Switched to Smaller iPhone

As many of you readers know, I’ve been in the midst of a serious mental debate involving the new iPhones.

As an iPhone 6 Plus user for the last year, I’m intimately familiar with all of the things that make the larger-sized iPhones so desirable. This generation, however, I decided to forgo the added luxury brought on by the Plus model, and rolled with the “regular” sized iPhone instead.

This decision, as you can probably imagine, didn’t come easy to me. If you’ve followed any of my recent blog posts or tuned into our recent podcasts, then you know how much I’ve waffled on this subject.

Why did I end up going with the iPhone 6s, when I was initially set on re-upping with the iPhone 6s Plus? In the end, it all boiled down to one particular reason…

Why I switched

I could write a whole blog post outlining the reasons to go with the 6s Plus. After all, it has a much bigger screen, higher resolution, Optical Image Stabilization for both photos and video, and, above all, longer battery life. The battery life, better camera, and screen size are what made me go with the Plus last year.

For anyone that purchases a 6s Plus, please don’t feel like you made a wrong decision. Apple makes two models for a reason, so there really is no “wrong” choice.

That said, when it’s all said and done, the iPhone 6s was the right decision for me. Despite its shortcomings, it features one thing that the iPhone 6s Plus simply doesn’t have–an easy-to-hold form factor and a pocketable design.

I regularly got hand cramps trying to hold the iPhone 6 Plus for extended periods of time. With the 6s Plus’ added weight, this was bound to continue, if not worsen.

I also found that the 6 Plus annoyed me when in my pocket. I don’t wear extremely tight jeans or anything, but they aren’t overly baggy, either. The Plus model was very noticeable in my jeans, and I grew quite tired of that over the last year.

6s Plus huge jeans

The 6s Plus in my jeans pocket

The bezel needs to go

The iPhone 6s Plus is a superior phone to the iPhone 6s in just about every way, sans one area. And, to be honest, it is a little irritating that I no longer have the “best” iPhone when it comes to raw specs.

But something as important as form factor can’t be overlooked or diminished. In my opinion, it’s just as important as the other common pillars that phones are rated on. I didn’t totally grasp that fact until I was able to use both devices for an extended period of time. My conclusion? The iPhone 6s Plus is the better phone of the two, except in that one crucial area.

Is there anything that would tempt me to switch back to a larger iPhone? Yes. It’s actually fairly simple on paper, but would doubtlessly take some major engineering skill to pull off: reduce the bezel size.

Reducing the bezel surrounding the iPhone’s screen is the next logical step to take. Obviously, something like that is easier said than done, otherwise, Apple probably would have done so already.

But I do think we are seeing the first steps towards an eventual bezel reduction. The advent of 3D Touch gestures could potentially spell the end of the Home button in future iPhone models. If the Home button goes away, that opens up the possibility of a significantly reduced bezel, at least on the lower half of the screen.

Conclusion

I’m writing this post as I sit in the Philadelphia airport. I’ve noticed that my travels have been a bit more comfortable thanks to the smaller iPhone 6s. It’s easier to hold, easier to put in the pocket, and reduces hand and wrist fatigue.

6s small jeans

The 6s is much less noticeable in my jeans pocket

No one can argue against the fact that the smaller iPhone is the technically inferior version, even if just by a little. But I’ve come to the point where I can reasonably put up with a small amount of technical inferiority, if it means a more comfortable user experience.

That, as it turns out, is why I switched to the smaller iPhone.

  • Eddie Sheerr

    Hand cramps? LOL!

    • Hench Don

      For real. What kinda sissy reason is that LOL. I’d say hit the gym but a man can’t even hold a phone no way can this guy lift….

      • That_Fruitarian

        Lol… He has girl hands. He gets manicures, lotions them and pluck the hairs.

      • August Ebbesen

        Fruitarian, do I need to say more? Your name is more feminine than a unioncorn with a rainbow hanging out of the ass.

      • That_Fruitarian

        Ummmm… Except my name isn’t fruitarian. Doh!!! And what’s a unioncorn?

      • Jake Platt

        Haha. Nothing funnier than when someone is trying to insult you and they can’t spell basic words.

      • That_Fruitarian

        hahaha… I know!!! 🙂

      • rain rocket

        Lol

      • rockdude094

        you must be really desperate for attention lol

      • M_Hawke

        No, he doesn’t have “girl hands.” Cramps have nothing to do with how “bulked up” one’s muscles are or are not.

      • That_Fruitarian

        Thanks genius. I had no idea.

      • M_Hawke

        You’re welcome, genius.

      • Poporopo00

        I ditch my iPhone 6 for that reason, Carpal Tunnel killes me, no kidding. He might be right.

        I hope they make an iPhone 7 version with the power of the newest chip in the case of an iPhone 5/5S. Perfect size for me.

      • Robin

        I absolutely agree! I love the size of my iPhone 5s and would love to upgrade to an iPhone 7 which has the same size but with a newer processor, RAM and 3D Touch.

        I have used in the past a 4,7inch Samsung Galaxy Nexus i9250 and it was to big to use in hand but also awfull when i had that phone in my pocket. I ride my bike everyday from home work. I started to put my phone in my bag but kept missing important calls and messages. In the end i went back to the iPhone 4s at the time and now use the 5s.

      • M_Hawke

        Well, that’s pretty ignorant–cramps have NOTHING to do with how strong a muscle is. As a matter of fact, long periods of exercise can cause cramps. Education before ignorant put downs is always the best choice.

    • balderoine

      Add a case to it and it’s pretty hand cramp inducing in my opinion

  • ProllyWild

    I agree with you on issues of holding the device. My solution this time around has been to use the “bunker ring”. Pretty much solved the issue for me.

    • iBanks

      Yup! Same here.

  • PJ

    Is that 6s Plus or a 6s you got in your pocket? 🙂 I too had to replace my Plus for the regular size, but not for the same reasons exactly. I’ve been without the Plus for about a month now and I miss the better screen, camera, and size. Not always convenient to carry around but still better than the regular size. I only gave it up to get more storage which means I had to downsize because of cost. Anyway, good on you Jeff. Hopefully we’ll see a fix on the upcoming model.

  • George

    Hey Jeff eBay is selling the stainless steel apple watch 42mm for $80 off brand new :p.

  • Church Said

    I kinda wanted to move to the regular 6S but I remembered that I still found the pixels when looking at the screen due to its lower resolution and battery life and OIS camera than meeh. I want a better phone and 6S Plus does the job to offer those. 😀

  • Ben Wei

    I had an iP5 when I became eligible to upgrade during the iP6 era. I got my free iP6, sold it on eBay, then bought a 64GB iP5S on eBay.

    If I stay with Apple (as I have since iP3G), I’ll always pick the smallest option they give me. I did take iP5 over iP4S, but iP5 was thinner & lighter.

    • I have 5s and 3gs. I’m hoping there will be a 4inch iphone that shoots 4k video soon.

    • Poporopo00

      Exactly!!

  • Pavelbure

    I’ll stick with the 6s+. I don’t wear tight girly jeans and I’m able to reach about 90% of the screen with one hand.

  • Jayy

    I’m happy with my 6s+ at first the weight difference was weird coming from a iPhone 4. I’m used to it now, and couldn’t go smaller even if it wouldn’t cost me any money to do so.

  • Morgan Freeman

    I predict that the first picture in this article makes its way to a shady Craigslist ad soon. There’s just something about that type of picture and those ads for phones that are way too cheap and where the seller insists you contact them at (garbled gArb1e at g mai l dot com) or whatever other iteration of incorrect ways to type an email address. You know the ads I speak of. Please, someone, anyone who knows… WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THESE SCAMMERS? And why do they always use the same type of picture? Instantly, you know it’s probably a scam just by the picture..

  • Juan Genao

    I came to the same decision a month ago when I was getting ready to order the 6s or 6s Plus. After a year with the 6 plus, I simply could not stand it. Never found a good case for it and because of that I broke the screen once. Never really was a good fit for my pocket (im in a wheelchair). I would go so far that unless the camara stabilization is a must or you watch lots of videos 90% of the people will be happier with the regular size one.

  • Anonomous.TECH.man

    Wouldn’t take major engineering to pull off small bezels, my oneplus one has smaller bezels and thier a start up company. I think apple went with Design over Function. I can’t help to feel the 6 plus was a after thought like the feel in the hand of the 6 feels so prefect the volume and power buttons line up with my hands so well. Where as on 6 plus it’s just the 6 blown up. I still went with the 6 plus do to the reasons mentioned in the article and I watch most music videos and tv/movies on my phone so I benefit from the added screen realestate. But apples engineering is hinderd by design. I’ve delt with a lot of 5.5 inch flagship phones and just about everyone felt better than the iPhone.

    • raulortiz318

      I know what you mean with the button locations on the Plus. The sleep button should be about a half inch lower to really fall where the index finger naturally rests when holding the phone in the left hand. Same with the volume buttons, a little lower would feel more comfortable. They just blew up the 6 design and kept the same button placement, instead of adjusting it to match the size of the phone.

  • Tim

    I switched to the 6s Plus because quite frankly I have been experiencing a drop in ‘reaching for the pocket’ and ‘having a peek’ at my phone since I got the Apple Watch. Getting the Watch convinced me that I would benifit from a larger screen for the times that I do get my phone out of my pocket. 🙂

  • Eikast

    Hey Jeff, we all know that in a month you’re going to go back to the 6s+ 😀

  • Mike

    Interesting post Jeff. I plan to get next year’s + size iPhone because of the reasons you listed above: bigger screen and better battery life.

    I had a IP5 before I got my 6. I could never go back to a smaller screen. Just looking at my previous phone makes me wonder how I was able to survive that long with such a small screen.

  • Merman123

    The plus will always be the one with better specs , and for that alone I could never get the smaller device.

    • raulortiz318

      That may be the case, but my 6s Plus exhibits low frame rates in App Switcher, when invoking 3D Touch on home screen icons, and even using the “swipe back” gesture. I see none of this on the regular 6s.

      The Plus has trouble with the transparency effect, and it boggles my mind that Apple shipped a brand new product that slows down while running the OS it came with.

      All that said, the screen size is great and I’ll never go back to the smaller size!

  • Greg Warren

    I’m in the exact same boat, Jeff. Had the 6 Plus for a year, then got a 6S Plus on release day. But on the last possible return day, I took the 6S Plus back and got a 6S.

    I used my girlfriend’s 6 a few times and really liked how it felt in my hand even with a case. And I really missed being able to reach 100% of the screen with one hand. Add in the $100 savings and I felt like the battery life and OIS were acceptable trade offs.

    • Jason Baroni

      This Titanic is full of victims. I am switching to the 6s for the same exact reason. I mostly enjoyed it when I was not moving, like during physical activities or on the go.

      • Bugs Bunnay

        walk and text is awesome. drive and text was even better!… I didn’t say that…

      • Jason Baroni

        You are so right, man

  • kaliente

    I did exactly the same! I were struggling with 6+ and regular 6s is way better. Using it for few hours and already see it’s easier and better to hold.
    For video shooting I have GoPro so no OIS doesn’t really matter.

  • Wood1030

    Hey Jeff, is that a Plus in your pocket or are you just happy to see us? :p

    All kidding aside…I had the exact same logic when choosing my i6 nearly a year ago. Although I loved the specs of the 6+, I just couldn’t justify having all that extra real estate in my pocket, especially coming from an i5. The i6 just seemed like the “mamma Bear” of the bunch…not too small and not too big.
    I’m happy with my choice now but when the i7 comes out, it’s gonna be another difficult decision.

  • Poporopo00

    I hope they make an iPhone 7 version with the power of the newest chip in the case of an iPhone 5/5S. Perfect size for me. I ditched my iPhone 6 two weeks ago. Never got used to it.

  • Damian

    all those spec fanboys sound ridiculous. You get the phone for comfort, and easy of usability, not specs. Lets face it, Plus model does not offer a lot different. End of story. If you want to go for specs you should look android. Every month there is a new better model.

  • Gucciipad

    I have the 5s. I want the 6s plus. Bigger screen. Bigger picture.

  • Well I’m glad you came to your senses, Jeff. As often, history has proven us that I was right. It’s not about having the best iPhone (on paper). It’s about having the iPhone you feel most comfortable with. The one that suits you best. My gut feeling is that you won’t even miss that OIS. Battery life might be a harder pill to swallow, but you’ll get over it. I’m happy to welcome you to the “smaller is better club.”

    • Benedict

      Going a step further, it’s about having the phone you feel most comfortable with and not to accept tradeoffs like resolution, battery, camera and RAM for size.
      This is exactly the point why I don’t use an iPhone: I do not accept compromises especially at this price tag when there are way better and suitable options.

      • Bugs Bunnay

        at the cost of privacy…

      • Benedict

        You are misinformed. Moreover you can control your privacy settings even more than on iOS or even quit using and delete any services concerning those (goto Settings/Google).

      • Bugs Bunnay

        last I checked to delete carrier iq was to root and that it’s always forced on… you won’t see it unless you root it and dig into your system files. didn’t know it was that simple now, but where would it say that carrier iq is off specifically? am I still misinformed?

      • Benedict

        CarrierIQ..!?. your infos are a little 2011. E.g. my device is unrooted and does not have Carrier IQ installed. Now we talked about that and you were misinformed for years, you can finally get an Android! 🙂

      • Bugs Bunnay

        sure buddy. whatever you say D:

  • Colten Thiel

    This is precisely why I decided to go with the 6s instead of the Plus! Even now I still find myself struggling to one hand text on the run.

    Jeff, hopefully you can make a mention to a few dev’s about possibly creating a tweak that has the capability to offset the keyboard to the left or right (depending on dominant hand use) and returns the keyboard to the same size as iPhone 5’s? That size was perfect! Now I’m constantly pecking at the emoji button as I attempt to reach for the character/number key. I can imagine the issues with left hand dominant texters!

    I know we’re not alone on this!

  • Benedict

    The iphone’s bezels are ridiculously big since years. It makes the devices look outdated.The LG G4 has the same 5,5″ display but is 10 mm (!) smaller and 40 g (!!) lighter at 534 ppi (!!!). Apple is just not able to reduce the size.

  • Tko

    I guess the size is something you have to experience. I have been using the 5S for about 2 years now(Verizon contract). Although I do love the phone’s size, I keep telling myself that when the 7 comes out next year I am getting the biggest screen they have available. I think it’s the feeling of wanting the newest and best after having been “held back” over the past two releases. However a post like this is making me have second thoughts.

  • Manuel Molina

    As much as I love my 6 Plus, I can’t say how many times I wish I had the 6 instead. The size of the 6 Plus for me is just so much bigger than I want, and the 6 is just perfect size. But the reason I went for the Plus is the same reason why others do: Battery, Specs, Camera, Screen.

  • J™

    I chose the 6S instead of Plus… reason is very simple as i have a small palm so why should i get such a big sized phone when i know i will drop it if i can’t get a firm grip.
    and no i do not feel the 6S is anyway inferior to the Plus

  • n0ahcruz3

    That’s the flaw with the plus, those bezels! Similar sized phones/displays have smaller bezels therefore smaller form factor (eg. note 5, MotoX, etc).

  • rockdude094

    My #1 issue with the plus: The phone is annoying in my pocket while I am skateboarding.

    • Bugs Bunnay

      there may be a day when an iPhone Plus X comes out that is the size of a skateboard and can be used as a skateboard as well. sounds like a problem solved to me!

      • rockdude094

        damn apple should hire you for your expertise

  • blastingbigairs

    6+ for life!! FTW!!!

  • Rodion Mark

    Great article and I agree I just love the factor of the 6s versus the 6 plus or 6s plus great phone but the form factor was a big reason why I choose the smaller one.

  • Quadzilla

    Jeff mentioned a few times in podcasts he had issues with i think his wrists or hands from typing to much and why he ditched the Macbook Air to handle all the work he does on idownloadblog so i am not surprised those issues of hands cramping carried over to using a large phone. Tons of people have carpel tunnel and other nerve issues in the hands especially people pecking away all day at a keyboard. But Jeff being somewhat of a flip flopper much like myself he will probably be back to the 6 plus for one reason or the other just like the Apple watch lol.

  • James G

    I’m using a case on an iPhone for the first time because the 6s Plus is so big and it just slides around my hand without the silicone case. I hear you, Jeff. I’ll re-evaluate when the iPhone 7 comes around 🙂

  • Andrieux Querido

    No way i would trade my 6 Plus to a smaller one.
    I’ll upgrade my 6 Plus to an 6S Plus for sure.

  • raulortiz318

    The height of the 6 Plus doesn’t bother me, it’s the width. The home button being there actually has the benefit of raising and centering the thumbs above the keyboard when holding the phone with two hands. Try “typing” on the bottom bezel, and see how uncomfortable it feels. This is where your thumbs would be if there was no home button and the screen was lower in the hand.

  • weztimonial

    This is why I switched to the smaller iPhone too after much considerations. It feels so comfortable to use now. Was using the iPhone 6 Plus previously.

  • Stefano

    Enjoyable read Jeff. I often think about the smaller phone.

  • 5723alex .

    “Apple makes two models for a reason”…

    Apple make four models, two with Samsung’s A9 CPU and two with TSMC’s A9 CPU, for a reason.

  • KP

    The entire reason I didn’t go with the Plus the first go ’round, and why I was really worried about the 6 at all. I loved the form factor of the 4/4S, and the 5/5C/5S wasn’t wider, just taller, so that was fine as well. When they widened it is when I started to fear it wouldn’t be comfortable in the hand. I’ve deal with the 6, and I really can’t imagine going up to the 6S Plus…

  • rubeN

    There’s pros and cons in getting the big iPhone. Yeah it’s a little harder to use one handed or bulks up more in the front pocket. The battery life and the big screen are nice to have.

  • jay

    Had a iPhone 6 before and just the reason I updated was the bigger screen and 1080p

  • Candice Etonae

    Bends….your jeans are too tight it will bend the phone… hehehe