Regrets of a Plus sized model

My original bout with the 4.7” iPhone 6 lasted almost seven months to the day. I remember this because I received it on September 19, 2014. It was the same day my second son way born.

On April 18, 2015, I purchased an iPhone 6 Plus.

Why Switch?

That’s what everyone had been asking me since I even brought up the idea of switching. I’m one of those people who originally couldn’t even fathom Apple ever making a phone with a screen larger than 4”, like what we had on the iPhone 5. Jony Ive had taught us that this was the superior phone size, and I carried that logic and marketing out into the world. Over time, I started to rationalize to myself that a 4.7” phone was a good size, and that if Apple were come out with one I know they’d do it right. It was inevitable. That’d be the phone I’d buy.

And then came the iPhone 6… and the iPhone 6 Plus. The Apple Phablet had arrived.

Admittedly, the thought to join the dark side had entered my mind a few times since the 6 Plus was announced. Would I want a phone this big? Could I handle a phone this big? Back in September, I said “Nope!”

So along came the iPhone 6. And I loved it. Reading my original quick review from October, it’s still absolutely true:

I’ve owned it a month now. Originally I felt that I was going to drop it every time I tried to grip it (using my smaller than normal man-hands) — that panic led me to the Apple Store to pickup the black, leather Apple case. The case gave me a safety blanket and the ability to learn to adapt my grip, however, last Thursday I took the case away. It’s been a week since I’ve removed the training wheels.

I love this phone, it feels great. The size is perfect. The rounded corners feel great holding it for long periods of time. I’m also past fussing about the camera bulge. I worried it’d get scratched, now, in Apple(Care) and sapphire crystal, I trust.

I had an original iPad through work, and then purchased my own iPad 2 on launch day, which I used until it was replaced by the iPad Air. However, I found myself using the iPad Air less and less over time, especially as OS X started to get more and more features from iOS. I started to embrace the idea of two primary screens. My phone and my laptop. Also, the larger screen size of the iPhone 6 gave me fewer reasons to think about the iPad.

And with iOS 8 and OS X 10.10, along came iCloud Photo Library. This feature I absolutely love, but, it blew up my iPad. I have 170GB of photography stored in iCloud now. Even with the optimization features enabled, my 16GB iPad Air couldn’t deal with this. This led to it being turned off completely more than anything, and then eventually being sold to my brother.

I was on the edge of buying a new 128GB iPad Mini for about a week, but I could never bring myself to buy. I wasn’t sold on the utility of another screen. I was actually very happy with the idea of my iPhone 6 and MacBook Pro as my major points of computing.

But then my wife’s iPhone 5S started to have the same issues as my iPad. The 16GB limit would hit and every other day I was shuffling around apps and data to keep her under the bar. Enough was enough.

My solution at the time was to obtain an iPhone 6 Plus 128GB for myself, and give her my gently used iPhone 6. This worked, and at first it was glorious. I was in love with my giant new friend. In my new two device world, it was a match made in heaven. The iPhone 6 Plus was great for reading, writing, and arithmetic.

But, it had trade-offs.

It is massive. It’s great for use around the house or at the office, when you’re not up and around with it. It was the first iPhone that I ever dropped and broke the screen, in seven years of owning them.

Going out with it felt a little bit like having an iPad to contend with. My car didn’t really have a convenient place to put it and at one point we had family pictures done and I forgot to empty my pockets. Now, the giant rectangle in my pants will be forever immortalized in print.

And the struggle with RAM, is real. There simply isn’t enough in it. Having a page open in Safari, and then switching back to a different one caused the site to reload. Having streaming audio from Apple Music running and then opening Tweetbot would cause jitter. It was annoying but not life threatening.

I commented about this back in August, and even then I was planning to stay with it. As I said:

… the reality is I’d have a hard time going back to anything smaller.

It turns out, it wasn’t that hard.

Coming Back

When the iPhone 6S was announced, I started hatching a plan. What if I got a pink one for my wife, and (re)obtained the iPhone 6. I’d just give it a shot for a little bit, and then if I thought it was too small to stick with, I could sell it and go back to my Plus.

So I did, and it turns out, I liked the 4.7” phone a lot more. It was easier to hold, didn’t act as sluggish, and overall was a lot more comfortable for me. Playing around with 3D Touch on my wife’s phone, I imagined the difficulties and all the broken screens I’d have with a larger display to contend with.

The battery life on the regular 6 is crap compared to the Plus, I’d really become spoiled by that, but I own at least a half dozen Anker batteries with more car and wall charging outlets than should be legally allowed, so I made it work. I sold the Plus to a nice woman on Craigslist.

And I love it.

I tried to go back to the Plus, twice, just to be sure. One night I lasted almost 5 hours before switching back. It was sold the next day.

I’m back to the 4.7” phone, and when the iPhone 7 arrives, assuming Apple doesn’t do anything stupid and move everyone to 5+ inch devices, that’s probably the form-factor I’ll stick with for the future.