This review must start with a disclaimer.
I think Apple is the greatest company in the world and the iPhone is the only smartphone anyone should ever own.
I love iOS, and the iPhone 6s being reviewed is my iPhone – which I bought this past weekend, because last year Vodacom gave me a review unit of the iPhone 6 and took it back after two weeks.
No ways I was going through that heartbreak again.
iPhone 6s review
The iPhone 6s is almost identical in shape and size to its predecessor, the 6, but it has a small “S’ on the back of the device – so people know you own the latest version of the phone, and are therefore cool and successful.
The body is made from new 7000-series aluminum, while the display is covered by Ion-X glass – both components which were intended for use on a space shuttle, but NASA could not afford them.
The hardware has also been upgraded, with the 6s running off Apple’s third-generation 64-bit A9 processor – performing 70% faster than the iPhone 6’s chip and providing improved graphics.
The stats all become irrelevant, though, when you pick up the device, drop it a few times while trying to get a comfortable grip, and experience the phone’s ability in person. And a lot to experience, there is.
3D Touch and Live Photos
Two of the new features on the 6s are 3D Touch and Live Photos.
3D Touch lets you press the phone’s screen at varying pressures to activate different menus or functions, and it’s frikken awesome.
For example, tapping normally on the Safari icon opens the web browser as you would expect, but pressing slightly harder results in the phone giving off a tiny vibration – it’s called haptic feedback – and a pop-up menu opens up with four shortcut options.
The 3D Touch functionality serves other purposes as well, and allows you to scroll the text cursor around by holding down on the keypad.
This beats the previous way of navigating through text, where you had to hold down on the text on the screen, get that magnifying glass zoomed in view, and then navigate using the precision and steadiness and of a brain surgeon before you could remove or edit text.
Live photos, which you have probably read about a thousand times already, allows you to take a photo while simultaneously capturing the moments just before and after the image with movement and sound.
With the Live option enabled in the camera app, you take a photo like you normally would. When viewing the photo, you hold down on the image to activate it as short video clip.
If you have kids or a cat, this kind of sentimental stuff is cool, I suppose. I prefer still photos, or regular videos.
The 6s sports and new front and rear camera, with a 12MP iSight unit on the back and 5MP sensor on the front.
The 6s takes stunning photos, with vivid colour and great detail. I took a photo of my mouse while writing this article, and even after resizing and lowering the quality so it downloads quickly for readers, the detail is incredible.
You can even see the sweat marks from my finger. (Click to enlarge for full effect.) I don’t take selfies, so not sure if the front camera is any good. It’s probably awesome.
Besides the stunning photos, videos shot with the 6s are equally impressive.
The phone gives you the option to shoot video at:
- 720p at 30fps
- 1080p at 30fps
- 1080p at 60fps
- 4K at 30 fps
I went with the 1080p at 60fps option while shooting, which resulted in a smooth show even when the camera was moving, or if there was fast movement in shot. Video quality and colour were also excellent.
Slow motion video options are 1080p at 120fps, or 720p at 240 fps. The slow-mo video worked equally well, and needless to say I will be recording every day-to-day act in slow motion and watching it repeatedly.
There is also a time lapse feature on the 6s, which is not new to the iPhone, but in my mind is better because of the 12MP camera.
I have not found a dead frog yet to do a time lapse of ants eating it, but it is on the to-do list.
Display and fingerprint sensor
The 6s comes with a 4.7″ Retina HD (1,334 x 750) display, which is clear, sharp, and responsive.
The lighting on the display is balanced, colours are rich, and every detail is clean. If Da Vinci had painted a phone screen, he would have painted the 6s display.
The display’s edges are also slightly rounded, which lets you swipe smoothly across it, and gestures from all angles are picked up instantly and responded to accordingly. It’s the epitome of what a touchscreen should be.
The phone’s fingerprint sensor is hyper-sensitive, and I found that when I pushed the home button to light up my screen to check the time – with one of my recorded fingerprints – the 6s would unlock itself.
My advice – choose one finger and do not store its fingerprint on the phone. Use said finger to press the home button when you only want to light up the screen.
In closing: The iPhone 6s is amazing, and my iPhone 5 knew its time was up
I’ve only had the 6s for two days, but I already know we will spend at least the next year as best friends – depending on Apple’s release schedule.
Before I got the 6s, I used an iPhone 5, and even it was happy I was moving on.
My old iPhone knew its time was up, and selflessly fell into the gap between the boot and body of my car, crushing itself as I put my gym bag away – a week before the 6s landed in SA.
It also started running slowly in the lead-up to the new iPhone launch, almost as if it was telling me I deserved better.
Conversely, the 6s runs fast and smoothly during use, the kind of hardware experience that brings a smile to your face and allows you to forget about any other smartphone that ever graced the inside of your pockets.
(Photo taken by iPhone 6s – look at that crack detail.)