iPhone 6 review published on WIRED
I spent over a week testing the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for this review. With these pieces I never aim to be first, but I do aim to be amongst the best for the widest spread of readers.
You can read my review on Wired.co.uk now or see a selection of important quotes below.
Apple wraps its new models in designs that feel thinner than they are. The iPhone 6 measures 6.9mm deep; the iPhone 6 Plus measures 7.1mm. Both make the iPhone 5s feel bulky and overly industrial in comparison. That additional thin-feel to the new models owe a debt to the shape of their glass faces, which bend down around all edges of the iPhone to meet a smooth aluminium rear chassis, itself bending from the back to meet the glass edge-to-edge. The result is a smooth rounded texture that hides a tiny but perceptible bit of thickness; the edges are just slightly thinner than the main body, and since it's the edges your fingers will mostly feel it's this thinness you appreciate most.
It's with graphics performance the differences between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus become clear. The iPhone 6 Plus, with its 5.5-inch screen and Full HD 1080p display, has the same horsepower to drive it as the iPhone 6 has to power its 4.7-inch screen. So how does that make a difference, one might wonder?
We loaded the Relative Benchmark tool onto each device to run a real-time 3D graphics rendering sequence. For all intents and purposes this is just a sequence from any generic 3D game played out automatically to the best of any given device's capability. The iPhone 6 Plus managed a maximum 28 frames per second at the device's native 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution. However, the same test on the iPhone 6, rendered at its native 1,334x750-pixel resolution, managed a maximum of 54 frames per second -- a 48 percent difference. In the live benchmark, it was noticeable to the eye. The iPhone 6 Plus has a screen that offers much higher detail, but a GPU that cannot therefor render those images as quickly as its smaller sibling that offers lower detail. The choice of trade-off is yours.
In good light, Apple's 8-megapixel photographs from the rear camera are sharp, highly detailed and with excellent colour reproduction. The automatic high-dynamic range mode, paired with the fast processor, allows for HDR photographs to be captured without any lag.
What's sad to see is that, in this narcissistic world of "selfie" obsessions, Apple hasn't drastically improved the front-facing cameras. They shoot in burst mode now, which is nice, but their low-light performance is still nowhere near the quality of the rear sensor, and the noise-cancelling system for getting rid of grain is weaker in comparison. That's fairly standard for the industry, but we believe front-facing cameras have become as important as the rear. As such, why do we still settle for such a discrepancy in qualities between front- and -rear-facing lenses? It's something we hope to see change in future iPhones, and indeed all smartphones. Certainly the iPhone 6 models have a perfectly grand lens for selfies, but there's lots of room for exciting improvements.
Apple has set itself a new benchmark for exquisite industrial design, choosing only the most important part of the cutting-edge blade to use for making mincemeat out of most rivals, and it has once again blended significant usability improvements to its core operating system without adding clutter, confusion or drawbacks to performance.
Read my full iPhone 6 review on Wired.co.uk.