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Reviews roundup: iPhone 6s and 6s Plus first impressions

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With release day right around the corner and pre-orders already sold out, early reviews for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have arrived.

The new iPhones – though aesthetically almost identical to last year’s models – have much-improved internal specs, enhanced front and back cameras with 4K video recording, and flagship new features like 3D and Live Photos.

We’ve rounded up the first impressions from some of the biggest tech blogs and distilled their long-form reviews into bullet-pointed quotes for easy digestion – you’re welcome. So, what do the experts think of this year’s iPhone update?


TechCrunch‘s Matthew Panzarino points out that Apple is now taking its iterative ‘S’ upgrades very seriously because of the quality of the competition. He’s particularly impressed by the camera capabilities and thinks that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are very much worth your attention.

  • Siri works better than ever, is more aggressive about offering you options and feels very, very useful.
  • 3D Touch is not the new right-click. It allows you to retain your context while adding something to your calendar, peeking at an email or sneaking a look at a link.
  • Live Photos work best when capturing ambience, not action. I find them to be very, very powerful.
  • [Editing 4k video] takes a mind-boggling amount of processing power and Apple’s on-board chip is more than capable.
  • The video and still images coming out of the iPhone just got seriously good. Apple is taking its position at the top of the world’s most used cameras very, very seriously.
  • The new fingerprint sensor is so fast that you can no longer tap the home button to wake your screen, because it will unlock instantly.


Christina Warren from Mashable is a fan, noting just how good the performance of the iPhone 6S is under-the-hood. The flagship new features impressed but she’s concerned that the storage and battery life weren’t improved. Overall she thinks it’s a decent upgrade over the iPhone 6, but probably not worth breaking your contract for.

  • The iPhone 6S is fast. It’s theoretically faster than anything on the market and in practice, it never lags and never stutters.
  • [2GB RAM] makes loading games and web pages faster and smoother.
  • 3D Touch is something that once you use, you won’t be able to stop. It makes the iPhone feel more like a power user’s tool, and it seriously speeds up productivity.
  • Live Photos, quite simply, are awesome. The extra size [of Live Photos] makes me even more disappointed that Apple decided to keep the 16GB option available for the iPhone 6S.
  • 4K video looks great – though I’m still not convinced a regular person needs it.
  • If you’re looking for an iPhone with truly stellar battery life, you need to go full phablet and get the iPhone 6S Plus.


Gareth Beavis of TechRadar was a little less impressed by the improvements over last year’s iPhone 6, but still deemed the 6S worthy of a four-star review. He’s disappointed by the screen resolution but says that the display excels in other areas. He wraps up a nine-page review by ‘wholeheartedly’ recommending the iPhone 6S, but restating that it’s not that much better than the iPhone 6.

  • There’s a large question mark over whether this is enough of a jump forward.
  • The metallic chassis feels really nice in the hand, with a ceramic-like feeling on the outside.
  • It’s hard to rate the display, as while it fails on resolution it doesn’t drop too badly on performance. The iPhone 6S display is clear, bright, laminated to the glass and insanely colorful.
  • 3D Touch is the only change that I feel confident in stating will change the way we use our iPhones forever. When gaming starts to make use of it, then it will surely take off.
  • While the iPhone 6S hasn’t really pushed battery life any further, it’s still in the mix with the top smartphones on the market.
  • In practice I really couldn’t see a great deal of difference between the iPhone 6 and the 6S in terms of picture quality, but it’s awesome to have all the same options available in the front-facing and rear-facing camera.

The Verge

The Verge‘s Nilay Patel has put together a really nice video review, which we’ll let speak for itself. If you don’t have time for the whole thing, he wraps up a mostly glowing review with the following:

“It’s a series of tiny, meaningful improvements to the already great iPhone 6, and if you’re using an iPhone 5s or anything older, it’s gonna blow your mind. The iPhone 6s is the best iPhone ever and probably the best phone ever.” Bold words.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

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