This year’s iPhone is faster. As always. It’s also made from stronger materials, though the design is otherwise unchanged. We still remember with laughter the “bendgate” saga that closely trailed the début of the iPhone 6. However Apple Inc. has once again risen to the occasion and proven their ingenuity in the release of the iPhone 6s which features more correction of bugs and flaws than new improvements. However, this is not to say there were no improvements. In fact there were innovative additions! The more important feature jumps come in camera quality, signal reception, and the new 3D Touch pressure-sensitive screen.
Here we go:
The iPhone 6s looks exactly like the iPhone 6. At 5.44 by 2.64 by 0.28 inches (HWD) and 5.04 ounces, it’s actually a teeny bit heavier and a little bit thicker than its predecessor but you would barely notice. Just like the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6s has a matte metal back and a glass front with a 4.7-inch, 1,344-by-750-pixel screen. Apple says the display is made from a new Corning glass formulation that’s tougher than last year’s. Below the screen is the home button, which is also the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. On the back, the camera lens is now slightly larger, and there’s an “s” under the word “iPhone” so you don’t mix it up with the 6. So those (like some big girls) who might want to show off can do so easily. Along with the existing black, gold, and silver models, there’s a new color, Rose Gold. It’s a nice metallic pale pink.
Wireless and Battery Life
Apple has kicked wireless reception up a notch, upgrading from last year’s Qualcomm 9×25 modem to the newer 9×35. In Qualcomm parlance, that moves Apple from an X5 modem to an X7 modem. In our tests, that made for better Wi-Fi performance, and support for Category 6 (rather than Category 4) LTE and new frequency bands promise better speeds on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. As before, the iPhone 6s supports more frequency bands than any other phone on the market today, and all models except Sprint’s are unlocked by default if purchased at full price, directly from Apple. That makes the iPhone 6s the ideal phone for global roaming. There are two models of the 6s, differentiated only by support for AT&T’s new Band 30. Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon sell the A1687 model, which lacks band 30. AT&T is the only carrier on earth to use that band, so unless you’re planning on switching to AT&T, it shouldn’t make a difference to you. Call quality on the iPhone 6s is solid. The earpiece is loud, noise cancellation is pleasantly aggressive, and the phone supports both voice-over-LTE and Wi-Fi calling. Interestingly, the main speaker on the bottom of the phone is 1-2dB quieter than on the iPhone 6, and the earpiece is 1-2dB louder. Neither change will affect your conversations that much.
Performance and 3D Touch
The iPhone 6s is much more powerful than the iPhone 6. In our benchmarks, the 1.8GHz A9 processor in the 6s was about 40 percent faster than the 1.4GHz A8 processor in the 6. It has better graphics performance than any other phone. It’s also faster than any other processor on the market, at least in terms of single-core performance, which is most relevant for mobile operating systems that don’t multi-task very well. Application launch times haven’t changed much, but if you’re doing anything involving video editing or image manipulation, you’ll find the new phone up to 60 percent faster. Apple says the phone’s new Touch ID sensor is twice as fast as the old one, which was already pretty fast. In side-by-side testing against an iPhone 6, I found that yes, that’s true, but we’re talking tenths of a second here, so you might not notice.
Camera and Live Photos
Apple makes two dramatic spec improvements to the iPhone’s camera in the 6s. It bumps the main camera up from 8 mega-pixels to 12 megapixels, and kicks the front camera up from 1 mega-pixel to 5 megapixels.
Conclusion and Verdict
As for iPhone versus Android, the iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy S6 have very comparable hardware at this point. They’re roughly the same size. The Galaxy S6 has a larger, higher-resolution 5.1-inch screen, but not so much that the difference overwhelms you. More than ever before, it really comes down to whether you prefer Google’s software or Apple’s.