iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are among the best smart phones in Consumer Reports' tests

But flagship smart phones from LG and Samsung maintain a razor-thin edge with better battery life, keyboards, and more

Published: October 08, 2014 12:30 PM

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Consumer Reports' lab tests are in, and both of Apple's new phone models earned high places among the best performers in our Ratings. While the “phablet-sized” iPhone 6 Plus stretches the limits of smart-phone portability, it and the iPhone 6 performed well where it counted, providing excellent reasons for Android-clasping smart-phone users to give them a try. The large 4.7-inch screen of the iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch display of the iPhone 6 Plus earned high marks for color accuracy and contrast, and for readability in bright light.

Their large displays also make e-mails and messages easier to view, and their ergonomic keyboard add new keys for punctuation, text editing, a keyboard-hide button, and more. While these keys are a nice touch, a row of number keys would have been even more useful—especially for the many people who frequently include numbers and websites in their messages. Another nice touch would have been something akin to the mouselike text selection that's included on high-scoring phones from Samsung and LG.

These new Apples beat previous iPhones with better battery life, making it less likely that you’ll have to reach for the charger before the end of your smart-phone day. The iPhone 6 Plus cranked out about 17 hours of talk time on a single charge, while the smaller iPhone 6 ran for a respectable 10 hours—a modest step up from the 8 hours of talk time our tests could squeeze out of 5-series models.

Additional testing, which played no role in our Ratings, confirmed that new iPhones were not as bendy as had been widely reported.

—Mike Gikas

Check our report on cell phone plans to see how to get the best deal, and our cell phone buying guide and Ratings.

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