Apple iPhone 6S: Apple’s best so far, but with scope for improvement
Clearly one of the most expected smartphones, the Apple iPhone 6S was finally released during late 2015. A major USP of the handset is its 3D Touch functionality working in sync with its pressure sensitive display. Apple’s own A9 processor is also an attractive aspect of the phone.
These aspects combined with the iOS 9 operating platform and other tech specs, got us enthused to check out the iPhone 6S which we did. Check out the smartphones’ performance below:
Design and Display
The Apple iPhone 6S weighs in a tad bulky at 143 grams and has dimensions of 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm. The bulkiness is the result of customized 3D Touch sensors that power the 3D Touch functionality. The outer body comprises of hardened Aluminum, which also gives off the soft edges feel. At the rear, the camera module is distinctly visible as it can be seen as more protruding than in any other iPhone. Due to its metallic outer frame and the soft edge feel, the iPhone 6S is seemingly slippery but still sits pretty in the hand without actually slipping off.
As far as the actual display is concerned, the Apple iPhone 6S features a 4.7-inch screen pressure-sensitive touchscreen which offers 3D Touch capabilities. Apple has not wrapped the 3D Touch touchscreen within the Sapphire crystal, but instead within hardened glass to protect from scratches and cracks.
During our testing, we activated the phone’s maximum brightness level, and the iPhone 6S did not disappoint; we were able to clearly read the contents on the screen even in full sunlit conditions. The images on the screen are rendered well, with full emphasis given to essential colors, even graphics are clearly visible to the eyes. Technical-spec wise, Apple iPhone 6S’ display is an LED-backlit LCD capacitive touchscreen variant with resolutions of 750 x 1334 pixels and pixel density of 325 ppi.
Processor and Memory
We found the Apple A9 processor to be quite powerful considering the fact that 4K video streaming was comparatively quick, apps also opened-up relatively fast; however, multitasking was not impressive which is a drawback with most iPhones. Cupertino has packed a 1.84 GHz dual-core CPU within its A9 chipset. Under-the-hood, there is also a 2 GB RAM which is a welcome addition as far as better instruction processing is concerned.
During our testing, we could not detect performance lags, especially in situations which warranted movie watching, video streaming and running games. For memory, the 16 GB variant is still sold commercially by Apple alongside the 64 GB and 128 GB editions. Like always, there is no microSD card slot. New/first-time buyers are advised to ignore the 16 GB variant as it is not even worth a mention.
On the rear of the iPhone 6S, Apple has incorporated a 12 MP rear camera that is capable of recording 4K videos. However, the rear camera does not offer Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) image stabilization feature. An important feature, as far as images are concerned, is the Live Photos which adds animations to captured pictures in a bid to make these lively.
During our testing, the captured images came out with near perfect white balance and exposure. Low-light photography, via the rear camera, is also impressive. What is important here is the iPhone 6S also comes with a 5 MP front camera which is a notable aspect when compared to all of Apple’s earlier iPhones. The selfie obsessed get to capture selfies by turning the screen into the flash unit.
We compared the captured selfies, both indoors and outdoors, and found out the indoor selfies to be rich compared to the outer ones. However, low-light selfies still need a lot of improvement as far as external noise and white balance are concerned. Overall, Apple has packed in fairly good cameras to aid amateur photographers and those interested in photography of natural scenery.
Software and apps
Apple’s iPhone 6S runs the relatively newer iOS 9 operating platform, out of the box. This is upgradeable to iOS 9.3.2 OS update. The overall user interface, like in the case with all Apple iPhones, is impressive. Navigation between apps works like breeze. On upgrading to iOS 9.3, users get the Night Shift Mode. We tested this out, and found it working up to the claimed level.
Basically, the Night Shift Mode uses the iPhone 6S’ device’s clock and geolocation to determine sunset and thereby adjusts colors. The next morning, these settings are undone and factory settings are restored automatically. Apple has packed in apps with the Health application, Maps, News and Car Play Music being prominent ones.
Peek and Pop introduced by 3D Touch is the best aspect that emerged out of our testing. We could avoid opening the Inbox while still looking at emails, via the Peek functionality (as part of 3D Touch). By pressing on an email hard enough, the email actually popped to present us with more details. When it came to photos, the old images taken at a particular image came to the fore well to hint us what type of photo to capture and how to capture this. Accessing of the camera/launching it is much easier now, in comparison to older Apple iPhone variants.
The Apple iPhone 6S derives its juice from a 1,715 Lithium-Polymer battery that is fixed as usual. We extensively checked-out video streaming, gaming and movie watching and found that the battery-life drained out by almost 10% per hour. The smartphone easily lasted for more than a day when usage was restricted to only calls, messaging and moderate internet usage (via the Safari browser).