Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

A Day With the iPhone 6+ (WARNING: Language)

by Eric Stewart on Nov.16, 2014, under Cell Phones & Providers, Technology

So, it took me a while to get around to ordering one and it took even longer for the phone to actually make it to me … but that’s a story for another post. For this post, I’m going to avoid anything too specific to my (new) cell provider, and try to focus strictly on the phone.

Where to start … where to start …

It’s big. “Fucking huge” isn’t an exaggeration. 5.5″ diagonal screen. If you’re going to get this phone, you might want to give up the idea of ever using your phone with one hand ever again. Learn how to manage the phone with alternative methods (like Siri) and get used to having to hold the phone with two hands. You can “control” the phone with a single hand, if you want to (and Swype will help with that), but you will still need another hand to steady the phone and prevent it from taking a tumble to the ground, unless your hands are monstrously large. Like, Lana Kane large.

Lana Kane

Go ahead. Call my hands huge one more time.

So, I take back what I once said about the iPhone 5‘s 4 inch screen being “too small” because they designed it for one handed use (I think I used the phrase “fucking tiny ass hands” when the idea was posited to me). Even the 6 (no +) and it’s 4.7″ screen is a bit large and can be (more than?) a handful when trying to use it with one hand. Thing is, the phones are used these days more for everything else besides making calls, so a larger screen is desired. In fact, the headset options for cell phones make the phone itself something you don’t even need to have in your hands while making a call.

Knowing it was going to be a bit large (and though they make holsters for them, and I have one, it seems a bit too big to hang on your hip), I changed my wardrobe a bit ahead of time to plan for the phone … I now wear cargo pants more than jeans. The phone goes into one of the lower pockets. Since they’re not jeans pockets (and not even hip pockets), I avoid the rumored “bending” problem (though I do find that I have to reach down and adjust the phone from time to time, as the leg pockets are big). I’m short enough to where the headphones still reach between my ears and the phone in a leg pocket with just a little bit of slack.

If you still hope for one-handed management of your phone, but want something bigger than the iPhone 5(s/c), look at the iPhone 6 (no +). My wife got one and the few times I’ve had it in my (admittedly small) hands, it seemed manageable. True, you do lose some camera stabilization features, but really, that’s about it.

One thing both iPhone 6 models have (and I know at least a handful of people that have welcomed this) is an extra row of icons on the screens. Yay! I’ve gone from having two pages of home screens to just one (though admittedly I lost track of my Futurama “crashed ship” background). With the extra row of icons in mind, another way to make the phone a little more tolerable when you’re encountering one-handed situations is to load one side of the screen with the icons you use the most.

One new feature I’m enjoying (but still haven’t gotten used to yet) is the touch sensor in the Home button. You can have up to five fingerprints set up to unlock the phone using the touch sensor … but I still find myself occasionally using the unlock code.

I do have a couple of gripes. I’ve always hated having the headphone jack on the bottom of the phone – I still think it should be on the top (the issue is easily resolved by putting the phone top down into my pocket … Siri doesn’t seem to care). And while some folks apparently hated having the power button on the top of the unit, it’s been relocated to a kind of awkward position opposite the volume buttons – so, depending on how you’re holding the phone, you might accidentally change your volume settings while powering the phone on/off (“You’re holding it wrong!”). And I haven’t gotten used to it’s new location yet, so I still keep feeling around for it on the top of the phone.

There are a few apps that still don’t have iPhone 6/6+ formatted versions, but honestly a few of the ones I’ve noticed I’ve actually preferred them simply magnified (“Dude, you’re getting old.”). I do like that, with the size of the phone, there are games that were more suited to the iPad that I can actually tolerate (and enjoy) on the iPhone now (Sackboy Run!).

The camera can do time-lapse video, but if you want to use it regularly, invest in some kind of tripod/holder, because even a short couple of seconds of video will take a long time to take. On the other end, the camera can also do slow motion video, which so far I’ve discovered is a bad idea under florescent lights.

The “Health” app shows that your phone has been attempting to keep track of your steps/stairs.  Since I use a Fitbit One, I can tell you that they’re fairly close to one another, but by the end of the day, there was a 500 step (out of somewhere near 10,000) inconsistency between them (the phone thought I had gone farther).  It would be nice if you could bring the Fitbit information into the Health app, but other than the novelty, I haven’t poked the Health app all that much.

All in all, I’m keeping it, though it’s possible that in a couple of years or three I’ll be switching to something smaller. I certainly can’t see myself getting a bigger phone.

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