Apple iPhone 6 Plus Review

November 17, 2014 | Amy Davies | |

Introduction

The iPhone 6 Plus joins the iPhone 6 as the latest smartphone from Apple. It features the same camera, but with optical image stabiliser, and a much bigger body and screen than its smaller sibling. Apple has stuck with the same 8 million pixel resolution since the iPhone 4S, and the company’s devices have been the most popular “cameras” in the world for some time now. The iPhone 6 Plus also has the same f/2.2 lens and processor as the iPhone 5S, with the majority of the changes taking place via software. A new introduction is Focus Pixels - which basically means that the camera now has phase detection pixels making it quicker to focus than the 5S - Apple claims that it is twice as quick as its predecessor. Along with that, there’s also improved face detection, and there’s now the ability to change exposure manually.

Ease of Use

For a long time, Apple resisted the temptation to build a large “phablet” style smartphone, but with the iPhone 6 Plus, the company has finally given into the popularity of such large devices. The screen is a whopping 5.5 inches, and features Apple’s Retina Display for ultra crisp viewing.

While this makes it great to look at images, watch movies, or generally use apps, it does have its downsides.  Its large and flat size makes it quite unwieldy in the hand and it takes some time to get used to holding it securely without it feeling like it’s going to drop. If you wanted to hold the phone in a traditional way that you might hold a camera, you’ll probably find that your fingers obscure the lens - again this is something that you soon get used to in practice, but unfortunately makes it fairly difficult to hold ultra securely.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Front of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus

As with all iPhones, the majority of the control takes place via the touch sensitive screen, but there are some important physical buttons which are useful when taking pictures too. On the right hand side of the phone is the power on/off button or lock switch - hold it down to switch the phone on or off, or simply press once to lock or unlock the phone.

From the lock screen you can take a photo by swiping upwards from the bottom right hand corner of the screen. You’ll be able to view pictures that you’ve taken while the phone is locked, but you will need to unlock it properly if you want to view the rest of your photos. Still, it’s a very handy and quick way to fire off a few off the cuff snaps without having to fully activate the phone.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Rear of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus

On the right hand side of the phone are volume buttons, but you can also use these to take pictures or video when using the camera - this is handy when you’re holding the phone as you would a traditional camera - you can position the volume buttons as a normal shutter release button on a standard camera.

You can use the iPhone’s camera from within several different apps, such as Instagram, but it is probably the phone’s native camera app that you will use for the majority of shooting situations. There’s not a huge amount you can control, but there have been some improvements over the iPhone 5S with the introduction of iOS8.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Image Displayed

In order to set the focus point, you simply tap the area on the screen that you want to focus on. A new feature you’ll now see is that a small sun icon appears, you can swipe this up or down to adjust exposure compensation, which is handy for overly dark or overly bright conditions. By selecting the autofocus point, you’ll also set the metering.

Along the bottom of the screen you’ll see various options which allow you to move between various shooting modes which are available, including photo (standard 4:3 ratio), square (1:1 ratio), panorama, video, slow-mo and time-lapse mode.  On the bottom right of the screen you’ll see three overlapping circles - if you press this you can add various digital filters including Tonal, Mono, Noir, Chrome and Process.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Camera Mode

On the top of the screen, there’s the option to switch the flash on, off or leave it on Auto to let the phone decide when is the most appropriate time to fire it off. There’s also the option to switch HDR on, off or again leave it on Auto. Another new introduction is timer mode, which is useful for selfies and group shots - you can set the phone to delay shutter release for three or ten seconds - when he countdown is reached, the phone will fire off a burst of shots to help you get the best one in a group situation. Finally at the top of the screen you’ll see an icon for switching between the rear camera and the front facing camera - useful for photographing selfies.

In order to take a shot, as already mentioned, you can use one of the volume buttons, or if you prefer, you can tap the virtual button within the camera app itself. If you hold down either the physical or virtual button, you’ll activate burst shooting and the camera will continue to fire off shots until you release the button. When you do release, the phone will automatically pick which one it thinks is the best - but you can choose an alternative by pressing “Select” underneath the previewed image.  Once you’ve chosen the best shot, you can elect to keep only that image and delete everything else, or keep all of the shots.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Rear of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Once you’ve taken a picture, the phone gives you a few editing options from within the app itself. For instance, you can add any of the digital filters that were available pre-shooting at this stage too. You can also adjust brightness, saturation, and black and white styles. You can also crop and rotate an image. Handily, at any stage, you can revert back to the original image even after you’ve carried out several edits. It’s also possible to favourite images by tapping a small heart icon underneath the preview - these will be stored in a separate folder in your Images app, allowing you to quickly view all of your favourite shots without having to navigate past all your other photos.

As part of the iOS operating system, there’s a huge range of different apps which you can use to take and edit photos. Some good popular options include Instagram and Photoshop Express, but there are literally hundreds to experiment with.

Entry Tags

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