Apple iPhone 6s: the specs review


Ahh, nothing like a new iPhone reveal to get the tech press going! At a glance, the iPhone 6s has all it takes to enthral the masses and make Android competitors question their practices and beliefs harder than ever. After all, this is the smartphone they will be pushing against for the next 12 months, so they better have what it takes to whisk attention away from Apple's iOS centerpiece! Anyway, we'll be doing an initial review of the new iPhone's spec sheet, mostly taking a look at the improvements made in the smartphone's display, processor and camera components. These are the areas Apple accented upon most heavily, and for all we know, the iPhone 6s is every bit of an improvement over the very successful iPhone. Come on, let's have a look!

Design


Not much has changed on the surface since the iPhone 6 introduced an updated look with a laminated screen and comfortably round corners. This time around, though, Apple is beating its chest for incorporating Series 7000 aluminum instead of the anodized aluminum it's been traditionally using. Anodizing increases the material's resistance to corrosion and wear by adding an oxide layer outside of it. Combined with dye, the process is also used for coloring metal.

7000 Series aluminum, however, is a different alloy that combines aluminum, zink, and magnesium for a significantly tougher, but harder to work with material. Apple altered the recipe in unspecified ways, creating a material 60% stronger than most aluminum at one-third the density of stainless steel. The stuff is also used in the Apple Watch Sport, and hopefully, it's going to make the iPhone 6s less prone to damage such as, you know, bending and such.

At 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches (138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm) the iPhone 6s matches the size of its predecessor. It's certainly one of the most reasonably sized smartphones around, even if the screen to body ratio of 66% isn't exactly an example of efficiency.


Display


Save from the addition of a pressure-sensitive layer, which we will refer to in a minute, the screen on the iPhone 6s is virtually unchanged from what the iPhone 6 brought to the table. This is a 4.7-inch panel with the odd-but-works-for-Apple resolution of 750x1334 pixels, which accounts for an acceptable pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. It's a fine example of an IPS LCD screen, even if its properties don't have the sheer impressiveness of Samsung and LG's Quad-HD displays, not to mention the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium's outlandish 4K screen. While we don't the have exact display measurements, we expect what has become typical of Apple screens — a tolerably cool color temperature, nicely evened out color balance, near perfect gamma response, and fantastic viewing angles. It is these characteristics, and not obscenely high pixel counts or super wide color gamuts that make for a high quality display, though we don't have anything much against the latter!

Now, about that 3D Touch thing we mentioned. Borrowed from the new MacBook's trackpad and the Apple Watch before it, the technology relies on tiny electrodes surrounding the display that let users deliberately choose between a light tap, a press, and a "deeper" press, triggering a range of specific controls. In the Apple Watch, we saw how pressing firmly on its screen brings up additional controls in apps and allows for additional interaction. Right now, the technology is merely being toyed with and emulated by other manufacturers, such as Huawei, but as a the first new frontier in interactive surfaces since multi-touch, its potential could expand to building fingerprint sensors and other interactive elements inside screens. It could potentially let Apple get rid of the home button one day, although removing such a long-standing element would have to be a very radical decision.


Processor and Memory


The iPhone 6s introduces a major hardware upgrade in the form of the new A9 chipset and an alleged increase to 2GB of RAM memory. The A9, which is fabricated by Samsung and TSMC's foundries, has not been properly documented yet. However, we know that the chip is produced on a 14nm or 16nm process, rather than the A8/A8X's 20nm process. Thanks to that, the A9 packs more transistors on the same surface area as the A8, theoretically boasting better performance and power efficiency characteristics.

Some early benchmarks that originate from a Chinese source suggest that the A9 enjoys an around 19% jump over the A8, and a 6% improvement over the A8X in single-core performance, in addition to a 69% multi-core improvement over the A8 (8% from the A8X). That sounds like a steady growth in processing power, certainly in the ballpark of what could be expected of Apple. Moreover, we've heard that the A9 relies on a quad-core setup, with two cores pushed to 1.7GHz and two cores at around 1.2GHz. The A8X before it uses a triple core design, so this leap is certainly within the realm of possibility.

To provide another perspective, the Apple A9 could very well be in the same league as the 2009 iMacs, 2010 MacBook Pros, and 2011 MacBook Airs in terms of raw performance, yet more power-efficient to the point of not requiring external cooling. However, this is mostly speculation we're dealing here, so hold your horses until we're able to throw more reliable information your way!


Camera


The iPhone 6's camera setup has been eligible for an upgrade for a long time, and Apple finally delivered — a restrained, but certainly thought-out 12MP rear camera bump (up from 8MP), and a comparatively generous increase to 5MP for the front cam (from just 1.2MP). Photo quality improvements aside, the most notable new addition is 4K (3840x2160) video recording, which puts the iPhone's camcorder on par with Android flagships.

The 12MP imaging sensors are sourced from Sony, and there's little that we know about them at this point, other than that they incorporate RGBW subpixel technology for better low-light performance. This technology uses an extra white (W) subpixel, arranged alongside the RGB sub-pixels, to compensate for the smaller-sized pixels in the sensor. We've seen a sensor of this type in action with the Huawei P8, and we came off pretty satisfied with the way it handled itself across different scenarios. However, RGBW itself didn't make for stand-out photographic performance in any regard. It will be up to the ones responsible for the camera algorithms at Apple to make the most out of the camera sensor.


Battery life


The iPhone 6s has a battery at about 1500-1900mAh capacity. We don't know for sure at the moment, but we can't see Apple going beyond this capacity, given the smartphone's dimensions. Its predecessor managed to rack up a score of 5 hours, 22 minutes, which is far from the Galaxy S6 edge+'s impressive result, but still decent for most people. Unfortunately, the iPhone 6s Plus couldn't catch up to the fast charging developments of Android for some reason. Maybe Apple is being complacent. Maybe integrating fast charging or wireless charging comes at the expense of something else that's more valuable to the typical iPhone user. Only the gang at Cupertino knows, but regardless, fast charging tech is pretty high on our list of iPhone demands, and the same goes for any other up and coming expensive smartphone, actually!


Conclusion


The iPhone 6s goes pretty far for what's considered an incremental upgrade by Apple standards. The increase in hardware and camera power is quite welcome, and the addition of Force Touch makes for a nice usability improvement, not to mention being a classic case of Apple introducing polished (hopefully) new technology for users and app developers to tinker with. For what it is, the iPhone 6s makes for a good, meaningful yearly upgrade over its predecessor.

Related phones

iPhone 6s
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Apple A9 APL0898, Dual-core, 1840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 1715 mAh(14h 3G talk time)

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33 Comments

1. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

iPhone is simply the best and outperforms androids best flagship on lesser specs. Incredible.

5. Iodine

Posts: 1480; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Look Apple also got strong specs. But they aren't simple numbers anybody can look at and say "More is better.", that are placed on paper for showing off and advertizing..

9. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

No doubt their optimization is top-notch. Where they consistently fail is in real world use, and for the specs, they do underperform when you take into account camera quality, RAW support, OTG compatibility, battery life, screen quality, wireless charging, charge speed, ease of media and document transfer to and from device, screen to body ratio, UI customization, and durability. The primary reason people think iPhones are better is they either want a very basic device, or they drank the Kool-aid.

17. ericnichols1999

Posts: 53; Member since: Apr 21, 2014

Finally a reasonable person in PA comments

30. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

Agree!!!!!

16. rick_mobile

Posts: 358; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

Welcome to 2014 apple.

21. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

"outperforms androids best flagship on lesser specs" they don't optimize it for your sake, they do it to make more profit from the device. I don't know why you are happy about it as comsumer.

24. vuyonc

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

750p display when 1080p phones are half the price with good enough colour representation: check. Adopted 4K video over 2 years after Android did: check. 4K video available on a non-expandable 16GB phone: check. Removed the amber LED flash from the iPhone 6: check. Hohum video playback/internet browsing battery life even when efficient Quantum Dot IPS displays and FinFET processes are available: check. No confirmed UFS 2.0 to further improve speed: check. No word on stereo audio recording unlike every other Android or WP flagship: check. Hideous camera hump remains: check. Battery was rumoured to be smaller: check. 2GB RAM not confirmed: check No confirmed fast charging: check. No wireless charging: check. The only things going for the iPhone are the dope processor and the cameras but even then the SD820 might have the efficiency advantage. Get off the shill pill, bruh.

25. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Yes, because the s6 edge with only 750p screen will lag, also you do have a very good CPU with ther screen as its setup for your 2 core os

2. VigneshRaja

Posts: 49; Member since: Dec 17, 2014

Why review specs while you are not sure of those?

3. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

Page hits lol

4. zelase

Posts: 59; Member since: Apr 20, 2014

Its zinc NOT ZINK lol!!

26. jdot104

Posts: 95; Member since: Jun 17, 2011

X___X

6. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

The A9 Is Certainly A Beast Of An Soc Even If We Don't Know The Official Specs Yet. Seriously Might Pick Up The New 6s Even Tho I Have A GS6 Just For The Hell Of It.

7. carlemillward unregistered

This is not specs, it's speculation. But good click bait, nevertheless.

18. ericnichols1999

Posts: 53; Member since: Apr 21, 2014

specsulation ;)

8. Busyboy

Posts: 731; Member since: Jan 07, 2015

Did a live chat with Apple, can confirm the 2gb RAM

10. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Personally I don't see the reason to upgrade. Even better I will get Iph6 for a 100 cheaper.

11. pixelated

Posts: 108; Member since: May 03, 2015

No innovation!!!

12. janis

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

this apple even was complete BS, multitasking, windows using for how long? multi windows? stylus?force touch Huawei mate s? all that useless stuff that sounds so cool, how about real stuff that makes difference in everyday use, like battery life, better screen, screen body ratio? as i see new iphone 6s is huge fail, only phone, flagship with that bad screen, battery life and body size/ screen size..just for $900

27. manzer

Posts: 57; Member since: Apr 05, 2014

I agree. That's a lot of money for a phone that won't last a standard work day.

31. Trex95

Posts: 2381; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Huge fail and still more than any Android flagship Around lmao.

13. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

What was the point of this article. Basically you know what we know. Everything else in this article is you guys guessing.

14. superkuiken

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 24, 2013

Does the iPhone 6s plus still have OIS on the 12mp sensor?

15. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

I want to know if they both have ois or not... Wish apple would release the specs of the phone.

19. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Want to be sure about ram. No increase then Note 5 it is.

20. flipjzn

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

I LIKE Apple products but i'm not even excited to upgrade from my jailbroken iPhone 6.

23. combatmedic870

Posts: 984; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

Especially since ios9 is said to be not jailbreakable.

22. Wrightdj21

Posts: 19; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

Ya that is the point hire 15 times the developers for Android and then out otipmization would be as on par with Apple's but our phone specs out do an iPhone with ease.

28. georgeanton

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 10, 2015

Hello everyone, can anyone please tell me what phone arena mean with "service lights"? you can find this as a new entry in the iphone 6s specs on "other features"->"notifications". I see that also galaxy s6 has it but the old iphone 6 didn't have it. Thank you for your help

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