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Apple iPhone 6 Plus follow-up review: one year later

Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review (2015): We re-review the iPhone 6 Plus one year after its launch to see if the original phablet-sized iPhone holds up against 2015 phablets.

It was Apple’s first attempt at a phablet and a massive jump in size over the dinky 4-inch iPhone 5s, and twelve months ago we gave the iPhone 6 Plus a mighty five star rating. One year later, we’ve seen a slew of palm-filling Android phablets hit the UK as well as the new iPhone 6s Plus. So, does the iPhone 6 Plus still stand up against the competition?

You may not be able to bag it in sexy Rose Gold, but the iPhone 6 Plus is still a beaut. Those curved edges and corners make for a comfortable grip despite the handset’s bulk and the relatively light 172g weight and slender build means it doesn’t feel like you’ve just slipped a brick inside your pants or your handbag.

This iPhone 6 Plus has been housed in a case for a large chunk of its life, so the chassis is relatively free of scratches and scuffs. However, the screen did get smashed after just a few weeks thanks to a sudden tumble – thankfully our great mates at iCracked managed to sort it out in just half an hour and it works perfectly several months on.

iPhone 6 Plus follow up review - 6 Plus in-hand

That Full HD 5.5-inch IPS screen is still perfect for enjoying apps, games, movies and everything else when you’re out and about. Colour reproduction is a highlight, with the natural-looking hues lending a realistic quality to images, while the 1920×1080 resolution (401 pixels-per-inch) keeps everything looking sharp. Some rivals such as the Moto X Style and Xperia Z5 Premium may boast much higher resolutions (especially the Premium with its mental 4K display), but you’ll need eyes like a cyborg to see individual pixels on the iPhone 6 Plus’ panel.

Media lovers might be disappointed that the iPhone 6 Plus maxes out at 64GB with no way to expand, but one year on I haven’t had to delete any apps or videos to make more room, even during iOS update time. That’s despite carting around plenty of HD movies and dozens of albums and podcasts, as well as pages of games. Besides, many premium Android handsets such as the Galaxy S6 also top off at 32 or 64GB with no microSD slot.

iPhone 6 Plus follow up review - iPhone 6 Plus front and side

Now that we have iOS 9, the iPhone 6 Plus is even more feature-packed than before, boasting improved Maps, WiFi Assist and plenty more besides. And shoppers as well as London Underground users will enjoy Apple Pay, which is a stress-free way of paying for small transactions, beautifully coupled with the secure and accurate TouchID fingerprint sensor.

Read next: 5 great iOS 9 features you may have missed

The iPhone 6 Plus’ performance is still strong one year on even though the standard iPhone 6 benchmarks higher, with the latest App Store games running smoothly at all times. I’ve never noticed the phone growing worryingly hot, even when streaming video for ages or blasting through back-to-back games on a lengthy journey.

Of course, one of the most hotly debated features of almost every iPhone is the battery life, something that hasn’t changed for the latest iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. My iPhone 6 Plus will just about scrape through the day after twleve months of use, helped by Apple’s new Low Power Mode which cuts out automatic fetch processes and trims the visual loveliness if you desperately need a bit more life.

When it comes to optics, the iPhone 6 Plus is also holding up well. That 8-megapixel iSight camera might have been overshadowed by the 6s Plus’ 12-megapixel snapper, but I’m still impressed by the quality of shots taken on the 6 Plus. Admittedly the lens struggles with macro shots, but take a step back and your subject will be captured with realistic skin tones and even gloomy scenes are well lit (with not too much grain to ruin the pic). Of course, detail levels take a hit compared with many premium-priced rivals, but photos still look strong when viewed back on a big screen. Just don’t be surprised if backgrounds are a little soft.

iPhone 6 Plus follow up review - iPhone 6 Plus Camera

The iPhone 6 Plus is still one of the best phones for recording video, coping well with sudden motion and jerkiness as well as managing tricky exposure conditions. Plus that slo-mo mode, which allows you to add the slow motion effects after you’ve shot the video, will never get old.

Read next: iPhone vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Note 4 camera test

Apple’s 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera may also have been well surpassed by rivals, but it’s perfectly fine for video chatting with your mates, keeping your face bright and sharp even as you move about. The angle of the lens is wide enough to cram in around three heads, particularly good news for social selfies.

So, twelve months on would we recommend the iPhone 6 Plus? Well, it may lack some of Apple’s latest features such as 3D Touch and that upgraded camera, but it’s still a great performer that now boasts an even better user experience thanks to iOS 9 (now that the bugs are being dealt with). If you demand a big-screen experience but can’t quite muster the cash for the 6s Plus, this is still a fine alternative.


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