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

Bigger means better

David Phelan
Tuesday 22 September 2015 13:08 BST
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus at an Apple launch event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, USA, 09 September 2015. Media reports indicate a launch of updated iPhone models, updated iPads and a
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus at an Apple launch event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, USA, 09 September 2015. Media reports indicate a launch of updated iPhone models, updated iPads and a (EPA/MONICA DAVEY)

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Louise Thomas

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I’ve written about the new iPhones, the 6s and the 6s Plus here, investigating the new features such as 3D Touch, Live Photos and faster performance in some detail. Here, it’s just the differences offered by the bigger device that I’ll be focusing on.

This time around I’ve used the 6s Plus as my main phone. Last year, I used the smaller of the two handsets. I looked admiringly at people using the bigger phone but figured it was just too hefty for my hands. “Give it a week,” they said, “and you’ll never go back.” They were right.

At first, the 6s Plus feels almost preposterously large, especially if you’re trading up from an iPhone 5 or 5s, say. You feel self-conscious clapping such a piece of glass to your ear to make calls. But these feelings pass as you begin to enjoy having so much screen real estate, longer battery life and a ravishing, higher-resolution display. It really won’t suit everyone, so it’s worth trying it for size before committing, but the advantages, if your mitts can manage, are plentiful.

This time around, the iPhone 6s Plus offers the same improvements as the smaller 6s with, as before, a better camera than its smaller sibling.

Though the design hasn’t changed, the new phone is ever so slightly thicker and heavier than the 6 Plus was. In practice, I could only tell the two apart by holding them together. That and the fact that the new phone comes in rose gold as well as the gold, space grey and silver of the 6s.

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. As with the 6s, a subtle S on the back of the phone also distinguishes it from the current handset, so be sure to put it face down on the table if you want everyone to know you’ve got the latest model.

The extra thickness is down to a stronger aluminium and tougher screen than before, especially relevant here because some early iPhone 6 Plus handsets suffered from getting bent. Though not many were actually reported, it was enough to catch headlines in the earliest days, so Apple is taking no chances this time. Certainly I haven’t spotted a kink or dent in the phone, though I haven’t been trying to flex it.

The new camera on the 6s and 6s Plus is improved, with 12-megapixel resolution and the capability to shoot Live Photos, explained in detail in the 6s review.

The iPhone 6 Plus introduced optical image stabilisation which the 6 and 6s lack. That’s here, too and is now available for videos as well as photos. This means that if you’re shooting in lower light situations, at a party, for instance, the phone can compensate for judders, so your footage is steady even if you’re not.

The other major difference compared to the 6s is battery life. The 6s Plus, like the 6 Plus before it, has much longer battery life than the smaller phone. Even when paired with an Apple Watch, which requires the companion phone to send data at times and therefore reduces the phone’s life, is a full day with ease, often half a day extra.

Although the cell is a little smaller this year, it has made no difference to how long the phone lasts. Of course, one always wants battery lfie to go up but standing still, given that there’s plenty more to use the phone for this time, isn’t bad.


If your hands are comfortable with a bigger phone, the 6s Plus has lots to recommend it. The screen’s full HD resolution is spectacular. There are other phones with higher pixel counts but pixels aren’t everything and Apple’s screen is pretty much unbeaten for glossy, classy good looks. The battery life beats the smaller iPhone comfortably. The new phone is stronger so won’t scratch or bend easily. The improvements in the camera over the 6s are welcome, too. Most importantly, both sizes of phone are significantly better than last year’s models.

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