The iPhone 6 is here, and it’s big!

YOU GOT TECH - Abe Olandres (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2014 - 12:00am

Last week, Apple has released the first batch of iPhones in select countries. Among them is Hong Kong and, as expected, a deluge of buyers came flocking to Apple Stores to get their hands on the new iPhone 6.

We managed to secure an iPhone 6 and it came with a huge price tag. Gray market prices jacked up the price to almost twice the retail price  — very typical of Apple iPhones on their first few weeks of release.

Apple’s introduction of two versions of the iPhone this year is not much of a surprise since they did it last year with the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

What is more interesting about this year’s release is the focus on display size. You see, for the longest time Apple has resisted the challenge of making larger smartphones. This year, they gave in to the competition and made not one large iPhone but two.

At 4.7 inches, the iPhone 6 has got a much bigger display from the four-incher that was the iPhone 5s from last year.

With the iPhone 6, you get the same premium metallic build and flawless craftsmanship from Apple. It feels good on the hands, very light for its size and a very slim profile.

It’s thinner and lighter than the 5s despite having a larger display. At only 6.9mm, the iPhone 6 has a very slim profile so the hold and grip on the iPhone 6 is a bit awkward and slippery. There is not enough girth to comfortably hold the device with in one hand. This is the same feeling when you hold the iPod Touch.

The glass panel at the front has a significantly curved edge that extends toward the side to meet the rounded frame. Suffice to say, it is the nicest display we’ve in any iPhone to date.

Having been accustomed to a lot of smartphones in the 5 to 5.5-inch display size, the iPhone 6 feels familiar with its 4.7-inch display. With a resolution of 750×1334 pixels, the iPhone 6 has the same pixel density as the previous iPhones at 326ppi. That’s basically just HD-quality display but Apple managed to make the iPhone 6 looked gorgeous that you will find the screen to be one of the best we’ve seen around.

Due to the changes in resolution, we were a bit curious if apps would behave differently because of the bigger resolution. Fortunately, Apple has cleverly kept the same 16:9 aspect ratio for its screen, which means current apps will automatically scale up to fit the iPhone 6.

Apple boasts of its camera that has a large 1.5-micron pixels and ƒ/2.2 aperture. On paper, it’s not as impressive as the 2.0 micron and ƒ/2.2 aperture of the HTC One M8. The camera can also record 1080p full-HD at 60 fps, 240-fps slo-mo, and time-lapse video.

Just like the 120fps slo-mo video of the iPhone 5S, the 240fps 720p video of the iPhone 6 is an amazing feature of the camera. It creates dramatic scenes and show details you don’t normally see with regular video recording on a smartphone.

Call quality on the iPhone 6 is very good with clear and crisp audio when making voice calls. Signal reception for cellular and WiFi is also at par with the iPhone 5S. The new A8 chip also supports up to 20 LTE bands which allows it to be compatible with more networks on different countries. There’s very little to no concern whether our local telcos Globe, Smart and Sun  is compatible iPhone 6 released in other countries.

This is also the first time Apple incorporated an NFC chip into the iPhone. This is to support their effort at mobile payments via a service that’s called Apple Pay. Unfortunately, Apple Pay is currently only supported in the US and there’s a very slim chance that it will be available in the Philippines.

The NFC chip is also locked to Apple Pay so there’s no way to use it for pairing with other NFC-enabled devices.

Aside from the increased display size, we did not see anything else significant when upgrading from the iPhone 5S to the iPhone 6. The iPhone 5S is as smooth, flawless and beautiful as the iPhone 6. Actually we wished Apple could have just retained the design and thickness of the iPhone 5S and increased the size so there’s more room for a Lithium-polymer battery for better battery life.

But if the solid operating system and the app ecosystem is what really sets the iPhone apart from all other smartphones currently in the market, then we can categorically say the cheaper and more widely available iPhone 5 or 5S with iOS 8 could be the better bang-for-the-buck Apple device right now. Unless, for you, size does matter.

Nonetheless, if you have the money to spare despite the steep gray market price, go ahead. We could not stop you even if we tried.

Perhaps, once the iPhone 6 is officially released in the Philippines sometime in December, and the prices go down to more reasonable levels or when telcos offer them free with postpaid plans, then we might reconsider.

* * *

Speaking of new releases, BlackBerry has finally announced the new BB Passport. This full qwerty-touting handset has a squarish form factor with a three-row keyboard layout. It’s reminiscent of the BlackBerry Bold but with a bit of a twist.

The handset is also the most powerful device BlackBerry has made. It’s powered by an quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage plus additional 128GB from a microSD card.

The unit also supports LTE connectivity, Bluetooth, NFC and dual-band WiFi. With a huge 3,450mAh battery, we’re expecting very good battery life on the BlackBerry Passport.

We’re hoping it will reach the Philippines soon but the price tag of about P27,000 might be too much unless you’re a die-hard BlackBerry fan.

APPLE APPLE PAY APPLE STORES BLUETOOTH DISPLAY HONG KONG IPHONE SIZE SMART AND SUN
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