Every other year we see the release of an ‘S’ model for the iPhone, designed to bring extra features to what was announced originally, the S model normally doesn’t disappoint when it comes to new features and speed in particular.

In terms of changes to the iPhone 6S, Apple has built a smartphone with a stronger chassis, a sharper and more impressive camera that comes with Apple’s new Live Photos feature, and even a new way to interact with the phone called 3D Touch.

But is the iPhone 6S worth the price? Well if you have an iPhone 6 already then that really depends on how much worth you put on interesting new features, and a camera. But if you have an older iPhone, or if you are looking to switch to an iPhone than the iPhone 6S might be worth a look at.

To get an example of price, Vodafone is offering the 6S on one of their pay monthly plans for £37 a month with a £50 upfront fee. You can also pick it up on Pay as you Go for around £600.

Design

In terms of its design, the iPhone 6S looks pretty much identical to the iPhone 6, well that is aside from its chassis, which has a slightly thicker frame and a little more weight, which was done in order to help stop the phone from bending.

Thankfully because it does have similar dimensions to the iPhone 6, you can use your old cases if you are upgrading, that said if you are upgrading from a 5S or below, then you will notice huge changes to the design and not just the addition of an S logo on the back.

The metallic chassis of the phone is probably one of the biggest selling points of the design, it feels nice to hold in the hand thanks to its slight curvature, of corse that does mean that you get a slightly scuff happy backing.

That said, the iPhone 6S is made from 7000 series aluminium, which is the strongest material that Apple has ever used in its iPhone construction, this stops it from bending when sat on, or put under other pressure, of corse, that isn’t a valid reason to buy a phone, it should be a given.

The front of the phone has also been toughened, with a new glass that is less prone to shattering.

The iPhone 6S does add an extra 14g of weight because of these changes, totalling 129 grammes, that said, it does still feel very lightweight.

The volume rocker and silencer switch still remain on the left-hand side of the phone, with the power button situated on the right-hand side and the speaker on the bottom, alongside the Lighting port and headphone jack.

Sadly this does still mean that you end up covering the speaker when the phone is in landscape.

It would have been nicer to see some slight changes to the design.

Display

Much like the design of the iPhone 6, the screen on the iPhone 6S looks similar, even identical, coming in at 4.7 inches, but sadly only a 750p resolution, which does keep it at the Retina range, but does mean it can be outshined by the likes of Samsung’s and Sony’s flagships.

It is probably about time that Apple upped this to 4K.

That said, the display is extremely clear, bright and colourful, with that same clarity that the iPhone has been known for, however, the contrast ratio is still lacking, with slightly dim blacks, but when it comes to colours, the iPhone certainly does its job.

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The display on the iPhone 6S does come with one brand new feature, and that is 3D Touch, a huge new feature that is definitely a reason to buy the iPhone 6S for, honestly, it is the start of a new way of thinking about using smartphones.

And that is what Apple should be doing, creating innovations that not only change the way we think about technology but also how we use it. And 3D Touch certainly does that.

Developed from the Force Touch technology that they implemented in the Macbook range previously, bringing a brand new layer to your display that allows you to physically poke into the display and interact with iOS directly, at the moment, this is only supported by a few apps, and Apple don’t have too many options for it, however, those that have been included are interesting enough.

For example, in any app you can force touch onto a link and open a quick preview of it over the top of the app you are using, this makes it great for getting the information you need at a glance, from her you can dismiss the preview by letting go, push further to open the page in Safari, or pull up to access more options.

You can also do this with images from apps, and with messages from the Mail app, making looking at information a lot easier, and a lot quicker.

The only thing is that you can’t see much from these previews as of yet, you’ll also find that your finger will generally cover up that preview. Thankfully there’s a lot that Apple can do with 3D Touch, with the ability of force touching right on icons to bring up options for that app, and many more possibilities.

There could be many applications for this in games and apps like painting, however, I did find myself forgetting about this feature often, but I guess that this will lessen as more uses for it are unveiled.

Performance

To power all of this, Apple has upgraded the internals of the iPhone, bringing its fastest cheapest yet to the 6S.

Called the A9, it comes alongside the M9 coprocessor, which allows your phone to record motion without impacting the battery life of your phone.

In general, you won’t notice much change from the iPhone 6, but if you look hard enough you will notice that apps will open up a bit faster, and games and performance-heavy apps will definitely feel more responsive.

This new CPU does also offer some improved battery life capabilities according to Apple, however, we are unsure how much this has actually changed.

Camera

Alongside all of this, Apple also updated the camera on the iPhone 6S, with a few slight changes to the camera app to add a range of new features to the OS.

The first of these changes is Live Photos, which will take a picture that animates in a 1.5-second picture, it captures before and after the snap, and will then turn what you have captured on a video. Although this is nothing new, it is certainly a cool feature.

The new app also integrates with 3D Touch, allowing you to play these Live Photos with a prod of your screen.

Sadly, in use, Live Photos can be very hard to capture correctly, and you will often find that they can become choppy and low quality very easily.

The app also comes with a few more buttons, with a toggle for Live Photos and a new HDR mode.

In terms of hardware, the sensor has also been increased to 12MP, allowing it to capture more than the iPhone 6, and zoom in further, aside from that, nothing else has really changed from the iPhone 6, even when looking at picture quality, which seems almost identical to the brightness and colour of the iPhone 6 photos, but just a little sharper than the iPhone 6.

That said, in low light, you can really tell the difference between the two smartphones.

You will also find a 5-megapixel sensor on the front for taking selfies, this is also pretty much the same as before, apart from some slight changes that allow it to use the same features as the rear-facing camera, and the ability to use the screen as a flash.

Basically, it will look at the surroundings of your scene and then amp up the brightness of your display in order to compensate for any lacking light, the phone will then work out the correct colour balance of your surroundings and tweak the image accordingly.

Here are some samples:

Battery

Probably the biggest new feature on the iPhone 6S is the battery life, before the iPhone 6 would stuggle to even last a day from a single charge.

That said, these changes aren’t enough to make it too interesting, due to the fact that the phone is so thin, personally I’d want to see a thicker phone with a larger battery though.

Software

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The iPhone 6S runs on the latest version of iOS, iOS 9 which has one cool new feature that allows you to access the battery settings, which allow you to check out what is going on with that battery life.

From this new screen, you can see what applications are taking all of your power in the last 24 hours, or over the last week.

This is joined by a new low power mode that can kick in whenever your battery is below a certain percentage, in this mode it will switch of battery hungry features to help you save those last few sips of battery life for longer.

This can be used only when you are low on battery or all of the time, but sadly there is no easy way to do this.

You have to go into the settings every time that you what to enable it or disable it, that said, the iPhone will autoamatically turn it off at 80% and on at 20%.

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Watching content on the iPhone 6S is pretty much the same as before, with the same display and resolution as the iPhone 6, you won’t find too many changes if you are upgrading from that.

However, if you are upgrading from an older device than you certainly will, with a much larger display than previous iPhone’s, the iPhone 6 and 6S can provide a full video watching experience.

On top of that, because of the design and materials used in the iPhone 6 and 6S, it is also pretty comfortable to hold the phone up for some time and watch this content.

That said, we would prefer it if Apple increased the resolution to 1080p+, maybe even 4K.

Another new feature in the latest iOS was the addition of Apple Music, which provides you with access to Apple’s latest streaming service right from your iPhone.

The app itself is pretty much the same as before, however, it now has the ability to play any music that is available on Apple Music, without having to download it.

In reality, your choice of using this service will depend entirely on whether or not you prefer Spotify, if you don’t then Apple Music is a great fully integrated solution with a ton of streaming options.

Verdict

All in all, the iPhone 6S is pretty much same old business for Apple, sure it has a couple of good features like a stronger body and the introduction of 3D Touch, however, we can’t help but feel a little disappionted.

We would have liked to see an iPhone with a much larger resolution by now, it’s being to become a little embarssing to put an iPhone next to a Samsung Glaxy phone.

Alongside that, the battery is still extremely lacking.

However, if you want to use iOS then you really have one option, the iPhone. And if you want the latest iPhone on the market, then you want the iPhone 6S.

If you are not too bothered about the features then we would recommend that you pick up the iPhone 6 or wait for the iPhone 7 instead, and if you simply want to head on over to Android then you’re reading the wrong review.

Disclosure: Vodafone sent us a sample of the iPhone 6S for review purposes, it was returned upon conclusion.

iPhone 6S smartphone review
4.4A great upgrade, but probably not worth it if you already have an iPhone 6
Reader Rating 1 Vote

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