iPhone 6s Review
It’s been a while since I looked at another iPhone, in fact the last phone I reviewed from Apple was my own iPhone 5s. Since then I have seen the iPhone 6/iPhone 6+ arrive on the scene and now the iPhone 6s which is what I am reviewing here.
While I am not going to compare the S model to its predecessor directly, the letter behind its name indicates speed and the 6s has this in spades!
Alongside the 2GB RAM you will find 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!
The box content is identical to previous models, so expect to find a USB mains charger plug, 1 x lightning port cable, 1 x headphones (in a small case) and 1 x pamphlet (including a tool for removing the nano-sim). Yet the phone itself does remind me of the design traits of the old iPhone 3/3Gs models with thinner rounded edges that makes the phone sit comfortably in the palm of my hand; despite the larger 4.7” screen.
The resolution of the new 3D screen technology (more on this in a moment) is set at 750 x 1334 pixels (~326 ppi pixel density) but in reality the lack of a Full HD display is not a major problem to me. For example icons are crisp to the point that you feel as if the screen is a demo phone with a printed fascia. Colours are also generally vibrant, the only exception is the blacks which are not jet black and more of a muddier colour.
Viewing angles though are superb, with no loss of colour, when viewing the screen flat, on its side or from any angle.
With the phone resting on the palm you can also see the new 3D display as it is slightly raised from the casing to allow for the new pressure sensitive glass.
At the front the touch-ID - which doubles up as the Home button - is there but it works a lot better/more accurate than my older iPhone 5s; in terms of me being able to rest my thumb on the sensor to unlock the phone or make purchases.
Towards the top of the phone you get the 5MP front camera lens which is next to the ear piece pickup to the right side.
To the left side you will find the standard volume buttons and mute switch. The volume buttons are lightly larger than my iPhone 5s so I found them easier to press in operation. What wasn't so easy was the power button's placement to the right side of the phone. Mainly because I have been so used to pressing the power button at the top, the side placement was more of a hindrance.
The power button is joined by the Nano-sim card slot which you need to eject with the supplied tool if you ever need to replace the sim inside.
You will also notice a transparent band which goes from the sides to around to the back of the phone. This offset does make the phone stand-out a touch more. However the back of the phone mostly holds the Apple logo and at the top the dual-led flash and new 12MP camera lens is present.
Finally towards the bottom edge is where you will find all the connectivity ports, starting with the 3.5mm headphone port to the left and then moving towards the right you will find the microphone pickup, lightning port connector and speaker grill; which is placed well enough to not get in the way when holding the phone in a landscape fashion.
3D Touch Display
In use the phone feels great to hold, though I must add its size still may cause a problem for those blessed with smaller digits.
Once you fire up the phone you are then presented with the standard setup screens, but I did have a problem here when trying to configure my touch-ID password; basically the phone crashed and to resolve the issue I needed to do a hard reset. Thankfully the latter may have been down to the older OS on the phone, so I quickly updated to iOS 9.2 and it seems to be OK now.
At this juncture I am not going to focus on the OS specifically, as its pretty much the same one you will find on any device that can run iOS 9.2. What I will talk about is the new features that are available on the new s models.
The first of these is the new 3D Touch gesture which can be controlled of all places in the Settings > General > Accessibility option.
Turning this mode on will allow you to press on an icon – via the Home screen – a little harder. Depending on the Icon/App pressed it will then bring up a separate context menu which dynamically changes on certain icons to reveal even more options.
It works like a right mouse click function in some ways as the context menu on the Mail icon will allow you to select a 'New Message' option; thus you can start to compose your mail straight off 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 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 Mail App to reveal text messages or use it in the Photo’s App to view photos without tapping on them first.
I must admit it took me a while to adapt to the new feature as I couldn't seem to activate the context menus unless I almost punched the screen with my finger! Thankfully after fine-tuning the sensitivity I was able to work with the new gesture control more effectively. At the moment only the core apps seems to work with this feature but once the 3rd parties get involved I can see the new gesture being useful.
Camera App ‘Live’ Feature
Another one of the new features is with the new 12MP camera which has the function it calls ‘Live’. Basically the feature captures 3 seconds or so of footage when you press the camera shutter button (1.5sec before and 1.5 sec after). The photo then becomes a live photo by long pressing on the image (it reveals in a small video the events leading up to and after the photo was taken).
At first I was not that keen on the new feature but I can see it being useful in some situations, such as taking a photo of your child and seeing their unexpected reaction.
You can also assign Live photos to your lock screen, so when you press on the screen it will activate the small video.
Mind you it takes but a mere tap of the on-screen option to disable the ‘Live’ mode, so even if you don't get on with it there is always a quick fix!
For the most part the auto-focus camera app works as it does on the other iPhone’s so you can do slo-mo’s, panoramic shots etc. The new camera though does have the ability to take 4K videos at 30 fps (enabled in the main Settings option) or you can shoot standard FULL HD at 120/60fps.
Likewise the front-facing camera also supports FULL HD recording at 30 fps, so ideal for Vloggers.
For me the quality in low-level light is pretty good, colours are also natural and it even handled snow scenes effectively with its automatic HDR mode kicking in to reveal more detail within the picture. You can see for yourself the quality, as I have uploaded 40+ photos to my Flickr page. These are all un-edited photos – see the gallery below.