- Curved design makes it difficult to grip
- No obvious difference in image quality between 6S Plus and 6 Plus
- Some slow down when opening and closing apps
- Learning curve for 3D touch
- Live Photos takes a lot of space
With the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple finally gave consumers what they wanted – a larger screen. The 6S Plus range takes the same screen size of its predecessor and adds a few bells and whistles not found on any other iPhone. Most of these new features are not obvious at a glance. In fact, experts note the general appearance is practically identical to the 6 Plus from its rounded body to premium build quality. It is, however, slightly thicker and a bit heavier at 192 grams. This is due in part to the new aluminum alloy used for the body and frame. Apple touts it as stronger and more durable than previous versions. When put to the test, experts did not notice any issues with bending. With that said, the larger size and rounded corners did make it difficult for reviewers to grasp with many adding a case is almost necessary for a better grip.
The 5.5-inch display has a 1920 x 1080 resolution. While this might sound low, especially in comparison to the quad HD resolutions of the Galaxy Note 5 and LG G4, experts were overall impressed with the clarity and natural colors of the 6S Plus. Stuff.TV adds, "Unless you've got laser sharp vision and put the iPhone 6s Plus next to its Android competition, you shouldn't notice the difference…" Experts also noticed a couple other subtle upgrades to the display including a new polarizer for better sunlight legibility, increased contrast and wider viewing angles. Perhaps the biggest improvement they noticed was the thinness of the display stack. The Verge states, "…it looks more like you're touching pixels directly than ever before. It's like the screen is painted on."
Most consumers likely won't notice these minute changes in the iPhone 6 Plus. The biggest reason change, however, comes with the introduction of 3D Touch. Apple has actually introduced 3D touch by a different name – Force Touch – in the Apple Watch and latest MacBook Pro . In essence, it's an additional navigational layer that utilizes pressure in addition to regular taps and swipes. Apple has broken up 3D Touch into two functions dubbed Peek and Pop. In use, critics have found it extremely useful especially when viewing emails. A forceful hold on an email expands a preview bubble on the screen allowing them to "peek" at the contents. When they increased pressure even further they were able to "pop" the message to full screen. This isn't a completely intuitive experience as Tech Radar points out, "…it's a feature you really need to work at in order to make it a natural experience."
The 6s Plus is armed with Apple's own A9 processor, which Apple claims to be 70 percent faster than its predessor in CPU tasks and 90 percent better in GPU (graphics processing). Despite these claims, reviewers didn't notice too much of a difference in speed. They had the same fluid performance when navigating the home screen and only ran into a slight slowdown when opening and closing apps. Gaming was similarly smooth with no frame rate drops or lag even when play graphically-intensive titles. In terms of battery-life, most experts were able to get a full day's worth of average use while heavy usage led to around 6-8 hours.
Another big upgrade for Apple is its jump to a 12MP main camera and 5MP front camera. Included with the 6s Plus is optical image stabilization technology (missing from the standard 6s). Despite the 4MP jump, experts were hard-pressed to see any huge improvements between the 6 Plus and 6s Plus. This isn't a bad thing as they were able to take highly detailed photos with natural colors and tones. They only started noticing difference when zooming in very closely. In low light settings, the optical image stabilization allowed them to take images with very little noise. A new feature of the S series is the ability to take Live Photos. When this feature is on, it records about 1.5 seconds before and after the picture without any additional input from users. This then creates a short "gif" of the moment as well as audio. While a nice idea, many reviewers ended up turning it off as the file sizes were massive and the videos often came out choppy or blurry. The front camera also comes with a huge upgrade – flash. Rather than a separate LED flash, Apple has turned the phone screen into a sort of flash. When the shutter is pressed, the phone will see how much light is needed then adjust the white hue as necessary. In general, experts were able to take amazingly clear selfies even in low light situations. Besides taking excellent images, the main camera can also record 4K video at 30 frames per second.
In general reviewers highly recommend the iPhone 6s Plus for those upgrading from an older iPhone. Digital Trends states, "If you have an iPhone 6 Plus, you should probably hold out for the iPhone 7. If you're living with an iPhone 5S, 5, or an iPhone 4S, the iPhone 6S Plus is well worth the upgrade." The Verge adds, "…it feels like an entirely new kind of device for Apple…it could really be my main computer."