The iPad Air 2 vs. the iPhone 6 Plus

Do you need both an iPad and an iPhone?

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The large display of the iPhone 6 Plus drew comparisons with the iPad when it launched in 2014. Before its release, some wondered if these iPhones would signal the end of the iPad Mini. Do you need a 7.9-inch display tablet when you have a 5.5-inch display in your pocket? Some in the media said the iPhone 6 Plus would do everything better than the iPad. This statement sports a considerable amount of exaggeration. We compared the two devices and found that the opposite may be true.

Apple discontinued both the iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 Plus. Still, these devices can be found pre-owned or refurbished from various retailers.

iPad Air 2 vs. iPhone 6 Plus

Overall Findings

iPad Air 2
  • More power.

  • Bigger display.

  • Better for gaming.

  • Better for web browsing.

iPhone 6 Plus
  • Better at making phone calls.

  • Greater portability.

  • Can be used with one hand.

  • Better keyboard.

While the iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6 Plus are great mobile devices, the iPad has advantages over the iPhone. The power and larger display size of the iPad Air 2 are major benefits for most tasks, especially gaming. The iPhone 6 Plus is awesome at playing games. If you don't have anything to do while you wait at the doctor's office or a restaurant, it's great to have entertainment. However, if you're lounging around the house and want to play games for an hour or two, the iPad Air 2 is a better choice.

Web pages look great on an iPhone 6 Plus, except when you need to squint to see the text, flip to landscape mode for bigger text, or pinch-to-zoom. While you can manipulate most web pages, sometimes a link or button is so small that you need to zoom in to activate it. Web browsing is better on a 9.7-inch display.

Email isn't bad on the iPhone 6 Plus. However, it's better on the iPad, where pictures can stand out. Video looks great on the iPhone 6 Plus screen, but a bigger display is better for watching movies and television shows. There's a reason people replace 42-inch TVs with 50-inch TVs.


iPad Air 2
  • Tri-Core 1.5 GHz Apple A8X.

  • 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM.

iPhone 6 Plus
  • Dual-Core 1.4 GHz Apple A8 chip.

  • 1 GB of RAM.

The first few generations of the iPad included the same processor as the iPhone that released in the same timeframe. Sometimes, the iPad version was clocked slightly faster, but both were close in performance. But the days of the iPad taking its cues from the iPhone are over.

The iPhone 6 Plus received a Dual-Core 1.4 GHz Apple A8 chip, which made it the fastest smartphone on the planet at the time. The iPad Air 2 received a Tri-Core 1.5 GHz Apple A8X. In straight-line speed using only one core, the iPad Air 2 is about 12% faster, which gives it a slight edge. But, the multi-core speed tested by Geekbench showed that the iPad Air 2 is 56% faster than the A8 chipset powering the iPhone 6 Plus.

The iPad Air 2 also includes 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM. This is up from the 1 GB of RAM on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. This means the iPad Air 2 can hold more apps in the background without slowing down. It also gives the iPad Air 2 better performance when making use of extensibility. This is an iOS 8 feature that allows one app to run a piece of code from within another app.


iPad Air 2
  • 2048 x 1536 resolution.

  • 9.7-inch display.

  • 264 PPI.

  • Anti-reflective coating.

iPhone 6 Plus
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution.

  • 5.5-inch display.

  • 401 pixels per inch (PPI).

The iPhone 6 Plus has a 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 5.5-inch display. This gives it 401 pixels per inch (PPI). By way of comparison, the first iPhone with the Apple Retina display had 326 PPI.

Pixels per inch is only one part of the equation. The average viewing distance and PPI are considered together when determining the distance at which people can't perceive the individual pixels of the screen. This is why the 2048 x 1536 resolution of the 9.7-inch display on the iPad is called a Retina display despite having a lower PPI of 264.

The average viewing distance is 10 inches for smartphones and 15 inches for tablets.

At these resolutions, most people can't tell the difference. But for screen quality alone, statistically, the iPhone 6 Plus has the edge. The iPad Air 2 does offer anti-reflective coating on the screen that makes its display more natural to see when in the sun, which great if you like to read while lounging on the patio.

Final Verdict: Do You Have to Choose?

The iPad and the iPhone fulfill different needs. The iPhone 6 Plus, with its ability to perform many tasks, is a phone. It may be the ultimate mobile device, but it's mainly a phone. The iPad is a PC. It may not be classified as one, but it should be. In many ways, it's more useful than a traditional PC.

There is a reason why people tend to have multiple devices. The bigger screen on the iPhone 6 Plus is great. However, it's not easy to write a novel on it or create a complicated spreadsheet. You may be happy reading an e-book on a smartphone while sitting on the subway. If you're in the comfort of your home, the bigger screen of the iPad would be a preferable choice.

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