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Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch day hands-on

It’s iPhone 6 launch day, so we thought we’d trip it down to Apple’s Regent Street store to get some quality face time with the company’s latest smartphones.

The day has arrived. Check the Recombu Twitter feed and you’ll see we’ve been keeping tabs on the queue accumulating outside Apple’s Regent Street store for the past few days. For all the fans, the die-hard Apple early-adopters, the wait is over and the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are finally here.

Tim Cook’s presentation promised a lot from these new devices, so expectations were high when stepped into the company’s central London store an hour after watching the droves of fans enter to a cheering line of Apple Store employees.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus thickness Phone backs iPhone 6 Plus camera

As the variations are relatively slight, our initial hands-on will place both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus side by side, but don’t worry. We’ll be bringing you much more robust coverage soon on each device individually very soon.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch day hands-on: Design

If you haven’t heard, both iPhone 6 handsets have grown since last year’s 5S and with this size increase comes a change in form too. Gone are the straight edges and the characteristic diamond-cut chamfer, now the milled aluminium bodywork is all curves.

Based on the press images, it seemed like it had lost its distinct aesthetic, but in the flesh it’s actually still a very beautiful piece of design. Those curves give a significantly nicer feel in the hand on either device than before. They also help alleviate any comfort issues that would otherwise arise from their impeccable thinness – and these things are thin – 7.1mm for the 6 Plus and just 6.9mm for the 6.

Black iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6 White iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6

The lines on the back won’t be to everyone’s taste, but serve a functional purpose, splitting up elements of the antenna design – the gold variant wins for the most attractive take on this. The camera ‘bump’ was also a big talking point for these new iPhones but whilst it is noticeable in profile, in day-to-day use you’ll completely forget about its there. If you were wondering, the iPhone 6 naturally slots into the pocket more readily than the 6 Plus, we’re not surprised, but that’s the price you pay for the extra screen real estate.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch day hands-on: Screen

Apple gave both new iPhones what it calls Retina HD Displays. In truth, the 4.7-inch panel on the iPhone 6 sports a 1334×750 resolution, whilst the 6 Plus rocks a bigger 5.5-inch Full HD screen – making it the highest resolution iPhone screen ever.

Distinguishing pixels isn’t easy but it’s possible. In real-world use however, you won’t see a thing beyond crisp text. The IPS LCD technology paired to the work Apple claims it’s done to elements like the polariser has clearly paid of too, the screens are impressively bright, crisp, colourful and sport some excellent contrast, nothing less than what we’d expect based on the calibre of previous iPhone displays.

iPhone 6 screen iPhone 6 Plus screen

One-handed use is possible on both devices. With the iPhone 6 you can just about reach the top of the display without too much palm shifting (the side-positioned hardware controls also help). With the 6 Plus the awkward looking double-tap on the Touch ID sensor that Apple introduced actually does work surprisingly well.

By tapping lightly on the home button (double pressing would bring up the multitasking view) whatever’s on the screen would slide down to within reach of your thumb. It doesn’t seem like the perfect solution to this problem and it’s not the first attempt by a phone maker, but it works.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch day hands-on: Interface

If you’re an existing iPhone, iPod or iPad owner you may well have already downloaded the new version of iOS – iOS 8. It offers a light visual update to iOS 7 but really focuses on new features like Health and the camera’s additional time-lapse mode. We detail all the best bits of iOS 8 in this article.

For the most part, the iPhone 6 offers an experience unchanged from the iPhone 5S, save for its scale. The larger display size makes for easier, faster typing, but it’s the iPhone 6 Plus that boasts some more significant changes.

iPhone 6 interface  iPhone 6 Plus interface

The homescreen, as with Apple’s iPads, rotates into a landscape orientation. This means you could swipe through your homescreens without having switch the phone around to jump into a video or a game. Whilst in certain apps landscape use also grants you a two-column view, great for scanning through messages or emails. The keyboard also pops up some additional functions – like cut, copy and paste keys.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch day hands-on: Verdict

Pleasantly surprised springs to mind based on our first encounter with the new iPhone 6 brothers. The smaller 6 feels like the perfect size for usage and typing, whilst the 6 Plus has the most desirable hardware and software tweaks like OIS, better landscape support and a higher resolution screen.

Regent Street Apple Store window - iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

We’re still not settled on the price, but there’s time for both devices to win us over come our full review. In the meantime let us know your thoughts on these new iPhones in the comments below.


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