(Pocket-lint) - Apple announced not one, but two new models of iPhone at its Cupertino special event and now they are about to hit the shops.
But this isn't repeating the act of the iPhone 5S and 5C, this time we have the iPhone 6 (review) and the iPhone 6 Plus (review), as Apple goes large, offering two new flagship devices to choose from.
Once again, Apple is calling these the best iPhones it's ever made, with two devices firmly placed to destroy the big screen advantage that Android has enjoyed for a couple of years, and having played with both we have to agree. They are magnificent, but which one should you choose? Here we pit the two devices against each other.
Design and build
The iPhone 6 models have an anodised aluminium design, which is seamless, wrapping the whole thing together rather like the HTC One (M8) but with a much better finish thanks to the subtle use of curved glass on the front of the smartphone. It's elegant, and boasts quality.
The iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick and the iPhone 6 Plus is only 0.2mm thicker coming in at 7.1mm, making these the thinnest iPhones so far. The iPhone 6 measures 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm, the iPhone 6 Plus is 158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1mm.
Both models come in gold, silver and space grey and the colour is more pronounced here than the iPhone 5S that features glass parts on the rear.
In design terms the two devices are identical, with the iPhone 6 merely larger, as if someone has used the magnify tool in Photoshop.
The big difference between these two devices is in the screen size. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch display with a 1334 x 750 pixel resolution, 326ppi. Apple is calling this Retina HD, with a slight bump in the pixel count taking this display fractionally higher than 720p.
The iPhone 6 Plus, however, makes the jump to full HD, with a more conventional 1920 x 1080 pixels, 401ppi on its 5.5-inch display. The iPhone 6 Plus is not only bigger, it's going to be a sharper display, better able to render fine detail which is great if you are watching 1080p films or playing 1080p games when they come.
The iPhone 6 Plus also adds a landscape mode for the home screen and other apps like Mail, Weather, and Messages. You'll also get tabbed browsing in Safari. Think of it as a mini iPad mini.
Both of the new iPhones are powered by the A8 processor and again there's a M8 coprocessor dedicated to motion. There is also a barometer, adding to the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass that will measure elevation like how many stairs you've climbed.
The new A8 chip offers 50 per cent faster graphics, 25 per cent faster processing power, as well as being 50 per cent more energy efficient. It also includes an image signal processor to support the new camera and is noticeably faster than previous Apple processors. The processor is the same on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus so again, it is really about size rather than having to opt for the bigger device to get more power.
In tests we've seen the same levels of performance from both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.
A bigger phone means a bigger battery and Apple has said that the iPhone 6 Plus will give you 80 hours of music playback, compared to the iPhone 6's 50 hours. The larger device claims 24 hours of 3G talk time, the smaller 14 hours, but the actual capacity has not been revealed.
In our reviews of both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus batteries are very good, however the iPhone 6 Plus battery is noticeably better. The 6 Plus has no issue getting through the day and into the next if not longer. The iPhone 6, while still getting to bedtime, will need a charge before you head out the door in the morning. If battery is a major factor it will probably be worth opting for the 6 Plus as it will last you longer.
New iPhones mean new cameras, and Apple isn't messing around. The new iSight camera is 8-megapixels and has an f/2.2 aperture but with new features like being able to focus better. It also offers better low light performance than previous iPhones and video capture has been enhaced.
The iPhone 6 offers digital image stabilisation, whilst the iPhone 6 Plus goes one better, offering optical image stabilisation, so the larger device does have the edge when moving, or talking longer exposures, such as in low light.
If you're into selfies, both devices have the 1.2-megapixel "FaceTime" HD camera, with f/2.2 aperture, but redesigned to give you 80 per cent more light.
Regardless, both cameras offer excellent results and we've been really impressed with what we've seen. Whether it is shooting people (good skin tones), moving objects (kids running around the garden), or taking advantage of some of the new video modes like 240 fps Slow-Mo, 60fps 1080p video, or Time Lapse you won't be disappointed.
If we had to pick one though on camera alone, the 6 Plus does produce slightly better results.
Both devices will launch with iOS 8, bringing a host of updates, including new keyboard options, plenty of additions to notifications, a new Health app, and much more. Both devices will support the new Apple Pay feature, allowing clever contactless payments in a number of locations. Unfortunately it's initially limited to the US at the moment.
iOS 8 which is available on older devices as well brings a host of new features with it, most of which will benefit you, not necessarily at launch, but over the coming months as more and more developers use them. If using the phone in Landscape mode is important the iPhone 6 Plus will offer you a better experience on the sofa or train.
iPhone 6 will cost £539 (16GB), £619 (64GB), £699 (128GB), SIM free.
iPhone 6 Plus will cost £618 (16GB), £699 (64GB), £789 (128GB), SIM free.
Having used both phones side-by-side since the launch event in Cupertino we've been switching back and forth over which one to choose and still find it difficult. Both are amazing devices. On paper the iPhone 6 Plus feels like the better device with its higher screen res, landscape mode, and better camera thanks to optical image stabilisation, but that doesn't automatically translate into the best device for you.
The large size means that using it one handed will strain after time and if you are the sort of person that is constantly using your phone single handedly while doing something else - holding a baby, holding a train, holding a beer, holding anything - then the more manageable, more efficient, more appropriately sized iPhone 6 might be the better option.