substantially bigger at 5.5 inches with a full high-definition (HD) resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. This gives it a pixel density of 401 pixels per inch (ppi), the highest ever in an iPhone.

​Both displays use the same technology that is supposed to give you a better viewing experience, with deeper blacks and sharper text. Dual-domain pixels ensure colour accuracy from corner to corner for a wider viewing angle, while an improved built-in polariser lets you see the screen more clearly when you are outdoors in sunlight.

Because ​the Plus has a bigger screen, its display looks brighter and sharper even though it has the same brightness level and only marginally higher pixel density than the iPhone 6. Photos and videos all look much better on this display than on the iPhone 6.

As with the iPhone 6's display, there is minimal colour or brightness shift when I view the display from the side. The display is clearly readable even in bright sunlight.

​Just as in an iPad, ​the icons in the Home screen will flip around to display in landscape mode, when you turn the iPhone 6 Plus sideways. ​​ In addition, in apps such as Messages and Mail, ​the display will show two panels: one, a list of messages; and the other, the selected message. For those who want to be able to see the list while reading a message, this ability will be invaluable.

In terms of design, ​it's goodbye to​ ​the ​flat sides and chamfered edges of ​the ​iPhone 5/5s​. In the Plus, the front glass panel curves around the edges for a totally smooth and seamless meeting with the rounded edges of the anodised aluminium shell, a perfect union of glass and metal.

The rear sheds the two-colour tone of its predecessors​ for ​ a more uniform colour. Only the antenna band​ is slightly different in colour.

The Sleep/Wake button ​has migrated from the top to the right side of the device, for easier access with your right thumb. The volume buttons, which were round in the iPhone 5s, are now elongated like those on the iPad Air.

​The iPhone 6 Plus is also thicker and heavier​ than the iPhone 6: 7.1 mm thick to 6.9 mm, and 172 g to 129g.

Still, ​even the bigger device, with its rounded edges, is comfortable to hold in your hand, and unless you hold the iPhone6 in one hand, and the Plus in the other, the additional weight is not obvious.

While the iPhone 6 Plus sits ​comfortably​ in the side pockets of my working and weekend pants, it is a tight​er​ ​fit in jeans. If your jeans are fashionably skinny, you might have trouble extracting the iPhone 6 Plus from a pants pocket without standing up.

While it may not be as easy to use the iPhone 6 Plus with one hand, a feature that Apple termed Readability lets you move the screen down by double tapping the Home button.This comes in handy if you use the expanded screen space to add an extra row of icons.

Nevertheless, I think the iPhone 6 Plus ​is best operated with two hands. My fingers are not particularly long, so I found it hard to reach the Sleep/Wake button with my right thumb.

But it is a trade-off that I will willingly make to enjoy that bigger display.

Next: The iPhone 6 Plus camera
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