Phones

My only iPhone 6 regret: Battery life

Living with the iPhone 6, part 5, Scott Stein finds there's only one thing he really envies about the larger 6 Plus...and it's not the bigger screen.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Before the iPhone 6 came out, I had a wish list of what I wanted to see. That list was ambitious. Hey, it was a wish list. Now, after living with the iPhone 6 for two weeks, and having adjusted to it as my main phone, here's the question: what do I miss not having on the iPhone 6? And is there anything I envy about the 6 Plus, bending-while-jammed-in-pocket fears notwithstanding?

Well, there's one big thing that comes to mind: battery.

I had battery life as my top most-wanted feature for this year's iPhone. I wasn't given what I wanted. Sure, the 6 Plus has improvements on overall battery life. But, it's not a double-your-battery phone. And that size, weeks later, still doesn't appeal to me or my pockets.

I don't regret lacking other things.

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Optical image stabilization? So far, it doesn't seem like not having it makes a huge difference. Sure, I wish the iPhone 6 had it. But I've gone back and forth between the Plus and regular 6, and it's really hard to perceive. The overall camera quality on the 6 is good enough: better than the 5s, even if it's not a big leap. The iPhone 6 still has one of the very best phone cameras, and it'll be my go-to for the entire year.

Size? I do miss the iPhone 5S for its easy-to-hold one-handedness. I tried pushing a shopping cart while checking a shopping list on the iPhone 6, and it was tougher to thumb through. But I love the new screen size. And I wouldn't a phone that's any larger. It's not 1080p, but most apps don't take advantage of that yet anyway.

Waterproofing? That would be appreciated. But Apple's never done that on a phone before. It was a tall order. Many phones aren't water resistant. It's not a deal-breaker. And Apple may have already helped make these new phones more splash-durable.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

But...that battery life. I use my iPhone as a hub. It pairs with tons of wearables and fitness trackers. It connects to my car. I stream music nearly constantly. I'm web-browsing, tweeting, emailing, taking notes. I take photos. I make the occasional phone call, too.

This morning, the iPhone 6 is already down to 84 percent at 10 a.m. Not bad. Not great. It'll reach a point by mid-day where I consider a quick recharge. I want to get past that point.

To be clear: the iPhone 6 battery isn't bad. It's disappointing. There are other phones that do better. If you're an iPhone user already, you know what to expect.

I would have liked, and bought, a thicker iPhone with better battery life. It matters to me.

I want the iPhone 6 with the battery of the 6 Plus. But I can't get that this year. The iPhone 6 is no worse than the iPhone 5s at getting through a day...but not much better. And as I continue to power-use my phone, I don't want to be forced to go super-sized in my phone choice. I'd still pick the iPhone 6 over the 6 Plus. It's the size I want. It just lacks that meaningful battery boost.

Having a super-slim phone is cool, and the iPhone 6 is undoubtedly beautifully made. But if it had been just a bit thicker, found a way to get just a few more hours of meaningful Web-use time...I wouldn't need to wonder about the Plus and its tradeoff of battery-for-massive-size.

A thicker phone would maybe even mean not needing a phone that was quite so long and wide.

Battery life means the iPhone gets used longer. It means I'll stay connected longer. It means I won't manage my Bluetooth or notifications or massage my app usage (which iOS 8 helps with). It means I'll just use my phone, and not worry.

Maybe next year. Honestly, if all Apple did in 2015 was make an iPhone with seriously improved battery life, it would make tons of people buy one.

Yes, that's what the Plus is for. But not everyone wants a mega-phone.