iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus: Are They Still Worth Buying?

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Apple’s only been offering two different sized iPhone models for the last two-generations, so many iPhone fans are still not entirely used to having the choice and needing to pick which to go for. If sales figures are anything to go by, it would suggest that Apple fans do prefer smaller display sizes where possible (hence why Apple is reviving the 4in display on a new iPhone model launching soon).

However, to make things more complicated it isn’t merely an issue of display size and the way the device’s larger or smaller chassis handles in your palm – nope, there are other nuances in terms of the hardware and performance, and although overall the hardware inside both devices is broadly similar (the processor is the same, for example) the bigger iPhone 6s Plus bodywork has allowed Apple to squeeze a few bonuses inside.

Here we’re going to take a look at Apple’s latest and greatest handsets — the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus — in order to help you figure out which handset is the right one for you because, despite size, there are quite a few differences under the hood, as you’ll find out below.

Also, with the arrival of the iPhone 7 in the coming weeks both handsets will likely get sizeable price cuts, making them a lot more accessible.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus – Specifications Comparison (The Key Differences)

Here’s the specs for the iPhone 6s:

  • Display: 4.7-inch display with a 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326ppi
  • Dimensions: 138.3mm x 67.1mm x 7.1mm
  • Weight: 143 grams
  • Storage: 16, 64, or 128GB
  • Processors: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor
  • Front camera: FaceTime HD camera. 5 MP photos and 720p HD video.
  • Rear camera: iSight camera. 12 MP photos. ƒ/2.2 aperture. 1080p video. True Tone flash.
  • Battery: 1715 mAh. Up to 12 hours battery life mixed usage
  • Touch ID: yes
  • NFC: yes

And here’s the specs for the iPhone 6s Plus:

  • Display: 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1920×1080 resolution at 401 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Dimensions: 158.2mm  x 77.9 mm x 7.3 mm
  • Weight: 192 grams
  • Storage: 16, 64, or 128GB
  • Processors: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor
  • Front camera: FaceTime HD camera. 5 MP photos and 720p HD video.
  • Rear camera: iSight camera. 12 MP photos. ƒ/2.2 aperture. 1080p video. True Tone flash. Optical image stabilization.
  • Battery: 2750 mAh. Up to 12 hours battery life mixed usage
  • Touch ID: yes
  • NFC: yes

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus: Display & Design

Of course the biggest difference between the two new iPhones are in the display department. The iPhone 6s features a 4.7-inch display with a 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi and the iPhone 6s Plus features a 5.5-inch display with a 1920×1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi.

Technically speaking, the iPhone 6s Plus’ display is superior on the resolution front. Not only does it have more pixels, it’s got a higher pixel per inch (ppi) density at 401ppi versus the iPhone 6s’ 326ppi. That being said, the smaller iPhone 6s actually has a slightly better contrast ratio of 1400:1 compared to the iPhone 6s Plus’ 1300:1. That means the smaller iPhone’s display can display just a bit more difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks.

The fact that Apple’s iPhones use 720p and 1080p displays put them quite a bit behind Android’s biggest and best handsets which have been using QHD panels for quite some time now. Fore the most part 1080p is adequate enough, though anyone coming from an 2014/15 Android handset with QHD will notice the shortfall when using the iPhone 6s — 720p is VERY 2011/12.

Still, detail is excellent on both as is colour reproduction and blacks. Apple will almost certainly update to QHD in 2016 and, if reports are to be believed, AMOLED panels in 2017/18. As is always the case with iPhone, though, Apple doesn’t do keeping up with the Jones’, preferring instead to do its own thing without paying any mind whatsoever to what the competition is doing specs-wise. Whether you’re cool with this is entirely down to you. Personally, I prefer the choice and affordability of Android. But that’s just me.

As for the design, both feature aluminum bodies with rounded corners and while their physical length and height dimensions are of course different (due to screen size) the smaller iPhone 6s wins on thinness being just 7.1mm thick versus the iPhone 6s Plus’ 7.3mm thickness.

The iPhone 6s is also noticeable lighter than the iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone 6s weighs just 143 grams versus the iPhone 6s Plus’ 192 grams.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus: Battery

Another major difference between the two new iPhones is in battery life. As can be expected, the iPhone 6s Plus packs a much larger battery because it needs it to power its larger screen. It has a 2750 mAh battery versus the iPhone 6s’ 1715 mAh battery. But that larger battery in the iPhone 6s Plus doesn’t just go to powering the bigger display. It also leads to longer battery life in individual tasks. Here’s how the battery life compares between the two in Talk Time, Standby Time, Internet Use, Video Playback, and Audio Playback:

  • Talk time: iPhone 6s – 14 hours on 3G. iPhone 6s Plus – 24 hours on 3G.
  • Standby time: iPhone 6s – Up to 10 days (250 hours). iPhone 6s Plus – Up to 16 days (384 hours).
  • Internet use: iPhone 6s – Up to 10 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on 4G LTE, and up to 11 hours on Wi‑Fi. iPhone 6s Plus – Up to 12 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on 4G LTE, and up to 12 hours on Wi‑Fi.
  • Video playback: iPhone 6s – Up to 11 hours. iPhone 6s Plus – Up to 14 hours.
  • Audio playback: iPhone 6s – Up to 50 hours. iPhone 6s Plus – Up to 80 hours.

In reality, not much has changed since 2014. The iPhone 6s Plus  has insane battery performance, easily one of the strongest in the mobile space, while the iPhone 6s’ is just above average, meaning you can eek out of full day’s use if you don’t ride it too hard. In my experience, with normal usage, the iPhone 6s can get to around 5pm with about 65% left in the tank. Conversely, the iPhone 6s Plus, with similar use, can be anywhere from 75% to 80%. But, again, usage is HIGHLY subjective so your results may differ — this is why true battery performance tests are so hard to do.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus: Camera

The final difference between the two new iPhones is in the rear camera department. While both have the exact same 12MP iSight camera, the iPhone 6s Plus wins it here because it also has optical image stabilization, which the iPhone 6s does not. Optical image stabilization can make your pics look a lot better by using optical components of the lens to reduce vibrations and camera shake. It should also be noted that that same optical image stabilization found in the iPhone 6s Plus also works for video. If your iPhone is your only camera, and you really enjoy taking a lot of pictures, getting the 6 Plus could be worth it.

Apple has consistently bested the competition with its simple, no frills imaging setups. The company, never a fan of simply packing in more megapixels, really drilled down on imaging technology between 2012 and 2015 and the results have been pretty amazing. The iPhone is consistently voted by professional photographers as the best point-and-shoot camera phone on the market.

One photographer even used the iPhone 6s for a professional photoshoot in order to demonstrate just how good the iPhone 6s’ imaging technology is. Obviously, the iPhone cannot beat a DLSR for features and performance, but the gap is closing and it is pretty easy to see an iPhone 8 or iPhone 9 surpassing what is currently possible with a handheld Nikon shooter.

iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus: Cost & Verdict

And then there is the cost. Both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus come in silver, gold, rose gold, and space grey and in 16 GB, 64 GB, and 128 GB storage capacities. Unlocked the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s will cost £539 (16GB), £619 (64GB) and £699 (128GB). The iPhone 6s Plus will cost £619 (16GB), £699 (64GB) and £789 (128GB).

While the longer battery life for select tasks and the optical image stabilization for photos and video will be the only things needed to sway some people to the larger iPhone 6s Plus, the majority of people will make their decision on one simple thing: screen size. If that’s the case for you the deciding question is do you want a smaller 4.7-inch phone that easily fits in any pocket or do you want a larger phablet device?

Either way, if you’re looking at the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus in 2019, you might want to check out Gazelle, as it offers reconditioned iPhones (including the iPhone X and newer models) for around 40% less than Apple. 

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