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Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus: Are the new phones really worth your money?

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Apple has announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. So yes, Apple is now officially selling phablets. Forget that iPhone 5 ad where Apple talked about common sense when it came to keeping the screen size at 4-inches. Apple is going big and the new iPhone 6 is 4.7-inch device, while the iPhone 6 Plus is a 5.5-inch device.

But are iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus worth it? Have they changed drastically from iPhone 5s?

Bigger screens, sharper displays and thinner than the iPhone 5s: This seems to have become Apple’s USP when it comes to new phones. Each new generation of iPhones is thinner than the last one and the story continues here as well. iPhone 6 Plus is only 7.1 mm thick, iPhone 6 is only 6.9 mm thick while the iPhone 5s was 7.6mm thick. So yes, the new iPhones are slightly thinner when you compare the numbers.

But really the iPhone 5s wasn’t a bulky looking smartphone and unless a thinner phone is the first thing you look for you, this shouldn’t be the key factor to sway your decision. Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus screen use new re-engineered displays use ion-strengthened glass on top, which makes it more durable. It’s not clear if the device is scratch-proof.

What should add some weight when considering a new iPhone are the screens. Apple has bumped up the display resolution and is now calling it Retina HD. iPhone 6 Plus has a screen resolution of 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi, while the iPhone 6 has a 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi. Do note that the pixel density in iPhone 6 is the same as the iPhone 5s which had lesser pixels but a 326 ppi density. Both the phones have dramatically higher 1400:1 and 1300:1 contrast ratios, respectively, compared to iPhone 5s which had a 800:1 contrast ratio.

Do remember that like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 this isn’t Quad-HD, but with Apple screen resolution is never about the pixels. For those who want a bigger screen with sharper display, the iPhone 6 Plus should be on the list of possible choices.

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Landscape mode on the iPhone 6 Plus. Image: Reuters

Faster processor: Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus come with the A8 processor as was predicted which is a 64-bit processor like the iPhone 5s was.  Apple claims that the A8 chip comes with 2 billion transistors, making it 25 percent faster for any ordinary computing task and 50 percent faster for graphics.

Now while Apple hasn’t specified the RAM, according to leaked reports, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus processor is a quad-core and the RAM is 2 GB. iPhone 5s was a dual-core processor with 1 GB RAM.  But these reports also talked about a 32 GB version which Apple has dropped and the veracity of these claims thus remains unclear.

As a processor performance is concerned, Apple has always had a smooth sailing, even with a dual-core processors, the iPhone 5s was one of the fastest devices in the market outpacing competition which had quad-core or octa-core processors. So with Apple, the number of cores in the processor should be the last thing on your mind.

As far as space is concerned, we have a 16 GB version, a 64 GB version and for the first time a 128 GB version. It’s curtains for the 32 GB version of the smartphone it would seem, which is disappointing if you don’t want a 64 GB smartphone and pay a bomb for it as well.

Connectivity: Also iPhone supports the new phones support “Voice over LTE,” or VoLTE. But for India fans this doesn’t mean anything given that 4G is a distant dream still in Delhi and that 3G connectivity is often unreliable.

Battery Life: This is the bit where the bitching and complaining starts. If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll notice that by the end of the day, your battery is gone.

Now Apple claims that with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus they’ve improved the battery significantly. iPhone 6 has up to 14 hours Talk Time on 3G while iPhone 6 Plus has up to 24 hours Talk Time on 3G.  The iPhone 5s had only 10 hours Talk Time on 3G.

In terms of numbers Apple is claiming significantly higher battery on both phones and for those looking for an upgrade this could well be the clinching factor that would make them go for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. But let’s not forget, these are big numbers and if Apple doesn’t deliver on them that would put off a lot of customers.

Camera: Once again Apple is not pandering to the market and is sticking to the 8 megapixel camera. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus camera have f/2.2 aperture like the iPhone 5s did but only the iPhone 6 Plus comes with Optical Image Stabilisation. iPhone 6 has digital image stabilisation. Like with the iPhone 5s, they both have dual flash or as Apple calls it True Tone flash.

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The new iPhone 6 Plus during the launch event. AP

What has changed in the Apple iSight camera is the addition of something called Autofocus with Focus Pixels. It basically means some pixels in the sensor  are dedicated to determining the focus distance, which reduces the twitching you see when cameras are trying to acquire focus with the contrast detect AF.

It’s disappointing that Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) isn’t coming on iPhone 6 and sadly this isn’t a new feature either. Nokia Lumia 920 has it, as does LG G2. OIS basically makes the lens move in order to compensate for the movements due to hand shakes for a more stable image.

The front-facing camera has got a new sensor with the same f/2.2 aperture which according to Apple allows 81 percent more light in. Apple has also improved the video recording to 240 frames per second on the rear camera, which means you can get some stunning slow motion video. More on the Apple iPhone Camera here.

Metal: Metal is a new technology where developers can created immersive console-style games on iPhone. It is optimised to allow the CPU and GPU to work together to deliver detailed graphics, according to Apple. From the demo during the keynote, this did look pretty cool and the visuals were rather stunning. Although how such gaming affects the battery remains to be seen.

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Phill Schiller shows details about the iPhone 6 screen. Reuters

But the fact that Apple is bringing console-style gaming to the iPhone is definitely one of the biggest pluses of the new iPhone.

iOS 8: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will ship with iOS 8 and Apple has introduced lots of interesting features in this version. From Swiftkeyboard, to Extensions for apps, to Widgets, a lot of it is new to Apple. While we’ve see a lot of these features in Android, for Apple fans looking to upgrade this is definitely a must consider point when getting a new iPhone.

There’s also the Health Kit app which will be there for tracking your health data. Also iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus have a barometer which can measure elevation levels. This will help the HealthKit app get better data as well.

Apple Pay: Unlike the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus come with an NFC chip and will support Apple’s new Apple Pay mobile wallet system. Apple Pay stores all your credit/debit card information and you can just swipe the mobile phone at stores that are accepting it. Apple has tied up with Amex, Visa, Mastercard and 6 US banks for this.

The bad part is that it’s not coming to India, so really it shouldn’t make any difference to whether or not you choose to go for the new iPhone.

Price: With Apple, forget everything else and concentrate on the price. The new iPhone 6 will start at the same price of existing iPhones at $199 for US customers while the iPhone 6 Plus will be at $299 with a two-year contract. An India price has not been announced as yet, although it’s coming on 17 October. The contract free version of the iPhone 6 starts at $649 and iPhone 6 Plus starts at $749 (for 16 GB version).  That’s close to Rs 40,000 and Rs 45,000 for the two versions without taxes.

So yes, be prepared to shell a bomb for the big screen devices when they come to India. Pretty much the way you did for the iPhone 5s.

In conclusion with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, there are significant changes to the screen, camera which really make an iPhone worth buying. The battery, of course, may end up disappointing but we’ll have to wait and watch on that one.

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