iPhone 6s Plus review

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Tick tock. S-year. Enough already. None of that has mattered since 2011. When it comes to the iPhone, each year, every year, Apple sprints flat out. This year that includes a new casing, new glass, new chipset, new cameras, new radios, new input technology, and the list goes on and on. Apple's tagline is "the only thing that's changed is everything" and they mean that sincerely. That not only makes the iPhone 6s Plus interesting, it makes it exciting.

But does it make it new and exciting enough for you? If you have an older iPhone, if you have an Android or other phone, if you have last year's iPhone, is the iPhone 6s Plus a big enough leap forward that you should upgrade? Let's find out!

For people who want:

  • Big 5.5-inch screen.
  • Optically stabilized 4K video.
  • Pressure sensitivity.
  • Ludicrous speeds.

Not for people who want:

  • Smaller phones.
  • Huge cameras or physical keyboards.
  • Wireless charging.
  • Budget phones.

Bottom Line

The iPhone 6s Plus is stronger, faster, sharper, and deeper than ever. That includes tougher casing and glass, the most advanced chipset in mobile, a 12 megapixel camera that shoots 4K video, and 3D Touch, which makes multitouch multidimensional. If you prefer smaller phones, get an iPhone 6s. But if you want to go big, the Plus gives you even more to love.

iPhone 6s Plus Table of Contents

iPhone 6s Plus Video Review

Give us 6 minutes and we'll give you the iPhone 6s Plus!

iPhone Evolution

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Header Cell - Column 0
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhoneiPhone 3GiPhone 3GSiPhone 4iPhone 4SiPhone 5iPhone 5ciPhone 5siPhone 6iPhone 6 PlusiPhone 6siPhone 6s Plus
Code NameM68N82N88N90N94N41N48N51N61N56N71N66
Model NameiPhone 1,1iPhone 1,2iPhone 2,1iPhone 3,1iPhone 4,1iPhone 5,1iPhone 5,3iPhone 6,1iPhone 7,2iPhone 7,1iPhone 8,1iPhone 8,2
Launch OSiPhone OS 1.0iPhone OS 2.0iPhone OS 3.0iOS 4iOS 5iOS 6iOS 7iOS 7iOS 8iOS 8iOS 9iOS 9
Screen Size3.5 inches3.5 inches3.5 inches3.5 inches3.5 inches4.0 inches4.0 inches4.0 inches4.7 inches5.5 inches4.7 inches5.5 inches
Screen Resolution480x320 (163ppi)480x320 (163ppi)480x320 (163ppi)960x640 (326ppi)960x640 (326ppi)1136x640 (326ppi)1136x640 (326ppi)1136x640 (326ppi)1334x750 (326ppi)1920x1080 (401ppi)1334x750 (326ppi)1920x1080 (401ppi)
Screen TypeIPS LCDIPS LCDIPS LCDIPS LCDIPS LCDIPS LCDIPS LCDIPS LCDDD-IPS LCDDD-IPS LCDDD-IPS LCDDD-IPS LCD
System-on-a-chipSamsung S5L8900Samsung S5L8900Samsung APL0298C05Apple A4Apple A5Apple A6Apple A6Apple A7Apple A8Apple A8Apple A9Apple A9
CPUARM 1176JZ(F)-SARM 1176JZ(F)-S600MHz ARM Cortex A8800MHz ARM Cortex A8800MHz dual-core ARM Cortex A91.3GHz dual-core Swift1.3GHz dual-core Swift64-bit 1.3GHz dual-core Cyclone64-bit 1.38Ghz dual-core Typhoon64-bit 1.38Ghz dual-core Typhoon64-bit 1.85Ghz dual-core Twister64-bit 1.85Ghz dual-core Twister
GPUPowerVR MBX Lite 3DPowerVR MBX Lite 3DPowerVR SGX535PowerVR SGX535PowerVR dual-core SGX543MP4PowerVR triple-core SGX543MP3PowerVR triple-core SGX543MP3PowerVR G6430PowerVR GX6450PowerVR GX6450PowerVR GT7600PowerVR GT7600
Co-processornonenonenonenonenonenonenoneM7 MotionM8 MotionM8 MotionM9 (Integrated)M9 (Integrated)
RAM128MB128MB256MB512MB512MB1GB1GB1GB1GB1GB2GB2GB
Storage4GB/8GB/16GB8GB/16GB16GB/32GB16GB/32GB16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/64GB/128GB16GB/64GB/128GB16GB/64GB/128GB16GB/64GB/128GB
Cellular DataEDGE3G 3.6HSPA 7.2HSPA 7.2HSPA 14.4LTE/DC-HSPALTE/DC-HSPALTE/DC-HSPALTE Advanced 150LTE Advanced 150LTE Advanced 300LTE Advanced 300
BluetoothBluetooth 2.0+EDRBluetooth 2.0+EDRBluetooth 2.1+EDRBluetooth 2.1+EDRBluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.0Bluetooth 4.2Bluetooth 4.2
Wi-Fi802.11b/g802.11b/g802.11b/g802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz)802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz, 5GHz)802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz, 5GHz)802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz, 5GHz)802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO
GPSnoneaGPSaGPSaGPSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASSaGPS, GLONASS
SIMMiniMiniMiniMicroMicroNanoNanoNanoNanoNanoNanoNano
Rear Camera2MP2MP3MP/480p5MP/720p, ƒ2.8, 1.75µ8MP/1080p, ƒ/2.4, BSI, 1.4µ8MP/1080p, ƒ/2.4, BSI, 1.4µ8MP/1080p, ƒ/2.4, BSI, 1.4µ8MP/1080p, ƒ/2.2, BSI, 1.5µ8MP/1080p 60fps, ƒ/2.2, BSI, 1.5µ8MP/1080p 60fps, ƒ/2.2, BSI, 1.5µ OIS12MP/4K, ƒ/2.2, BSI, 1.22µ12MP/4K, ƒ/2.2, BSI, 1.22µ OIS
Front CameranonenonenoneVGAVGA1.2MP/720p, BSI1.2MP/720p, BSI1.2MP/720p, BSI1.2MP/720p, BSI1.2MP/720p, BSI5MP/720p, ƒ/2.2, BSI5MP/720p, ƒ/2.2, BSI
SensorsAmbient light, accelerometer,
proximity
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass, gyroscope
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared,
fingerprint
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared,
fingerprint, barometer
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared,
fingerprint, barometer
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared,
fingerprint, barometer
Ambient light, accelerometer,
proximity, compass,
gyroscope, infrared,
fingerprint, barometer
MicSingleSingleSingleDualDualTripleTripleTripleTripleTripleTripleTriple
Connector30-pin Dock30-pin Dock30-pin Dock30-pin Dock30-pin DockLightningLightningLightningLightningLightningLightningLightning
Height4.52 inches (115mm)4.55 inches (115.5mm)4.55 inches (115.5mm)4.54 inches (115.2mm)4.54 inches (115.2mm)4.87 inches (123.8mm)4.91 inches (124.8mm)4.87 inches (123.8mm)5.44 inches (138.1 mm)6.22 inches (158.1mm)5.44 inches (138.3 mm)6.23 inches (158.2 mm)
Width2.40 inches (61mm)2.43 inches (61.8mm)2.43 inches (61.8mm)2.31 inches (58.6mm)2.31 inches (58.6mm)2.31 inches (58.6mm)2.33 inches (59.2mm)2.31 inches (58.6mm)2.64 inches (67.0mm)3.06 inches (77.8mm)2.64 inches (67.1 mm)3.07 inches (77.9 mm)
Depth0.46 inches (11.6mm)0.48 inches (12.3mm)0.48 inches (12.3mm)0.37 inches (9.3mm)0.37 inches (9.3mm)0.30 inches (7.6mm)0.35 inches (8.97mm)0.30 inches (7.6mm)0.27 inches (6.9mm)0.28 inches (7.1mm0.28 inch (7.1 mm)0.29 inch (7.3 mm)
Weight4.72oz (135g)4.69 oz (133g)4.72oz (135g)4.83oz (137g)4.94 oz (140g)3.95oz (112g)4.66oz (132g)4.30oz (122g)4.55 oz (129g)6.07 oz (172 g)5.04 ounces (143 grams)6.77 ounces (192 grams)
Battery1400mAh1150mAh1219mAh1420mAh1440mAh1440mAh1510mAh1560mAh1810mAh2915mAh1715mAh2750mAh
ColorsAluminumBlack, WhiteBlack, WhiteBlack, WhiteBlack, WhiteSlate, SilverBlue, Green, Pink, White, YellowSpace gray, Silver, GoldSpace gray, Silver, GoldSpace gray, Silver, GoldSpace gray, Silver, Gold, Rose goldSpace gray, Silver, Gold, Rose gold
Launch Price$499/$599 on contract$199/$299 on contract$199/$299 on contract$199/$299 on contract$199/$299/$399 on contract$199/$299/$399 on contract$99/$199 on contract$199/$299/$399 on contract$199/$299/$399 on contract$299/$399/$499 on contract$199/$299/$399 on contract$299/$399/$499 on contract
Release Date6/29/20077/1/20086/19/20096/24/201010/14/20119/21/20129/20/20139/20/20139/19/20149/19/20149/25/20159/25/2015

Previously on iPhone...

iPhone 6s Plus Design

The iPhone 6s Plus keeps the same design as last year's model. The rounded rectangular shape, the curved edges, the antenna lines, the buttons, the ports, the camera ring. Same. Same. Same. The way a lot of it has been put together, though, has changed.

iPhone 6 and 6S

iPhone 6 and 6S (Image credit: iMore)

Some of those changes are measurable. The 2015 iPhone 6s Plus is 0.01 inches (0.1 mm) taller, 0.01 inches (0.1 mm) wider, 0.01 inches (0.2 mm) deeper, and 0.70 ounces (20 grams) heavier the 2014 iPhone 6 Plus. The size increase has to do with new materials. The weight, the new pressure sensing technology.

Similar to the move to Retina display in the iPad line, that Apple is willing to allow an increase in what they've spent generations decreasing, indicates just how strongly they believe in these new technologies.

Metal and glass

The iPhone 6s Plus uses 7000 series aluminum for its casing. Like the Apple Watch Sport, the company is using their own custom composition, but it's similar to what's used in the aerospace industry. Alloyed with zinc, it creates the highest tensile strength possible.

Though not a direct reaction to the bending controversies of last year—it's been in the works far longer than that—it does make the iPhone 6s Plus far less susceptible to deformation, both accidental and intentional.

It's finished differently as well. There's a greater friction to it which makes it even easier to grip and hold on to. I never had a problem with the iPhone 6 Plus; even without a case it never once slipped from my hand. But for anyone who did, the iPhone 6s Plus is better.

Apple has also increased the strength of the glass. The iPhone has been using chemically strengthened glass—historically Corning's Gorilla Glass—since Steve Jobs scratched the plastic screen on an early prototype. The process involves submerging the glass in a high-temperature bath where the sodium ions are exchanged for potassium ions. The larger potassium ions create a tension that makes the glass tougher. Apple is using a new dual ion exchange process that the company claims makes it tougher still.