Review: iPhone 6s

Review: iPhone 6s

Last year, we failed and interrupted a cycle that had been going on since 2009 when we published our annual reviews of iPhones: 3GS, 4, 4s, 5 and 5s. We ended up covering a lot of iPhones 6/6 Plus in separate articles on the site, we talked about them a lot in our podcast and it took so long to dive into the review itself that, when we realized, it was too late. We apologize to you for that.

of course making a mistake once enough. We already covered the launch of iPhones 6s / 6s Plus, we brought more details, we explained how the Live Photos feature works, we read the story behind the 3D Touch, we found out that they have 2GB of RAM, we show benchmarks, we demonstrated the difference of the Taptic Engine, we presented resistance tests, we checked its water resistance, we dropped the #chipgate, we checked their insides (even the one on the screen, separately) and we brought them our series # iPhone6snoMM with videos of hands-on, unboxing, differentials / news and first impressions.

IPhone 6s case

Now, after a few weeks of use, let's dive into our detailed review of iPhone 6s. Just like last year, I opted for the 4.7 inch model so the focus will be on it. As always, I like to separate my analysis by the same topics chosen by Apple to highlight the new features of the device. Let's go to them, then!

3D Touch

The most striking feature of the iPhone 6s is not visible on the outside. In fact, if you take the device and continue using it as you always have, it may take a while to realize that there is a new layer of interaction there with the interface. the so-called 3D Touch, a new name that Apple gave its Force Touch technology.

The 3D Touch is composed of layers of new sensors in the screen structure that identify the pressure you are doing with your finger, at different levels. This means that you can now not only touch with one finger, touch with multiple fingers, touch and hold, slide, etc. on the screen, but also press it. And, depending on how much you press, you can see different things happening in the operating system or within apps.

Silver iPhone 6s with 3D Touch being used with one hand

The simplest / most obvious example of 3D Touch is on the iOS 9 Home Screen. In the new iPhones, you can press on app icons that have already incorporated this novelty to open a small menu with shortcuts for certain functions. On the Telephone, you can create a new contact or speak directly with people close to you; in Safari, you can open a new tab, show favorites or go to your Reading List; on the Camera, you can take a selfie, record a video, record a video in slow motion or take a normal photo; in Music, you can do a search, have Beats 1 radio play or continue a previous playback; and put it away. Apple offers developers an API for these shortcuts, which fortunately is very simple to implement and is already spreading rapidly.

But Apple would not waste technology so advanced just for shortcuts in icons. If you press and drag your finger on the left side of the screen, you can now access the multitasking interface or quickly return to the last app you were using. When in a list of messages or emails, you can press lightly (what Apple calls "Peek") to see a little bit of the content and, if you press harder (the so-called "Pop"), enters the content as if it had given a simple touch from the beginning. Any link you see, by pressing lightly on it you can quickly check the content of the website in a floating window. In the new iOS 9 Notes, when drawing, the pressure on the screen determines how thick / strong your strokes are. And if you are facing a Live Photo or Live Wallpaper, pressing on the screen you will see everything move.

3D Touch does not change our lives as much as it did, for example, when iPhones gained Retina screens. Or maybe not as much as the Touch ID, something you necessarily use every time you pick up the device. But a technology that gets to your taste very quickly and that is not only fun, but it streamlines our life at different times. It is very strange for me now to switch between my iPhone and my iPad, and try to perform certain actions by pressing the screen of the tablet.

But there is a feature of 3D Touch that really made a difference in my daily use of the iPhone and until relatively little talked about, that is the possibility of you pressing the keyboard to move the typing cursor and pressing harder to make a selection. Friends, once you get used to it there is simply no turning back.

I see a lot of people trying to "convince" themselves that this new thing is a trick on the part of Apple, stating that it does not depend on hardware, but on software. I even understand someone not considering the 3D Touch as a differential enough to justify the purchase of the iPhone 6s, but whoever says that never took one. First, because it still allows the interaction of touching and holding on the same element that can also be pressed; this is the case of the icons of the Tela de Incio, which can still be reordered by touching and holding until they start to shake. After the response of the device is instantaneous pressure, which changes everything.

Taptic Engine

IPhones 6s / 6s Plus are not the first Apple devices to incorporate 3D Touch. Apple still calls it Force Touch, but this same technology it tested first implemented on the Apple Watch. The main difference is that, in the case of the watch, you can press anywhere on the screen and the interaction one after all, it is very small. On iPhones, the system considers both the pressure and the location where you are playing.

But it was in the development of the Watch that Apple realized that the graphical interface was not enough to respond to the pressure of the finger. The user needed to feel this. From there came the Taptic Engine that also came from the watch for Ma's new smartphones.

Taptic Engine is a new component that replaces the old vibrating engine for iPhones. It is bigger (so much so that it even made Apple reduce the battery size of the new devices a little), much faster and more accurate, and also quiet. It is difficult to explain in words, but you feel a different response in your hands depending on the type of interaction you are having. Remember the "Peek" It's from "Pop"? Well, I don't even have to look at the screen to see if I'm in one or the other. The answer is so intuitive that, by a simple and brief vibration, you feel that you do not need to press the screen more than you have already pressed to know if something different is going to happen.


If there's one thing that Apple changes in * every * new generation of iPhones the camera, especially the rear. This time she decided to change both and did something rare: she increased the resolution (number of megapixels) of both.

The iSight camera (rear) went from 8 to 12 megapixels. Even more than that extra amount of points we got in photos, the cool thing is that she now films videos in 4K resolution. The FaceTime HD camera (front) went from a mere 1.2 to 5 megapixels, selfies.

iPhone 6s silver on its side and floating

ISight continued with the same small bump over the back of the iPhone, it features the same True Tone flash and the same f / 2.2 aperture. Another thing that has not changed, and disappointed me a lot, is that only the 6s Plus (5.5 inches) has optical stabilization; that of the smaller model remains only digital, and that makes a tremendous difference especially in videos. But despite the 50% increase in the number of pixels, the gains in quality of images taken by her are not so noticeable when I waited after the launch. The photos taken with the iPhones 6/6 Plus were already excellent and are now slightly better, period.

IPhone 6s FaceTime HD camera with flash

FaceTime HD has already seen a much more noticeable improvement in this generation, and this is good not only for photos but also for video conference calls. Not only did Apple improve its resolution well, it included a chip inside the device that allows its own screen to be used as a front flash. Some apps have done this before, but now the flash is much more effective because this chip makes the screen shine up to three times more than when it was set to maximum brightness.

With the increase in the number of megapixels, the iPhone 6s also allows its panoramas to be much larger than before reaching up to 63 megapixels, now. Just don't play around with it too much, because an image of this size does not weigh anything.

On the other hand, I was upset by the Slow Camera mode (Slo-Mo) have obtained no improvement in this generation; it keeps going up to 240 frames per second in HD 720p resolution or 120fps in Full HD 1080p. My fans, for next year, that we have a new option of 480fps to HD 720p, that of 240fps reaches Full HD 1080p and 120fps v to 4K. Be awesome!

I don't even dare to put here a comparison of photos of the iPhone 6s with previous models, because I would never do a job as well done and complete as the one performed by Lisa Bettany. For the video gallery, we have also published some very interesting ones here on the website.

Live Photos

Since we are talking about the cameras, we will then highlight a new software feature that Apple implemented up there by means of a cone with several circles inside each other: the Live Photos.

With this little icon activated (either using iSight or FaceTime HD), when you take a picture with the iPhone 6s the device captures 1.5 seconds before and 1.5 seconds after shooting. When looking at the photo you see nothing different, but if you press on it you see these 3 seconds in motion including with audio.

As we have already explained here on the website, these 3 seconds do not exactly comprise multiple photos of 12 megapixels each taken in sequence so much that you can still touch and hold the trigger button to take multiple photos at once. To make the feature feasible, Apple uses a special video compression but keeps the original format of the photo in JPEG; at the end of the day, a Live Photo occupies about twice as much as a normal photo. That is, a resource that should be used sparingly. Especially if you choose the 16GB version (I'll talk about that in more detail later).

Live Photos

A Live Photo much less smooth than a normal 3-second video captured by the iPhone, due to its compression and less frames (frames). They remind me a lot of those newspapers that move from the "Harry Potter" films, and in the end the feeling of seeing them is very similar too. If a picture is worth more than 1,000 words, a Live Photo is worth a little more. Depending on the subject of the photograph, the resource may not make much difference, but especially when you are photographing people / animals they can capture moments in a fantastic way. If it's fun to see them now, imagine seeing them in 5, 10, 15 years?

One thing that bothered me a lot when taking Live Photos, Apple practically corrected completely in iOS 9.1, which was the motion capture even when we “lowered” the iPhone right after the shot. Now, we are very used to taking a photo and immediately storing the device so I was already kind of having to "re-educate" myself to keep the iPhone pointed at the subject even after shooting so that Live Photo would look nice. IOS 9.1 now detects and cuts this automatically, that is, your Live Photos will not always be 3 seconds long.

In addition to the iPhones 6s / 6s Plus already coming with some new Live Wallpapers (those famous for fish and some for colored smoke), you can put any Live Photo on your Lock Screen. It is a superb thing for you to demonstrate to friends / relatives.

A9 chip, from iPhones 6s / 6s PlusA9 chip + 2GB RAM

The newest A9 system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple, this time manufactured by both Samsung and TSMC. This is the company's third generation of 64-bit processors and it now incorporates the M9 motion coprocessor inside.

Apple promises up to 70% higher CPU performance compared to the A8 chip, and up to 90% higher GPU performance. These numbers do not tell us much, using the device you feel how responsive and fluid it is even more considering that it is equipped with twice as much RAM as before, now reaching 2GB.

My experience with the iPhone 6 was not bad, but amazing how a few seconds of daily tasks with the device make it better. a pleasure to use the iPhone 6s; I honestly can't think of anything I do with him that has to wait to be executed while I stare at the screen. Everything runs very well, responses are immediate and the 2GB of RAM helps you to run even more applications at the same time or, for example, to have multiple tabs open in the browser without having to be reloaded so often.


Keeping its tradition in "s" lines, Apple has not changed the external look of iPhones 6s / 6s Plus. But she introduced a fourth new color in pink gold and now marks on the back, under the name "iPhone", the letter "s" around a square with rounded corners. If your iPhone 6s / 6s Plus is space gray, silver or gold, you are sure of its generation.

Family of iPhones 6s - gold, silver, pink gold and space gray

But that does not mean that nothing has changed in the housing design. Apple now uses a series 7000 aluminum in iPhones, the same as the Apple Watch Sport line. The structure as a whole of the device is also slightly thicker, that is, with it all Apple killed the famous #bendgate last year. IPhones 6s / 6s Plus are much more resistant and it is practically impossible for them to bend in normal use.

Apple also claims that the new iPhones use the “strongest and most durable” glass of any smartphone on the market. It may even be true, but resistance tests have already shown that, like any glass, they remain relatively easy to scratch and will inevitably crack if they face the floor.

In terms of dimensions, the new iPhones are 0.1-0.2mm larger overall. There are those who say that this is noticeable when holding the device in hand; it was not my case, a very small difference. The weight gain, yes, is more noticeable: + 10%, on average. The combination of all this makes it better to use these devices without a cape, even with the back being completely smooth in aluminum. I got to try using it without for a day, but I still prefer to use it especially to support it in certain places without slipping and also thinking about conserving the device for a possible future exchange.

Just for the record, Apple also hasn't changed the two sizes offered on these iPhones: the 6s has a 4.7-inch HD Retina display with 1334 × 750 pixels (326 dots per inch), and the 6s Plus has a Retina display 5.5-inch HD with 1920 × 1080 pixels (401 dots per inch).

Touch ID

The fingerprint sensor was perhaps the best new feature of the iPhone 5s and, on the iPhone 6, I hoped that Apple would make it a lot better especially in detecting my fingers while a little wet (common when using the device while at the gym) ). This did not happen and, worse, the Touch ID got worse over time.

Two months before taking the iPhone 6s, I changed my iPhone 6 in the United States due to a little problem I was having with the GPS and the “half moon” of the front camera. Interestingly, with this new device my experience with Touch ID had already improved significantly and it became very rare for me to have to repeat the process of identifying my finger.

Touch ID on iPhone 6s

On the iPhone 6s, Apple not only maintained that precision when it came to detecting the fingerprint, as it managed to make the whole process absurdly faster. Now just click on the Start button to turn on the screen that the detection is made at the same moment and, in a fraction of seconds, you are already seeing your icons.

There were people who, in a good-humored way, tried to create a new #gate stating that the Touch ID of the new iPhones was too fast. But no joke: if you just want to see the time or the list of notifications on the Locked Screen, you can not use any fingers registered in Touch ID or, if you are going to use it, choose the tip of it (almost clicking with the nail). I have already gotten used to using my middle finger in these cases, which are not registered in the Touch ID, or else the side button (On / Off or Rest / Wake) of the device.

This improvement is certainly the result of a combination of updated sensor hardware and the very performance offered by the A9 chip in the identification of the fingerprint.


For these new iPhones, Apple promises both Wi-Fi and 4G speeds up to twice as fast as before. I have actually found everything faster, but I can't quite attribute it to wireless chips; it may very well be the sensation provided by the A9 chip and the 2GB of RAM, because before I already reached very good wireless speeds.

Apple has also managed to include a huge number of LTE bands on the same wireless chip as the iPhones 6s / 6s Plus, but the bad news is that there are still a few different models. Here in Brazil, the models sold by the operators T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint in the United States were also approved, also sold throughout Europe. The unlocked version (unlocked) pure from the USA different from ours.

It is important to note that any existing iPhone 6s / 6s Plus model works perfectly on Brazilian 3G / 4G networks, but only the models approved by Anatel are guaranteed in national territory.


I was convinced last year that Apple would abandon the 16GB version as an entry model for the iPhones 6/6 Plus. But she opted for a super-strange path: she doubled the capacity of the other two models only, leaving the line as follows: 16GB, 64GB and 128GB. And she was criticized for that, of course.

What was not everyone's surprise when she saw that she kept the same thing on the iPhones 6s / 6s Plus? It was not enough to be bizarre you pay in the US $ 100 to get 4x more capacity from the first to the second model and $ 100 to get 2x more capacity from the second to the third, 16GB in 2015 is even unacceptable. That perhaps still existed in the models of previous generations still on sale, but in a state-of-the-art device capable of shooting in 4K? Not in line with Apple's general proposal.

I fully understand the company's marketing strategy of stimulating the sale of the larger models by giving them a much higher cost / benefit compared to the entry version, but the problem in this whole story that there are a lot of people who “think” 16GB will be enough . Or a lot of people who decide to give an iPhone to someone as a gift and, of course, opt for the cheapest model without taking it easy.

I am aware that there are people in the world who are satisfied with 16GB; well, there are certainly iPhone owners who don't use even half of that. But a very small portion of people, and they would be equally well served if the entry model was 32GB. It does not matter that the user occupies only a part of the available space, which is not enough to accept his space to end up very easily / quickly, without much effort. Many of you are about to prove that you bought a 16GB model "thinking" it would be enough and regretted it bitterly afterwards.

Apple can affirm as much as it wants that nowadays cloud storage services justify the existence of a 16GB device, but in this case it has nowhere to run: its choice is solely and exclusively commercial, whether to have a profit margin higher in the sale of 16GB models, or to stimulate the sale of 64GB models. Ball out, total.

Colorful 6s iPhones flying

On the other extreme, the top-of-the-line model having remained at 128GB is entirely up to standard. My iPhone 6 was already 128GB and I confess I was even in doubt to get a 128GB one again or “make one downgrade”For the 64GB model, because I was only using a little more than half the capacity and could adapt myself in some way. I ended up opting for the 128GB even thinking about not having concerns about photos / videos, but the fact that both 64GB and 128GB meet the needs of the vast majority of people and, currently, a 256GB model would be for a niche niche. Who knows in 2017?


Going against what most users dream of an iPhone (an absurdly better autonomy), Apple didn't even mention the battery issue this time. That's because, as we said, both the battery of the 6s and the 6s Plus physically decrease a little.

Still, probably due to the greater efficiency of the A9 chip and iOS 9's own software optimizations, Apple promises the same autonomies for both models as before: 14 hours of 3G conversion on the 4.7-inch, 24-hour model not 5.5 inches, 10 and 16 days in standby mode, 10 and 12 hours in 3G / 4G browsing, 11 and 12 hours in Wi-Fi browsing, 11 and 14 hours of video playback, or 50 and 80 hours audio reproduction.

In practice the experience is well put into action, even. I felt absolutely nothing different about the battery life of my iPhone 6s compared to the iPhone 6. Of course, the larger model makes a huge difference but it already did in last year's generation. This, combined with the optical stabilization of the camera, makes the Plus model a great option for those who don't mind carrying a bump up and down.

iOS 9

I used iOS 9 for a few weeks on the iPhone 6 before picking up the 6s, and I can say that in terms of the operating system itself there is no noticeable difference between them, obviously discarding the performance gains provided by the new hardware.

There are only two, the system differentials between the iPhone 6s and the previous ones. The first is pretty obvious: all layers of interaction related to 3D Touch. The second polemic: the “E a Siri” ("Hey Siri") now works all the time, even if the iPhone is not recharging. Apple claims that this was possible thanks to optimizations in the M9 coprocessor, but users in the world jailbreak claim that in old devices it works well without affecting the battery so much.

iOS 9 on iPhones

I have liked iOS 9 since I updated, but I confess that version 9.1 left it as it should have arrived in 9.0. Now I can really recommend it to everyone.

Among the novelties of the new version, the ones I liked the most were the new multitasking interface (access it through 3D Touch, on the iPhone 6s, very cool), the improvements in the interface of the Photos app (especially the bottom navigation bar) and the news of Notes (although it is not an app that I use daily).

This is, of course, a purely evolutionary update; but none the less welcome. This is the case with iPhones, of course, because on iPads (especially the latest models) the changes were dramatic.

After all, did everything really change?

Taking Apple's slogan as the basis for the conclusion of this review, I answer the obvious: no, of course it hasn't changed everything. But it hasn't changed much either. Incidentally, I would say that it was the “s” generation that brought the most improvements to date.

Front and side iPhones 6s and 6s Plus

But the correct term is this: improvements. The iPhone 6s is better in practically every way, improving the experience of using a smartphone that was already considered "perfect" by many. You don't feel it just by holding an iPhone 6s in hand and maybe not even realizing it using a store demo unit; on a day-to-day basis, due to the sum of all that I detailed above, that you realize how cool it is.

Still, it is difficult to recommend the purchase of the iPhone 6s to anyone who already has an iPhone 6. Not exchanging six for half a dozen, but also not a small investment to be made for not so remarkable improvements even considering that you “slaughter” this investment resale value of the current device, if it is not passed on to a relative for example.

But for those who have an iPhone 5s or earlier, the combination of news / enhancements from the last two generations is really gigantic. You will have a bigger, faster, more resistant / durable device with much better cameras. The “numerical” generations bring more noticeable changes, but the “s” generations are usually much more round and well resolved in general. It is a device with which you are unlikely to have a problem. And please don't even consider the 16GB model.

It is good to see that Apple continues, year after year, to improve something that is already excellent. The expectation that iPhones 6s / 6s Plus will arrive in Brazil in November, with prices starting at R $ 3,999.