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iPhone 6 Plus, Bentgate and Security

Apple logo icon - AluminumHardly any other phone has received that much attention
than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Where the phone became
highly anticipated in September 19th, 2014 by many users,
the Android users made a lot of fun of them.

So while the sales of the iPhone 6 began, the demand was enormous. The initial countries selling the iPhone 6 have generated no less than 10 million pre-orders and sales in the first weekend. One week later, sales began to fire of in more countries and it still seems that the iPhone 6 hits a new record in sales.

When the first testing magazines and users have received their phone, they started testing it in a rather unusual way. Bentgate was born when some testers have shown that they could “easily” bend an iPhone 6. Okay, we must admit, that the stability cannot compare to the older iPhone models as the thickness has again received some reduction. Also, Aluminum is known to be less resistive against heavy force influence on it. That’s the plain simple reason why an iPhone 6 can be bent more or less easily (especially when put into skinny jeans pockets)!

Now there’s a simple question: Why would one put a delicate device with lots of force into a skinny jeans pocket and then wonder that the device gets bent? There are other ways to transport a phone. But it’s easy to blame a company that produces rather expensive devices for “bad” quality.

Since I use iPhones for at least 6 years now, I can say that every model so far released, has become a success and I was always satisfied of the power that little PDA was able to deliver. Except one thing: The display was rather small. big enough to read, no doubt but when it comes to high speed typing, then the small keyboard keys often made me mistype something or engage AutoCorrect several times. Annoying but you get used to it after some time.

When the Keynote on September 9th, 2014 has shown the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, I was totally enchanted. A sleek design paired with powerful hardware and features just made me want to have this gadget. Luckily Apple made the right choice of presenting two sizes of the iPhone 6. So it was obvious that I would go for the bigger model. A decision which I don’t regret to this point.

Just one day after the release day I could have been holding the new phone in hands if it wasn’t for the lazy postman NOT ringing my freakin’ doorbell on saturday whereas Swisscom (thanks, guys btw!) has made all efforts that the package gets delivered as fast as possible.

IMG_6448So Monday, September 29th was the big day when I was able to pick up my parcel at the post office. At home I instantly started unpacking the iPhone 6 Plus and the first impression was: WOW! What a biggie. Barely smaller than my Nokia 1520 it promised to offer lots of space to work with. The setup proces is already well-known, the restore process, too. Login to iCloud, select the old device’s backup (in this case, my iPhone 5S) and have it restored all things that are included in that iCloud backup. The process took about 45 minutes to complete, restoring 6.2GB over a ac WLAN. fast enough and convenient.

Still dazzled by the pureness and the luxurious craftmanship Apple has applied to the iPhone 6, this big fracker instantly became my new companion (a.k.a. PDA). The rounded glass, seamlessy ending in the aluminum bezel is just terrific. And the apple logo is no more just polished into the backplate. It’s now an apple logo made of steel(?) embedded into the backplate and polished to high gloss. Looks cool but it’s just a side note. A cool feature would have been a backlit Apple logo, known from the Apple MacbookPro. But hey, it’s not that important. Still looks great.

So after having done the full restore process which ran perfectly smooth, I also decided to update to iOS8.0.2 which was blazing fast on the 6 Plus. A mere 3 Minutes and all was forgotten. Till now there are no problems with the update and the phone didn’t show any microstutters whatsoever. And when looking at the comparision picture, the iPhone 6 Plus is swallowing an iPhone 4S with ease!

The screen is just great. A really deep black (not usual for LCD!) and vivid colors make it an eyecandy to look at. The brightness even is good for working outside even with all the reflection from the digitizer glass. with it’s 401ppi sharpness, it’s even harder to recognize a single pixel. And the viewing angle is also extremely big (around 179°)!

Okay, back to some other testing then. Of course I had the urge to determine the WLAN speed. Since my bro’s Samsung Galaxy Note 3 easily scratches the 150 Mbps mark while the iPhone 5S tries to break the 100 Mbps barrier, my expectations were high. So the network testing app “Speedtest” from Ookla had to do some job. Time to launch it and get the results.image1

Outrageous! The iPhone spanks my WLAN hard and drags to the full speed (~250 Mbit/s) – couldn’t be more happy about it. It seems as if Apple made everything right. there’s nothing to complain about that either. The fact, that it also understands 802.11ac WLAN makes it much faster now. Still I didn’t find any information about the MIMO configuration of the WLAN module (concerning the number of antennas). I guess it’s 1×1 thus allowing a max speed of 433 Mbit/s in total. This is however sufficient for most usage scenarios. Even High Definition Streaming should be possible! With the screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, the FullHD experience is given and maxed H264 streams reach 160 Mbit/s at max. But since this is the worst case and many if not all H264 streams are well-compressed, this much bandwidth should not be reached at any rate.

The next criticized thing about the biger iPhone is the running time of the battery. In my case I use the iPhone rather often, have bluetooth and geolocation services, as well as WLAN and 4G active. Guess what… the iPhone 6 Plus performs a whole day without recharging here. Even with some gaming in between. And we all know that gaming is power-consuming. So as long as the battery keeps bridging a whole day, there’s nothing wrong IMHO. If I am in need of a long stamina, first thing would be the switchoff of services like WLAN and 4G (thus switching back at 3G). the turndown of Bluetooth and geolocation services also improves battery runtime. And the next thing is to turn down the backlight a tad so that it doesn’t glow much more than needed.

Let’s have a look at Bentgate and the stability. First there’s one word of advice: Never ever put delicate devices into narrow spaces you know for sure that they’re subject to high force etc. A small jeans pocket for example isn’t the right place for an iPhone 6 and even less for the iPhone 6 Plus. These Phablets feel better if you let them gently slide into your jacket’s inner pocket or wearing at least trousers with spacey pocket where the iPhone has space to move and adapt to your body (it is no use if the iPhone rests in a big pocket which ends at the leg’s knuckle. the chance that you still will bend your phone is given. Though competitors may take some more force before they break or cease funtioning, the iPhone 6 has a good stability and a worthy touch. The matte finish still can be a bit glitchy and make your phone slide off your hand. So better have a tight grip on your phone when interacting with it. All in all: I didn’t have any problems with thin phones in the past and they (mostly) look as if they were just unpacked. And believe it or not: Even my old iPhone 4 has no SpiderApp nor has it been subject to any higher force that made it bend or cease functioning well. The only thing was the battery and the home button which I have exchanged myself (kinda skillful task though!).

Update: October 7th, 2014:

There’s almost no day passing by where the iPhone 6 isn’t criticized for a flea’s shitload. Sorry to speak so harsh words. But as I already have mentioned: If you take care about your mobile companion, there’s nothing to fear about. With “Hairgate” there’s a new low reached how stupid people are sometimes. For those mocking about such a thing: Go get your $200 phone and everything’s good but stop flooding Twitter and other social media with such childish crap: Some people have said that they have been subject to pricked hair when keeping the phone on-ear for phone calls. Even beard hair should be possible. Although I find that very childish, I still made the test and stroke the iPhone 6 Plus’ glass/boddy border against my beard and hair. Result: Smooth as a baby’s behind. Nothing got pricked. The gap between the glass and the aluminum body is just perfectly integrated. There can be exceptions where the both parts aren’t as perfectly integrated as my Device but still shaving should not be any of concern so far. Maybe it’s the same stupid people who bent their device and then noticed a big gap later on where hair can get stuck (of course!). *sigh*

When it comes to Security, Apple has improved TouchID just a tad more. The fingerprint recognition seems to be more accurate ending up in less recognition errors. It improves the unlock process. The fact that TouchID is now also available to Apps makes it clear: Apple seems to trust in their technology and I can’t see any reason so far why I shouldn’t. Apps that can use TouchID for some actions are set up to do so on my device.

The list of Apps, that use TocuhID so far however is small:

  • Mint Personal Finance – Use Touch ID to unlock the App.
  • Simple – Another personal financing tool using Touch ID to unlock.
  • Day One – A Today widget using Touch ID to unlock. It is like a diary.
  • Evernote – Document Cloud to have your docs everywhere. Touch ID unlock is for premium users only (unfortunately!).
  • LastPass – Safari extension for password storage and Touch ID integration.
  • Amazon – Online shopping App with Touch ID signin option. Not available in Germany though!
  • 1Password – Uses Touch ID to access your password vault.

Now let’s have a look at the new camera… the fact that the lens is a bit out of the case doesn’t allow the body to have a uniform surface making the phone not laying plane on the table. But there’s also no significant wobbling determinable if you shale the surface it is on. So no problems here. The images made with the iPhone are also quite remarkable. The new technics, Apple uses to improve image quality are well for such a small lens. The optical image stabilizer (only available to the iPhone 6 Plus) is doing a fine part also. To allow you judging the image quality for yourself, I have made a picture and adding it just below this text:

image1

With HDR activated, the picture nearly looks as if you saw it with your bare eyes. Vivid, sharp and with good contrast. Love it!

In the night, the pictures aren’t as noisefree as expected, but that’s because the lens is still too smal to allow for brighter images at night to come true. One thing I couldn’t reproduce was the Night image shot where the flashlight (fleshtone btw. unsing a warm and daywhite LED at the same time) is supposed to flash into the image. Either the photographer had his finger near the lense or some other obstacle made the flash reflect into the lens more than intended. Images I made for testing are ok-lit and allow recognition of sharp objects even with not-so-optimal lighting. But again: This is no SLR hence no superior quality! Still amazing what Apple has put into that little sensor!

LTE SpeedThe signal quality has improved a lot: While the 5S barely reaches 3 points at 3G at my desk, the iPhone 6 Plus spoils me with 2 to 3 points LTE speed. It is everything but slow! At least I consider 35 Mbit/s downstream and 11 Mbit/s Upstream as sufficient for most activities you would do outside. At least in Youtube you should not run into problems even when streaming FullHD content. And receiving or sending mails shouldn’t be challenging either. With an excellent cell network (Swisscom makes great effort here! Especially when you’re in a train at 160 mph and still have a stable LTE connection!) browsing the internet or using other online services is just a breeze and makes lots of fun! This also improves social media activity in Switzerland. Other countries in Europe may follow soon if they see how fast things go round here in Switzerland. But this all requires you to have a good price plan. While in the USA the carriers take a lot of money from you for giving you LTE at good bandwidth and a big enough data pool double_data_chart(AT&T asks for 375 US$/month for LTE 150 with 100 GB/month), here in Switzerland you get all for roughly 150 US$ (169CHF) but with unlimited SMS, phone calls in Switzerland (landline AND mobile!), as well as unlimited data traffic(!). Who wonders that in Switzerland there are LOTS of people using their smartphone all the time online for all kinds of services online? I greatly appreciate it! And a common usage of 20 GB/month. Couldn’t imagine of what would happen if the local carriers would also try to rip us off like AT&T does… I guess , it would meal lots of loss in the monthly income since many people would downgrade immediately. No provider would possibly want to give up lots of money and interactivity since most of the swiss providers also put their services online for access everywhere!

All in all the iPhone 6 Plus has quickly become my important PDA as it provides lot of benefit from the bigger screen. The other features are in detail an appetizer. Some are necessary, others are nice-to-have.

The only thing that’s a bit harsh, is the price. 1000 US$ are a hefty price tag but you get a lot for it. If you’re lucky, then try to get it in accordance with a contract or payment plan. If you intend to be independent from any provider, there’s the option to obtain it from Apple’s own store.

Since there are now 2 sizes available, people with smaller hands may reach for the iPhone 6 while people with rather big hands may prefer the iPhoe 6 Plus. But you can’t be wrong in any concern.

Okay, let’s go to the final verdict:

Things I like:
– Classy appearance
– the TouchID sensor
– The screen
– The speakers
– The application speed
– The iCloud backup and restoration
– The classy backside which features a really shiny Apple logo!

Things I miss:
– Expandability with microSD
– USB3.0 connection

In stars:

Haptics: ★★★★★ (10%)
Connectivity: ★★★★☆ (25%)
Speed: ★★★★★ (25%)
Stability: ★★★★★ (20%)
App store: ★★★★★ (20%)
OVERALL: ★★★★

MASTERPIECE

© Copyright 2014 Netspark, All rights Reserved. Written For: Netspark's Blog
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October 1, 2014 Netspark - 966 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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