Apple iPhone 6s Plus review: The bigger picture

The bigger picture

GSMArena team, 5 October, 2015.

Photos offers better search, 3D Touch support, Live Photos

The Photos app offers the same layout and interface we met for the first time in the iOS 8. Your pictures are organized by date and location, if available. The views you can switch between are Moments, Collections and Year - just like before.

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Photos app

Recently Deleted album is available in case you change your mind in the next 30 days.

The Search options in the Photos app has been improved with the option to search by location and date. And this applies not only for the Photos app itself, but Siri as well. That's really useful for those with lots and lots of photos on their devices.

What's a Live Photo? This is an option enabled by default in the camera app and shoots a small video clip (3 seconds) a 1.5s before and a 1.5s after you hit the shutter. We've already seen this on the HTC One and the Zoe feature and they are pretty neat, allowing you keep more lively memories.

We already mentioned the 3D Touch support. It allows you to preview both standard photos and Live Photos in the gallery. It's a pop-up with the picture and you can swipe it up for additional settings (Copy, Share, Delete).

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3D Touch • Image editing

The integrated image editor is really powerful and could improve your photos a lot. You should try and play a bit with it, it's among the best we've seen on a mobile device and while it may offer lots of manual tweaks, its automatic enhancement options are rather good, too.

Limited video player

Unfortunately iOS9 still hasn't done anything about the video player. You can upload only supported formats via iTunes or purchase videos from the iTunes store. This is an extremely disappointing showing by a platform that is supposed to excel at multimedia consumption.

The lack of extra functionality is bad enough, but having to use just an extremely limited number of media format or resorting to converting files, which is both slow and inconvenient, is a real deal-breaker.

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The video player

Luckily there are many powerful video apps in the App Store, so you shouldn't worry that your iPhone can't be a powerful video player. With the right app, it does everything you'd expect a normal device would do - play any kind of videos, with subtitles, and you can even cast it on an external display.

Music with Apple Music support

The iOS 9 music player looks a lot like the one from iOS 8 - it supports (ad-supported or ad-free) iTunes Radio and iTunes Match, as well as iCloud Music library. It syncs with your computer's iTunes library, streams from your Match and/or iCloud songs, as well.

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The Music app with Apple Music

But in case that is not enough, there's also Apple Music now. The service can replace everything music-related feature Apple has launched to date and offer you pretty much the entire music world at the tip of your fingers.

Basically Apple Music does what Google Music or any other similar service does - allows you to stream songs, add them to playlists, and build an entire music library in the cloud. You can also download those songs for offline usage and unlike Google Music, Apple Music allows you to download single songs from albums.

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Beats 1 Radio • Connect with artists • My library

The search option is useful and there is a good chance you can find all of your favorite songs on Apple Music.

Apple knew it can't compete with Google Music, Spotify or Microsoft's Groove by just adding the same features, so it tries to bring you closer to your favorite artists. In addition to smart suggestions, you can follow your favorite musician and make sure you don't miss any important updates from them. Apple made it easier for both the stars and the users to share social content and that's probably the biggest advantage over the competition.

Finally, the Beats 1 radio is available 24/7 and the tracks there are chosen by real DJs, not machine algorithms. Lots of people have been hooked on this idea already.

Apple Music is priced differently in different regions and is accessible from more than 100 countries across the globe. It offers a three month long free trial, after which you have to pay between $2.99 (some Asian markets) and £9.99 (UK) depending on where you live. A $14.99/€14.99/€7.99 per month family plan is also available, and this works for up to 6 persons.

Audio output is mostly great, decently loud

The Apple iPhone 6s Plus results in our audio quality test matched those of its predecessor and its smaller iPhone 6s sibling. It did mostly excellent in the active external amplifier bit but its stereo crosstalk remained rather mediocre.

The good news though is there's virtually no degradation when you plug in a pair of headphones. The spike in stereo crosstalk is so limited that in comparison, the iPhone 6s Plus fares way better here than in the first test.

In both cases, volume levels were just above average. Overall, the output is very good if not quite the best in the current market.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Apple iPhone 6s Plus+0.05, -0.02-93.493.40.00180.0069-71.1
Apple iPhone 6s Plus (headphones attached)+0.15, -0.11-
Apple iPhone 6 Plus+0.04, -0.04-
Apple iPhone 6 Plus (headphones attached)+0.10, -0.04-
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge++0.02, -0.05-93.393.20.0017 0.0070-93.7
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (headphones attached)+0.03, -0.02- 0.038-58.3
Samsung Galaxy Note5+0.04, -0.01-93.693.50.0024 0.0076-94.7
Samsung Galaxy Note5 (headphones attached)+0.02, -0.05- 0.030-84.1
LG G Flex2+0.01, -0.06-92.592.50.0031 0.012-91.5
LG G Flex2 (headphones attached)+0.03, -0.10-92.692.10.0027 0.387-60.1

Apple iPhone 6s Plus frequency response
Apple iPhone 6s Plus frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • Chris

Just want to tell you that I dropped my phone lots of times and the screen is still in good shape. Of course the battery is the weakest point (after all this years), but apart from that, I’m very satisfied with this model.

  • Itz olayinka frosh

Nice one

  • Anonymous

Water-resistant or not