Big and slippery

If you want read a comparison of the use, feel and convenience of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from someone who’s used both of them in his daily life, read Gabe Weatherhead’s recent post. If you want to read the impressions of someone who’s spent about five minutes handling them in an Apple Store, you’ve come to the right place.

I had some errands to run in downtown Naperville on Saturday, and when I saw that the Apple Store didn’t have lines running out onto the sidewalk anymore, I decided to stop in and get a firsthand look at the new phones.

The 6 Plus wasn’t as big as I imagined it to be. I can see myself getting used to working with it, even though it will require two hands much of the time. What I don’t see myself getting used to is carrying it around and slipping it into and out of my pocket. It’s just more phone than I want to carry around all the time. If I get a new phone this cycle, it’ll be the regular 6.

(You’ve probably know that David Sparks is currently trying out a 6 Plus but isn’t sure if he’s going to keep it. I’m betting he’ll switch to the 6. The way I see it, if you don’t think immediately that the Plus is right for you, then it’s wrong for you. Update 10/7/14 David’s made the switch, so now there’s another 6/6 Plus comparison you should look at if you’re on the fence.)

Many people have commented on how slippery the new phones are. I wasn’t surprised to hear this. I thought the original iPhone was too slippery and always felt nervous handling it without a case. Its cool, rounded metal edges just didn’t bite into my hand enough to feel stable. After the original, though, I went coverless with the 4, 5, and 5S. I always felt I had a good grip on their edges, even though the material itself was just as smooth as the original’s.

So when I saw the introduction of the 6 and 6 Plus last month, my first thought was that if I got one, I might have go back to using a case with it. If so, what I’d be carrying in my pocket would almost certainly be thicker than my current 5S. I was resigned to this even before hearing that many others had decided to use cases for the first time.

What I wasn’t expecting was for the phones to act like freshly caught fish. As I tried them out in the store, I nearly dropped both of them on the table. Now it’s true that I was manipulating them in ways that I probably wouldn’t in normal use—testing how far my thumb would reach and using the Siracusa grip, for example—but even so, both phones felt precarious no matter how I was holding them. I’d never trust myself with a bare iPhone 6.

So in addition to having what is effectively a thicker phone than I have now, I’d be paying an extra $30-60 for the privilege. Given that the processor speed increase is minimal, that Apple Pay will take a while to roll out, and that most of this year’s improvements are in the software, I’m not seeing a compelling reason to upgrade during this cycle.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean I won’t.