While Apple fans have reconciled to the concept of the ‘S’ devices every alternate year, the rest of us are still not very happy about this “new innovation every other year” concept, are we?
Fortunately this year, It was a wonderful device that Apple unveiled, but the same nit-picky crowed immediately booed at it “lacked the ‘innovation’ that Apple always has tom-tom’d itself for” they said.
Not true! The additions made to this device are in some ways, more interesting than we anticipated. It will change the way we’ve become accustomed to interacting with our phones, thanks to the new 3D Touch, will also make you forget what “lag” means – the processor and the upgraded Touch ID are that good!
Okay, let’s do this review properly.
The iPhone 6s Plus uses the same IPS LCD panel as the iPhone 6s – the screen is bright and vibrant, colors look natural and contrast levels are solid… for a LCD panel.
As is the stereotype with LCD panels, you will never find them as vibrant or bright as their AMOLED counterparts. Neither will they show blacks as deep. But that’s not to say that AMOLEDs trump LCDs outright!
Truth really is that LCDs best AMOLEDs in some aspects, and AMOLEDs take the baton home in others.
It really is a matter of choice for the manufacturers, and in a way it is good that Apple continues to use the LCD because if it wasn’t for Apple and maybe another brand or two, the mobile phone display world would have been utterly and completely dominated by AMOLEDs, and the technological gains of competition would’ve been lost forever and that would have really limited our options.
Having said that, it seems like almost every time the AMOLEDs eke out better quality screens, Apple exceeds them. Some say, the Galaxy Note 5 seems to be in a different league of vibrancy and brightness, but put the iPhone 6s Plus next to it, and suddenly the Note 5 seems like a garish loudmouth.
Okay before anyone kills me for saying that, let me quickly move on to the highlight of the iPhone 6s duo. The 3D Touch!
Clearly, the hottest new feature from Apple which seems to have stirred a lot of opinions and pleased a lot people, is the new 3D Touch. The way we interacted with our phones was revolutionised by the first iPhone which came with multi-touch. Well, what 3D Touch does for the new generation smartphones is pretty much along similarly revolutionary lines.
It gets you where you want to be in iOS 9 far more quickly. 3D Touch brings three levels of pressure sensitivity to the iPhone 6s Plus’ user interface – and the device’s reaction changes depending on hard you press on the screen. At first, the experience is a little odd, and may even feel wrong to press the screen as hard as you initially may, given how very protective we are, of our smartphone screens. Scratch guards, tempered glass and what not.
But after it is no longer weird for you to press so hard on our screen you will find it difficult to believe that you have been living without it. It essentially works by using a pressure-sensitive display with a stronger, and more refined, Taptic Engine – the feature that makes your phone vibrate.
The 3D Touch may be considered being in its ‘infant’ stage at this time, but that adds up to the excitement of what is going to be when it is fully developed and utilised by all app developers out there.
So, the display is good and pretty neat. It is sharp it is bright and it does for you, what a display on a device of such stature should do. You might even say that it is apt and adequate. But.. add to this the 3D Touch capabilities, and the display really crosses the finish line ahead of its competitors with its head stretching out.
The iPhone 6s Plus looks like a bigger, pinch-zoomed version of the 6s, at first glance. Coming from a company like Apple where everything seems to be about simplicity and precision, I really feel that the 6s Plus could have done better with its design.
The phone is fairly well built, and all the edges and different pieces of the body fit together beautifully, but then again, that is the least we expect from Apple, in a sense that if it was anything less it really would have been disappointing. There are no sharp edges, just smooth and slight curves which make the phone sit comfortably in your hands. Also the light tone aluminium used here makes the device grippy, so holding onto the the device is not a problem.
What is a problem here is the size of the top and bottom bezels. I have no idea if Apple simply ignored the fact that this issue makes the device humongous and actually make it bigger than its size, which is never a good thing.
Lets talk numbers. The Screen-to-body ratio of this device is about 68% as compared to the 78% of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. The general point being – when you make a phone feel bigger than it is, it really does no good to anyone.
Apple really seems to have ignored this and it really is surprising given that Apple is a company that sets benchmarks for things like these. Maybe it’s a to-do for the next round of the iPhone. Who knows!
The iPhone 6s Plus is very fast, thanks to the A9 chipset with dual core clocked at 1.84 GHz and a Power VR Gt7600 six-core graphics processor that rides on 2 GB of RAM.
The phone performs brilliantly and benchmarks indicate that the iPhone 6s Plus is better than the Galaxy competition, in many areas.
What gives this phone the drive? How can it perform better than devices that have much more impressive spec sheets?
Well, unlike most devices Apple devices use fewer cores. But given that any device does not use more than one or two cores at a time, it really boils down to how powerful each core is.
Its like Team A requires 10 batsmen to chase down a given target, and we all know that at a time only one batsman bats. So, here we have Team B who can chase down the same target with just two of its batsmen. How so? The two batsmen Team B has, are capable of scoring more individually and that is all that matters.
Coming back to the performance of the device, what all of this translates to, is butter smooth performance, with the confidence that there’s no task that you could challenge the iPhone with, that it will not be able to sashay it’s way through, with all the grace of a confident model on a catwalk ramp.
It is one thing not to experience any lag or stutter on a phone but it is quite another to have a kind of confidence in a device that it will never show any hint of lag whatsoever no matter what you do it. Such is the case with the iPhone 6s Plus and with Apple devices in general.
There are no heating issues, nor anything else – no game, no video and no CPU-intensive task which can make this phone exhibit any hint of lag.
The phone includes a new Tapic Engine. I will try not get too technical about this and explain it in the simplest way possible – essentially what happens is that your phone has different kinds of vibrations to different kinds of activities. Apple leverages that vibration motor (also called Taptic motor in the real world) and makes it dance different tunes, depending on what it’s responding to.
You will know when you have someone calling you. You will be able to make out the difference between a received text and an app notification. I won’t say that this is necessary but so are so many other things. It does certainly help you keep informed and is when you come to think of it quite cool.
The phone comes out of the box riding on Apple’s latest iOS, the iOS 9.
Well, iOS 9 is based heavily on proactivity which essentially means that your device is learning about you and your habits in order to act on that information through search options, contextual reminders, notifications, and a customized “Siri Suggestions” interface populated with the user’s favorite contacts and apps, along with nearby places and relevant news stories.
Apart from this the iOS 9 really seems to be focused towards greasing the under-the-hood stuff. Infact, the ever-so-smooth and near-perfect optimisation of the operating system seems in some way enhanced, even on the older iOS devices
Some new features have been included too.
Spotlight Search for one, has been expanded to include Apple News, alongside being able to find information buried deep in apps. This is something I longed for in the iOS 8 and it is very pleasing to see Apple upgrade the Spotlight search.
Also there is now a revert option each time you go from one app to another providing you with the option of going back to the previous app, much like the channel switch function on a TV remote. Siri is far smarter, too, featuring the ability to make contextual reminders.
iOS 9 is one of the easiest OS around to get used to and people who come from the iOS 8 will feel at home using the iOS 9.
The camera on the iPhone 6s Plus also gets an upgrade and the number of pixels has been increased from 8 to 12 megapixels.
The features of the camera include a 1/3 inch sensor size, 1.22 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 8 megapixel image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection and HDR (photo/panorama).
As we have come to learn with a lot of devices in the past, megapixels are not everything. There are other things that you need to factor in, and most of all to best understand the quality of a smartphone camera you have to use it first hand.
So, how good is the camera on this device? Pretty good, I would say. The camera doesn’t only improve in numbers but also in performance. This becomes vividly clear when you compare the snaps of the iPhone 6s Plus vs the iPhone 6 Plus. The pictures captured from the former seem much more detailed and colorful. Colorful in a natural way. A lot of cameras these days seem to pack too much color into the pictures making them look unoriginal (I didn’t want to say, unrealistic).
The camera on this device seems to strike the perfect balance between colors, vibrancy and the saturation levels of the photos.
This camera also comes with the deep-trench technology. What this basically does is reduce the ‘cross talk’ and noise by minimizing the color leak between pixels. Does it work?
Yes it seems to add a little more depth to the photos and the colors do appear better. This is where the extra pixels kick in. The upgrade from 8 to 12 megapixels has certainly helped in packing much more detail into the shots and thanks to the OIS that is the case with low light shots too.
The camera of the smaller iPhone 6s is very good, but that of the iPhone 6s Plus is way, way better. You can click some amazing shots from this device which can hold their own against those from the best Android cameras.
A downer though – after reviewing the LG G4 I really hoped that the manual mode they provided us with would prompt other manufacturers to do so as well. But with Apple that was always going to be a long shot.
Apple has also included a new feature called ‘Live Photos‘. We have been talking much about the revolution that is the 3D Touch. Well not exactly a revolution, but the ‘Live Photos’ too, sure is a very innovative idea.
What this does essentially is that when you click a photo the camera records what happens before and after 2-3 seconds of the actual snapshot.
Stored within the photo itself, you’ll now have a still and video recording of about 3 seconds of the instant.
This is an exciting feature as the ‘3 second videos’ (if you want to call it that) really seem to have an appeal. This is not the first time we are seeing something like this. Nokia’s Living Images took a few seconds of video just before an image was captured, and we’d throughly enjoyed that feature!
All in all, the camera of this device is pretty neat and it can click some stunning snaps. With all that it offers it deserves a spot on that best smartphone camera’s list, not topping it, but somewhere close.
The phone has good quality speakers and the huge screen together provide for very good entertainment. The screen does really pop, and there’s not going to be a time when you’ll find it wanting or unable to display content with all the oomph and clarity necessary to enjoy videos.
Also, thanks to the excellent performance put out collectively by the hardware, gaming and multimedia experiences really get a boost, becoming activities that you may find yourself enjoying and partaking in, thanks mostly, to this device, it’s internals, the bigger battery, and mostly because of that large screen!
You can go about your business on this phone the usual way. There is nothing new to add here.
The phone however sees the addition of a Touch ID Fingerprint scanner built into the home button at the front. This makes your phone far more secure than relying on a simple PIN – in fact, iOS 9 now strongly recommends you use a six-digit PIN instead of the four-digit one iPhone users will be more accustomed to.