iPhone 6s Plus review: Apple fans deserve a better phablet
Everything great about an iPhone dogged by a body too big
- Powerful CPU and GPU combo
- 3D Touch streamlines navigation
- TouchID finger scanner leads the market
- Higher resolution cameras
- Excellent battery life
- Needlessly large form factor
- Primary camera could still be higher in resolution
Price$ 1,229.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 2 stores)
This phone has appeared in our Which phones have the best cameras? list.
A discussion would’ve taken place during the development of the iPhone 6s Plus. “Do we retain the iPhone’s identifiable styling or make a comfortable phablet,” would’ve been asked. A credible question worthy of serious consideration.
The first time Apple increased the display of its iPhone, it redesigned the smartphone’s body to accommodate. The departure in design language was radical and undoubtedly influenced by user comfort.
It would make sense then that an iPhone with a 5.5-inch screen would adopt a style to suit the increase in size, but the iPhone 6s Plus, the successor to the 6 Plus, is proof Apple would rather side with its identifiable design language than make a smartphone that is easier to live with.
Every measurement deems it a monolith. It is taller than Xiaomi’s Mi Note, wider than Samsung’s Galaxy Note5 and heavier than Motorola’s Moto X Style, and yet all of these smartphones have a larger screen than Apple’s phablet.
Adding insult to injury are harsh, straight lines. All of the aforementioned smartphones liberally adopt accommodating curves for a more comfortable fit in the palm. Each one aspires to politely share your space. The 6s Plus does not. Its design is intrusive and it demands fingers conform to its shape.
Apple has developed a whole software feature dedicated to hedging the annoyances brought about by its size. Double tapping the home button triggers ‘reachability’, which shifts the screen’s content halfway down. Here, the software comes to you.
This feature is somewhat unique to Apple’s phablet, and that’s because the design of most 2015 phablets deem it redundant. Reaching the top of an LG G3, which too has a 5.5-inch screen, is substantially easier.Read more: Strike now while Apple iPhone 6s prices are cheapest or face paying more
Many buy a complimentary case that doubles as a wallet, choosing to carry less money in order to compensate for the 6s Plus’ size. Needless to say, this Apple smartphone does not come cheap. Outright pricing for the 16GB variant starts at $1229 outright.
What a waste of an opportunity. And a let down for longtime fans of Apple, who would’ve fallen in love with the convenience of the iPhone’s smaller profile in its early days.
Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, is among the most — if not, the most — aesthetic. The version running on the 6s Plus resembles that found on Apple’s iPad as apps split into two panes in landscape orientation. The homescreen and native applications, such as the messaging app and the mail app, have an extended functionality as a result. And because Plus versions of Apple’s iPhone have a higher 401 pixel-per-inch density, it looks all the more attractive.
Separating the 6s Plus from its predecessor is the introduction of 3D Touch. Pressing firmly on the screen can either generate a preview or act as a shortcut between two different applications. This feature both streamlines how an iPhone is used and intuitively anticipates upcoming needs. Going from an address in the browser to GPS directions happens in a single gesture, for instance.
One feature in particular makes the iPhone 6s Plus an attractive buy. Built into its supersized enclosure is a 2750 milliamp-hour battery, and although it is 5 per cent smaller than the battery equipped in last year’s model, it is 39 per cent larger than the one in the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s. The result is above par battery life. In our testing, the 6s Plus would last 35 hours on average.
Further differentiating the Plus from the smaller iPhone is a key camera component. Its 12MP rear camera comes with optical imaging stabilisation, a module which steadies the camera to reduce blurring. It reaps rewards by allowing more light to enter the lens.
The beauty of the camera in Apple’s iPhone is that it can capture good photos easily. Like the iPhone 6s, this smartphone excels at taking daytime photos, with the increase in megapixels making room for more detail and its aptitude for colours rendering landscapes in a wide gamut of vibrant hues.
Photos taken as the sun sets continue to impress. Ample light highlights plenty of detail without washing out colours. There is a tendency for photos to look grainier due to a rise in image noise, particularly during night shots; however, these photos can still be used comfortably on Facebook and Instagram.
Joining the improved primary camera is a 5 megapixel front camera. The increase in resolution is joined by a software flash, which works well identifying a scene’s ambient lighting and then by flashing just the right colour for the occasion.
Beyond the larger screen, bigger battery and a better camera lies an ordinary iPhone 6s. Like its sibling, the 6s Plus is powered by Apple’s A9 processor, along with its motion (M9) co-processor. This year’s variant has double the RAM at 2GB and comes in internal storage options of 16, 64 and 128-gigabytes.
Running 3D Mark’s ice storm unlimited benchmarking test reveals the 6s Plus is among the highest performing. Its score of 27,622 trails only behind the iPhone 6s (28,348), and is greater than the results yielded by Sony’s Xperia Z3 (18,841), LG’s G4 (18,862), Motorola’s Moto X Style (19,509), HTC's One M9 (21,123) and Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge (22,248).
Internet speeds are similarly fast. The smartphone’s compatibility with Cat6 LTE gives it a theoretical maximum speed of 300 Mbps, provided it is coupled with the right network. It supports 23 LTE bands globally, which makes it an appealing choice for anyone keen on travelling.
A speedtest performed in our North Sydney offices with an Optus SIM card yielded promising results. The 6s Plus achieved a maximum download speed of 21.3Mbps and an upload speed of 3.3Mbps.
The iPhone 6s Plus is a phablet undermined by compromise. There is no one iPhone that has excellent battery life, a large screen and a body that is comfortable. The ordinary 6s is stumped by mediocre battery life, and although the 6s Plus excels in this regard, its enormity discounts its appeal as a smartphone. People locked into Apple’s ecosystem will have to live with one of these shortcomings, and this is why the phablet space remains dominated by Android.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Belkin Introduces USB-C 3.1 Express Dock HD
- Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Will Come To Australia
- Boost Mobile Doubles Data Offering With New Summer Plans
- BlackBerry KEYone Black Launches in Australia
- HTC U11 Plus latest rumours: Release date, price and specs
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
- Apple TV 4K review
- Legion Y520 Gaming Laptop review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCInfrastructure Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTApplication Packaging EngineerOther
- CCWindows System EngineerNSW
- CCJava Developer - Government organisationVIC
- TPBusiness Analyst - SalesforceNSW
- FTNetwork Lead AcrhitectACT
- TPCyber Security ConsultantNSW
- FTReporting Analyst - Planning & ForecastingOther
- TPJava DeveloperWA
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTSAP Test ManagerACT
- CC.net developerNSW
- CCManager-Process Tranformation (Black Belt)NSW
- FTTM1 Application Management AnalystOther
- FTApplication ArchitectOther
- FTAnalyst ProgrammerOther
- FTPayments Business AnalystVIC
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- CCSenior Project ManagerVIC
- FTSharePoint Admin & Developer- Australian Citizens onlyOther
- CCSolaris / Oracle SPARC administratorVIC
- FTBusiness AnalystVIC
- FTFront End Developer - Ractive.JS (Urgent)Other
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW