iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus?

This is the decision tech geeks from all over are pondering right now...which screen size do I get? I've always thought the really large smartphones that have been cropping up the last few years seemed way too large and I never really had any desire to have a bigger phone. But after watching the Apple's keynote last night (yes, I'm a little slow but I've been on travel) I actually started thinking about going for the iPhone 6 Plus. After all, who doesn't want a larger screen?

So when I got home tonight I printed out the handy little iPhone comparison template from Ars Technica and proceeded to cutout the paper representation of the iPhone 6 Plus. I then took a cardboard box I had in the garage and cut a few layers of it out using the iPhone 6 Plus outline and taped them all together. Its not perfect, but it gave me a pretty darn close estimate of what the iPhone 6 Plus would be like to carry around. Even more importantly, I could try it out in various pockets. Here is what I found:

  1. In my shorts pockets the iPhone 6 Plus was not an issue to carry around. I wear pretty baggy shorts with rather large pockets. No issues here.

  2. Next up, my dress pants for work. No issues getting the phone into my dress pants front pocket. The problem was that it looked like I was carrying a surfboard around in my front pocket. It wasn't that the phone was too thick, but it's length was a real problem. It looked really tacky with my dress pants.

  3. I tried walking around with the iPhone 6 Plus mockup in a few of the front pockets of my jeans. Slipping the phone in and out of the front pocket was a bit harder to do than the dress pants because the jeans are a little bit tighter and the material not as slick. But just like with the dress pants, the real problem was the sheer size of the phone in the front pocket. It really felt strange walking around with such a large device in my pocket. Then I tried to sit down. This did not go well. The phone is just too long to sit down without it riding up the length of your leg and into your waist as you sit down. It just wasn't comfortable.

  4. On the weekends I am out riding around on my road bike and I always take my phone with me. So I tried out the iPhone 6 Plus with one of my bike jerseys. I have an iPhone 5s now and I can put it into one of the pockets in the back of the jersey sideways. Can't do that with the iPhone 6 Plus. In all but one of my jerseys the only way the iPhone 6 Plus would fit is if I slip it in one of the pockets in the vertical orientation (so the top of the phone is peeking out of the top edge of the jersey pocket). One of my jerseys actually had pockets that were wide enough to fit the iPhone 6 Plus in sideways (but this was a really wide pocket and not the norm). So I would need to ride around with the phone in the vertical position while riding. The phone is quite long and extends a surprisingly large portion of the way up my lower back. The pockets in my jerseys are deep enough however that the phone is in no real danger of coming out while riding. It just felt big going that far up my back.

  5. The last test was to see how it would feel in an armband when I go out for my run. I use the motion chip in my 5s to keep track of distance and calories burned when I run now using an armband and would want to do the same with the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus is huge when I strap it to my arm. I can't imagine running with that thing. It technically would work, but it wouldn't work well. Maybe if I had bigger arms...

So the decision for me was quite simple. I am going to order the smaller iPhone 6 (the 4.7 inch version). The larger 5.5 inch iPhone 6 Plus was just too big to carry around in my pocket all the time and it was way to big to run with. I intend to get the Apple Watch when it comes out next year and I want to be able to run with it as well (which means I also need my iPhone on me somewhere). The iPhone 6 Plus was not designed for athletes in mind, of that I am certain. If you plan to exercise with the Apple Watch then the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 is the way to go. I suspect Apple designed the 4.7 inch screen as the largest screen someone could carry around comfortably in a pocket. The iPhone 6 Plus was for customers who are more concerned about screen size than portability. If you are one of those people then you already know this and will really enjoy the large screen of the iPhone 6 Plus. For the rest of us I think we will find the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 to be plenty of screen square footage while at the same time being pocketable.

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