Going into 2018, is the iPhone 6s worth considering?

The iPhone 8, its Plus variant, and the X (iPhone 10) are the current top dogs in Apple’s smartphone lineup, and the 6s model is the oldest going forward. While it isn’t the cheapest (that’s the iPhone SE), it could easily be the most value for convert iOS adopters or existing ecosystem loyalists.

iphone 6s 2018

The 6s proposes future proof, as it embeds features like 3D touch and a chipset that hasn’t aged badly; coupled with Apple’s timely push of its OS’ iterations. But why should anyone consider a device from 2015?

My short answer is: because smartphones are experiential computers and iOS has been proven to be an optimised experience for iPhones. iOS as a platform makes a strong case for the value of the “ageing flagship”. I have previously written about why there is a market for older model devices (see: Appreciating the value of the ageing flagship).

Software

The 6s was released with iOS 9 but is currently at 11.2.1 at the time of writing. iOS 11 brings welcomed improvements; nevertheless, most things have stayed the same. Most notable changes include a more interactive and customizable control centre – which I do appreciate; new notifications and lock screen integration; and subtle changes to app icons and interfaces of inbuilt apps.

On 11.2.1, I have experienced the best battery life so far on iOS 11 – easily lasting me a day of intensive usage.

There are no substantial visual changes with the update to iOS 11. The homescreen is still the familiar horizontal page layout of app icons and a dock underneath. iOS is still indeed a hard sell to someone who wants customizability of their device; beyond increasing contrast – by darkening the colour interface and adjusting the dock’s transparency.

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Design

From a design standpoint, the 6s maintains the build of the iPhone 6. It, however, feels more substantial in hand; compliments of the internal reinforcement, in response to the “bendgate” issue its predecessor faced. Aesthetically, however, there is no difference. The back of the device is mainly plain, except antenna lines, branding and FCC markings.

The right side of the frame is home to the power and volume adjustment buttons. The opposite side house’s the nano SIM compartment and silent mode toggle – which in my opinion should be standard on smartphones. The 6s also introduced the ‘rose gold” color variant to the iPhone lineup.

Performance

Apple’s A9 chip powers the phone; coupled with 2GB of RAM. In iOS terms that’s ample; the iPhone X has just a GB more. The phone comes with four storage options: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB variants. The 6s is responsive and speeds through everyday tasks.

The screen is the same 4.7” LCD, with a resolution of about 750p, like the iPhone 6’s. Within a landscape of competitive specs from Android phones, that’s obviously dated – even at the time of its launch.

Nevertheless, the panel gets bright outdoors and dims real low in dark environments. In typical everyday usage, the screen is surprisingly competent. You only notice pixelation if you are intentionally searching for it.

The Bright Spots

Where iOS shines is in the intangibles. Consider the functionality to go back to the the top of the page, by tapping the top of the screen – implemented system wide; there’s also a fast search system. Such conveniences make the OS a joy to use. However, notification handling feels cumbersome, compared to the experience on Android 8.0 Oreo.

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Multimedia consumption and creation are becoming a significant reason people use smartphones, and the 6s is competent in this department. However, the smaller screen size might not be for everyone. Moreover, the 6s, like previous iPhones, don’t have anything close to the best sounding speakers. While the quality of sound is impressive, especially at lower volumes; overall, the mono setup of the speaker shows as its volume output can be unbearably low.

The smartphone’s camera was top class in its time, and I’ll argue it has aged admirably; when compared to current flagships it is no slouch. The iSight shooter is rated at 12MP, complemented by a 5MP front facing unit – with the ability to use the screen as a flash. Both cameras are quick to focus and can produce decent enough shots in low light; the front facing setup is however noticeably more inferior.

iPhone 6S battery Life

Battery life is not an iPhone’s strongest quality. Besides the plus variants, iPhones are plagued with manageable battery life at best; never nothing impressive. Sub par mAH rated batteries are a mainstay in the iPhone’s spec sheet.

Nonetheless, excellent battery management is what a duly optimized OS provides. Industry spectators have long suggested that Apple compensates for their lack of power quantity with less screen resolution.

Apple, on the other hand, praises the chipset and optimisation for power management. Both make sense; what doesn’t however, is the amount of time the rather minuscule battery takes to charge fully.

The bottom line is if a 9-5 routine mainly calibrates your day, then the 6s can be an all day device; if that routine is dependent on the 6s however, carry along a power source.

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If power banks are not your thing, various battery cases are available for the device. iPhone users enjoy a large selection of accessories to choose from in general – a blessing and curse if one considers the mainly premium prices attached to them.

Conclusion

Even though the 6s is approaching its third birthday, for me, it has been a solid performer daily. However, Apple’s pricing is not encouraging for a large pool of buyers – which is obviously by design. In the UK, picking up a 6s at the moment will cost you over £400 for a 32GB variant; increase the storage and price climbs.

But then the evolution of the iPhone is interesting; iOS has come a long way and can be functional enough for even power users. Apple has constantly challenged our perceptions of what a flagship smartphone should be, and cost. In the quest to innovate, the company doesn’t mind taking away well diffused orthodox standards like the 3.5mm audio jack. Consequently, the 6s is the cheapest reasonably sized screen iPhone, which comes with this port – and this just might be its most favorable attribute.

iPhone 6S Specifications

You just might be interested in having a look at the iPhone 6S’ specifications.

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IB Sam-Epelle

IB 'Hi Beezle' Sam-Epelle is passionate about smartphones and mobile technology; a solution provider; critical thinker; entrepreneur; the founder, Grand-Monumental Ink.

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