• Our Apple iPhone 6 review

    As a Phone:



    The 6 Plus supports 16 different LTE bands which is pretty astonishing. Do you remember a simpler time when all we had was 4 GSM bands? Despite having support for so many bands, the 6 Plus doesnít support all the LTE bands currently in use here. While the only Canadian LTE frequency the 5s supported was just Band 4 (AWS), the 6 Plus adds support for Band 7 (2600Mhz) plus itís a Cat 4 device. Band 7 coupled with Cat 4 is what many Android users have been using since the Galaxy Note 3/Sony Xperia Z1 last year to get download speeds of up to 150Mbps. Now, a year later, iPhone users can do this too.

    Band 7 support is a real treat because Rogers has it deployed across most of their LTE network. In case youíre wondering, Bell has it too albeit in a few spots.

    As far as support for 700Mhz support in Canada goes, the 6 Plus supports bands 13, 14 and 17 but not 12.

    What does this mean? First off, Band 12 consists of 3 blocks of spectrum called A, B and C. B and C are also part of Band 17 (which makes it a subset of Band 12).

    So,12 is A B & C while 17 is B & C. That means there is no support Block ďAĒ.

    While all of the big 3 own spectrum in Block ďAĒ, it mainly affects Rogers because they own Block ďAĒ in Southern Ontario, BC, Alberta and Southern Quebec (Toronto, Vancouver, Alberta and Montreal). Anyways, this isnít a big deal since Block A isnít widely deployed. Thanks to HC - NO ďiĒ for clearing that up.

    Sound quality, is about the same as the 5s (average) as is the maximum earpiece volume (average). Speakerphone volume is also unchanged (average).

    RF performance also seems unchanged. I guess Apple figures that the 5s is good enough and spent their time working on adding support for as many LTE bands as possible instead.

    Battery life is slightly better than my 5s. Since my Plus is probably a lemon I never really got a feel for itís true battery life so I canít compare it with the 6.

    Media Capabilities:



    In my Plus review, I praised the built-in speaker for itís power and range. Since I was expecting the 6 to be just as good I was a little let down. While the 6ís speaker isnít quite as powerful and its range falls short of the Plusí, itís still decent when you consider that the 6 is a phone.

    The 6ís headphone amp is just like the Plus. Itís one of the most powerful ones out there and sounds great. The 5s has tighter, punchier bass but the 6 seems to have deeper bass and slightly more reverb. Is this a result of the Beats acquisition?

    Connectivity:

    • WiFi 802.11AC (only 1x1 stream)
    • dual band WiFi
    • NFC (only for Apple Pay which isnít available in Canada yet)
    • LTE support for bands 1 (2100 MHz), 2 (1900 MHz), 3 (1800 MHz), 4 (AWS), 5 (850 MHz), 7 (2600 MHz), 8 (900 MHz), 13 (700c MHz), 17 (700b MHz), 18 (800 MHz), 19 (800 MHz), 20 (800 DD), 25 (1900 MHz), 26 (800 MHz), 28 (700 APT MHz), 29 (700 DE MHz)
    • LTE Cat 4 (up to 150Mbps)
    • Bluetooth 4.0


    Conclusion:



    Iíll be honest, between the Apple iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus I would pick the Plus every time. I donít wear super tight jeans so I can fit it in my pocket without worrying.



    I also like that the 6 Plus has a nice thick bezel so that I can sort of use it with one hand. That and I donít mind paying $100 more to get the bigger screen, better speaker, stabilized camera and longer battery life.

    I will say though that the most important thing to consider between the 6 and the 6 Plus is whether you can handle the size. The problem is that you canít really tell unless you use them for a few days. When I first started using the 6 Plus I hated the size but it grew on me.

    So, which one you choose is a very personal decision.

    Iíll give it 4 1/4 (thatís like 4 Howies plus an arm and a leg) Howies out of 5.

    Pros:
    • Screen
    • Camera
    • Powerful headphone amp
    • Available with up to 128GB storage


    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • RF performance hasnít improved
    • Maximum earpiece volume hasnít improved
    • Speakerphone volume hasnít improved
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Our Apple iPhone 6 review started by howard View original post
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. jimxx200's Avatar
      jimxx200 -
      While I wanted to like the 6, it just didn't do it: weak speakerphone (as you noted), battery life is dismal where I went from full charge at bedtime to waking up with 40% remaining, and the camera seems like a step backwards with weak depth of field and muted colors. Comparing the camera to the HTC One M8 or even the Samsung Galaxy 4 or 5, the iphone seems to struggle in any light. I returned it the following day. I still have the 4S and see no performance improvement (especially in the camera) with this 6. Not impressed and it actually feels cheap in hand. I was expecting more.
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by jimxx200 View Post
      While I wanted to like the 6, it just didn't do it: weak speakerphone (as you noted), battery life is dismal where I went from full charge at bedtime to waking up with 40% remaining, and the camera seems like a step backwards with weak depth of field and muted colors. Comparing the camera to the HTC One M8 or even the Samsung Galaxy 4 or 5, the iphone seems to struggle in any light. I returned it the following day. I still have the 4S and see no performance improvement (especially in the camera) with this 6. Not impressed and it actually feels cheap in hand. I was expecting more.
      Interesting take on the camera. I haven't tried it myself, but the review at dxolabs sure seems to disagree. They claim, of all the camera phones they've tested, the 6 and 6+ "set the gold standard". They're pretty well respected in the field.
      http://www.dxomark.com/Mobiles/Apple...-image-quality
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Howard by this : " OnePlus (much bigger, hardware isn’t as nice but it’s close enough)"
      Do you mean materials used to make the phone, or processor,Ram, Etc.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by ijcy View Post
      Howard by this : " OnePlus (much bigger, hardware isn’t as nice but it’s close enough)"
      Do you mean materials used to make the phone, or processor,Ram, Etc.
      I was referring to the display and the camera.
    1. Donkey's Avatar
      Donkey -
      Great review, I enjoy reading all these review of the new products. If it was me, I'd just get the 6 instead of the Plus. Plus while it's nicer but it's just too big. However, I'd be just as happy with a 5.
    1. VictoriaPa1's Avatar
      VictoriaPa1 -
      I really can't wait to have my own iphone 6!!!
    1. Claredon23's Avatar
      Claredon23 -
      I really like my iPhone 6. I thought about the iPhone 6 + ,too. Granted, I would never put it in my back pocket but having it easily accessible made it very important. I put it in my jacket pocket or bag.
      As for the battery problem, one thing I learned from having an iPad and a 4s, it's really a good idea to quit [swipe up all] of the programs I'm not if I'm not using them. Also, if the battery is down to 30%, I just plug it in over night.
      I think the camera is quite good. I take a lot of still shots for reference. Haven't tried the slow motion or time lapsed yet. Recording Voice memos is good, too.
    1. spiderpumpkin's Avatar
      spiderpumpkin -
      I recently upgraded to an iPhone 6 Plus. For the past 5 years I've had an HTC Touch Pro 2 and mainly used it to tether my laptop and iPad 2.

      I really like this phone and to me it is just the right size and has really became an iPad replacement for me.
    1. tacoman71's Avatar
      tacoman71 -
      Great review. I hope you put in the same time and effort for the next iPhone as it was very detailed.


      via the HoFo App on the iPhone 6 Plus powered by the nation's fastest 4G LTE network, T-Mobile.
    1. Joel954's Avatar
      Joel954 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jamesluke View Post
      What about the recent news about iPhone 6 that it often hangs ??
      iPhone Application Development Karachi
      Hangs? What is that?
    1. dodief's Avatar
      dodief -
      Great Review. I thought I was going to be stuck on Androids but the iphone 6 looks pretty cool.
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      I've been testing Howard's iPhone 6 over the weekend and I have to agree with all of his assessments, though with no experience with the iPhone 5, I can't comment one way or another on what improved and what didn't. I can only compare the hardware to other devices I've tested recently.

      Clearly the iPhone 6 is a very powerful piece of hardware, and this is particularly evident in it's graphics performance (for example, when rendering complex video data in real-time, such as you see with Apple Maps in its simulated 3D satellite mode, or during the playback of HD videos). I suppose that having half as many pixels to deal with as a typical 1920 x 1080 device helps, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

      The camera was nice, but I found it annoying that there was no 16:9 aspect ratio when taking pictures. If you want 16:9 pictures, you have to post-process them using the built-in picture editor. I switched to 16:9 pictures on ALL of my cameras earlier this year, because I now view pretty well all of them on my TV, which not surprisingly has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The camera's low-light performance was admirable, but not the best I've seen. The camera app seems to come up short on manual settings. It was about as close to a point-and-shoot as you can get on a smartphone.

      The video recording prowess of the phone was, on the other hand, surprisingly good. It shot great 30 fps videos, and it managed 120 fps and 240 fps slow-motion better than any smartphone I've thus far tested.

      I couldn't comment on the phone's usefulness as a phone, because I didn't have a functioning Nano SIM, however, I don't personally use the native phone part of my cell phone anyway. Instead I'm a VoIP.ms subscriber and I used a VoIP softphone on my Android device as my full-time phone.

      I installed Zoiper onto the iPhone 6 (the same app I used on my Android phone) and I performed all phone and speakerphone tests with that. The earpiece has a nice rich sound, but as Howard mentioned when commenting on native phone performance, the earpiece and speakerphone volumes were just average, though the built-in speaker has a nice tonal quality to it.

      The big disappointment when using a softphone on the iPhone is the inability to integrate it into the OS. On Android, I can make Zoiper into the primary phone provider, which means all incoming calls are handled through the operating system just like a regular phone call. On the iPhone, if a call comes in when the phone is locked I must first tap on the notification, then unlock the phone (which is fortunately not that difficult with the fingerprint reader), and then instruct Zoiper to answer.

      This may not sound like much, but it's annoyingly complex compared to simply swiping the screen as you would a native call. Outgoing calls must be made through the app, which is a pest because none of the shortcuts for making calls works through a third-party app. However, it works MILES BETTER than it does on Windows Phone 8, where it's pretty much unusable, except for outgoing calls. You can get by using a third-party VoIP app as your primary on the iPhone, but you'll need to downgrade your expectations a little.

      I'll comment on more once I'd had a chance to play with a few more features.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Punter View Post
      I've been testing Howard's iPhone 6 over the weekend and I have to agree with all of his assessments, though with no experience with the iPhone 5, I can't comment one way or another on what improved and what didn't. I can only compare the hardware to other devices I've tested recently.

      Clearly the iPhone 6 is a very powerful piece of hardware, and this is particularly evident in it's graphics performance (for example, when rendering complex video data in real-time, such as you see with Apple Maps in its simulated 3D satellite mode, or during the playback of HD videos). I suppose that having half as many pixels to deal with as a typical 1920 x 1080 device helps, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

      The camera was nice, but I found it annoying that there was no 16:9 aspect ratio when taking pictures. If you want 16:9 pictures, you have to post-process them using the built-in picture editor. I switched to 16:9 pictures on ALL of my cameras earlier this year, because I now view pretty well all of them on my TV, which not surprisingly has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The camera's low-light performance was admirable, but not the best I've seen. The camera app seems to come up short on manual settings. It was about as close to a point-and-shoot as you can get on a smartphone.

      The video recording prowess of the phone was, on the other hand, surprisingly good. It shot great 30 fps videos, and it managed 120 fps and 240 fps slow-motion better than any smartphone I've thus far tested.

      I couldn't comment on the phone's usefulness as a phone, because I didn't have a functioning Nano SIM, however, I don't personally use the native phone part of my cell phone anyway. Instead I'm a VoIP.ms subscriber and I used a VoIP softphone on my Android device as my full-time phone.

      I installed Zoiper onto the iPhone 6 (the same app I used on my Android phone) and I performed all phone and speakerphone tests with that. The earpiece has a nice rich sound, but as Howard mentioned when commenting on native phone performance, the earpiece and speakerphone volumes were just average, though the built-in speaker has a nice tonal quality to it.

      The big disappointment when using a softphone on the iPhone is the inability to integrate it into the OS. On Android, I can make Zoiper into the primary phone provider, which means all incoming calls are handled through the operating system just like a regular phone call. On the iPhone, if a call comes in when the phone is locked I must first tap on the notification, then unlock the phone (which is fortunately not that difficult with the fingerprint reader), and then instruct Zoiper to answer.

      This may not sound like much, but it's annoyingly complex compared to simply swiping the screen as you would a native call. Outgoing calls must be made through the app, which is a pest because none of the shortcuts for making calls works through a third-party app. However, it works MILES BETTER than it does on Windows Phone 8, where it's pretty much unusable, except for outgoing calls. You can get by using a third-party VoIP app as your primary on the iPhone, but you'll need to downgrade your expectations a little.

      I'll comment on more once I'd had a chance to play with a few more features.
      Steve, did you try tapping and holding the screen to lock focus with the camera? And did you try adjusting the exposure after tapping to focus?
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      Yes I did do both of those things, and having that small adjustment is definitely a nice touch. However, that seems to be the extent of control you have over the picture, which prompted my comment on it being a point-and-shoot camera. I guess Apple's philosophy with the camera is KISS (keep it simple stupid). Clearly this seems to suit millions of dedicated iPhone fans, and so I guess they weren't wrong about this. However, I've always maintained (as a software developer) that you can always implement a normal/expert mode to cover both ends of the usage spectrum. Stripping something of functionality in the name of keeping it simple just doesn't sit well with me.
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Punter View Post
      Yes I did do both of those things, and having that small adjustment is definitely a nice touch. However, that seems to be the extent of control you have over the picture, which prompted my comment on it being a point-and-shoot camera. I guess Apple's philosophy with the camera is KISS (keep it simple stupid). Clearly this seems to suit millions of dedicated iPhone fans, and so I guess they weren't wrong about this. However, I've always maintained (as a software developer) that you can always implement a normal/expert mode to cover both ends of the usage spectrum. Stripping something of functionality in the name of keeping it simple just doesn't sit well with me.
      One of the nice parts of iOS having such a rich App Store is that there are often options to account for the KISS philosophy of Apple's built in apps. Camera settings are one of the areas that 3rd party devs have really delved into, so you should be able to find one or more that provides many of the expert settings you might be looking for.

      Some are listed here:
      http://www.imore.com/best-manual-con...era-apps-ios-8



      Also, please take care of that phone, if it's the one Howard is giving away. It's my time to win so, I'd like it in like new condition
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      Worry not, I ALWAYS take excellent care of any phones loaned to me for review. In all the years I've been borrowing phones to test them, I've never returned one with any damage. Even my own phones get excellent treatment, and anything that's NOT MINE gets treated even better, with the utmost of care. Whenever I put them down, they ALWAYS sit on a soft fabric surface (never a hard surface). If the device ever leaves my house, I carry it around in a soft padded pouch. I never upgrade, jailbreak, root, or otherwise modify a test phone. For instance, the iPhone is pestering me to upgrade to version 8.1.1, but I'd never do that without the owner's approval.

      I probably take far more precautions than are actually necessary, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      Sadly, the VoIP-on-iOS experience with the iPhone 6 isn't holding up well. It's the second time I've phoned the VoIP software I left running on the iPhone and found it wasn't responding. I was forced to execute the app and everything worked just fine after that.

      My theory is that iOS (like Android) kills background processes to reclaim RAM, but it doesn't restart them (which Android does). This seems to indicate that you CANNOT have long-running background tasks on iOS, which pretty much kills the idea of using an iOS device as a full-time VoIP phone (unless you use it strictly to make outgoing calls).

      Perhaps some iOS experts can chime in with an explanation of this.
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Punter View Post
      Sadly, the VoIP-on-iOS experience with the iPhone 6 isn't holding up well. It's the second time I've phoned the VoIP software I left running on the iPhone and found it wasn't responding. I was forced to execute the app and everything worked just fine after that.

      My theory is that iOS (like Android) kills background processes to reclaim RAM, but it doesn't restart them (which Android does). This seems to indicate that you CANNOT have long-running background tasks on iOS, which pretty much kills the idea of using an iOS device as a full-time VoIP phone (unless you use it strictly to make outgoing calls).

      Perhaps some iOS experts can chime in with an explanation of this.
      iOS will "kill" background apps, generally speaking to reclaim memory as you mention. But since apps are in a suspended state, they aren't really running (sort of a pseudo-TSR implementation). For some apps that need background processes, like VOIP, there are OS services the apps can tie into. These would include VOIP, audio, location services and task completion (i.e. allow a download to complete). I don't believe the VOIP provider processes themselves are terminated as long as any VOIP app is in the backgrounded, suspended state. But if the VOIP app is terminate, manually or by the OS, then I suppose the VOIP processes would go down and not provide an incoming call notification/alert.

      I haven't done any iOS development, so I don't what the algorithm for terminating apps is, whether it is is FIFO or some priority assignment.
    1. Steve Punter's Avatar
      Steve Punter -
      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      iOS will "kill" background apps, generally speaking to reclaim memory as you mention. But since apps are in a suspended state, they aren't really running (sort of a pseudo-TSR implementation). For some apps that need background processes, like VOIP, there are OS services the apps can tie into. These would include VOIP, audio, location services and task completion (i.e. allow a download to complete). I don't believe the VOIP provider processes themselves are terminated as long as any VOIP app is in the backgrounded, suspended state. But if the VOIP app is terminate, manually or by the OS, then I suppose the VOIP processes would go down and not provide an incoming call notification/alert.

      I haven't done any iOS development, so I don't what the algorithm for terminating apps is, whether it is is FIFO or some priority assignment.
      I don't know anything about the inner workings of iOS, but in Android, any process designated as a SERVICE get's a higher priority than background visual apps, in that they are the last to "die" if the O/S needs to purge them for RAM. Additionally, a service can request to become a foreground process, which makes it essentially IMMORTAL. Services that do this are required to show a full-time icon on the status bar at the top-left, which Zoiper does in its Android version of their VoIP client.

      Clearly Apple has allowed apps to continue to run in the background, which means they must support the concept of a SERVICE in some form or another, and I would imagine that the developers at Zoiper would know how to give their service a fighting chance to survive, as it is without a doubt MISSION-CRITICAL. That said, it doesn't seem to be the case, which may only mean Zoiper didn't do their homework properly, but it might also mean that there is no way to ensure the long-term survival of a process under iOS 8. In either event, it was a disappointment to me to find that you couldn't rely on an iPhone to be a dedicated VoIP device.
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Punter View Post
      I don't know anything about the inner workings of iOS, but in Android, any process designated as a SERVICE get's a higher priority than background visual apps, in that they are the last to "die" if the O/S needs to purge them for RAM. Additionally, a service can request to become a foreground process, which makes it essentially IMMORTAL. Services that do this are required to show a full-time icon on the status bar at the top-left, which Zoiper does in its Android version of their VoIP client.

      Clearly Apple has allowed apps to continue to run in the background, which means they must support the concept of a SERVICE in some form or another, and I would imagine that the developers at Zoiper would know how to give their service a fighting chance to survive, as it is without a doubt MISSION-CRITICAL. That said, it doesn't seem to be the case, which may only mean Zoiper didn't do their homework properly, but it might also mean that there is no way to ensure the long-term survival of a process under iOS 8. In either event, it was a disappointment to me to find that you couldn't rely on an iPhone to be a dedicated VoIP device.
      I don't believe apps on iOS can be designated as services (well, that was true until iOS8, where I suppose "extensions", those that lend their capabilities to other apps, like keyboards, could be considered services). From what I understand, Apple's framework for VOIPs doesn't allow them to run in the background, and they are instead suspended like any other app. But, the framework provides for the app to register with the OS as needing to have its sockets monitored. The app is suspended and the OS monitors the sockets, and on activity wakes the app and hands back the socket to the app.

      Anyway, here is there high level documentation.
      https://developer.apple.com/library/...Execution.html

      When the user is not actively using your app, the system moves it to the background state. For many apps, the background state is just a brief stop on the way to the app being suspended. Suspending apps is a way of improving battery life it also allows the system to devote important system resources to the new foreground app that has drawn the user’s attention.Most apps can move to the extended state easily enough but there are also legitimate reasons for apps to continue running in the background. A hiking app might want to track the user’s position over time so that it can display that course overlaid on top of a hiking map. An audio app might need to continue playing music over the lock screen. Other apps might want to download content in the background so that it can minimize the delay in presenting that content to the user. When you find it necessary to keep your app running in the background, iOS helps you do so efficiently and without draining system resources or the user’s battery. The techniques offered by iOS fall into three categories:

      • Apps that start a short task in the foreground can ask for time to finish that task when the app moves to the background.
      • Apps that initiate downloads in the foreground can hand off management of those downloads to the system, thereby allowing the app to be suspended or terminated while the download continues.
      • Apps that need to run in the background to support specific types of tasks can declare their support for one or more background execution modes.
      VOIP would fall into the 3rd category.

      For apps that have been declared as VOIP
      Implementing a VoIP App
      A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) app allows the user to make phone calls using an Internet connection instead of the device’s cellular service. Such an app needs to maintain a persistent network connection to its associated service so that it can receive incoming calls and other relevant data. Rather than keep VoIP apps awake all the time, the system allows them to be suspended and provides facilities for monitoring their sockets for them. When incoming traffic is detected, the system wakes up the VoIP app and returns control of its sockets to it.
      To configure a VoIP app, you must do the following:

      • Enable support for Voice over IP from the Background modes section of the Capabilities tab in your Xcode project. (You can also enable this support by including the UIBackgroundModes key with the voip value in your app’s Info.plist file.)
      • Configure one of the app’s sockets for VoIP usage.
      • Before moving to the background, call the setKeepAliveTimeout:handler: method to install a handler to be executed periodically. Your app can use this handler to maintain its service connection.
      • Configure your audio session to handle transitions to and from active use.

      Including the voip value in the UIBackgroundModes key lets the system know that it should allow the app to run in the background as needed to manage its network sockets. An app with this key is also relaunched in the background immediately after system boot to ensure that the VoIP services are always available.
      Most VoIP apps also need to be configured as background audio apps to deliver audio while in the background. Therefore, you should include both theaudio and voip values to the UIBackgroundModes key. If you do not do this, your app cannot play or record audio while it is in the background. For more information about the UIBackgroundModes key, see Information Property List Key Reference.
      The OS will purge suspended apps when it needs to free up memory. Whether this is FIFO or by size or some other combination of factors, I am not sure. Also, whether this would terminate the sockets that the OS is monitoring for the app is not clear.
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