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Op-Ed: Things to consider before buying an iPhone 6 Plus

Op-Ed: Things to consider before buying an iPhone 6 Plus

October 1, 2014

Innovation is awesome. It means driving a car that can park itself, or owning a refrigerator that surfs the Web. Innovation means being able to pay for purchases with your mobile phone, or track your exercise routine with a device on your wrist.

Making the screen on a smartphone larger isn’t being innovative. It is a reaction to a marketplace convinced that bigger is better. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is a marvelous device, perhaps the best Apple handset I have ever owned. But it’s far from perfect.

Instead, I would call it a nice first attempt by Apple to join the phablet market.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone 6 Plus and have no plans of replacing it with the smaller iPhone 6. But after using the device for nearly two weeks, I’ve become convinced that this is the end of the road for me, as far as smartphone screen sizes go.

I’ll never buy an iPhone with a screen size larger than 5.5-inches diagonally. (Kindly remind me of this in 2016 were Apple to unveil something larger for the “iPhone 7.”)

Nice first attempt

So Apple finally has a phablet. Good for you, Apple. Now what are you going to do about it?

What Apple and other smartphone manufacturers need to do moving forward is recognize that there is a huge difference between a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handset. For the “iPhone 7 Plus,” think smaller bezels and a stronger material for the casings (you may recall that aluminum has the tendency to bend).

They also need to understand that not everyone likes being forced to super-size their smartphone every few years.

I’m not suggesting that Apple should return to the days of the 3.5-inch or 4-inch handset. Rather, they should stop the proliferation of bigger and bigger handsets. Don’t make the “iPhone 7” 5.5-inches and the iPhone 7 Plus something even larger, for example.

Circling back, my biggest concern about owning an iPhone 6 Plus is durability.

Concerns remain

I’m not so much concerned about bending the device as I am of dropping it. Even with a case, I’m convinced that one minor fall could smash the device. This is why when running, I’m now making sure to wear a coat or sweatshirt with a zippered pocket. When heading to my car, I’m holding the phone much tighter than I did with my iPhone 5s, being careful not to drop it on the asphalt.

My anxiety level increases when I use the device in landscape mode. It just doesn’t feel all that secure when I text or play games with two hands. The device actually feels too small and wobbly when doing this. As a result, I only do this when I am safely secure sitting at my desk or in a comfy chair.

Using the device with only one hand is nearly impossible, horizontally or otherwise, even when using Apple’s Reachability.

So why keep it?

Right now, you’re probably wondering why I am keeping my iPhone 6 Plus. Even though the phone’s limitations have forced me to rethink how I use and carry a smartphone, I can’t get enough of its larger screen.

The HD Retina display is simply gorgeous. And the larger screen allows me to do so much more than I did with my previous device, such as read e-books when on a train or in bed. Plus, the phone’s impressive camera is second to none.

So should you buy an iPhone 6 Plus? As I noted soon after receiving my device, this is a personal choice. If you are willing to take extra care of your device and like being challenged by a learning curve, go for it. Otherwise, stick with the iPhone 6.

If you do decide to buy an iPhone 6 Plus, I suggest buying a $99 AppleCare+ subscription to extend your warranty to two years. I didn’t do this initially, but based on my experience, did so just a few days ago. You have 60 days from the time of purchase to buy the coverage.

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