Design & Hardware

With its 5.5-inch 1080p screen the iPhone 6 Plus is by far the largest iPhone ever made but despite the new dimensions Apple has managed to retain its design language and there is no doubt the iPhone 6 Plus is an attractive looking device. The edges are more rounded than on the previous generation and at 7.1mm the 6 Plus is very thin as well. The aluminium frame and back give it a premium feel and the tapered edges of the scratch-proof front glass feel very pleasant when holding the device and swiping across the screen.

Despite reports on the iPhone 6 Plus' "bendability" in the first weeks after launch the phone feels very sturdy in the hand and we had no problems with build-quality or ruggedness during our testing. In terms of controls the new model remains unchanged. There’s still no dedicated shutter button but you can use the volume buttons on the left edge to trigger the shutter button. This doesn't offer the half-press of a real shutter button though, and you need to press fairly hard which increases the chance of camera-shake.

The large 5.5-inch screen is great for viewing images or videos.
Camera lens and the dual-LED flash unit are located in the top left corner.

On the front the Home button is still the only control and the power button can be found on the right side of the device. While the rounded edges and glass feel pleasant in the hand they don't offer the best grip when using the iPhone 6 Plus as a camera and a case might be a sound investment. The location of the camera lens in the top-left corner means you need to be careful to not shade it with a finger of your left hand when shooting in portrait orientation. 

Volume rockers and the switch to put the phone into silent mode can be found on the left edge.
At the bottom edge are the headphone jack, lightning connector and speaker.

In terms of camera hardware the new model comes with two interesting new features. The iPhone 6 Plus is the first Apple smartphone to offer an optical image stabilization system and autofocus speed has been improved with the addition of an on-sensor phase detection system. Apple calls the latter "focus pixels" in its promotional materials. Otherwise the camera specification remains the same as on the iPhone 5s and images are still captured on a 1/3-inch 8MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. As before the lens offers an F2.2 aperture and approximate focal equivalent length of 31mm. The latter is little less wide than the 28mm lenses found on some high-end Android competitors.

At the heart of the iPhone 6 Plus is Apple's new A8 processor and 1GB RAM, which, like the camera specs above, might not look too impressive next to the high-powered Android competition.  It's the end result that counts though and, like on previous device generations, it appears Apple's OS simply requires less processor power and memory to run smoothly and responsively.