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Rediff.com  » Getahead » iPhone 6s Plus: The price is a killer

iPhone 6s Plus: The price is a killer

January 19, 2016 17:51 IST

The puny 16 GB piece is retailing for Rs 72,000, where as the 64 GB model and 128 GB model are going for Rs 86,000 and Rs 92,000 respectively. It is high time that Apple brings the 16 GB model to an end. With the current pricing, only die hard Apple fans or the ones in immediate need of the latest device will take the plunge.

Price cuts will surely help Apple's cause here, says Himanshu Juneja.

iPhone 6s Plus

It is no secret that Apple showed up late at the 'Phablet' party. After having ridiculed the need and the market for the super sized phones, Apple finally saw the obvious, and brought forward the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.

Even though it was not a natural choice for the company, even though it had OS shortcomings, the device was met with a lot of success and majorly accounted for a huge chunk of phone users migrating to the iOS platform. Apple saw enough potential to carry on, and this led to the successor in the form of iPhone 6s Plus.

The revised phablet stays true to its predecessor, and being an 'S' version it comes with evolutionary features than revolutionary ones. Don't let that throw you off track, as with an improved camera, the all new 3D touch, and a new pink coloured option, Apple is again trying to bring some essential tweaks to steal a march over competitors.

Let us take a closer look

Construction

The bendgate was a blot on Apple's image and it did hurt the brand value as well. Taking cue from the disaster, the iPhone 6s Plus has been given a more sturdier built. The phone has been constructed with A 7000 series aluminium alloy to deal with the pressure and thus should be able to avoid any bendgates to surface.

Dimension-wise, the handset measures 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm. It is not exactly light as it weighs 192 gms. The addition in weight can be attributed to the new taptic engine, which brings in new features. What is good to see, is that the phone remains slim, and easy to establish a grip on. This is achieved by the generously curved sides and the rounded corners. But it is not a small phone by any stretch of imagination, and people operating it will have to look out while commuting.

If in future, Apple can work around their penchant for bigger bezels, this device could be slicker.

As regarding the button placements, the power button, as well as the SIM card slot is on the right side. The volume controls and the ringer toggle are found on the left, whereas the bottom side carries the 3.5 mm headphone jack, and the lightning charging port. The speaker has been accommodated here as well.

The only differentiating factor with the previous model will be, the small 's' mentioned at the back, indicating the phone's model.

Display

Apple's phablet carries an IPS LCD screen, measuring 5.5 inch. The resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels results in a 401 ppi pixel density. This right here is the same display from the previous model, but things look good here.

Performance wise as well, the screen impresses greatly. The colours are vibrant, and the bright screen accentuates the effect. The text also appears to be sharp, and crisp to boot. Apple has also provided a toughened glass to resist damages from light nicks and bumps.

There is also an oleo-phobic coating to keep away the smudges, but unfortunately, the effort has not paid off that nicely. Users will find themselves wiping the screen few times during the day.

Specifications

Apple decided to go with their A9 chipset. A dual core CPU powers the iPhone 6s Plus, and is clocked at 1.84 Ghz. The GPU has been beefed up considerably, and one finds the PowerVR GT7600 six-core GPU being onboard. It is prudent to mention that the integrated M9 co processor should relieve the main CPU of dealing with menial tasks, thereby saving up battery.

A huge cheer greeted the news of Apple finally upgrading the RAM capacity, and the phone finds itself being assisted by 2 GB worth of RAM.

Connectivity

The device comes equipped with connectivity options like 4G, WiFi (802.11 /b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth (4.2), and NFC for Apple pay to boot as well. GPS and GLONASS find their place as well for assisting drivers on their way.

Sadly, there is no FM radio option to bank upon for music lovers.

Operating system

Since we are with a 'S' model, the iOS 9 too doesn't show great deal of changes, but the few additions it has, are quite impressive. The notifications are now shown in chronological order, and not according to apps.

Card view seems to be getting popular, as Apple brings the feature here, allowing the users to see the apps which are open. The mail app has been made smarter, allowing an unknown caller be searched through the mails for a possible id. Hopping into the mail client, one sees the split view, where the user gets to see the content of the mail on the fly.

The notes are smarter as well, allowing for picture insertion, as well as handwritten scrawling. To add to the fun, iCloud Sync will reproduce the note on your bevy of Apple products like iPad and even the Macbook whenever the user makes the switch.

Siri couldn't have been left behind, as the user gets to activate the virtual assistant by saying 'Hey Siri', even while not having the device charging. Siri also has been enabled to suggest apps and contacts which are frequently used, and takes into account the time and location of the user.

Reachability

This feature has been included to make the one handed operation easier. The user can double tap the home button to shrink the screen for one handed usage.

3D Touch

Undoubtedly, the biggest bet by Apple in terms of feature. The taptic feedback engine included allows the device to recognise different levels of touch. For example, a normal tap on the camera icon will launch the app. Press and hold your digit, and a menu will appear giving options like selfie, video, slow motion video etc. This is pretty much like a right click of a mouse on your desktop PC.

The 3D touch takes a little while to get into your list of essentials, and works great especially with mail. With the mail, what works nicely is the peek and pop routine. Need to take a quick preview of the mail? Hold onto the mail to get the preview. Want to jump into the mail in a full fledged fashion? Press harder.

While the additions sound impressive, the OS is not without its quirks either. Sometime the phone will refuse to budge from the landscape mode to portrait. Similarly, phone locked while being in portrait mode would reveal a landscape mode orientation when unlocked. Surely a glitch which should have not appeared for an Apple device, and this calls for a quick OS patch.

Performance

Apple's claim of the newer processor being 70 per cent faster than the previous A8, the bumped up RAM, six cored GPU, and the usually refined OS from Apple meant that the performance watch was eagerly awaited. And right from the word go, the phone started ticking all the correct boxes.

The faster sensor along with the new hardware combines nicely, and the touch ID unlocked the phone in a flash. The phone sailed through the operations and there was no stuttering to be found. Same was true for the transition and the animation effects as getting in and out of apps was never a task.

The HD games looked fluid. Infinity Blade 2 worked like a charm and the phone went through hoops without hiccups.

The speaker was expectedly loud and clear, but those who have had an experience with HTC's BoomSound will confirm that Apple is still playing catch.

Camera

The camera on the iPhone 6s Plus has been boosted in a major way to keep up with the competition. The phone carries a 12 megapixel camera at the rear, assisted by a true-tone LED flash. The front camera too sees an improvement and is 5 megapixels.

While the camera bulge at the rear is a disappointment, the results surely are not. A quick look at the results is enough to reveal rich colours and good amount of details being packed in the clicked photographs. The fact that the camera has been equipped with Optical Image Stabilisation makes up for even stronger credentials.

Apple has also included deep trench technology, which minimises colour leaking between the pixels. Where it lacks in details when compared with competition, Apple tries to compensate with tighter colour reproduction.

Many would rejoice at the fact that iPhone now is capable of 4k videos, but the lack of a manual mode will make a good number of users cringe again. Also, the base model being only 16 GB makes no sense with 4k capabilities, as the videos will fill up space rapidly. The mono only audio was disappointing really, and the videos themselves came out to be decent.

It could have been better, as has been shown by Nexus 6P and even the LG G4.

The live photos is a hit or a miss. The users end up with 1.5 second of video before as well as after the desired photograph. Reliving the memories of the moment maybe nice, but also may not be to everybody's liking.

Battery

This is one department which has seen a slight slump. The major culprit seems to be the need to accommodate the taptic engine, and hence the reduced battery size. Thankfully, the battery performance is bearable.

The iPhone 6s plus comes with a Li-Ion non removable battery of 2750 mAh capacity. The phone lasts easily throughout the day, and medium to heavy user can expect to return back to base with about 20-25 per cent of battery being left. If the need arises, there is the battery saving mode present as well, which will help in letting the phone chug along.

Users can manually activate this, or let it automatically kick in when the battery level reaches 20 per cent.

Apple surely missed another trick by not including quick charging feature. For a premium device to lag behind flagship standards is unforgivable. The lack of wireless charging did not helped with matters either.

Verdict

The 'S' variants of the iPhones are always the harbinger of softer increments, but this time round, Apple has included some very good features. The taptic engine brings not only the useful 3D touch, but the different intensity in vibrations should quickly find favour. The camera too has been improved and the phone now stands right up there with the very best. Software becomes slicker with good additions thrown in.

But all said and done, the increment in the latest model doesn't make up for a very compelling case for an immediate upgrade. Those who are already in possession of the iPhone 6 variants, will do good to hold back. The 3D touch is filled with potential, but at the moment is limited to certain apps, and hence is more of a gimmick than a full blown Apple feature. The iOS 9 needs to be polished better.

Himanshu Juneja