Last night, as is the yearly ritual, the embargo broke on reviews of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. If you’ve pre-ordered a new iPhone or on the fence, I highly recommend you read some of the great work done by each of these authors. This isn’t the first year that Apple has released two iPhones. But last year was entirely different, with the unapologetically plastic iPhone 5c and the flagship iPhone 5s. They were distinct, different and had different audiences. This year, we get two polarizing models, both flagships. It may be the first time a major manufacturer has released two vastly different sizes of a flagship phone. While there are slight differences in the software, the hardware is largely the same. The iPhone 6 Plus benefits from optical image stabilization. Matthew Panzorino writing for TechCrunch on the advantage of OIS, “Yep, the iPhone 6 Plus image above is ‘better’, but probably not enough for most people to notice without a direct comparison. For those of you feeling existential angst over the OIS in the iPhone 6 Plus, don’t stress. Buy it for the screen, buy it for the battery, but don’t buy it for OIS.” Those who published reviews are among the first to spend serious time with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. In all but two reviews, most of the authors showed a clear preference for the iPhone 6.
John Gruber, Daring Fireball
But I have no desire to use an iPhone 6 Plus as my personal phone. I ordered an iPhone 6 for my own use. And if the iPhone 6 Plus were the only new iPhone this year, I probably would have stuck with the iPhone 5S.
Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch
In short, the 6 is my favorite current smartphone, but the 6 Plus is its closest competition.
Lauren Goode: re/code
There are a couple of reasons why the Apple iPhone 6 Plus might also be too big for me to purchase. But I have to admit it: I’m tempted.
Geoffrey Fowler: Wall Street Journal
And while the iPhone 6 Plus feels too big for my taste, for $100 more its 5.5-inch screen offers an option for road warriors who don’t want to carry a tablet.
Molly Wood, NY Times
The iPhone 6 is definitely nicer in a slightly bigger size..but I feel like Apple just didn’t know how to take advantage of that iPhone 6 Plus.
Jim Dalrymple, The Loop
I still can’t imagine walking around with a device as big as the iPhone 6 Plus to my ear, talking on the phone. That would just look silly. I’ve said it about other devices this size in the past and my opinion on that hasn’t changed.
Lance Ulanoff, Mashable
I won’t be carrying that giant device in my pocket … I prefer the iPhone 6.
CNET, Scott Stein
I can’t go with a phone that’s too big. I’m not the only one. Several people, like my mom, reminded me that mobile phones used to be tremendous. They shrank in size, but started growing again thanks to smartphone screens. To get too big still makes me feel like I’m holding one of those old car phones to my face. Others might love it, or never hold the phone to their face at all. Maybe that’s why Apple has two phone sizes. For me, it’s the iPhone 6 that wins.
Bloomberg, Joshua Topolsky
While consumers are already clamoring for the larger of the two phones, I found the iPhone 6 Plus too large and unwieldy to use as my daily driver. It does offer better battery life and an improved camera stabilizer compared with the iPhone 6, but its size proved to be more than I wanted to grapple with on a regular basis.
Brad Molen, Engadget
The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 features a respectable display size and a comfortable in-hand fit; it’s also my personal favorite after using both for several days. The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, on the flipside, isn’t as easy to hold in one hand, but you’ll want it if you’re hoping to get an iPad-like phone with great battery life and a lot more screen real estate.
Stuart Miles, PocketLint
Having the benefit of using both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus over the last week we’ve kept coming back to the iPhone 6 Plus, only to return to the iPhone 6 every time. It’s as if our heart drawing us to something new and exciting, but our head is going with the more practical and more efficient, familiar, device.
Harry McCracken, Fast Company
For current owners of Apple phones who aren’t tied up with a carrier contract, the iPhone 6 is among the most irresistible upgrade the company has ever offered. And the jumbo-sized iPhone 6 Plus, though definitely not for everybody, is a winning entry in a category that’s previously been an Apple-free zone.
Jason Snell, MacWorld
I’ll wager that for most iPhone 5 users, the iPhone 6 will be a solid upgrade, and after a few days of adjustment, they’ll never miss their old iPhones. As for the iPhone 6 Plus, it’s a device that will undoubtedly find its adherents. They might be people who use their iPhones constantly and also need as much battery power as possible, or people with large hands, or people for whom it will be the only computing device they’ll use every day.
Preferred larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus
There were two reviews that showed a definitive preference for the iPhone 6 Plus. The Verge conducted reviews of both devices and the Plus scored a full point lower than the 4.7-inch model.
Nilay Patel, The Verge
I’m going to buy an iPhone 6 Plus. I’m taken with it; it feels like an entirely new kind of device for Apple, and it has such a killer camera I can’t say no. It’s every bit as good a phone as the iPhone 6; I’m docking it a little because Apple has a few software glitches to clear up. But I’m confident that will happen.
Ed Baig, USA Today
I prefer the 6 Plus because I like the biggest of the big screens, and like that I have to squint less often. It felt fine in my jeans pocket, but won’t fit every snug purse or small pair of hands.
The screen size of iPhones has largely remained stagnant. Sure a bump to the 4-inch display on the iPhone 5 was a welcome sight, but iPhone display sizes have largely lagged the industry. On Friday, that ends and in a big way. These larger screens may take time to process and for those who stick with them, they will change how you use your phone. If you’ve spent the better part of the last seven years using a device that caters to one-handed usability, the monstrous 5.5 iPhone 6 Plus may seem absolutely obscene. At home, I use a 30-inch Apple Cinema Display. When people first see it, they always comment about how big it is compared to their monitors. I suppose I felt the same way when I bought it, but now it just feels right. I have a feeling the same will be said about the iPhone 6 Plus, at least for those willing to take a chance on the pop-tart sized phone. For now, the clear favorite is the iPhone 6.