iPhone 6s Plus Review
I've recently reviewed the iPhone SE and last year I took a look at the iPhone 6S. I’m also due to get in an iPhone 7 to review shortly. However in the meantime I managed to source in an iPhone 6s Plus from Vodafone, primarily as I needed a 4K camera to help me take footage of my Hisense 4K TV (for a separate feature).
For the most part the only major difference between the plus model and the aforementioned products is that it features iOS 10.1 and a larger 5.5" Full HD resolution screen. Otherwise it has pretty much the same internal specification of the SE/6s, i.e. a 4K video camera (2160P@30fps, 1080P @60fps), 2GB RAM, a Dual-core 1.84 GHz Twister CPU and a PowerVR GT7600 (six-core) GPU; which in reality makes short work of all tasks, especially games!
Design & Box Content
I won’t go into the box content too much because if you have owned an iPhone in the past few years the contents have not really changed.
For those in the need to know you get a box with your in-the-ear headphones (3.5mm) which also has a call-answer button that can be used to change music tracks. You also have a Lightning port cable with a USB mains plug. Finally there is a small tool to remove the cover at the side of the phone so you can place the Nano sim inside. Additionally there is a quick start guide of sorts which is not really necessary because most of the setup process is done on the phone with ample instructions.
Of course the primary difference between this phone and its brothers is most certainly the larger screen and this equates to a beast of a device to hold. In reality the screen is great for media content as it’s also joined by a larger capacity battery (2750maH) which helps it cope with the higher resolution display. However the size does take time to adjust to, more so when using it as a normal phone to make calls or for holding in general. As a result those blessed with smaller digits will struggle with it.
However after some time with the phone you can adjust to its size and it offers a useful compromise between a standard iPhone and say an iPad Mini.
If you remove the size from the equation the aesthetic quality is once again the same as the standard phones i.e. the same high build quality, the same curved edges of the iPhone 6s and it looks/feels great to hold; most certainly a premium handset as you would expect for the price tag!
Port configuration compromises of a mute switch to the left, which is joined by two volume controls beneath.
To the opposite side you have the Power button which differs from the top placement of the iPhone SE model. You also have your Nano sim socket.
At the base of the phone you have the 3.5mm headphone port, which is of course not featured on the latest models. Next to this you have a lightning port connector alongside a slightly larger speaker grill.
Additionally on the front is the touch-id Home button used for unlocking the phone or for making payments via Apple pay (as the phone supports NFC). Finally you will find the front-facing camera at the top part of the phone for all your selfie and vlog activities.
iOS 10 General Performance
I won’t go into too much depth with the main operating system as I covered some of the changes in a separate post which you can read here....
However once you pass the initial setup process you will find all the latest improvements that iOS 10 brings to the table, with ample performance to match. With iOS 10 you have custom widgets that can be accessed with a swipe from the home screen on the left.
There are Improvements to Siri, your voice activate assistant, so you can do anything from making a call to composing text messages.
You can also group apps into folders as before or swipe up from the base to get a control panel with fast access to your wireless connection and media player controls for example.
Additionally you have 3D Touch which is enabled in the Settings > General > Accessibility option.
It takes a while to get used to, but turning this mode on will allow you to press on an icon – via the Home screen – a little harder. Depending on the Icon/App supported it will bring up a separate context menu which dynamically changes on certain icons to reveal more options.
It works like a right mouse click function in some ways as the context menu for example on the Mail icon will allow you to select a New Mail option to start composing your mail straight from the bat.
Additionally pressure within Apps can also produce new results. For example in the latter Mail App you can apply extra pressure on an email to reveal a pop-up of the message which you can read before releasing the pressure on the screen, which will then send the mail back.
So it acts like a preview function. Likewise you can do the same on the Photo’s App to view photos without tapping on them first.
I also listened to music comfortably, dabbled with the newer version of Maps and from my point of view both worked wonderfully. Even the navigation app provided accurate routing and it tracked my position when I went off route, so the base navigation app does work a tad better than previous versions. The only snag is finding a cradle big enough to handle the phone and it does tend to dwarf the dashboard!
For me though the key feature with the OS from a navigation point of view is that the screen, when rotated to landscape, will also rotate the icons to match. So in other words it supports the extra screen real-estate properly and this helps when coming off the back of a game, so as you hold the phone the icons are already in place in the same orientation; thus you won’t need to manually rotate the screen if you don’t need to.
Unfortunately the main snag with the phone that I got from Vodafone is that the base model supports 16GB of storage. On this size screen the latter storage is simply not enough and you may as well not bother getting one. Mainly because by the time you have taken 20 minutes or so of 4K video footage the entire 16GB of storage is used up!
As a result I constantly had to go to my computer to move content from the phone to my hard drive to free up space. This was even before I had loaded any games!
You really need to get the 64GB model as standard and this will of course bump the price up even further. As you would expect even on contract this is a costly handset!
Game Performance & Benchmarking
For the extra price the similar specification to the iPhone 6s and SE is somewhat disappointing because you are only paying for a larger screen size. While the games I ran performed well, you won’t get any major power improvements to support the higher resolution.
Additionally with iOS 10.1 installed the benchmark results for a few tests were lower than those of the iPhone SE which was running 10.04 (not 10.02 as I stated on my video).
For benchmark results I utilised several apps such as 3D Mark, Antutu and BaseMark II. I basically compared the iPhone 6s Plus, to an iPhone SE, iPhone 5s and Sony Xperia Z5. The results are below.
However gaming on the whole still ran like a dream and colours were vibrant when the back-light was raised, plus I also thought the audio output was loud to. Graphically though the Full HD screen only really comes to life with supported content. Again the 16GB of storage is the phones problem here, as the games are getting large so you will fill that storage up quickly!