- Display doesn't offer as high contrast or details as competing Android phones
- Live Photos take huge amount of space
- 3D touch easy to confuse with long touch
- Live Photos often come out choppy and erratic
Even for Apple it can be difficult to get consumers excited about a new smartphone every year. After all, how different can the new one be from the prior year?
Many reviewers considered the iPhone 6 to be a great phone, but barely an upgrade from the iPhone 5S aside from the larger screen and better camera. Apple promises that the iPhone 6S is different as noted by their marketing tagline, "The only thing that's changed is everything."
At first glance, it might seem like not much has changed. The 6S looks almost identical to its predecessor except it is now heavier at 143 grams and slightly thicker at 0.3 inches. The extra padding and weight comes from the use of adoption of the Series 7000 aluminum build. This tougher aluminum frame is meant to prevent bending, an issue some experts discovered in the iPhone 6 Plus. When tested they did not notice any flex with Digital Spy going as far as calling it, "…the most well-constructed handset on the market."
The 6S has the same 4.7-inch, 750 pixel display as the 6, which disappointed reviewers. While it is technically a Retina display (326ppi pixel density) they were not wowed by the sharpness or contrast ratio, especially when compared side-by-side to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+. Still, they add it the screen is just as bright and colors still vibrant.
What really makes the display special is the new 3D Touch technology. In essence it is a touch sensitive screen that will pull up different options/commands when users do a regular versus a firm press. While it might sound simple in theory, experts warn there is a bit of a learning curve and fine-line between a firm press and the traditional long press. Still, they add once they got used to it, they found it incredibly useful as it accessed dozens of useful shortcuts and gave them the ability to easily preview emails without going into the actual email, check links from messages and view pop-ups in their calendar.
As per tradition, Apple has upgraded the internal specs of the S series. Now equipped with an A9 core processor and 2GB of RAM, reviewers found it to be significantly faster than its predecessor. They experienced no issues when switching between tasks, multi-tasking or even handling graphics-intensive games. An M9 co-processor is also continuously running so Siri can now constantly listen out for commands without the need for button presses.
In a surprise move, Apple has actually reduced the size of its battery to 1,715mAh. Even more surprising, experts were still able to get around a full day of moderate use and they were able to charge it back up to full in just over an hour.
It comes in three different models: 16GB, 64GB and 128GB though critics add that the 16GB version will not be enough storage for most people's long-term needs.
Another impressive upgrade from its predecessor is the camera. Apple has moved up the megapixel count to 12 for the main camera and 5 to the front. As expected, critics were able to take consistently detailed and accurate pictures thanks not only to the higher resolution but improved lens technology and quick shutter speed. Unfortunately, it does not come with optical image stabilization technology leading reviewers to take blurry and noisy low-light images.
The biggest change to the camera is its ability to take Live Photos. This is essentially a short video of the moment you took the picture – about 1.5 seconds before and after you snapped the picture with audio. While a nice feature, they quickly realized many of these videos were too choppy and erratic to really share. Still, they did like the fact it ran so silently in the background. There were no additional buttons they needed to press and they could still take pictures just as quickly. Apple also included the option to turn this feature off, which critics suggest as Live Photos take double the storage as normal pictures.
While an excellent smartphone, reviewers do not suggest upgrading from an iPhone 6 just yet even with the addition of 3D touch.
Cult of Mac states, "…you don't need 3D Touch yet…Having said that, I don’t want to take anything away from the iPhone 6S. It's an outstanding smartphone…If you have an older iPhone, or you can afford to upgrade early, iPhone 6S should be your next smartphone…" Techradar adds, "If you're desperate to get a new iPhone, and can afford it, I'd recommend the new iPhone 6S wholeheartedly, especially if you're jumping from a 5S. However, if you're a little more thrifty then perhaps the iPhone 6 will suit your needs."