iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5S and 5: Is it worth upgrading?

Apple's new iPhones are bigger, faster and thinner but the cost won't suit every budget

James Vincent
Thursday 11 September 2014 09:16 BST

There are some questions that confront Apple users time and time again when a new iPhone is released: should I buy it? Didn’t I just buy this one? What the hell am I spending my money on anyway?

The simplest way to answer these queries is to point to the biggest single difference between the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus and all previous iPhones: it’s the screen, stupid.

Yep, if the 4-Inch display on your iPhone 5 feels small (or, shock-horror, if you’re still peering at the positively microscopic 3.7-inch screen of earlier models) then it’s definitely worth considering the new iPhones.

As more and more of our lives are conducted not just on our computers but on our mobile devices, having a bigger screen is just becoming more useful – not only for tapping out emails but for watching movies (yes, some people do actually do this) or just browsing the web.

The screen on the iPhone 6 measures 4.7-inches diagonally and that of the iPhone 6 Plus is a healthy 5.5-inches across. These aren’t the biggest displays on the market (in fact, 4.7-inches is distinctly average now) but Apple wants to take advantage of them, offering new orientations for apps (ie use your email in landscape) and a couple of new features (such as ‘reachability’ – tap the home screen button to shift the top half of the screen into thumb’s reach).

The new models also come with the expected upgrades – including a new 128GB storage option, a faster processor (even better for graphic intensive games) and the addition of a barometer that measures elevation.

The cameras on both devices have also had a healthy bump – not spectacularly so, but noticeable, and certainly desirable if you snap pictures on your iPhone - and in the US at least, they'll offer new opportunity for contactless payments via Apple Pay.

And all this new hardware isn't just faster, Apple says it's more energy efficient too, meaning that the iPhone 6 has 14 hours of talk time while the iPhone 6 Plus can last for 24 hours on a call (remember, bigger = bigger battery too). Both are significantly better than the iPhone 5s, which gets 10 hours on the line before running out of battery.

But why shouldn’t you upgrade? Well, for one, most of the features that will be exciting on the new iPhones are actually just part of iOS 8 – the latest update to Apple’s mobile operating system – and this will be coming as free upgrade to all iPhones from the 4s onwards from September 17.

Additionally, most prosaically, and most obviously: new iPhones ain’t cheap. Unless your mobile network is offering a deal of some sort you’ll be shelling out a minimum of £539 for the iPhone 6 and £619 with the iPhone 6 Plus. That’s with 16GB of storage, with these prices rising to £699 and £789 for the 128GB configuration. That’s certainly not walking around money.

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