Review Raid101 exclusive - iPhone 6 Review

Discussion in 'Gadgets and Consumer Electronics' started by JD666, Oct 1, 2014.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Yep, we've got our hands on it.



    Space Grey 64 GB iPhone 6 for the taking. One of the first ones booked in the UAE. And the purpose of this review is to provide an impartial view on the latest iPhone from Apple.

    First up, a little clarification. I was a Symbian guy. In my opinion the Nokia N8 was one of the best things to happen to the mobile world, with a 12.1 MP camera, Xenon flash and the works.

    Meanwhile Apple with its iOS and Google with its Android OS grew to unbelievable levels and divided the world of Smartphone users amongst themselves. Windows was always on the scene, but never perceived to be a threat, since Microsoft also had it tied up (like Apple to iTunes) to Zune and the OS (Windows phone 7) was severely restrictive in terms of multi-tasking, customization and capability.

    Disclaimer - I have currently in my possession phones from all walks, namely - iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, HTC One Mini, Nokia N8, Nokia 808, Nokia Lumia 1020, Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia 500, a couple of BlackBerry mobiles and a few other.

    This allows me to compare the iPhone, specifically, iOS with Android and in turn with Windows Mobile 8.1 Cyan/Denim edition (Developer version).

    Secondly, I am not a iHater. I have used Apple products, having an iPhone 5S for the last year, an iPod touch (5th Gen) and having toyed around with the various versions of the iPhone over the years. Personally I like the iPhone 4S for the compact size and capability.

    Moving on, this is my short review of the phone over the last 4 days that I have had it in my possession -

    Build, Design and Size -

    WP_20140927_001.jpg

    This is, arguably the biggest leap for Apple in their design of the iPhone after the launch of the iPhone 5. Now other manufacturers like Samsung/Nokia/Motorola launch various devices, in various sizes, with different features and capability. This allows them (Samsung/Nokia/Motorola) to cater to different needs, different requirements at different price points.

    WP_20140927_002.jpg

    Apple has not placed the iPhone in such a category. However for the first time in its history, they came out with 2 variants of the same phone. For a company that lags behind (for lack of a better word) in providing features and maintaining an extremely restrictive operating system, this was a big big move. I'll write more about that when we comes to Features and Specifications.

    WP_20140927_004.jpg

    Opening the box, I took out, what was perhaps the slimmest mobile phone that I have held in my hand. I've seen the Huawei 5.5 mm offering, but never held it. The device feels great in the hand. It is as big as the Samsung S3, but the S3 feels bigger.

    WP_20140927_007.jpg

    The phone is thin, and I mean thin. The iPhone 5s has nice edges to grip the phone easily. This feels more like the metal Lumia 1020 or the HTC with the cold metal touch and the matt finish.

    WP_20140927_008.jpg

    It is comfortable to hold. I have average sized hands. A Samsung S4/S5 or Note is tad too big for me. The Lumia 1020, which compares in size, is a tad wider than this to hold.

    WP_20140927_012.jpg

    The edges of the phone have been rounded off, and the screen glass merges seamlessly into the sides. Apple is all about the design of the device as well. And for this, I probably rate them the most influential for nearly all manufacturers. To be honest, Nokia attempted from time to time to make devices that were unconventional and full touch screen etc. But Apple refined the idea to a point that it became the benchmark for everyone.

    WP_20140927_014.jpg

    The Touch ID sensor and the curved edges of the screen.

    WP_20140927_015.jpg

    The rounded edges, feel great.

    WP_20140927_016.jpg

    Slim volume buttons, but easy to press.

    WP_20140927_017.jpg

    The headphone jack, Lightning port, mic and speaker grille.
    WP_20140927_018.jpg


    The device booting up for the first time.

    WP_20140927_019.jpg

    The back of the device. A word for all those naysayers that this phone bends, and it is susceptible to damage and bending and what not - Live with it.

    You are buying something that's not only designed to function, but also to look great while at it.

    I won't take my GT86 off-roading, just as much as taking a Fortuner to the race track. A device is designed for a purpose; this, is to look good, and work while looking good. And it does a fantastic job at that.

    WP_20140927_020.jpg

    The Camera lens, which does protrude. Not sure if the above two images are clear, but the LED flash is in fact a 2 LED flash with one white and one slightly on the orange side for natural hue perhaps. Very interesting. The same was present on the iPhone 5S (I noticed it after I saw the flash on the 6).

    Features and Specifications -

    By the time you all would be reading this review, you would've already memorized all the features and specs that this device has, like the new A8 chip, or a barometer (that I still need to figure out how to use).

    I installed a new Wi-Fi Router in my house. I wanted to run a Wi-Fi analyser app that would let me scan the Wi-Fi channels and ensure that I have the clearest channel for my router. Not finding anything worthwhile in the App Store, I had to switch to the HTC for downloading Wi-Fi analyser, tried and tested over the years.

    What I miss physically on the device is a notification light for messages/missed calls. Nokia has managed to bypass it on their Lumia phones by providing a feature that is called 'Glance'. This essentially uses the screen display to show notifications. But the design of the screen is such, that only those pixels need to be powered that are displaying the icon.

    I would not want something similar, considering the battery life of this device, but yes a small notification light would be welcome. Even if the rumored glowing Apple icon at the back, more than welcome!

    I have not used NFC over the last 3 years that this feature was in the 808. Used it to pair it once to a sound system. However if Apple will be restrictive about it, there isn't much that can be utilized by having it.

    User interface -

    This is where Apple wins it for me. And loses it in places for their design.

    The iOS GUI is perhaps one of the smoothest GUIs that I have seen. In my opinion Windows Mobile and iOS, both stand out on one aspect, and that is smoothness and responsiveness. Android is responsive, but they really need to pack in some serious hardware for the experience to be comparable. That bit, I don't like about Android.

    I've experienced more sluggishness/freeze/no response on Android than these two. And iOS 8 isn't even bug free.

    Apps -

    Apps for iOS8 (specifically iPhone 6 and 6+) are still rolling out. What the current experience is - Not good. As Tim Cook pointed out during the launch of the iPhone, apps will scale automatically to the higher resolution. But what gets spoilt is the text, the size, the scaling. Here is an example of Facebook messenger before and after the update for iPhone 6 -

    (In the sake of privacy, I have blurred the image, but the change is still visible) -

    Before -

    scaling before.png

    And after the update -

    scaling after.png

    You can see how everything becomes smaller and more in line with the bigger screen size. This helps the new screen resolution and the apps to take advantage of the higher display quality.

    So they are getting there, and I'm pretty sure they will. If you are one of the early adopters, don't be disappointed by the way your Facebook feed, Twitter, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger look like. Should be a matter of time.

    Customization -

    The only sole winner here for me is the ability to install custom keyboards. And Swype totally wins it for me (75 Rs from the App Store). It made typing much easier. I was able to save words to the dictionary, do away with the stupid suggestions and auto corrects that I got. Moreover expanding the dictionary gradually allowed me to type(swype?) much faster.

    What I do miss, as compared to Android and now even Windows mobile -

    1) Widgets - It's much easier to view updates on the home screen, rather than set notifications for anything that you want to be informed about.

    2) I keep switching frequently between mobile data and Wi-Fi (home-office-home-friend's place-home). So I need a easy toggle that does the job. And Android wins this for me. Windows comes a close second (Drop down toggle cannot be customized for mobile data toggle), and iOS comes last. Its a chore to open settings -> Cellular Data -> Toggle -> Settings -> Wi-Fi. (I can pull up Wi-Fi from the bottom drawer, but if only they could let me customize it.

    3) There was no easy way for me to transfer contacts. I tried apps like Copy my Data, but for some reason it kept crashing on the iPhone. I eventually had to set up my Google account to reflect my contacts in my new phone.

    Battery life and other bits -


    The battery on the iPhone 6 got a noticeable bump over the 5S and it does show. The 5S was barely lasting me 12 hours with Data on. This managed 14-16 hours easily.

    I liked the fact that I could set individual notification settings for each application that I had. Also that settings for each app was in one place. It did take some getting used to, but was useful.

    I don't like the absence of a process manager, or a file browser, but living with the Lumia 1020, has made me do without them (though the Lumia does come with a basic file browser).

    What I would like is, if they could kill iTunes like Microsoft did with Zune. It is the biggest pain in the A$$ that I have ever seen in my life. Resource and memory hog on your PC, and equally difficult on your brain as well.

    To sum it up further, these are the points that I've been making during my usage of the new iPhone 6

    Likes -

    - Brand image, respect the phone gets.
    - Design, fit and finish. The feel of the phone is very good.
    - Screen, GUI response.
    - Touch ID is great to lock/unlock the device.
    - Camera, speed of capture, especially when in motion
    - Improved Battery life over the iPhone 5S, at par with the HTC One Mini
    - Swype makes typing a breeze


    Dislikes -

    - Settings can be confusing for someone who is not familiar with iOS, same as Android
    - No Notification light
    - Shortcuts can not be customized - For instance, lack of a mobile data switch.
    - Widgets would be welcome
    - Notification customization is a tedious process. Can be made simpler.
    - A tad big, the iPhone 5S feels wonderful. Perhaps a middle model (Between the 5S and 6) should be considered.
    - iTunes - Hate it like an alcohol free party.


    To Sum it up -


    This is a urban phone. In a funny way yes. I would not take it for a road trip or any excursion that has me away from a charger for more than 12 hours. There are no reliable maps that I could use (offline) that would serve me while traveling. What this does best, is going to office with you, that evening get to gether, night outs and those parties. And it does that really really well. If I have to leave town and drive out to a new place/destination, I would club this device with another one to fall back on (In my case, the Lumia 1020 with the excellent Nokia Here Maps for offline Navigation). The Lumia just covers up the ground that the iPhone 6 loses.

    Besides that, Apple did change the Mobile phone industry with the original iPhone and they continue to keep improving (catching up, Android people would say). However there is only so much that they can develop and evolve on one design, on one platform. Going the way of the 6 and the 6+ is a positive step in that direction.

    If they want to evolve, and not just be a go-getter's device, they will eventually have to wisen up and look at expanding their capabilities with the iPhone further. It is not that they cannot, just probably a matter of won't.

    With the right amount of tweaks, iOS is a very good mobile operating system, they should look at improving it further. Expanding further, probably launching a 6 Nano would also help matters.

    They've sold 10 Million phones in the first few days of the launch, notwithstanding, but then there is only so much that people who are iOS followers will accept and take.

    And No, Jailbreaking, custom ROMs (For Android) is not the solution. Not everyone is a geek, not everyone is as informed about their devices as some people are.

    It should work, and it should work out of the box. One should not be made to jump thru hoops to make it work.

    I am neither an Apple fanboi, neither an Android lover. I value my privacy, and my information that gets shared thanks to these new fangled operating systems and devices. The little extra control that it gives me (iOS) makes it that much better. Not that I'll be storing anything on iCloud (or google drive) for that matter. :)

    Hope you guys enjoyed reading this honest review as much as I enjoyed typing it. Do comment below.

    Cheers

    P.S. - For those waiting for a Photography comparison, stay tuned. We'll be doing a imaging shootout between the iPhone 6, 5S, Lumia 1020, Nokia 808 and Nokia N8 very soon.
     
    SumitB likes this.
  2. SumitB

    SumitB RAID Staff Staff Member

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    Cannot see the pics.
     
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Yep, there was a minor issue. Fixed now. Please confirm if images can be viewed.
     
  4. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Edit - The missus pointed out that there is a notification system that utilizes the Camera LED.

    A - It was too damn bright

    B - It flashes only when the message comes in. No reminder indication.
     
  5. MOZ

    MOZ RAID Leader Staff Member

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    I like the new design, except that protruding camera, that is very annoying. As a tinkerer, I still can't stand iOS and the boring UI.
     
  6. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

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    GUI might be all smooth and all, but its mundane as hell. For devices which cost significantly less than the iPhone 6, for ex. the HTC One M8 (Running sense with around 7 Home screen and atleast 10 widgets) i have yet to face any sort of GUI lag.
    Im not hating on the iPhone per se, but i started getting annoyed at how limited the homescreen layout is.
     
  7. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Agreed, for someone looking at customizing the hell out of his phone and having everything set up the way he/she would like, Android still allows the best levels of customization, followed by Windows and then iOS.

    I sorely miss a mobile data toggle for instance. Even if they could provide a customization on the control center/bottom drawer, it would've helped.
     
  8. MOZ

    MOZ RAID Leader Staff Member

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    That is incorrect, iPhones have very little options as far as customization goes, for me the level of tinkering that can be done is on par with Symbian. Which is seriously raising a question.
     
  9. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    That statement was about Android, not iOS. Android can be customized, not iOS
     
  10. MOZ

    MOZ RAID Leader Staff Member

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    You misunderstood me, even if someone wants to customise a little bit not a whole lot, iOS doesn't have much to offer. Android however is a jungle where it is easy to get lost.
     
  11. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Agreed and Agreed. Indeed, Android can be quite a lot for someone to handle who just wants a few things tweaked.
     
  12. ViKiD

    ViKiD RAID Rookie

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    For those yearning warriors there is the iPhone!
     

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