Apple iPhone 6 Plus review:

A super-sized phone delivers with a stellar display and long battery life

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4.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 45 user reviews

The Good The big battery provides long life, and the 5.5-inch screen is not only big but bright and high-contrast. Optical image stabilization improves low-light photography.

The Bad The big footprint may not be for everybody, and the overall design is less distinctive than previous iPhones.

The Bottom Line The iPhone 6 Plus is an outstanding choice for those with big budgets and big pockets, but power users seeking even more flexibility should audition the Galaxy Note 4 as well.

9.0 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 9.0
  • Camera 8.0
  • Battery 9.0

Editors' note: On September 7, 2016, Apple debuted the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and discontinued the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus remain available, however, and Apple has increased the storage capacity of the entry-level models to 32GB and lowered prices to $549 and $649, respectively. The full iPhone 6 Plus review, first published in September 2014 and updated in June 2015, follows.

In 2014, Apple forked its iPhone product line, simultaneously introducing the next generation of its flagship model -- the iPhone 6 -- and debuting its super-sized sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 is an exceptional phone in nearly every way but for its middling battery life. The iPhone 6 Plus is also impressive; larger and thinner than other iPhone models, and with the capacity for far more endurance on a single charge than most comparably-sized and smaller competitors.

As great a phone as it is, the iPhone 6 Plus isn't for everybody. Its defining characteristic is its size, which occupies a nice middle ground between the 4-inch iPhone 5S and the 7.9-inch iPad Mini. While the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is considerably more portable, the 6 Plus will hit the sweet spot for those who want a bigger display on their smartphone (and prefer iOS to Android).

And remember: a 5.5-inch screen may feel gigantic at first, but it may end up feeling just right in no time.


Befitting its moniker, the 6 Plus is on the large side, measuring 6.22 inches high by 3.06 inches wide (158mm by 78mm). At 6.07 ounces (172 grams) it's just a touch lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 but noticeably thinner -- just 7.1mm in thickness, compared with the Note 4's 8.5mm.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Apple iPhone 6 LG G3 Samsung Galaxy Note 4
US base price (with 2-year agreement) $299 $199 $199 $299
UK base price (unlocked) £619 £539 £360 £450
Australia base price (unlocked) AU$999 AU$869 AU$630 AU$837
Display size/resolution 5.5-inch 1,920x1,080 IPS (401ppi) 4.7-inch 1,344x750 IPS (326 ppi) 5.5-inch Quad HD 2,560x1,440 IPS (538 ppi) 5.7-inch 2,560x1,440 Super AMOLED (515 ppi)
Processor 1.38GHz Apple A8 (64-bit) 1.39GHz Apple A8 (64-bit) 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (Krait 400) 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
Internal storage 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB 32GB 32GB
Expandable storage No No Yes (microSD) Yes (microSD)
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Operating system iOS 8 iOS 8 Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4

Dimensions aside, the iPhone 6 Plus feels better in the hand than the Note. Like previous iPhones, it's made of matte aluminum, but where harsh lines and chamfered edges give the iPhone 5 a stark, industrial feel, the iPhone 6 Plus nestles more comfortably in your hand rather than cutting into it.


That noted, the rounded shape -- complete with glass that blends into the rounded edges -- provides a less distinctive appearance. That curved glass will be familiar to owners of Nokia Lumia devices, and the inset lines of plastic on the back are reminiscent of the HTC One . Though the iPhone 6 Plus looks and feels great, it lacks the unique styling of its predecessor.

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Owners of earlier model iPhones will need to adjust to different button locations; the iPhone 6 Plus's power/lock button is located on the right side - a good thing, given how far one would need to reach if it were placed on the top. The volume buttons, wide and flat rather than round, are located on the left directly beneath the ring/silent toggle switch. The 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the bottom, as it does with the 5S, next to eight holes that allow sound from the (surprisingly powerful) internal speaker to escape.

Then, of course, there's the home button, front and center below the display, featuring Touch ID functionality, which allows you to unlock the phone quickly with a fingerprint. While this feature is no longer as novel as it was when it debuted, Touch ID remains quicker and more reliable than the fingerprint detection capabilities we've seen on other smartphones. And with iOS 8, you can use fingerprint access for a wide variety of apps beyond the lock screen and iTunes Store.

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To avoid any unfortunate thumb-straining incidents, Apple provides the "Reachability" feature: two quick taps on the Home button slide any content at the top of the display -- app icons, Safari's URL bar, whatever else is up there -- down to the bottom. (That's a double tap rather than a double press -- the latter of which opens up the app switching screen, as it does on earlier versions of iOS.) Though it's handy in theory, we did not find it particularly useful in practice.

For example, if you want to open a folder of icons on the top of the display, a double-tap brings that folder down. Tap on the folder and it opens, but then slides back up to the top again. You need to double-tap on the Home button again to bring it down a second time so that you can select an icon within. It's simply too much tapping to be of regular use, even for those with short thumbs, though it could be handy if you're standing on a bus or train and need your other hand to hang on.

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Landscape mode

Another software tweak exclusive to the Plus is a special layout for some apps when the phone is held sideways in landscape mode. Mail and Messages give you an iPad-like view, with a list of messages on the left and their content on the right.



The size of your hands, and your ability to reach the corners of the device, will play a large part in determining whether the 6 Plus is a good fit for you. Another deciding factor will be whether it fits into your pockets. Unless your pants are of the cargo variety, you're probably going to want the iPhone 6 Plus in a back pocket when you're out and about.

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