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Grow Your Business Technology

iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus: Which Is Better for Business?

 iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus: Which Is Better for Business?
The iPhone 6 (left) sports a 4.7-inch screen that's much smaller than the 5.5 inch display on the iPhone 6 Plus. Both are bigger than the 4-inch iPhone 5s. / Credit: Apple

When it comes to smartphones, how big is too big? Apple fans will have to answer that one for themselves, after the company launched two new iPhones that are both significantly larger than last year's 4-inch iPhone 5s. The first phone that Apple revealed is the iPhone 6, a 4.7-inch smartphone with smooth, rounded corners, as well as a faster processor and sharper display than its predecessor. Also revealed was the iPhone 6 Plus, a supersize iPhone with a 5.5-inch screen. But screen size isn't the only way that these two phones differ. The larger phone comes with extra software features and a bigger battery – but also with a steeper price tag. In other ways, the phones are quite similar, packing the same super-fast processor and a nearly identical design. So which one is better for business users? Read on for a feature-for-feature comparison between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6: It's an iPhone, so there's no plastic here. Instead, you get a glass face that curves seamlessly into the metal back. The iPhone 6 is wider, taller and heavier than last year's model, but it's also the thinnest iPhone ever, with a thickness of just 0.27 inches, compared with 0.3 inches for the iPhone 5s. And the overall design of the iPhone 6 is much different from previous iPhones. Instead of squared-off edges, the iPhone 6 sports rounded edges that make it more comfortable to hold.

iPhone 6 Plus: Size aside, the overall design of the iPhone 6 Plus is virtually identical to the iPhone 6. It features the same rounded corners, though it's a smidge thicker (0.28 inches) and a bit heavier (6 ounces, compared with 4.55 ounces for the iPhone 6.)

iPhone 6: Of course, the reason the iPhone got bigger is to accommodate bigger displays. The iPhone 6's 4.7-inch display boasts a higher pixel count than any Apple phone before it, with a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. Apple calls it a Retina HD display; a "Retina" display is one with pixels small enough they can't be seen by the naked eye at a typical viewing distance. Still, the display has a density of just 326 pixels per inch, which is lower than the 432 ppi display on the Samsung Galaxy S5, even with that phone's larger 5.1-inch screen. Specs aside, the iPhone 6 still delivers some of the sharpest, most colorful images on any smartphone. Most important for business users, it provides a lot more room to work on than older iPhones.

iPhone 6 Plus: As big as the iPhone 6's screen is, the iPhone 6 Plus goes bigger. And its 5.5-inch display is sharper, too, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi). That's a plus for business users: a higher resolution lets you view more content on-screen at once. And the iPhone 6 Plus' display is as functional as it is beautiful, thanks to a new feature called "dual-pane display," which iPad users will recognize. When you turn your device sideways, certain apps such as Mail will show a persistent navigation pane on the left side of the screen, letting you easily navigate among sections of your inbox without tapping through hidden menus. Smaller displays wouldn't have room for the second pane, which is why the feature isn't available in the iPhone 6 version of Mail.

iPhone 6: For years, Apple resisted making an iPhone with a display bigger than 4 inches, insisting that it's too hard to reach all four corners of a bigger screen. Now we have the iPhone 6, a 4.7-inch smartphone that's bigger than any iPhone before – so how does that affect how you actually use the device? In most ways, it won't. Upgrading from a 4-inch phone to a 4.7-incher isn't that big a leap, unless you have particularly small hands. Still, Apple did provide features and tweaks to make it easier to use the bigger device. That includes new gesture controls: you can now simply swipe left and right to go back and forward between emails, text messages and Web pages in supported apps, making it easier to navigate without reaching up to the top of the screen. Additionally, Apple wisely moved the iPhone 6's power button from the top of the device to the side, so it's easier to reach with one hand.

iPhone 6 Plus: If the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is quite usable, what about the mega-size iPhone 6 Plus? All the same features described above also work on the iPhone 6 Plus, but Apple didn't stop there. The bigger device also supports an interesting mechanic called Reachability, which lets you double-touch the home button to move the active part of the screen down about halfway, so you can easily reach the top of your apps with one hand. It works, but it's yet to be seen if the feature will prove useful or just awkward in the long run. And despite Apple's best efforts, this giant iPhone might just be too big for some users, so try before you buy.

iPhone 6: The iPhone 6 is a premium smartphone that sells for a premium price. It starts at $199 for the 16GB model, when you agree to a 2-year contract through a major carrier.  The 64GB model sells for $299 on-contract, while the 128 GB version is $399. You can also get the iPhone 6 off-contract, starting at 649.

iPhone 6s: Of course, the bigger phone comes at a steeper price. With a 2-year contract, the 16GB version of the iPhone 6 Plus is $299; the 64GB version if $399; and the 128GB model is $499. The off-contract version starts at $749.

iPhone 6: A bigger phone allows for a bigger battery. Apple says the iPhone 6 offers greater longevity than the iPhone 5s, which is notorious for its short battery life. The iPhone 6 is rated to last about 10 hours with continuous Web browsing over LTE, and longer with average use. In comparison, the iPhone 5s lasted for just about 6 hours of continuous use in our tests. We haven't had a chance to test out the iPhone 6's battery for ourselves, but if Apple's numbers are correct, the device will easily last through the end of the workday and beyond.

iPhone 6 Plus: Apple's largest phone has its largest battery. The exact size of the battery hasn't been announced, but Apple says it's rated for up to 12 hours of continuous Web surfing over LTE. With average use, you should be able to squeeze a full day or more out of the device – if Apple's numbers are correct.

Apple's new iPhones both offer impressive screens and handy new software features, and they both launch with iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. The larger iPhone 6 Plus is a great option for business users who are tired of cramped smartphone screens and want a ton of room to work. It also looks to be a great pick if you want the longest-lasting iPhone ever. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 is a more affordable phone for business users who want to enjoy the latest iOS features without sacrificing too much portability.

Brett Nuckles

A former Ohio newspaper man, Brett Nuckles fled the Midwest in 2013. He now lives in Seattle, where he spends his days tinkering with smartphones, tablets and computers. He loves to think about the intersection of technology and productivity, and how to get the most out of new gadgets and apps. He's also a big fan of vegetarian food and digital painting. In his off hours he spends most of his time drawing and painting sci-fi/fantasy scenes on his PC with his trusty Wacom stylus in hand.