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Apple iPhone 6 Plus review: Discontinued and replaced by the iPhone 6S Plus

Kitten and iPhone 6 Plus
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £619
Incl VAT

That giant iPhone 6 Plus was near-perfect, but it's since been replaced by Apple's iPhone 6S and 7 Plus


  • Good overall performance
  • Competent camera


  • Hard to source
  • Limited storage

iPhone 6 Plus review: Performance – Apple A8

Inside is a brand-new Apple A8 SoC. This has a dual-core, 64-bit processor running at 1.4GHz. Now, it may sound a little slow in comparison to the 2GHz+ quad-core CPUs installed in Android phones, but performance is about more than specifications. In this case, the A8 is highly optimised for Apple’s hardware and operating system, so it doesn’t need a ridiculous clock speed or more cores in order to be fast. Running the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, the iPhone 6 Plus completed the test in 365.8ms, which makes it the fastest phone we’ve seen to run this test.

We also ran BrowserMark 2.1, with the iPhone 6 Plus scoring 3,129 overall. This is faster than the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and is partly down to the well-optimised Safari browser, which seems to do well in tests against Chrome. Switching to more general 2D benchmarks and running BaseMark OS II, we saw the iPhone 6 Plus score 32,741. Only the S6 Edge managed to do better with its score of 37,885. Still, that’s pretty close and it’s worth pointing out that the iPhone 6 Plus has only a dual-core processor; the S6 has a quad-core model. We also have to point out that in real use the iPhone certainly doesn’t feel any slower.

Apple has also boosted the performance of the graphics chip. Running the 3D Mark Ice Storm test returned a score of 17,509 on the Unlimited test, which puts the iPhone 6 Plus up there with the flagship Android phones. We also ran BaseMark X 1.1, which returned a score of 32,741. That compares favourably with the S6, which scored about the same, and is only slightly behind the S6 Edge. In short, the iPhone 6 Plus is perfect for gaming and we’ve not found a single title that runs slowly on it. Apple has also created the Metal API, which will let games developers squeeze more performance out of games and make the look more detailed. Given the clout Apple has, lots of developers will start using it, so expect to see more and more enabled games. For a look at the technology in action,

Apple has also created the Metal API, which will let games developers squeeze more performance out of games and make the look more detailed. Given the clout Apple has, lots of developers will start using it, so expect to see more and more enabled games. For a look at the technology in action, Pocket Gamer has side-by-side comparisons of games running with and without metal.

It goes without saying that iOS 8 is beautifully optimised for the A8, producing super smooth transitions and no slow-down wherever. We keep saying it, but Android isn’t quite there yet and iOS on Apple hardware has the distinct edge.

iPhone 6 Plus review: Battery life

Battery life is one of those things that Apple has mostly been content to leave the same with each new model. While the iPhone used to be known for its incredible battery life, the fact is that the competition has caught up and, in many cases, overtaken Apple – see our 2014 battery test of the top 60 phones for more information. 

The good news here is that a larger phone has meant a larger battery. In fact, the iPhone 6 Plus has the biggest battery it has ever put in a smartphone: a 2,915mAh model. Combined with the A8 chip, which uses a 20nm manufacturing process that requires less power and runs cooler, it means that this handset has the best battery life we’ve seen from an Apple phone lasting 14h 48m in our video playback test. That’s an improvement over the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6, so you’ll easily be able to get through a day’s worth of heavy usage with this handset.

The battery tests only tell part of the story, as they use the phone with the screen on the whole time. With such a big LCD display, the iPhone 6 Plus draws a lot of power when it’s on like this. However, in day-to-day use things are different. With normal use the phone has the screen off a lot while it sits synchronising emails and other online services for long periods of time, intermixed with longer periods of using the handset for web browsing, social media, games and the like.

It’s here that you really notice the battery. With the screen off, the phone sips power, barely draining the battery. As such, we found that we could last way more than a day of fairly heavy usage, including syncing email accounts constantly, browsing the web and using maps, and still have enough charge left to not panic that the phone’s about to die. That’s a massive improvement over the iPhone 5S and means that we spend far less time charging the 6 Plus.

It’s charged via the Lightning port on the bottom of the phone. Apple still ships the same 1A USB charger as with previous iPhones; however, using the iPad’s 2.1A charger or similar high-power third-party adaptor will charge your phone much more quickly.

iPhone 6 Plus Lightning port

iPhone 6 Plus review: M8 co-processor, fitness and Health

Sitting alongside the A8 is the M8 co-processor, which is a low-power part that can constantly monitor the phone’s sensors. This means that fitness apps can use the built-in accelerometer, gyroscope and, new to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, barometer, without draining the battery too much. With the iPhone 5S, the M7 felt rather under-utilised, but the iPhone 6 Plus already has a use for it via the Health app. This can use the M8 and phone’s sensors to track how many steps you take a day and, based on the barometer information, how many flights of stairs you’ve climbed.

Health doesn’t present this figure to you automatically, and you have to add Flights Climbed and Steps to the Dashboard manually to start collecting the data. Accuracy isn’t perfect and it would occasionally miss the odd stair climb or two, but having this facility built straight into the phone is at least useful for giving a general overview of how fit you are.

iPhone 6 Plus Health

Health can also pull in more data from other apps, so you should be able to get more accurate tracking using third-party fitness devices and apps. There are few that support Health at the moment, so we couldn’t test this feature out, although we expect this to change in the coming months.

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ProcessorDual-core 1.4GHz Apple A8
Screen size5.5in
Screen resolution1,920×1,080
Screen typeIPS
Front camera1.2 megapixels
Rear camera8 megapixels
FlashYes (dual LED)
Memory card slot (supplied)N/A
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
Wireless data4G
Operating systemiOS 8
Battery size2,915mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£619

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