New iPhone 6 is bigger, better, worthwhile buy

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Thinking about buying one of those shiny new iPhone 6s or iPhone 6 Pluses? Don’t hesitate much longer — they’re that worth it.

Apple launched its next generation iPhones (yes, two new models) on Sept. 19, opening its Shadyside location at 8 a.m. to an enormous crowd around its front doors.

As the owner of an iPhone 6 Plus, I can safely say that the new phones are bigger, better, and true workhorses compared to the iPhone’s earlier high-end model, the iPhone 5S.
I’ll spend most of this review talking about screen real estate because, let’s be real, that’s the biggest hardware change for the latest models.

Put simply, the screens are gigantic. If you can’t stand big phones, don’t even consider the Plus model. The smaller iPhone 6 touts a 4.7-inch screen, while the larger iPhone 6 Plus is fitted with a 5.5-inch screen. When put in terms of a phone screen, that’s a lot of new real estate, and space that Apple uses to its advantage well.

While I was only able to test the iPhone 6 for a few minutes on launch day, I’ve been using the iPhone 6 Plus for a few days now. The Plus has an option to turn the home screen sideways, and certain Apple-native apps offer more functionality in this orientation. Although nothing new is revealed by turning the phone sideways on the home screen, there are new options in other apps, like the ability to see all your emails or iMessages in a list next to the one you have selected.

When you double tap the home screen, you also see a list of recent contacts above the apps you have running at the moment, and the company has instituted one of its simplest, yet most intuitive features, “reachability”, to account for the screen space. Tap, but don’t press, the iPhone’s Touch ID sensor to bring the stuff at the top of your screen down to thumb’s reach if you’re using the phone with one hand. This feature makes using such a big screen effortless.

Besides maybe not being able to fit the new phones in your pocket, you won’t have any trouble actually using the larger screens. The phones’ new rounded edges and thinness also make the models easy to slide in and out of larger pockets. Going back to my iPhone 5’s screen after using the new big screen made me wonder why I didn’t switch to a bigger phone before this Apple launch.

All that said, these phones should have come out years ago when Google and Samsung released their first big-screen Galaxy phones. It’s nice to have Apple software running on a bigger screen that’s not as big as the iPad Air or Mini, but Apple had no excuse not to churn these phones out instead of the iPhone 5 or 5S when they were released, beyond not wanting to deal with the pain of switching up app sizes.

Despite this gripe, the phones feel better in the hand and, on my first day of heavy use, I only drained the battery of the Plus to 40 percent. And, of course, there’s iOS8, which comes with its own slew of fun features, like the ability to send voice clips over text, download third-party keyboards (hello, SwiftKey), and track your health with HealthKit.

For those enamored by Apple’s ecosystem, now’s the time to buy.