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Why I choose the iPhone six over the six Plus: The Plus can t substitute the iPad Mini yet

Why I choose the iPhone six over the six Plus: The Plus can’t substitute the iPad Mini yet

Living with the iPhone 6, part Two. Scott Stein attempts out the six Plus versus the six and finds that neither one indeed steps up to match the iPad right now, and a big reason has to do with apps.

"Your phone can substitute your tablet!"

I’ve heard this pitch before. Samsung’s Note phones, mega-screened 5-inch plus devices everywhere, and now the iPhone six Plus.

I use an iPad Mini every day. It’s petite, it’s flawless, it’s a combination e-reader and quickie on-the-fly laptop for writing. It’s a little redundant, I admit. And the idea of a Plus is tempting: better battery life, a larger screen. What’s not to like?

I’ve attempted both fresh iPhones. And I’d pick the 6.

Why? Well, I’ll tell you.

Classic iPhone apps look OK on the 6, weird on the Plus

I’ve been hunting around the App Store, waiting to download optimized apps for the iPhone six and six Plus. They’re appearing here and there, but it’ll take time for more. When I reviewed the iPhone 6, there weren’t any. Now as the phones launch, developers are pushing updates to the App Store in a flood.

You don’t need optimized apps, necessarily: both phones upscale existing apps and do a pretty awesome job optimizing them for the fresh resolutions: text is acute, graphics in games look slick and acceptable, and streaming movies look good, too, and this is all before any of these apps were "made for iPhone 6/6 Plus."

The fresh iPhones

But when I see the iPhone six Plus’ large screen running some of these apps, it becomes clear that I’m watching a blown-up iPhone five practice. Icons, virtual buttons, even pop-up keyboards, all of a sudden seem large. I feel like I’ve become a shrunken person holding a abruptly massive regular iPhone.

Non-optimized apps are everywhere right now, and many are likely to stick around. And I think most of them simply look and feel less weird on the 6.

iPhone six Plus, and iPad Mini. Sarah Tew/CNET

The Plus can’t substitute my iPad

The six and Plus may both have fresh screen resolutions and sizes, but it’s indeed the Plus that goes into a entire fresh territory. And for that reason, I’m hesitant to adopt it. because it needs more killer, optimized apps. And I haven’t seen enough of them yet.

Part of the Plus’ appeal that I’ve heard is "ditch the iPad, take the Plus." There’s some logic to that: the Plus is a phablet-type phone, and e-books look almost as good as on a Kindle. Movies are very watchable. Games are immersive.

But it’s not that effortless.

The Mini’s 7.9-inch screen is about two and a half times the size of the Plus. It may not have the same pixel density, but it’s a big screen difference.

The Mini is a Four:Trio display as opposed to the iPhone six Plus’ 16:9. For movies, you want 16:9. But for full-page documents, Web browsing like a computer, and illustrated books, you want Four:Three. It fills the screen better.

A sample comic book downloaded from iBooks tells the story: the Plus and iPhone six have brighter displays, but the larger, better-proportioned iPad Mini makes actually reading the comic far better.

For anything involving typing, I can at least hook a keyboard up next to the Mini, or even type on the screen with my fingers. The Plus isn’t much different from an iPhone 6; either one involves a different form of phone-typing. It can work for some writing, but for me it’s not the same. The iPad has become my in-a-pinch laptop replacement. The Plus wouldn’t be.

Pages on iPad Mini: I write on it. iPhone six Plus is a thumb-typer. Sarah Tew/CNET

Apps: iPhone six and iPad likely to strike Plus

There are tons of apps for the iPad. They’re all optimized for the utter screen resolution. The Mini runs all the iPad’s apps. Since the screen is smaller but the resolution’s the same as the Air, they even look a little crisper.

The iPhone six is tied to get a lion’s share of optimized apps, too. But that Plus, it’s a tweener. Phablets in the general phone landscape don’t ideally substitute tablets: they become entire fresh devices, which — it’s true — may make people less likely to use a tablet. For staying connected all the time via your own phone’s data service, taking photos, reading news or checking messages, a larger phone could treat a lot of my needs. But I don’t think a larger phone, right now, would do anything that an iPad does better. Not yet.

Two sizes, and a similar type of practice. for now. CNET

I want something smaller

I need something one-handed for taking photographs. I need something I can grab quickly and throw in my pocket. I always liked the iPhone’s smaller size. The six is my next best bet.

I want to see a entire fresh special class of apps that would make me consider the Plus. In the meantime, I’d rather take a more pocketable six because I’m going to bring my iPad anyway.

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