Welcome to my iPhone 6S review. This is the first time I have properly spent any time with an iPhone in a long time, in fact, the last one I used was the original iPhone. Since then I have owned several different Android-powered phones and in all honesty, Android was and still is my favourite mobile operating system. However for the last two weeks I decided to jump over to IOS and to do this I borrowed a loan device from Vodafone for the purpose of reviewing it.
I will admit this was rather hard for me as I’m not a huge Apple fan, however, I do know that any OEM such as Samsung, Apple, HTC and even Sony all have something that makes their product special, so for this review I’m going to write about the good and the bad points of the Apple iPhone 6S and be as fair as possible to this mobile device.
Technical Specifications and Performance:
If there’s one major thing that always seems to be pointed out in the battle of Android VS Apple, it’s that the OEM’s who manufacture phones running on Android always use high-end gear in their flagship phones, whereas Apple seems to stick to specifications, people of the Android world would call ”last year specifications”.
However it’s also known that in the world of Android high-end specifications don’t often mean top-notch performance from a mobile device, this being pretty much down to the nature of the Android OS in general. So while my HTC One M9 has great on paper specifications, it doesn’t mean I always get a smooth ride from the device. IOS, however, is different, only Apple make IOS devices and only Apple have control of IOS.
Android is used by loads of OEM’s and each OEM has its own skin on top of the core Android OS as well as under the hood specifications. These skins can sometimes lead to a not so 100% smooth performance from the phone, that gradually gets worse as the phone finds its ram being hogged. The difference between performance on my HTC One M9 and the iPhone 6S with a few background applications running isn’t that drastic as the One M9 has 3 GB of Ram, but I did notice in places the iPhone was smoother and a lot less laggy. I will point out that this test was run with the same applications all running at the same time on each device.
Another thing to point out is in regards to applications and how they work for each platform. In the world of Android, there are literally thousands of different phone models all using different chipsets, processors, ram etc and for developers, this means they have the job of developing an application that works well on many different types of Android phones, however, it’s just not possible to have an application on the Android platform that everyone will be pleased with in terms of performance if you just look down the reviews in the Play Store and you will see tonnes of people complaining about the performance of a game and then tonnes of people praising the games performance.
This is of course due to the wide mix of devices available in the world of Android, some can play a top end game with ease and some just struggle. On IOS though it’s different, let’s face it there are currently only 9 iPhone models to have ever been released, compared to thousands upon thousands of Android phone models.
This means app developers have a lot less to worry about in terms of specifications while newer applications may not work so well or work at all on the first few generations of iPhone, you do see a lot less of the ”the app doesn’t work on my phone comments”. Don’t get me wrong though you still could get the odd few apps that just haven’t been optimised properly and have a few problems even on IOS.
During my two weeks with this phone, I must admit I did have quite a smooth experience with it, even after filling it up with several applications. I ran a number of games on the phone as well and each one ran with ease, but with this being the one of the recent iPhones I didn’t expect any less. The graphics produced within the games were amazing with every detail visible, truly how I love mobile gaming to be.
Navigating the menus of the phone itself was of course rather easy to do. The home page is basically the application screen, which basically greets you every time you turn the phone on or anytime you press the home button Swiping down from the top of the screen brings up the notification panel, which displays notifications such as missed calls, texts and even has a panel for widgets and calendar events.
One thing I don’t like is how you bring up the running applications screen, on Android this is a rather simple task that is done by simply tapping the right-hand side navigation button on your device. On the iPhone 6S though you have to push down on the left-hand edge of the screen and then swipe right. While it’s not hard to do, it does seem like too much effort, particularly as I am used to the easier method adopted by Android.
I also must say that in terms of OS design, I prefer Android over IOS, the reason being is that right out of the box, with no warranty voiding operations, required you can instantly customise your Android device, the way you want it, not the way the OEM says, so for example, On my HTC One M9 I can go to the Play Store and I choose from a large selection of applications that can change icons, menu appearances and so much more, on IOS I can’t do this without Jailbreaking the phone, which will also void the warranty of the phone.
I do however appreciate that IOS is easy to use and most people who pick it up will get used to it quickly, in the Android world you can easily get used to a phone from say Samsung and then get your next phone from saying HTC and because of the skin differences you will find yourself having to learn to use the device all over again.
In terms of security, the 6S has some pretty clever ways of protecting everything on your phone, should it get lost or stolen. The most interesting security method on the 6S is the fingerprint scanner method, officially known as Touch ID. Touch ID makes use of a fingerprint scanning technology built into the home button of the iPhone.
It can be used to unlock the phone, make purchases with Apple pay and to verify it’s you making a purchase on iTunes and the App Store. I have been using this as my primary unlock method since receiving the phone and I am actually pretty impressed with how well it works. I haven’t yet had one issue with the accuracy of the scanner.
For the official specifications check out the list below.
- Apple A9 Chipset
- Dual-Core 1.8 GHz Twister CPU
- Six Core PowerVR GT7600 GPU
- 2 GB Ram
- Available With Either 16/64/128 GB Of On Board Memory (No MicroSD Support)
- None-removable Li-Po 1715 mAh battery
- 3G,4G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, A-GPS
- 12 Mega Pixel Rear Camera With Dual LED Flash
- 5 Mega Pixel Front Facing Camera
- 4.7” LED Backlit IPS LCD Capacitive Touch Screen (750 x 1334, with 326 PPI)
- IOS 9.2.1
If there’s one thing I always praise Apple for when it comes to the iPhone it’s the design and the 6S is no different. It’s a stunning phone that’s both pleasing to the eye and enjoyable to hold. At only 7.1mm thick it’s slightly thicker than the original iPhone 6 which was only 6.9mm. It’s safe to say the thickness comes from the addition of 3D touch hardware, which of course wasn’t found on the iPhone 6.
You may also remember the very funny ‘bendgate’ scandal in which people were finding their iPhone 6 was literally bending under pressure. It seems Apple have learnt from their past mistakes as instead of using the same series 6300 anodised aluminium found on the 6, they have instead used series 7000 anodised aluminium for the 6S.
While the phone is pleasing to look at and still carries on the gorgeous design that iPhones are often praised for, it isn’t the best-looking IPhone nor the best-looking phone in the world. In fact, it does have some ugly parts to it and in all honesty lacks the premium feel of previous Apple devices.
The things I really don’t like about the design are the antenna lines that run at the top and bottom end of the rear case of the phone, they just look tacky amongst the beautiful aluminium cover, then there’s the camera lens that literally sticks out of the rear of the phone, in fact, it’s so bad it looks like it has been stuck on the case with glue and then the last problem that really gets on my nerves is the entire front face of the phone.
In this day and age bezels are a pain in the backside and the iPhone 6S certainly has enough bezel visible to enrage me. Both top and bottom edges of the front of the phone both have large bezel area. While it’s necessary to have some space for the home button, front camera, front speaker and sensors, it is possible to still have smaller bezels by decreasing the size of components used.
My other gripe with the front end of the device is just how cheap it looks, yes it’s made from a strong and supposedly unbreakable glass (I won’t attempt to break the glass, but something tells me this is just a fancy marketing term)but it still looks too cheap and very much glossy.
Something I do love about the design of this iPhone and previous iPhones is the inclusion of a dedicated hardware button that toggles silent mode on and off. This really is a great little switch that is so convenient and so much less time-consuming than the method I have to use on my Android 6.0 powered device. While this seems like a small thing, it really does play a massive role and fits in well with just how easy IOS is to use.
The battery here is probably the weaker part of this iPhone. In standby mode, it can last up to ten days. Given that I only get this use this phone for two weeks, I haven’t had the chance to leave it on the side turned on un-used, so I can’t independently verify that. I can however that in use the battery was pretty much lacking.
I put the battery to the test by playing a few games, watching Youtube videos, making a few calls, browsing the net through 4G, browsing the net through WiFi and even listening to music. This gave me a total of 5 and a half hours of use. This means I found myself reaching for my charger midway through the day. With moderate use, however, I managed to gain about 9 hours of use before needing to recharge the battery.
Loud speaker audio quality:
The loud-speaker at the bottom of the iPhone 6S is surprisingly good, although nowhere near as good as the Boom Sound speakers on my HTC One M9, mostly because the speakers on the HTC One M9 are a Dual setup, whereas this uses a mono speaker and a load of software enhancements to give off a dual sounding audio playback. The audio is clear and crisp and distortion free. Although like many phones don’t expect the volume level to fill the room too much.
The rear shooter of the iPhone 6S boasts a 12 Megapixel sensor with Dual LED Flash. It’s capable of recording videos in resolutions of up to 4K, which makes this the first iPhone that’s able to record in 4K. I tested the recording feature of the camera and was very impressed with how well the footage came out. It was clear, crisp and well-lit. I was even more impressed by the quality of photos.
Daytime photos came out clear and distortion free, while night-time photos came out clear, as well as nicely illuminated, thanks to the Dual LED flash. See the samples for yourself below. I used a small toy car for my photo samples. (Please note, these will be uploaded shortly, as I am having a few technical problems uploading these)
The front camera is 5 megapixels and produced some decent but not awesome shots. I used it mainly for a Skype call and it worked great. There’s also the face time option, but I haven’t tested this feature.
Whilst I will always be an Android User, I found certain parts of the iPhone 6S to really appeal to me. I really loved things like Touch ID and even the little silence switch on the side of the phone. While I think the overall appearance of the phone is gorgeous thanks to the aluminum used, I did feel that the screen area and antenna lines really added a touch of ‘ugly’ to the design.
The battery, in all honesty, was a disappointment, particularly with heavy use. In terms of software, I found it very easy to navigate and even enjoyed it, however in terms of making it my own, I just didn’t feel as free as I do on Android.