What do the iPhone 6 and the 6s have in common? Almost everything. What has changed? Well according to Apple, “the only thing that’s changed is EVERYTHING.” Not to speak in riddles but that more or less sums it up for this year’s iPhone in a sense. Last year, around this time, Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus to compete with the larger variety of screen sizes that were offered by the completion. One of the biggest selling points of Android is that the screen was larger and quite a bit of people avoided getting an iPhone because no one wanted to let go of the larger screen sized phones. As you can imagine, Apple has won over those people who wished the iPhone had a bigger screen.
Now we fast forward to this year, we get the iPhone 6s that improves everything from the iPhone 6 such as a faster processor, 12MP camera, and other new features. But is that enough reason to upgrade from an iPhone 6? Let’s find out.
Build and Design
Going back to what I said about what the iPhone 6 and 6s have in common, they are physically identical and it is almost impossible to tell them apart except for the S on the back of the 6s or the newly released “Rose Gold” (pink, stop kidding yourself) color.
Here we have both the iPhone 6 and the new iPhone 6s. See the difference? I sure as hell can’t. The iPhone 6s dimensions are practically identical at 5.44 x 2.64 x 28 with only a very slight difference in thickness at about .2mm which even the thinnest iPhone 6 case will have no trouble fitting on the 6s. There is a difference in weight in which the iPhone 6s weighs at 5.04oz (143g) vs the iPhone 6 weighing in at 4.55oz (129g). You will notice it if you are holding them side by side but if you can’t handle .5oz more in heft, then you need to hit the gym!
Flipping the phones over, again seeing no design differences except for the S on the back of the 6s. Apple plays it safe in sticking with last year’s design of the iPhone, which isn’t bad but not too exciting if you are looking for are an annual iPhone upgrader.
The differences obvisouly are not visible but this year’s iPhone uses a 7000 Series aluminum alloy which is much stronger material in order to reduce the potential of bending, a problem that plagued some owners of the iPhone 6 Plus. Also improved is the addition of the reinforced touch screen to accommodate 3D Touch which most likely needs that tougher screen.
Screen / 3D Touch
Just like the iPhone 6, the 6s features a 1334×750 resolution at 326 ppi although very pleasing to look at for photos, text, and video, it is a far cry from the display quality of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 or most of the completion that have QHD. It would have been nice if the iPhone 6s had at least at 1080HD display but you need the larger Plus editions if you want that resolution. One would argue that the human eye can’t go beyond the “retina” resolution but anyone with a pair of working eyes can tell that the Galaxy S6/Edge phones have a much better display. The iPhone 6s is not bad in any way, it’s just that it could be a lot better for a 2015-2016 phone.
The display however is not all dull and old. This year, Apple has introduced 3D Touch on to the new iPhones. If you have experienced “Force Touch” on the new MacBooks or even the Apple Watch, then you’ll get a sense of how the 3D Touch works on the 6s and 6s Plus. One would argue that 3D Touch is nothing more than a rehash of a “long press” which all phones can do these days but that isn’t the case at all. Initiating 3D Touch is more of a “hard press” vs a long press.
Let’s take the camera app for example, I press hard on the Camera icon and it pulls up a list of options that I can initiate such as Take a Selfie, Record Video, etc.
Another neat thing you can do with 3D Touch is that you can peek into your email messages by hard pressing and then if you want to go into the app by pressing harder. The same can be done on photos as well. I really don’t know how useful this is but it does give you an idea on where Apple is taking this feature. 3D Touch is an interesting concept but it definitely needs more time for 3rd party apps to support it and Apple needs to improve upon it on the next iOS releases.
If there is one thing that is most impressive of every S version of the iPhone, it is it’s performance. The iPhone 6s is powered by Apple’s new 64-bit A9 processor and with 2GB of DDR4 RAM. Some of us Android owners laugh at the fact that Apple has FINALLY moved up into 2GB in a world where 3GB-4GB have pretty much become the standard. However, the overall improvement in performance is definitely worth noting.
The iPhone 6s Geek Bench results shows that it scores at 2538 at Single Core which is over 1200 points more than its predecessor. What does that mean for most people who don’t care for benchmarks? Basically everything runs faster overall. In real world performance, it’s quite clear that apps launch much faster, games run much smoother and even simple day to day operations such as unlocking the phone with the finger print scanner is lightning quick. Here’s a look at the video:
Intense games such as Asphalt 8 and Need for Speed NL have no lag, or stutter whatsoever and in comparison with the iPhone 6, you can see the difference in performance. Also, with that upgrade to 2GB of RAM, the multitasking experience has become much better as you can switch in-between much more apps without having to relaunch. Web pages load quicker in general and navigating through the OS is so much smoother than the iPhone 6 running iOS8.
Ever since the iPhone 4, Apple has set the standard when it comes to the camera on smart phones. The photo quality and ease of use have made taking photos of food and fish faced selfies part of our culture. My expectations of the iPhone camera are high every year and certainly much higher this year as Apple has finally ended its four year steak of using 8MP on their camera and finally upgrading us to 12MP. The Selfie camera also get’s an upgrade from 1.2MP to 5MP. Once again missing on the 6s but present on the 6s Plus is Optical Image Stabilization. The iPhone 6s also introduces 4K recording capabilities thanks to the boost in megapixels. Another feature exclusive to the 6s and 6s Plus is Live Photos, which more or less captures a second of action before and after the taken photo and you can playback the action by using 3D Touch.
Before I had my hands on the iPhone 6s, I was using the Galaxy S6 Edge which clearly has dethroned the iPhone 6 when it came down to the camera. So how well does the iPhone 6s fare and has Apple taken its throne back as king of the cameras? There are several debates about this and people could argue that there is no clear winner, but before we totally get off topic, let’s take a look at some photo samples I have personally taken with the iPhone 6s (unmodified).
Some Food Photos
Outdoor Night Snots
Some outdoor shots
If you want to see more photos, check them out on my Flickr album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskmfwkGF
How about video? Well, let’s take a look at some video samples!
As you can see from the photos, the iPhone 6s takes fantastic photos and these were done with very little effort. If you wanted to compare cameras between the 6 and the 6s, you probably won’t see that much of a difference when viewing them on your phone’s screen or uploading them to social media such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. However, when it comes to cropping on a larger 2560×1440 display, that’s where you will appreciate that jump from a 8MP to a 12MP resolution. Is it worth it to upgrade from an iPhone 6 just for the camera alone? Probably not. If I looked at photos I have taken all year with my iPhone 6 and compared it to the iPhone 6s, they are almost equally good. And for video, unless you really have to shoot in 4K, there is no reason to upgrade as well.
The iPhone 6s seems to take a step back in battery offering only 1715 mah when they iPhone 6 had 1810 mah. The difference in battery performance however is very much the same. You can get through about a day of moderate and need to charge before bed unlike the Plus versions that could last from about 1.5-2 days without needing to charge. I run a sales team for a telecom company so the phone is taken off the 7AM and I go through a daily routine of calls, text, emails, social networking with Bluetooth and WiFi on and the battery quits just a little before 8PM with moderate to heavy use. Your mileage may vary as some people are tethered to a desk all day so it may not matter. If you are one of those who are always out and about, you may need to consider a battery case or battery pack which I personally need to get through my day.
If you want the best iPhone available or are upgrading from a 5s or less, then you will not be disappointed with the 6s. The improvement in performance alone will justify your purchase with it’s new A9 processor and 2GB RAM upgrade. If you are looking to upgrade because you want the best smart phone camera or are quite happy with your iPhone 6, there really isn’t that much reason to upgrade and it will be a more economically smarter decision to wait for the iPhone 7.
Also, the competition has really heated up this year with Android (both Google and OEMs) significantly improving their software, camera, and user experience in general blurring the lines of what is the best smartphone out there which is a great problem to have. The iPhone 6s is an excellent phone and most people will be happy using it as their daily driver but is it the best phone out there? That’s a hard question to answer, but I can confidently say it is one of the best phones out there.
- Excellent overall performance
- Great Camera
- Easiest smartphone to use with the largest App Library and support
- Fantastic build quality
- Improved fingerprint sensor unlocks FAST
- Mediocre battery life
- Screen getting outdated compared to competition
- 3D Touch not that useful yet
- Still no Optical Image Stabilization with the 6s photos
- iOS is getting old
Overall Rating: 4/5