's' for ‘spot the difference’?
Unless you’re rocking a new Rose Gold (read: pink) 6s , putting your new handset next to a mate’s could well spark a case of mistaken phone identity. The 6s retains the iPhone 6’s ultra-slimline design and, from the front, you’ll struggle to spot the difference.
Flip both models around and you’ll see it as clear as day. The 6s has been branded with an ‘s’ on its ass.
You could easily get sniffy at the lack of change on show, but it’s worth bearing two things in mind.
Firstly, the iPhone 6 has been the best looking smartphone you can buy for quite some time now. So much so that Samsung’s Galaxy S6 was clearly created with its svelte, aluminium aesthetic in mind. Secondly, what were you expecting? This is how Apple does its ‘s’ upgrades. By sticking to the same design and bumping up its new handset’s internals.
Once again, 3D Touch has inspired the most dramatic difference between the iPhone 6s and 6 - a "shocking" 14g weight gain and 0.2mm jump in thickness that in real life you’ll struggle to notice. This is due to the new glass required to make 3D Touch to work, a fair payoff if you ask us.
The 6s' construction has also been strengthened by Apple. It’s made from 7000-series aluminium - the same material that’s used in the Apple Watch and the aerospace industry. Why? To help avoid Bendgate Round 2 when you put it in your back pocket, like a ninny.
This also means that the 16GB iPhone 6s is more expensive to buy by the kilogram than a Boeing 747 jet. According to our fag packet maths, at least.
More importantly, for fans of statistics that actually mean something, the 143g 6s is slightly heavier than the 138g-weighing Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and Samsung Galaxy S6, but a tad lighter than the 155g LG G4.
Lies, damned lies and PPI statistics
As you might expect, given its near-on indistinguishable design, iPhone 6s sports the same 4.7-inch Retina display as its predecessor. This means it can still only screen 720p video, not the Full HD footage you’d expect. In purely numerical terms this leaves the 6s lagging behind its flagship competition like it’s Kim Dotcom at the Olympics 100m final.
Comparatively speaking its 1334x750 resolution touchscreen offers 326ppi, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S6’s packs a 577ppi punch and the 4K Sony Xperia Z5 Premium knocks it out of the pixel park at 806ppi.
But when you’re talking about screens, big numbers don’t necessarily add up to great-looking images. Regardless of its make-up, the iPhone 6s’ display is as crisp and clear as you’d need it to be to play a fiendish game of Where’s Wally.
Colours look natural on the 6s and it handles motion well. Blacks are deep while colours are bright without venturing into Willy Wonka land exaggeration - a complaint you can often throw at Samsung’s defaultly oversaturated Galaxy phones. Theoretically, a lower resolution screen should also help the 6s retain an all-day battery life too.
Sure, we'd take the extra pixels if offered, but our real wish for the iPhone 6s’s display has nothing to do with its resolution. Take the phone out in strong sunlight and images almost disappear from its screen, so the ability to amp up its brightness even further would help.
TL;DR? The 6s’ screen resolution isn’t a patch on that of other phones, but it's a brilliant display all the same.
All fired up
If all this ambiguity is a tad boring, then the 6s’ new A9 processor is reassuringly brash. Put simply: it’s a speed monster.
A Geekbench 3 test scores its A9 chip’s multicore performance at 4410, trouncing the iPhone 6’s score of 2886. In terms of its Android competition, the A9 chip also trumps the HTC One M9 (4200) and LG G4 (3502). That said, it’s ever so slightly slower than the Snapdragon 810-powered OnePlus 2 (4460) and is left trailing in the dust by the Samsung Galaxy S6’s Exynos 7420 CPU (5200).
What does this all really mean? The iPhone 6s is almost the fastest phone you can buy. It’s not as quick as the Galaxy S6, but you still won’t be left wanting for speed.
In everyday terms, this handset handles the rigamarole of web browsing, maps and social media without a hitch. All its processing power really shines in a heavy-duty game such as Riptide GP2 though, where gameplay flows smoother than Jony Ive’s dulcet tones.
Not once did we experience any stutter that might get in the way of our hydro jet racing career. The phone does start getting a little warm after 15 minutes spent scything through some tremendous waves, but not so much that we were in danger of third degree burns.