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iPhone 6 review roundup -- the raves come quietly

Jon Gold | Sept. 22, 2014
As the iPhone 6 series hits store shelves and users' pockets, professional opinions have been generally positive, if not breathlessly impressed. The overall reaction is probably best characterized as a "eh, they're pretty good."

As the iPhone 6 series hits store shelves and users' pockets, professional opinions have been generally positive, if not breathlessly impressed. The overall reaction is probably best characterized as a "eh, they're pretty good."

Not, of course, that this has stopped anyone from devoting several thousand words at a time to saying so. In-depth reviews have been plentiful and extensive. Fine details have been pored over. Comparisons made. Phones fondled, pockets stuffed.

The lack of a strong reaction, either positive or negative, to the iPhone 6 series is largely due to the fact that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus don't introduce a lot of revolutionary new features — there are hardware updates aplenty, of course, but they're generally incremental upgrades, bringing Apple's top-end devices into relative parity with the latest from Samsung, et al.

And of course, a lot of the reaction has been focused on the devices' size. The iPhone 6 is Apple's first foray into the big-phone territory dominated by Samsung and other Android OEMs, while the iPhone 6 Plus goes even further, into the world of the phablet. The size issue is particularly interesting to examine from a long-time iPhone user's perspective, as Daring Fireball's John Gruber writes:

"I'm not yet completely sold on 4.7 inches as a replacement for 4.0 as the standard iPhone size, but give me a few more weeks and I suspect I will be. I love the old iPhone size so much, and I've spent so much time with it, that it's going to take longer than a week to adjust to a new size — especially so when I spent half the week using the ginormous iPhone 6 Plus."

Gruber and many others point out that Apple has introduced small but important tweaks designed to keep the larger screen size from being a headache for one-handed users — the "reachability" feature lets users tap a control to move buttons and other screen items near the top of the display closer to the bottom, for example. The Daring Fireball blogger says that the 6 series is still not as easy to use single-handed as its predecessors, however.

Reviewers who were either neutral or positive on the size question, however, were more impressed by the 6 series. USA Today tech columnist Ed Baig was wowed by the iPhone 6 Plus' display, construction and generally high level of polish:

"These are the phones Apple devotees have been waiting for: iPhones that measure up to what's fast becoming the new normal — the large, modern smartphone display. Count me among those glad they're here."

Even more impressed than Baig was Bloomberg Businessweek's Joshua Topolsky, who said that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus "might be the best phones ever made. Period." While he found the 6 Plus to be a bit too outsized for regular daily use — a not-uncommon point of view, it must be said — Topolsky praised the smaller model as being essentially the perfect size.

 

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