Looking at specs alone, it’s a miracle Apple sells any iPhones.

Wave after wave of Samsungs, Sonys, LGs and HTCs have surfed on to shelves and into our hearts, each toting a bigger screen than last year’s model.

Not only that but these Androids have got bigger and better in every other way too. BIGGER cameras! FASTER processors! LONGER-lasting batteries! 

Meanwhile Apple has stubbornly refused to enter the smartphone arms race, hopping from a 3.5in screen to the 4in iPhone 5 and staying there for the 5s. Until now.

Enter the iPhone 6 with its 4.7in screen, A8 brain, iOS 8, NFC and bigger battery. Finally, Apple has an iPhone to compete on specs. And industrial design. And apps. And ecosystem.

It promises to be the best iPhone ever. So let’s find out if the reality lives up to the dream.

READ MORE: iCheapskate - the 38 best free apps for iPhone and iPad

Makeover time

Predicting Apple can be a risky business, but so far it’s followed a regular approach to design updates: we've had them every two years from the iPhone 3G onwards.

So, after last year’s iPhone 5s, we expected to get something wholly different this time around. And different is what we got.

Obviously the increased screen size is the main change, but it's far from the only visual difference. Like the HTC One (M8), the iPhone 6 has all-metal back with curved edges front and back rather than the flat, 90-degree edges on the 5s. The result is a phone that’s super-smooth in the hand with the joins between glossy screen and matte back almost unnoticable as you hold it.

And you’ll want to hold it – it feels amazing.

The curves make it superbly comfortable in use despite its increased size, while its thin profile also helps; it’s just 6.9mm thick, so substantially skinnier than the 7.5mm 5s. 

On the downside, the camera lens does now protrude from the phone’s case, which may not please everyone, while the distinctive light-coloured lines on the back at top and bottom won't be to all tastes either. The latter, at least, are present for practical as well as aesthetic reasons: with a metal-backed phone it’s hard to scoot the signal in and out, and the flush rubberised lines sort this. Certainly call quality on the iPhone 6 is strong and reliable. 

Overall, it's a beautifully built bit of kit. Where the Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G3 have to make do with plastic shells - albeit metal-style plastic in the case of the latter - the iPhone 6 feels wholly premium. Only the M8 really runs it close, and that's a far bigger handset. Every iPhone since the 4 has been a thing of beauty, and the 6 is no exception.

READ MORE: iPhone 6 vs HTC One (M8) - the weigh-in

Stuff says... 

Apple iPhone 6 review

With its bigger screen and software overhaul, the iPhone 6 is the freshest feeling iPhone in years
Good Stuff 
Immaculate build
Gorgeous, colourful display
Speedy in use
Bad Stuff 
No full HD screen
No waterproofing