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Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus review roundup: stronger, faster, heavier

The Guardian // 23rd September 2015

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus review roundup: stronger, faster, heavier” was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 22nd September 2015 14.49 UTC

Apple’s new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus smartphones land in customers hands on Friday, but a select bunch of reviewers have been given early access.

The Guardian is not one of those picked by Apple to receive a sample of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus ahead of its release, and will publish a review after buying one at the same time as consumers.

In the meantime, here is a quick roundup of the general opinion on Apple’s latest.

Review: Apple’s iPhone 6s And 6s Plus Go ‘Tick’ – Tech Crunch

Matthew Panzarino sees quite an uptick in performance of this year’s iPhone over the iPhone 6, in its “tick-tock” upgrade cycle:

In our tests, there was a 56.5% increase in Geekbench benchmark scores from the iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 6s Plus. That follows a 97% increase from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5s.

In comparison, there was only a 24.9% increase from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6.

In terms of performance, the ‘tock’ years are really kicking the ‘tick’ years in the butt.

iPhone 6S review: Apple’s 3D Touch screen and camera improvements make the best better – Digital Spy

Despite the iPhone 6S being thicker and heavier than its predecessor, Matt Hill found it wasn’t noticeable.

No need to grumble, this is still slim by any standard, with the phone’s increased portliness barely noticeable and the added 14g giving the phone a more reassuring heft. Easily the most well constructed handset on the market – despite increased competition from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 – the iPhone 6S’s cool-to-the-touch metal body and softly curved edges make the phone look and feel great.

iPhone 6S review: Apple presses forward – The Verge

Nilay Patel loves the new pressure-sensitive “3D Touch” screen but admits that it’s not exactly a novel concept, even if it’s a new implementation:

On the home screen, app icons can show quick actions when you push them. Pushing on a calendar entry shows you more information about it, and pushing on a map pin lets you jump straight to directions. Pushing on a message in Mail opens a preview that you can slide to either side to delete or archive, and pushing harder opens the message. It’s the same in Safari: pushing lightly on a link opens a preview, and pushing slightly harder actually opens the page.

It’s not some insane lightning bolt of inspiration; Google is doing something very similar with Material Design and Microsoft has been sliding things all over the screen since someone was drunk enough to approve the name ‘Windows Phone 7 Series’. But 3D Touch [is] by far the most aggressive and interesting step in this direction anyone has ever taken.

iPhone 6s Review: A Slightly Better iPhone 6 – The Wall Street Journal

The camera’s better, the processor is faster and it has a new screen, but the battery life of the iPhone is still poor, according to Joanna Stern:

Let’s get this out of the way first. The No. 1 thing people want in a smartphone is better battery life. And the iPhone 6s doesn’t deliver that.

The 4.7-inch 6s will get you through the day, but you’ll struggle to make it til bedtime with moderate to heavy use. And it seemed to drain even faster than my 6 when I used the new processor-intensive camera features like Live Photos. The bigger 5.5-inch 6s Plus lasted longer and is the best choice if you’re a heavy user and want some juice left over at the end of the day.

I Used The Crap Out Of The New iPhone 6S And This Is What Happened – BuzzFeed Life

Writing for BuzzFeed Life (not BuzzFeed News, that’s below) Nicole Nguyen found Apple’s marketing a little distasteful:

The marketing slogan for the 6S is “The only thing that’s changed is everything,” which is funny because that’s, well, not true. Take a look at the hardware. It’s impossible to tell the difference between the 6S and 6 iPhones, save for a tinyyy [sic] ant-sized “S” on the rear and slightly more heft (the 6S phones are one ounce heavier). They’re fraternal twins that basically look like identical twins.

What is different are the few, significant internal improvements, one of which is what I think will entice people (namely, me) to upgrade. 3D Touch is the 6S’s killer feature. But it depends on what apps decide to support it.

Yet Another iPhone 6s Review – BuzzFeed News

John Paczkowski found images shot by the 12-megapixel camera were generally better, as you would expect.

The photos I’ve taken with the new 12 megapixel rear camera on the iPhone 6s look a little bit better than the ones I’ve taken with the 8 megapixel one on the iPhone 6 — and even my not-at-all-a-photographer’s eye can see that.

Apple says this is because of “improved local tone mapping” and an “advanced pixel technology” called Focus Pixels. It probably is. I don’t care. What matters is that pictures of my daughters look warmer, sharper, more detailed, whatever. And they look equally good when I blow them up.

iPhone 6S Plus review: Is bigger better? – Pocket-Lint

Stuart Miles says the optical stabilisation and phase detection autofocus make the new 12-megapixel upgrade to the iPhone’s camera a winner, but Live Photos are a mixed bag for now.

A lot of Live Photos we’ve shot have footage of us hastily dropping the camera after taking the shot. Another frustration is that audio is automatically recorded, which at times is lovely – a child’s giggle for example – but not so great when you’ve got the same child screaming in the background.

All that extra video adds to their size too, meaning a Live Photo is worth around two still photos in terms of space. While you can offload some of that to Apple’s iCloud Drive service (at a yearly subscription) a 16GB iPhone 6S Plus isn’t going to stretch as far as it used to (compounding the argument for a 32GB minimum model).

iPhone 6S Review: Come for the New Features, Stay for the Screaming Speed – Bloomberg

Speed is at the heart of the new iPhones for Sam Grobart, including the new and improved fingerprint scanner:

The Touch ID sensor is instantaneous: By the time you’ve pressed the home button to wake up the phone, you’ve already authenticated yourself and are on the home screen.

iPhone 6s review: built for success – The Telegraph

According to Rhiannon Williams, the always-listening “Hey Siri” feature needs a bit of work learning to ignore everyone but you:

Thanks to the integrated A9, Siri is now always on, waiting to be activated by the command “Hey Siri”. This is attuned to your voice when you first set Siri up during the iPhone activation process, which means Siri is supposed to be able to pick out your voice alone from within a crowded room. I did find that a woman of a similar age and voice range to myself was able to activate Siri from a distance by speaking a command, so maybe this is a feature which needs a bit of refining.

iPhone 6s Plus review: more battery, better camera and a bigger screen mean new phone could win you round to huge phones – The Independent

And of that Rose Gold colour, apparently it’s difficult to photograph and looks better in real life, says David Phelan.

The rose gold, by the way, looks better in the flesh than in photos, thanks to a colour that is understated and warm rather than out-and-out pink.

iPhone 6S review – Tech Radar

Gareth Beavis sees the upgrade as a no-brainer if money is no object, but it’s a much more difficult call for most people.

It’s still one of, if not the, most expensive flagship phones on the market, and as such needs to impress in every way, which the iPhone 6S doesn’t quite do. The iPhone 6 remains on sale at a lower price, and the difference between it and Apple’s latest phone is negligible.

iOS 9 review: an upgrade to jump for, or skip?

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