Apple iPhone 6

How to Tell If the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus Is Right For You

Apple's new iPhones are similar in many ways, but if you're considering an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus purchase you should consider these five key differences — especially if you plan to preorder a device without actually handling it.

iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus

Apple iPhone 6

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On Tuesday, Apple unveiled the latest additions to its iPhone family, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. They're the largest iPhones ever, and according to Apple, they're "better in every way" than its last generation of smartphones. Both of these high-end devices are very similar, but there are five notable differences between them that potential iPhone 6 buyers should consider before making a purchase.

1) iPhone 6 v. iPhone 6 Plus: Size and Weight

The most obvious difference between the two new iPhones is size. The iPhone 6 Plus is gigantic, and it's Apple first real "phablet." (The iPhone 6 Plus is so big, it could replace your 7-inch tablet.)

The iPhone 6 Plus packs a 5.5-inch display, but its true height is about 6.22 inches (158.1 mm), with the bezel around the screen making up for the additional space. It's also 3.06 inches (77.8 mm) wide. Its sibling, iPhone 6, has a 4.7-inch screen, but its actual height is 5.44 inches, and it's 2.64 inches wide.

The differences in size may not sound like much, but anyone interested in purchasing either model would be wise to print out this size comparison graphic from before making a decision. The iPhone 6 Plus is huge. If you're not used to a similarly sized phone, it could be a bit overwhelming.

iphone 6 iphone 6 plus Apple

For context, both new iPhones are larger than the last generation of Apple phones. (The iPhone 5s/5c are about 4.9 inches tall and 2.3 inches wide.) The iPhone 6 Plus is slightly larger than the length of a United States $20 bill, which is 6.14 inches long — just ask Don Draper.

The most popular phablets today, Samsung's Note lineup, are comparable in size to the iPhone 6 Plus, but the brand-new Note 4 is actually shorter (153.5mm) and just slightly wider (78.6mm).

As for weight, the iPhone 6 weighs about half an ounce less than the iPhone 6 Plus, which is a negligible difference. 

I'd suggest getting your hands on both models before making a decision, because the iPhone 6 Plus really is huge. (HUGE.) Of course, if you preorder your device, you won't be able to handle it before you purchase. So checking out a Galaxy Note for a size comparison isn't a bad idea.

2) iPhone 6 v. iPhone 6 Plus: Battery Life

The iPhone 6 Plus has a larger display, which will require more power than the iPhone 6 screen. As such, it also packs a larger battery. Rumors suggest the iPhone 6 Plus has a 2915mAh battery and the iPhone 6 sports an 1810mAh power pack, but Apple didn't release these specific details.

Apple did announce battery life specifics. The iPhone 6 gets about 14 hours of 3G talk time, 10 days of standby, up to 10 hours or internet use on LTE, 11 hours of video playback and 50 hours of audio playback, according to Apple.

The iPhone 6 Plus has significantly better battery life. It gets about 24 hours of talk time on 3G, 16 days on standby, up to 12 hours of internet use on LTE, 14 hours of video playback and 80 hours of audio playback.

Battery life is one of the most important specs to consider when investing in a device that you plan to use for two years or more, so the iPhone 6 Plus has a clear advantage here.

3) iPhone 6 v. iPhone 6 Plus: Price

Guess what? The larger iPhone 6 Plus costs more than the iPhone 6. Surprise.

Pricing details for the iPhone 6 are: $199 for the 16GB, carrier-subsidized version; $299 for the 64GB carrier version and $399 for the 128GB carrier device. Unlocked iPhone 6 devices cost $649 (16GB), $749 (64GB) and $849 (128GB).

The iPhone 6 Plus costs $299 for the 16GB, carrier-subsidized version; $399 for the 64GB carrier version and $499 for the 128GB carrier device. Unlocked iPhone 6 Plus devices cost $749 (16GB), $849 (64GB) and $949 (128GB).

If you're looking for help financing a new iPhone purchase, read "How (and Where) to Get the Most Money for Your Old iPhone."

4) iPhone 6 v. iPhone 6 Plus: iSight Camera and Optical Image Stabilization 

One thing Apple always does really, really well on its smartphones: The camera. When it comes to megapixels, Apple's smartphone shooters pale in comparison to other high-end devices, yet the iPhone still consistently takes comparable or better images than the others with massive megapixel counts.

iPhone 6 iSight camera Apple

The two cameras on the new iPhone 6 models are nearly identical, except for one notable difference. The iPhone 6 Plus has a new optical image stabilization (OIS) feature, which is designed to help you capture better images when your device isn't completely still and to reduce overall blurriness.

It's unclear how well the OIS technology works, but again, Apple does cameras right. If you want the best camera tech Apple has to offer, you want the iPhone 6 Plus. 

5) iPhone 6 v. iPhone 6 Plus: Screen Resolution

In addition to different size displays, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screens have different resolutions. Specifically, the iPhone 6's 5.5-inch screen has a 1334x750 resolution, at 326 pixels per inch (ppi), while the iPhone 6 Plus display has a 1920x1080 resolution at 401ppi. Both multi-touch, widescreen displays have Apple's "Retina" technology, are LED-backlit and use IPS technology, according to Apple.

By definition, the iPhone 6 Plus display should look better, as it's identical to the iPhone 6 screen but with more pixels per inch. The difference could be minor, though, when compared side by side, so resolution probably shouldn't be a deciding factor in an iPhone 6/Plus purchase.

Check out Apple's iPhone comparison site for information on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.


This story, "How to Tell If the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus Is Right For You" was originally published by CIO.

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