"Isn't every new iPhone the best gaming iPhone yet?" Sure, but the all-new, all-larger iPhone 6 is better than that.
If you'd asked my as recently as Friday afternoon what I thought of the iPhone 6 as a gaming device, I would have probably responded with something along the lines of "Screw T-Mobile in it's stupid T-Mobile ass." This is because, as of Friday afternoon, it didn't look like I'd be getting one at all.
I'd preordered a 16GB (too small, but I'm broke) iPhone 6 Plus, the larger of the two new devices, the previous Friday via the T-Mobile website. That preorder did not go through. I discovered this on Saturday, and preordered three more times before one finally took. In a mild panic at the thought of not being able to cover the new iPhones at launch, I contacted T-Mobile phone support on Monday, and was assured by a representative that my unit would ship up either Wednesday or Thursday.
Four days and several angry tweets to T-Mobile's various accounts later, I was informed my device was backordered and wouldn't ship for weeks. Frustrated, I called to cancel my order. This time the helpful representative suggested I call around to local T-Mobile stores, as late-day shipments might equal availability.
At 8 PM Friday night I walked out of a local T-Mobile store with a shiny new 128GB iPhone 6 — for less of a down payment than I had committed to for the 16GB 6 Plus. The whole process was a nightmare, but I wound up with what I think was the best possible new iPhone I could get.
The Right iPhone 6
Do not let this photograph fool you — I have massive hands. And having massive hands has meant that the smaller-sized iPhones that have come before have always felt relatively tiny in my paws. An extra .7 inches over the 4-inch display of the iPhone 5s might not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference.
The iPhone 5c (blue, thank you) I rocked previously would get lost in my hand. Holding the iPhone 6 in one hand I have to stretch my thumb to reach the top left icon. I feel like such a tiny pixie person.
As ginormous as my hands may be, I don't think they would have been quite up to navigating the iPhone 6 Plus, even with its handy "pull down the screen so thumbs can actually reach icons" feature. A 1920 x 1080 screen versus the iPhone 6's 1334 x 750 sounds lovely, and I wouldn't have minded the optical image stabilization (the 6 camera is quite impressive without it), but all-in-all I feel I wound up with the right device for me.
If you're still keen on a 6 Plus and don't mind waiting months before getting one, then by all means. Just make sure you have very large pockets, and be prepared to double-hand games you used to play with one.
What's Great About It
Just look at that body. So thin. So light. So well-crafted that, despite being slightly heavier than the 5s, it feels like it's not. Those lovely rounded edges make the iPhone 6 a wonderful companion piece to my Retina iPad Mini, at least until the next generation of those come out.
Despite it's sleek look, the metal back of my Space Gray iPhone 6 has a soft texture that lends a bit of grippiness while gaming.
Of course the bigger display is a huge draw of the iPhone 6, and while it's not quite comic book reading size, it's certainly lovely and large compared to what's come before. Dual-domain pixels, new to the 6 line, make for a wider viewing angle, which makes games with tilt control a little more tilt-able.
iPhone games look better on the iPhone 6 screen. That goes double for games recently-updated to take advantage of Apple's game-enhancing Metal tech. Coupled with the 25 percent faster CPU and 50 percent faster graphics of the new A8 chip that powers the iPhone 6, and resource intensive games like Gameloft's Modern Combat 5 really sing. It's a noticeable improvement over running the game on my old iPhone 5c or iPad Mini.
Then there's this:
That's the iPhone 6 power button. It's finally been moved from the top of the phone to the side. I love this. I cannot count how many times I've accidentally suspended or powered off my older iPhones while playing particularly action-packed, landscape-oriented games.
Plus the iPhone 6 has the nifty thumbprint reader security technology from the 5s, which makes grabbing new games from iTunes (now with game bundles) so much less of a hassle.
What's Not So Great About It
One. Damn. Speaker. On the side. Where my hand goes. Dammit, Apple.
Aside from that perennial complaint of mine, the only huge downside to upgrading from an iPhone 5c or 5s to a 6 is for folks who purchased one of those pricey game controllers designed specifically to house the older units. Next time go with something with a universal clip, like the upcoming MOGA Rebel from Power A.
Fooled Around. Fell In Love.
My advice to anyone perfectly happy with their current iPhone model for gaming — do not touch the iPhone 6.
Up until the phone was in my hands late Friday evening, my only reason for picking one up was my particular line of work. There's certainly no pressing need to upgrade for gaming. The faster processor is nice, but history has shown us developers aren't keen to alienate potential customers by locking out older devices.
I did not need an iPhone 6, but now that the somewhat-new, mostly-improved device is in my hands, I can't imagine playing iOS games on anything less.