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iPhone 6S Plus review Design Display dashcrab

In 2014 Apple finally gave us an iPhone which offered a display to rival its Android flagship counterparts, while enabling you to really take advantage of the apps, games, movies and TV shows in its expansive libraries.

The iPhone 6 Plus was expensive, but there’s no denying it was well received. Android fans will continue to berate Apple for its seemingly copy-cat ‘innovation’, but the plain fact is that the 6 Pluswas a great handset, with all the power of the iPhone and a much longer battery life.

techradar com reviews phones mobile phones iphone 6s plus
It’s no surprise then, that Apple has returned in 2015 with the refreshed iPhone 6S Plus.

The iPhone 6S Plus inherits the price tag of its predecessor, which means you’re looking at some lofty SIM-free figures. The 16GB model comes in at $749, £619, AU$1,129, but you’ll probably want a bit more storage than that.

In which case the 64GB iPhone 6S Plus will set you back $849, £699, AU$1,379, while the 128GB model – which we tried out for this review – is $949, £789, AU$1,529.

iPhone 6S Plus review

Unsurprisingly that puts the 6S Plus up against the top phones on the market, rubbing shoulders with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5 and Sony Xperia Z5 Premium in terms of price.

It’s also gunning for the LG G4, Moto X Style, OnePlus 2 and Huawei Mate S with its 5.5-inch full HD display.

As you’ve probably guessed from the ‘S’ handle in its name, the 6S Plus is more of an incremental upgrade over the 6 Plus rather than a reimagining of Apple’s smartphone range.

It might be a stretch for current 6 Plus incumbents to justify upgrading to the new iPhone 6S Plus, but it’s got a few fancy features you won’t find on older iPhones.


iPhone 6S Plus review

There’s no mistaking the incremental credentials of the iPhone 6S Plus when it comes to design. It looks identical to the iPhone 6 Plus, and I mean identical. Remember the iPhone 4 and 4S? It’s like that.

In fact, the only obvious marking that differentiates the 6S Plus is the small ‘S’ logo on the rear below the word ‘iPhone’ – although it will be covered by your hand 90% of the time (or 100% of the time by a case).

iPhone 6S Plus review

The sleek, rounded metal body continues to look and feel premium, with the build quality you’d expect from Apple. After last year’s unfortunate ‘bendgate’ fiasco, Apple has looked to reassure people that its latest smartphone duo are tough. This isn’t strictly necessary, given that we’d have expected last year’s models to be strong enough to get through a couple of years of use, but some clarification was needed.

Both the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus sport what Apple is calling ‘7000 series aluminum’, which it claims is a lot stronger. Who wants to volunteer up their new iPhone 6S Plus for a bend test?
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iPhone 6S Plus review

Apple’s stuck with the same button placements too, with power/lock on the right and the volume keys on the left, just below the mute switch. During one-handed use I found I needed to stretch a little to reach them, and those with smaller palms will struggle more.

There is a silver (actually, pink) lining though: the iPhone 6S Plus has a new color! In addition to gold, silver and space grey you can now pick up Apple’s latest supersized smartphone in a fetching shade of ‘Rose Gold’… also known as pink.

The familiar design of the iPhone 6S Plus will be comforting to the Apple faithful, while outsiders may look on with raised eyebrows, mumbling something about a lack of progression from the Cupertino firm. And they may have a point.

iPhone 6S Plus review

On first viewing the screen on the iPhone 6S Plus is the same as its predecessor, with the 5.5-inch panel sporting a full HD resolution and 401ppi pixel density.

That makes it sharper than the smaller iPhone 6S, which only musters a 1334 x 750 resolution, resulting in 326ppi.

Text and images are crisp and clear, colors are vibrant and images pop, especially if you whack the screen brightness up (just keep an eye on the battery life if you do).

iPhone 6S Plus review
The IPS screen is covered in toughened glass with fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, and it does a better job than most at keeping the display relatively print-free.

It’s not perfect, and there were still times I had to give it a quick wipe, but compared to many of its Android rivals the iPhone 6S Plus is less of a smudge magnet.

As I’ve mentioned, hold the iPhone 6S Plus side by side to the iPhone 6 Plus and there are no visible differences between the two, but the 6S Plus has a hidden bonus feature: 3D Touch.


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