The iPhone 6 is epic

There have been hundreds of articles detailing the specifications, price, and bendability of the iPhone 6 since its launch in the States, and there have been even more “expert” reviews on what makes the iPhone 6 better or worse than its competitors.

Do you want to read another review or stat-based piece about the new iPhone? Probably not.

Do you want know whether the 6 is better than the iPhone 5 and whether or not you should upgrade? Of course you do.

In short, the answer is yes – get to your retailer of choice and trade in your now ugly and under-performing iPhone 5 immediately.

Let’s talk about 6

Placed next to the 5, the 6 is quite a bit bigger overall, in both device size and screen size. The new iPhone is thinner, feels similar in weight (there is a difference of a few grams), and has rounded edges as opposed to the 5’s more block-like design.

In your hand, the 6 feels better. The metal finish feels superior – although my 5 has taken more beatings than the Cheetahs did this year, so it is a bit worn – and the screen has a softer gloss feel which is smoother under your fingertips.

Despite its large size, the 6 can still be operated comfortably with one hand (unless you have small hands) and does not feel cumbersome.

In terms of usability, my three days with the 6 were pleasant ones, and everything ran smoothly once I had slapped my nano SIM into the tiny slot.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 5
iPhone 5 and iPhone 6

Second opinion from a non-iPhone user

Oh Kevin, Kevin. Have you not yet learned that showing unironic enthusiasm online is like cutting yourself and then swimming with sharks?

Unbridled cynicism. That’s the only way to review a device. Therefore, my take:

Welcome, Apple, to the world of the large-screened smartphone (the first one to call it a phablet gets perma-banned). Samsung’s on its fourth iteration of the Note and is already playing with other weird curved-screen form factors.

It’s also not just Android phones that have been available in 4.7-inch, and 5.5-inch (and larger) variants. Windows Phone, BlackBerry… literally everyone is already at this party.

This doesn’t make the iPhone 6 a bad device, or anything you said untrue, of course. It’s just frustrating to us fanboys of other ecosystems that Apple is eating humble pie and still manages to be arrogant about it.

— Jan Vermeulen

Button configuration of the 6 is slightly different to the old 5, with the lock key now high on the right edge of the device as opposed to the top right. The silent/ringer button is much the same, while the volume buttons are now unmarked and slender rectangles in their expected position.

The thumb print sensor/home button works quickly and consistently when unlocking the device – to the point you start to forget your lock code due to lack of use.

The larger screen is beautifully crisp, clear, and responsive. And no, this is not a Verimark ad – it truly is a good touchscreen.

An increase in screen size also means a more pleasant user experience for videos and apps. Whether watching a short movie about a pizza delivery guy and a lonely housewife who does not have enough money to pay for her order, or sending a message – it’s just more fun on the 6.

When it comes to messaging, the bigger face means that Apple’s recently introduced predictive word bar above your keyboard no longer feels obstructive as it does on the 5 – comfortably fitting in messaging apps’ interfaces.

Basically, bigger is better in the case of the 6.

But first, let me upgrade to iOS 8.1

The front and rear camera on the 6 is top-notch, delivering high photo and video resolution and quality. Having used a standard 5 for the past year and a half, finally having the slow-motion video function that comes with the 6 was fun, too.

That being said, waving your hand in front of the lens and then watching the 240fps playback over and over gets boring after a while, and I suspect this feature was made for people with friends. The few photos and videos I did take looked much better than when I took them with the 5 – whether this was just my imagination or not is questionable. But it does not matter, as the placebo effect is an effect nonetheless.

During day one of using the 6, I was kindly asked by Apple to download and install iOS 8.1. I complied, updating my 5 and the 6 at the same time.

The update did nothing to slow down the 6, with the menus snapping back smoothly when hitting the home button, messaging and app usage smooth, and the responsiveness of the device as it was before the OS install.

My 5 did not fare so well, and for a few hours after the update my device was painfully slow. I am not one for conspiracies, but it does make you question whether Apple’s updates nerf old devices with the intent of getting you to upgrade. The iPhone 4S user in the office seems to agree (between bouts of incoherent sobbing, due to lag).

iPhone 6 slimness
iPhone 6 slimness

But does it bend?

I had the 6 in my side pocket for one work day and the weekend, sitting down on couches, beds, the toilet, and other flat objects, without any hint of the Apple device suffering physically.

At one point I did begin to try and bend it with my hands, but got scared and stopped. But I could have totally bent it. I could have, and anyone who says I can’t is a liar.

To find a fault with the phone is difficult, but there is one aspect I did not enjoy: two pairs of white decorative bands (which are the phone’s antenna lines) along the bottom and top of the back of the device.

Besides that, the 6 is pretty much better in every way when compared to the 5.

Come Monday morning, and going back to using my iPhone 5 was not pleasant – in fact, it now feels cheap and clunky in my hand.

It feels too small, and inferior, like the cheap-and-easy younger sister you settle for as you are too afraid to ask out her sophisticated and beautiful older sister for a steak dinner.

In summation – once you go 6, you can never go back.

(Except in my case, I had to go back: the iPhone 6 demo unit was temporarily supplied by Vodacom.)

More on the iPhone 6

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The iPhone 6 is epic