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


Review: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

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.

A few other notes: iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus both come with Bluetooth 4.2 support. In our brief experience, we didn’t find any issues with the phones connecting to various Bluetooth speakers and devices. This isn’t a surprise, of course, but it’s good to know that nothing strange popped up.

AirPlay mirroring was hit-or-miss, as AirPlay sometimes is. We didn’t have any issues using AirPlay with certain apps like YouTube, but getting our saved videos to play to the TV was a bit more problematic than we would have liked. We’ll look for future iOS updates to correct this.

Siri can also do one special thing on 6s and 6s Plus: that same “Hey Siri” command can be used to access Apple’s assistant at anytime, even when the new phones aren’t plugged in. Just yell out for Siri when your phone is nearby. It may not be a big deal to some, but it’s definitely a bonus.

In our audio testing, we found one interesting discovery. Though we always note we wouldn’t recommend listening to any iPhone’s speaker for a long period of time, short-burst listening is pretty common. And we can’t help but thinking that we prefer the iPhone 6 speaker to that found in the new iPhone 6s. The past speaker sounds a bit louder to our ears, and a bit more detailed. This finding isn’t revelatory, really, as most wouldn’t notice much difference, but it’s notable, even if it’s a small step back. We didn’t notice the same differences between the 6s Plus speaker and 6 Plus speaker, which were virtually indistinguishable from each other — and a bit louder and fuller than the 6s speaker. Headphone ports had no issues.

Update: A reader pointed us back toward the 6 Plus and 6s Plus speakers. Upon further listening, specifically to audio from video clips, we did notice a distinct difference at times, as the 6s Plus speaker can get louder, but that loudness can come with more distortion at peak volume. We’d suggest listening to the 6s Plus speaker at a few notches below peak volume, at least.



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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