Apple iPhone 6s review: The more it changes…

The more it changes…

GSMArena team, 1 October, 2015.

Unboxing the iPhone 6s

The retail package of the iPhone 6s will hardly surprise anyone. The compact cardboard box contains the device itself, a well-packed pair of EarPods, an A/C adapter and a Lightning cable.

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Apple iPhone 6s retail package

The 1A charger is very compact, but it's not going to win any speed competitions - in the day and age of Quick Charge, VOOC and other quick battery topping solutions, what Apple offers is rather disappointing. And if you live in the UK, Ireland, Malta, Hong Kong, or any other country that uses the British standard then you also lose the small size perk as the adapter there is huge.

Apple iPhone 6s 360-degree spin

The new iPhone 6S, as the 's' suggests, pretty much reuses the original design and only upgrades the internals. The additions of the 3D Touch technology and the bigger camera required some minor changes though.

For one, the iPhone 6s is a tad thicker and yet had to sacrifice some battery capacity to accommodate the layer of pressure sensors in the screen. Its dimensions are 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm, compared to the original 138.1 x 67 x 6.9mm. The difference is negligible but it's bad news if you had some tight-fitting cases for your iPhone 6 - they won't fit on the 6s.

What's more readily noticeable is that the iPhone 6s has gained some extra 14g of weight, again down to the pressure-sensitive layer. That's the kind of difference you can feel in your pocket and makes the phone heavier than the Galaxy S6 with its 5.1" screen.

Design and build quality

It may be an entirely different device within, but the exterior of the iPhone 6s is absolutely identical to last year's iPhone 6. Packing just 4.7 inches of screen estate it is still one of the most compact flagships on the market, but its screen-to-body ratio is rather unimpressive (read too much bezel). Apple has been reluctant to do something about that for years now and things are now getting embarrassing - there are phones with 5+" screens that have the same footprint, while phones with equally sized displays usually come in notably smaller packages.

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Apple iPhone 6s

There are some good news though. The iPhone 6s unibody is cast out of 7000 series aluminum instead of last year's 6000 series and it's stronger. Latest tests revealed the iPhone 6S bends at much higher levels of pressure than the previous generation - almost triple actually. So, Apple has put bendgate firmly behind it and skinny jeans are no longer an iPhone's mortal enemy.

The front is covered by an ion-strengthened glass with oleophobic coating - those are pretty much the same specs as in the previous iPhone models and mean the glass is scratch and smudge resistant. The Ion-X glass creates the so-called 2.5D effect thanks to its rounded edge. By the way, Apple claims the new special ion-exchange process makes it the most durable screen glass among smartphones today, but early drop test didn't provide conclusive evidence for that.

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Apple iPhone 6s

So, higher-grade durable glass and aluminum alloy should improve the overall resilience of the phone. It still lacks water and dust resistance, but seeing how Sony is changing its policy on those and Samsung gave up on it for the Galaxy S6 this is less of a disadvantage now than it was last year.

The back of the iPhone 6s is familiar - mostly aluminum, with two plastic bands covering the antennas and a slightly protruding camera ring. The new 12MP sensor is still protected by a small piece of sapphire glass, so you should worry more about scratching your wooden desk rather than damaging the camera piece.

Extra heft might have made carrying it a bit harder, but handling the iPhone 6s is pretty much the same pleasing experience. The phone feels great in hand thanks to the premium materials and finish but you still need to be extra careful as the thin and rounded edges don't have the best grip.

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Handling the iPhone 6s


The iPhone 6S has the same control set as its predecessor. Above the display is where the earpiece, a couple of sensors and the new 5MP selfie camera are.

While the front facer doesn't come with a LED flash, Apple make up for it by letting you use the screen as one. If you turn on the so-called Retina flash the entire screen will light up in white and provide some extra light as long as you keep close to it. It's something we've seen other manufactufrers do for a few years now, but Apple went a step further and gave the backlighting a brightness boost of up to 300% compared to the usual maximum.

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A peek above and below the display

Below the display is the Home button, which also hosts the refined Touch ID sensor. It's noticeably faster than before. About time too! Although Apple brought the technology back from the dead, it's among the last to improve the performance of the sensor. In an ideal world we would have also got an always on mode so you don't have to press the button and wake the phone, but even so the iPhone 6s still has one of the better working solutions on the market.

The volume keys and the silencer are on the left, while the power/lock key and the nano-SIM tray are on the right as usual.

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The left and right sides of the iPhone 6s

There is nothing on top of the iPhone 6s, while the bottom has the audio jack, the primary mic, the Lightning port, and the loudspeaker grille.

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The top and bottom of the iPhone 6s

The iPhone 6s rear side is as familiar as it can get - the camera is there, the second mic and the dual-LED dual-tone flash. The new 12MP sensor allows for wider panorama photos and 4K video recording, while the more powerful hardware enables 120fps capture at 1080p resolution.

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What's on the back

Reader comments

  • Anonymous
  • 03 Jul 2023
  • XV8

It was a decent phone when I first bought it, but its not very good anymore. Sure, 2GB RAM is okay, but not enough. Good for casual usage but was great back I. The mid 2010s. Its slow now, but I would recommend it if you are not going to put mush loa...

  • Anonymous
  • 04 Dec 2022
  • AAX

Not an Apple fanboy at all, but the 6S is the peak longevity of a phone that there has ever been. Released in September 2015 and ran the latest software until September 2022, runs understandably slower but will likely continue supporting most of the ...

  • Lal
  • 11 Aug 2022
  • Gg8

I had bought My 128GB I phone 6S on Nov-2016. Almost 6 Years reaching. I renewed the battery in 2020 from an Authorized apple service center. Within these 6 Years my three secondary android phones I replaced due to complaints. So still i trust Apple ...