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iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus: Which Apple Phone Should You Buy?

·Technology Editor
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus go on sale Friday, Sept. 19. And while many of the Apple faithful know which one they’ll be bringing home, you’re still torn between the two handsets.

Should you go for the sleek and slender 4.7-inch iPhone 6 or snag the big-screen 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus? Will you tire of the iPhone 6 Plus’s large size quickly, or will you regret going with the iPhone 6’s smaller screen? These considerations and more are likely running through your mind as you waffle between making the iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus your techno-companion for the next two years.

MORE: How Does Apple’s iPhone 6 Stack Up Against the Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and Moto X?

To help make your decision easier, we’ve broken down the major differences between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. So read on to see which one of Apple’s new phones you should call your own (and stay tuned for our reviews of both, coming very soon).

The biggest difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is screen size. The iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch, 1334 × 750 Retina HD display, while the iPhone 6 Plus gets a 5.5-inch, 1920 × 1080 Retina HD screen. Both displays dwarf the iPhone 5s’s 4-inch screen.

Size comparison: iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus
Size comparison: iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus

If you’re the type of person who loves to browse the Web or watch movies or TV shows on your smartphone, then the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus is the phone for you. Sure the iPhone 6’s smaller display is just as gorgeous as its larger sibling’s screen, and 4.7 inches isn’t exactly tiny, but for multimedia content, the larger iPhone 6 Plus is the way to go.

The iPhone 6 Plus’s larger display doesn’t just make for better Web browsing and movie watching; it can also prove helpful for folks with vision problems. The Display Zoom feature, which is available on both phones, increases the size of all of your content, making it easier to see. And, on the 6 Plus’s bigger screen, Display Zoom can be doubly helpful.

iPhone 6 Plus showing Standard View and Zoom View
iPhone 6 Plus showing Standard View and Zoom View

The iPhone 6 Plus also gets a new landscape view that gives certain apps a completely different look. That means that if you flip the phone onto its side, the screen rotates to give you a better view. For instance, in landscape view, the Mail app gets broken down into sections, with the left side of the screen showing all your messages and the center and right side displaying your open message.

The iPhone 6’s smaller screen size means it doesn’t support landscape view. So if you’re looking for a smartphone with a display that makes for a more dynamic viewing experience, or if you need a phone that’s easy on the eyes, you’ll want to go for the iPhone 6 Plus.

Email in landscape view on an iPhone 6 Plus
Email in landscape view on an iPhone 6 Plus

Of course a bigger screen means a bigger device in your pocket, and one that will be a little more difficult to use with one hand. (We’ll get to that below.) If you don’t think you’re going to be mostly browsing the Web and worry that a 5.5-inch display is overwhelmingly large, then the iPhone 6 is perfect for you.

Bigger screens mean bigger smartphones. The iPhone 6 measures 5.4 × 2.6 × 0.27 inches and weighs 4.6 ounces. The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, measures 6.2 × 3.1 × 0.28 inches and tips the scale at 6.1 ounces.

Side view of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
Side view of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

That puts the iPhone 6 Plus in the same size category as Samsung’s massive Galaxy Note handset. Cramming a big-screen smartphone like the iPhone 6 Plus into your pants pocket will likely prove a bit problematic, especially if you favor skinny jeans. The iPhone 6, however, should slide into your pocket with ease.

To make sure you can still use the new iPhones with one hand, Apple has implemented a new feature that moves the top of the screen down toward the bottom and within reach of your thumb. To use this, you simply double-tap, not press, the home button. Even with this feature, however, the iPhone 6 Plus will likely be too large for users with more diminutive hands.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

In the end, the size of the phone comes down to how comfortable it is for you to hold, so you might want to give it a try at your local Apple or carrier store to get a sense of how large the phone is. The Loop also put together a helpful piece that shows the approximate real-world size of the new iPhones; you can print out these mock-ups and hold them in your hand to see how they feel.

Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are getting all-new iSight cameras with 8-megapixel sensors, improved autofocus, and larger pixels. There is, however, one difference between the iPhone 6’s and the 6 Plus’s cameras. The 6 Plus features optical image stabilization (OIS) while the 6 gets digital image stabilization.

iPhone 6 camera
iPhone 6 camera

That might seem like a small difference, but in reality it’s pretty important. OIS uses special algorithms to physically manipulate the 6 Plus’s camera lens to compensate for hand shaking while taking pictures. The result is clearer photos, especially in low-light situations.

Digital image stabilization uses software to try to correct for hand shaking and isn’t nearly as effective as OIS.

So if you want to ensure that you’ll be able to take the best pictures possible at all times, you might want to go for the iPhone 6 Plus. If, however, you want to simply take gorgeous photos and aren’t too concerned about shooting in low light, then the iPhone 6 is fine.

iPhone 6 camera
iPhone 6 camera

Pricing and storage
A 16 GB version of the iPhone 6 starts at $200 with a two-year contract, the same price the iPhone 5s cost last year. The larger iPhone 6 Plus, meanwhile, starts at $300 with a two-year contract.

Need more storage space? A 64 GB version of the iPhone 6 will cost $300, while a 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus will run you $400. If that’s not enough space for all your TV shows and photos, Apple is, for the first time, offering 128 GB versions of its smartphones. A 128 GB iPhone 6 will set you back $400 at the register, while a similarly equipped 6 Plus will cost $500.

iPhone 6 in three colors
iPhone 6 in three colors

Before you consider spending $200 on the 16 GB iPhone 6 or $300 on the 6 Plus, take a second to think about what you use your phone for. If you take a lot of photos and videos with your phone, download a lot of apps, and store a lot of movies and TV shows, then you’ll likely blow through 16 GB in no time.

In truth, you’re probably better off going with a 64 GB version of the iPhone. Sure, 128 GB is the best, but chances are you won’t come close to filling 64 GB.

If, however, you don’t really save much on your phone, or if you prefer to use cloud storage, then the 16 GB iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus will likely be a good fit for you.

Just remember that, if you buy your iPhone on contract, you’re basically stuck with it for the next two years. So make sure you choose the one that’s right for you.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+ here.