Home / Reviews / iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Review: The Only Thing That’s Changed Is Everything, Part 2: The Bad
Credit: CNET

iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Review: The Only Thing That’s Changed Is Everything, Part 2: The Bad

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus: Cons

As with every smartphone, there is both good and bad, and Apple’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus both have drawbacks. Having already examined the faster A9 processor and M9 motion coprocessor, increased 12MP camera from the 8MP of previous models along with 4K video recording and the new Live Photos feature, stronger aluminum-grade design, and additional GB of RAM, we now review the drawbacks of both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

Battery

battery iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Plus
Credit: iFixit

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have, for some unknown reason, been shrunk from last year’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Whereas the iPhone 6 had a 1,810mAh battery, the iPhone 6s has a 1715mAh battery. The iPhone 6 Plus had a 2,915mAh battery, while the iPhone 6s Plus has a 2,750mAh battery.

Now, these slightly smaller batteries can create cause for concern for those who have had and used iPhones in the past, but what should concern you most is that Apple isn’t promising any increase in battery endurance or performance with the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus; instead, according to the company website, you’ll still get the same 14 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of 3G web browsing, 10 hours LTE browsing, and 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing with the iPhone 6s. With the iPhone 6s Plus, you’re still promised the same 24 hours of 3G talk time, and 12 hours of web browsing (LTE, 3G, and Wi-Fi). Most tech reviewers have said that the iPhone 6s will likely get you 10.5 hours (at most) of battery life, with the iPhone 6s Plus getting about 2-3 hours less than the 24-hour promise (22 hours or less). Benchmarks confirm slightly less battery life than the iPhone 6s Plus’s predecessor.

Credit: AnandTech
Credit: AnandTech
Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple

With that said, those who’ve used the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus for some period of time confirm that, unlike Apple’s statement that “the only thing that’s changed is everything,” the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have not changed in the area of battery life (you can throw in screen resolution, display size, and price tag, too). You can expect the same battery life, and, in some cases, worse battery life than before. What does this mean? Prepare to continue “wall-hugging.”

In 2015, it’s simply unacceptable to continue promising 10 hours of battery life for Apple’s entry-level iPhone. The iPhone 6s Plus will get you a day of battery life, but this is unacceptable, too, when Apple’s Full HD display in the iPhone 6s Plus is stacked up against the arsenal of high-end Android smartphones that provide more than a day of battery life on a single charge and feature Quad HD displays. Of course, iPhone 6s users wouldn’t complain if they had the iPhone 6s Plus battery (not the phone, just the battery size) in the lower-level iPhone, but Apple seems intent on making you pay for the added battery convenience. With the addition of 4K video recording and Live Photos, however, even bigger battery life is needed to enjoy these things. What good is 4K video recording if your battery can’t sustain it? Why even turn on Live Photos if it cuts your battery life in half?

3D Touch

3D Touch iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Plus
Credit: Apple

Yes, we know it seems odd that 3D Touch, Apple’s shining feature, would be placed in the “cons” section. Before your blood pressure rises and your heart starts beating fast, however, you should know that 3D Touch is not a terrible feature within iOS 9. We’re glad to see Apple incorporate something more than the barebones OS iOS has been in years past, and it’s nice to see something pre-loaded with which you don’t hear, “download it [desired feature] from the App Store.” Manufacturers have a responsibility to spruce up software features as much as hardware features, and Apple’s taken on this responsibility with a good software feature for its customers.

At the same time, however, 3D Touch highlights the fragmentation within iOS. You may have never thought you’d hear the word “fragmentation” with iOS, but it’s there. 3D Touch works with existing Apple apps that are pre-loaded onto the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but it won’t work with third-party apps such as news apps like Flipboard and Appy Geek, for example. It won’t work with games, currently, though 3D Touch is sure to take off in the coming months and years. Currently, though, it seems like a new half-baked feature that doesn’t produce the “hardware and software coherence” message Apple touts in its “If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone” commercials, and many consumers will find it annoying and turn it off.

Aside from its implementation within iOS 9, the name “3D Touch” itself is problematic: after all, you can’t have “3D” in the name of a feature that involves contact with a 2D screen only. The screen is 2-dimensional, so, at best, the feature is 2D Touch or something like “Zoom Touch” because touching the screen and pressing hard zooms in on the material you want (even the document you’re retrieving in Apple’s Mail app, for instance). Even “Preview Touch” would have been a better name for it, but “3D Touch” as a label is a misnomer. Nowhere is any 3D technology of any sort used to create the effect (if it is, I stand corrected).

With that being said, though, some will find it useful to have an array of options present before entering an app; it cuts down on time and makes finding your data fast and easy. Still, with only a small portion of iOS 9 utilizing Apple’s new feature, it’s something akin to what iPhone users say about Samsung’s old features in its earlier Galaxy lineup: “gimmicks that work only half the time.” That may not be the case in the future, but, by then, a next-generation iPhone will arrive and you won’t care about the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus anymore.

Storage

iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Plus 16GB
Credit: Business Insider

The last drawback to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus concern storage. Apple once had 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models as its storage options, but the company eliminated the 32GB variant and created a 128GB variant for those who want as much storage as they can get. Apple decided to slash the price of its 64GB model to encourage users to upgrade to a higher-storage model, but the goal itself was intended to make more money. When you consider that storage for each iPhone is no more than $8-$10, tacking on an additional $100 for 4 times the storage seems to be greenback-motivated.

Apple has also introduced a feature into iOS 9 called App Thinning that reduces the amount of data you must download for each app so as to conserve as much of your 16GB of storage as possible, but this is like the person who tries to patch up his or her house roof with duct tape or the person who rearranges his boxes in his room but hasn’t expanded his space. Why not just give users 32GB of storage as the base amount? Even if you have more of your 16GB of storage available, 16GB of storage is still too small when you consider that many games in the App Store are 1GB or more to download. With a 16GB storage model, you’d be lucky to download 15 games (social media apps will eat away at the space you have for games).

For $700 USD (the amount may be even higher where you live), iPhone 6s users should get more than 16GB of storage. When you look at Android rivals that are providing 32GB storage minimum with their entire high-end lineups, 16GB storage models for Apple’s high-end devices seem strange and are unsatisfactory for the user experience. Keep in mind, too, that the 16GB will quickly be filled with 4K video recording content. 4K video recording matters little if there’s little storage with which to enjoy it.

Conclusion

iPhone 6s iPhone 6s Plus Apple slogan
Credit: Apple

A lot of reviews you read will differ from ours and point to the “potential” (the magic word used most often) of 3D Touch for the smartphone industry as a whole down the line, but you should not base your purchase of an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus on what its shining feature “could be” in the future. You’ve likely never bought a car based on what it could do in a few years, or any other tech product for what it could be later.

Buying an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus is not like putting money in a CD account at your bank that can roll over and gain you big money in a few years. By the time the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus “fulfill their potential” as tech reviewers say, the iPhone 9s and iPhone 9s Plus will be out – and will be the phone you wish Apple had crafted instead of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Anything can be made appealing if you look in the future and dream of what it could be. The problem with this mindset, though, is that the customer will use this phone for two years at least and must base his or her purchase on what the phone does now, in the present.

So, if you look to purchase the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, do so based on what it offers you now: increased RAM, processor(s), improved cameras, iOS 9, and even pick up the new Rose Gold (a.k.a. Pink) color option. However, buying the 6s or 6s Plus based on what 3D Touch will be is no different than buying the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus based on what iPhone battery life (or iPhone storage) will be in the future. Not everything has changed in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but whether or not that sways you to stay with Apple or buy some other brand is up to you.

You can view Part 1 of our iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus review here.

About Deidre Richardson

Deidre is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who discovered her interest for tech a little later in life. Since meeting the Samsung Galaxy S3, however, her life has been changed — and tech’s become such a big part of it. She currently owns four Samsung phones (GS3, GS4 Active, Note 3, GS5), and has owned the Galaxy Gear and Gear S smartwatches. In addition to Yologadget, Deidre writes for SamMobile.com, the largest Samsung fan site on the Web, as well as Smartwatch.me, and general tech site Aptgadget.com.