Review: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus | iLounge

Review

Review: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

A-
Highly Recommended

Company: Apple

Models: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

MSRP: $649-$949

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Phil Dzikiy

Pros: Upgraded cameras bring higher-quality photos and video to the iPhone. Live Photos are a neat, new feature. 3D Touch display adds a new dimension to the user interface, which makes navigating the home screen easier and opens up a number of new possibilities within apps. The A9 processor and 2GB of RAM make for a faster overall experience. Touch ID is super-fast and easy. The new aluminum alloy feels a bit nicer to hold. Both 6s phones appear to fit well in the vast majority of 6 cases and many 6 Plus cases.

Cons: Battery life in the iPhone 6s takes a step back. 16GB models aren’t worth it; we consider the 64GB model a better option by far. A lack of third-party apps supporting 3D Touch thus far make the feature a bit limited at this time. The iPhone 6s speaker is a bit disappointing — and the smaller phone doesn’t have quite the feature set of the 6s Plus.

The marquee new feature on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is a version of something we’ve already seen on Apple Watch and Apple’s newest MacBook. On those devices, it was called Force Touch, but here, Apple’s calling it 3D Touch. But the new iPhones offer far more possibilities with the technology, with a large touchscreen and a new operating system — iOS 9 — which takes advantage of the feature. For those unaware of how 3D Touch works, a harder press on the screen opens up new options for certain apps — small menus will pop up, offering users shortcuts to popular functions within apps.

For instance, press harder on the Camera app on the home screen, and options pop up — Take Selfie, Record Video, Record Slo-mo, Take Photo. For clock, it’s Create Alarm, Start Stopwatch, Start Timer. The Phone and Messages apps bring up most recent contacts, and so forth. It’s a clever, quick way of getting where you want to go and doing what you want to do. And it works very well. There’s very little third-party app support at this time, though Instagram has already joined the party. One can foresee quick status updates in Twitter and Facebook, quick updates from weather apps, and far more in the future.

One of the most intriguing possibilities is how 3D Touch will open up more gameplay options within iOS games. At this point, few games use the tech — we’ve tried the Wipeout-esque racer AG Drive, which is said to implement 3D Touch for an added speed boost, though we didn’t think it was done very well. It’s still early, though.

Outside of the home screen, and within apps, 3D Touch might be most useful within Safari right now. How many times have you clicked on a link and found it wasn’t exactly what you wanted? 3D Touch lets you take quick peeks inside of links without opening them fully. This also works with iMessages — sneak a peek at a link without venturing into it.


Another of our favorite 3D Touch uses thus far involves pressing harder when using the iPhone’s keyboard. Doing so turns the keyboard into a touchpad, which can then be used to quickly get your cursor exactly where you want it — that’s long been a challenge in iOS. As another longtime user said to us upon seeing this function for the first time, “Finally.” You can even use 3D Touch to zoom in on the screen with a movable viewing window, which is a boon for users who may have trouble seeing text on the iPhone’s screen.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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