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After the successful launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 plus in 2014, Apple later decided to switch things up a bit and brought the iPhone 6S to the smartphone market. While admitting that the 6S looks a lot like the 2014 models, Apple went to work showing that it’s not the same phone under the hood. This is a 4.7-inch phone powered by a powerful Apple A9 chipset, 2GB of RAM and a 12MP iSight camera. Now let’s get into more details about this piece of craftsmanship.
The iPhone 6s comes in Apple’s traditional white box with an iPhone picture on top and a print on the side that says it’s a 6s. Inside the box we have the device on the very top. The phone feels premium and high quality in hand. Under the phone, we have the normal white envelop that contains the SIM card ejection tool and user manual. Then, we have the ear pods in their case, a lightning adapter and a wall charger.
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As previously stated, the very first thing you will notice about this phone design-wise, is that it looks quite similar to the iPhone 6 except for a few subtle changes that one wouldn’t normally notice. One of the few changes that we observed is a thicker chassis. Apple has made it known that the 6s is made from 7000 series aluminum which is reportedly the toughest substance ever used to make an iPhone. This is to imply that the phone won’t bend if you were to sit on it.
On the front of the phone, we have the normal IPS LCD screen. While most premium phones in the Android ecosystem are boasting OLED displays, Apple has maintained its stance with IPS LCD. One great thing about IPS LCD is that it promises great outdoor visibility.
The screen is smooth as usual and the curved rounded edges makes the phone feel more comfortable in the hand. Even though the iPhone 6s is about 14g heavier than its predecessor, it’s not something that someone would notice off the gate. Just like the 6 Plus, all the power, volume and fingerprint readers have remained as they were.
Apple bumped up the camera from an 8MP shooter in the 6 Plus to 12MP, making it one of the biggest selling points of the 6s. While this is indeed a welcome upgrade, the lens did not change much. Apple is still using the f/2.2 aperture lens which is a great lens by itself, but it faces stiff competition from the likes of LG G4’s f/1.7 or the Galaxy S6’s f/1.8, which were launched in the same year as the 6s. However, true to Apple’s standards, the camera doesn’t suffer because of it. It still takes incredible photos with the least effort.
In the front camera department, the 6s has a 5MP FaceTime sensor capable of full HD recording. The iPhone 6s has further developed a front-facing flash which is basically flaring of the screen before the selfie is taken.
The iPhone has been traditionally known to be one of the best snappers and the 6s doesn’t disappoint. Pictures were vibrant and full of detail. The photos were well balanced and not over saturated. Although the 6s doesn’t have optical image stabilization (OIS), it still manages to capture good photos. In low light conditions, both cameras manage to perform exceptionally well. The biggest difference is seen on the front-facing camera.
Most people expected to see the specs on the screen to be bumped up on the 6s but it didn’t come to pass. The 6s comes with the same LCD Retina display but with a new twist; 3D Touch. The iPhone 6s has a 1334 x 750 pixel display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (PPI).
Blacks are a bit deep and colors are vibrant in normal lighting conditions. However, in the highest possible luminance of 586 cd/m², the blacks get a little pale, but this is to be expected on an IPS LCD. Since this display is up to 17% brighter than its bigger sibling, you can expect that the screen will be crystal clear even under direct sunlight.
The biggest improvement to this screen is the advent of 3D Touch. 3D Touch, in a nutshell, is a combination of hardware and software to give a user more options depending on the pressure they exert on the screen when touching something. Apple has replicated this technology before in the Apple Watch series and the new MacBooks. After you start to use 3D Touch, you will realize how much of a time saver it really is. From the home screen, the user is actually able to press on a particular app’s icon and dive straight into a specific section of the app without having to navigate to the destination. How impressive!
Traditionally, the iPhone come in three variations; 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. Since Apple doesn’t entertain the idea of expandable storage, the user is confined to these three storage options. Since the new camera can record at 4K, if you are into media and photography, we suggest that you go with largest storage available – which is the 128GB variant. This is because ultra high definition uses up about 375MB per minute. However, if you are into basic phone functionalities, then you are better off with the 16GB variant. For our case, we went with the 64GB variant as our usage is between medium to superuser, plus it gave us enough space to store our test videos.
The battery is key for the life of any smartphone. iPhone 6s comes with a non-removable 1715mAh battery. While it’s a step backward from what we saw in the iPhone 6, this battery fared just as well. In a video playback test, the iPhone 6s lasted an average of 11 hours when the screen brightness was set at 170cd/m². In day to day mixed usage, this phone actually lasted up to a day with just a little to spare before plugging in.
Although the battery isn’t as large, iOS has optimized hardware and processes, ensuring that the user can check which apps are draining power. iOS has a very well-functioning energy saving mode. You can either activate it yourself or let Siri do it for you. When activated, it dims the battery and inhibits CPU performance.
One of the hallmarks of this device is that its performance is off the charts. Apple upgraded the iPhone 6s to the A9 chip from the A8, which has been marked to be 50-60% more powerful. The A9 chip, coupled with the incredible PowerVR GT7600 GPU and 2GB of RAM, are sure to give you the best performance for your buck. The two cores are clocked at 1.8GHz each from the previous 1.4GHz of the 6 Plus.
The A9 processor is then put together with the M9 motion co-processor that helps improve efficiency a great deal and ensures a smooth usage and gaming experience. In single-core mode testing, the iPhone 6s came in at 2511 and 404 in multicore tests. This is just impressive for a phone at this price point.
The iPhone 6s also didn’t shy from beautiful audio. Most phones concentrate a big deal on other aspects and forget about sound quality. The iPhone has a powerful speaker that produces crisp clear vocals, albeit not much bass. This can be said for all iPhones – the sound is always a tick.
Browser performance was also very good on this device. On previous versions of the iPhone, Safari would have to reload the tabs after six tabs were left open. However, with the additional RAM, this is no longer a concern. Websites opened quite quickly without any lag. With new and subsequent iOS updates, the iPhone 6s will surely only get better.