This is our special guest writer Sean’s inaugural review.  He specializes in smartphones and other mobile tech, and is a terrific addition to our now 3-man team.  To learn about him, check the About page! His posts are published under my account for now only because Christian and I have not agreed to make him an admin yet.  We hope you enjoy his review!

It’s been more than a year since Apple released the iPhone 6s. Since then, Apple has gone on to release the iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus. However, with the price drops that occur on older phones to accommodate the new, the iPhone 6s is still a very tempting option. In this in-depth review, we’ll cover everything from specs to the price, so that you can decide if this phone is worth your money.

Price:

Due to the release of the iPhone 7, the price of the iPhone 6s has dropped. The prices for the phone are: $549 for the base 32gb model, and $649 for the 128gb model.

Design:

The iPhone 6s is almost identical in design to its predecessor, the iPhone 6, and very similar to the iPhone 7. The phone is thin, light, and has an aluminum back. The aluminum casing is made out of 7000 series aluminum, which is very durable. The phone is quite slippery in the hand due to this aluminum, so it is best to buy a case to go with the phone. The Gorilla Glass 4 used on the phone’s screen isn’t bad, although drops from waist height and with the screen down will cause the phone to crack. The camera protrudes slightly, although this is not very noticeable from day to day usage, especially with a case. The phone currently comes in 4 colors: gold, rose gold, silver, and space gray.

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Sleek.

Screen:

The iPhone 6s sports a 1334 by 750 LCD display, with a pixel density of 326 ppi. While not shabby, it is not the greatest of screens on a smartphone. The lack of pixel density – compared to other flagship phones – is not very noticeable, and with normal usage, it should not affect your experience greatly. The iPhone 6s comes with a pressure-sensitive screen, which Apple refers to as 3D-touch. Essentially, this allows your phone to detect how hard you are pushing on the screen. This allows your phone to give you shortcuts to different features of an app. While some found it useful, I did not use 3D-touch often. The only shortcut I commonly used was the phone shortcut, which allows you to make calls to your “favorite” contacts with one tap. 3D touch has the potential to be very useful; however, for now, it is mostly a gimmick.

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The aforementioned 3D-Touch

Camera:

The iPhone 6s has a great camera. The 12 megapixel f2.2 iSight is great for photos and videos. A 12 megapixel sensor allows the iPhone 6s to shoot stunning 4K video. Although the camera app does not give you as much control over your shots as other Android phones do, the camera on the 6s is very reliable, and I rarely needed to edit a shot. The 240 FPS slow motion video is also great, although there must be a sufficient amount of lighting for video to appear bright enough. One major drawback of the camera is that the storage that came on the base model of the phone during its release was only 16 GBs. This was far too little for a phone capable of 4K video, and I was forced to decrease the resolution on the videos to 1080p. The front facing camera is great, and is detailed enough to give great selfies.

Performance:

The iPhone 6s is a BEAST in terms of performance. Despite having “only” a dual-core processor, the iPhone 6s easily outperforms every smartphone in the market today with the exception of the iPhone 7- its predecessor. The 2GBs of RAM provided is more than enough- the iPhone 6s out performs phones with up to 6GBs of RAM. Simply put, the iPhone 6s is a wickedly fast phone that will almost never lag or freeze. I personally think that Apple made the iPhone 6s too fast – the iPhone 7 is only marginally faster than the 6s, despite being a quad-core chip with a clock speed of 2.34 GHz.

Software:

The iPhone 6s runs on iOS 10.  iOS 10 brings many new features, including a fully updated iMessage app and improved Siri- a personal assistant, raise to wake up phone, and many other features. I will not go in depth on iOS 10 because software preferences are personal- some like the simplicity of iOS, while others may like the customization that Android provides.

Speakers, Fingerprint Scanner, and Calls:

The speakers on the iPhone 6s are not the greatest. They face downwards, meaning that most sound is directed to the side when watching videos, not towards the viewer. The speaker is by no means bad, however with phones such as the HTC 10 with its Boomsound speakers, the iPhone’s speakers are easily dwarfed.  The fingerprint scanner is wicked fast – so fast that Apple was forced to include the raise to wake feature in iOS 10 as too many people complained that their fingerprint would be registered so fast that they could not read their notifications. This was an issue for me as well, as I, like most people, press the home button to view the notifications. The fingerprint scanner was so fast that it would register even the slightest touch, resulting in the phone immediately unlocking. The raise to wake feature solves this problem, making the ridiculously fast fingerprint scanner flawless. Call quality on the phone is average – I did not have any problems hearing people on the phone, although most smartphones are capable of this as well.

Battery:

The iPhone 6s has a decent battery, coming in at 1715 mAh. I found myself charging before the end of the day so I got a battery case. However, if you don’t use your phone that often, or have a battery pack or charging case, then the relatively small battery of the iPhone 6s should be sufficient.

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Thin but at the cost of a smaller battery

Verdict:

The iPhone 6s is extremely fast, dependable, and gets the job done. Although it is not the newest and greatest available right now, it’s combination of great performance, a good camera, and a simple but elegant OS makes the phone a great package. And because of the release of the iPhone 7, the 6s is now $100 cheaper than its original MSRP, and it has more base model storage (32GBs instead of 16GBs). If you want a “budget” phone with great performance, then the iPhone 6s is still a great phone to pick.

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