Apple iPhone 6s Plus Review: More Of A Good Thing

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Design and Build Quality

It's not like Apple to drastically or even moderately change the physical design of its iPhone in between numerical upgrades. The iPhone 6s Plus is no exception -- save for an ever-so-slightly thicker profile and an inconsequentially small weight gain, it looks and feels virtually identical to the original iPhone 6 Plus.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus HotHardware

The iPhone 6s Plus still boasts a 5.5-inch "Retina HD" In-Plane Switching (IPS) display with a 1920x1080 resolution (401 pixels per inch). Again, if we're comparing to high-end Android devices, there's nothing spectacular about a Full HD resolution, though that's putting the specs ahead of the actual product. The display on the iPhone 6s Plus is bright and vibrant with excellent color reproduction. It's especially great for viewing photos, though games and movies also look brilliant on the iPhone 6s Plus.

At 6.77 ounces (192 grams), it's a little bit heavier than its predecessor, which checked in at 6.07 ounces (172 grams). It isn't a weight gain that makes you feel like Apple took a step backwards in design, though if you hold the iPhone 6s Plus in one hand and the iPhone 6 Plus in the other, you can feel a slight difference.

It's also a touch thicker at 0.29 inches (7.3mm) versus 0.28 inches (7.1mm), a nearly imperceptible difference, though presumably a functional one. It seems that the addition of 3D Touch technology is responsible for the slightly altered dimensions, though there are also reports that the iPhone 6s Plus is a bit sturdier and less prone to bending.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus Gold Back

A shot of the backside shows the Gold color option, and as everyone knows by now, gold is best! Or at least it used to be -- many would argue that the new Rose Gold option is the bees knees. It's a color option that Apple only offers on the new generation iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models. You can also purchase these devices in Silver and Space Gray for a total of four color choices.

Regardless of color, the backsides are all slippery. The aluminum chassis has a slick feel to it, especially with the rounded edges, which is a design change that Apple introduced with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Prior models had a more industrial construction with flat sides that didn't fit the hand as nicely, but weren't as prone to squirting out of your palm like a bar of soap. We highly recommend an insurance plan and/or a protective case.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus Bottom

The fingerprint scanner on the bottom of the iPhone 6s Plus continues to work well -- the only time we managed to trip it up was when our fingers were dripping wet.

Underneath the home button on the bottom of the handset reside the stereo speakers, Lightning connector, and a 3.5mm audio jack. None of these are waterproof, though there's an interesting video on YouTube showing the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus submerged in bowls of water for extended periods of time, both to no ill effect. We don't recommend duplicating that experiment at home, though the teardown folks at iFixIt did discover that Apple reworked the iPhone's frame to accommodate a new gasket, which could be another reason for the added thickness.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus Side

You'll find a power button and SIM card slot on the right side of the iPhone 6s Plus, while the volume up/down buttons and silent toggle switch are on the left. The volume controls also function as shutter buttons for the rear 12-megapixel iSight camera and front 5-megapixel FaceTime camera.

The other thing we should discuss here is the NFC chip inside the iPhone 6s Plus. It's something that's also found in the previous generation iPhones, only now the NFC chip is more relevant with Apple having launched Apple Pay, its mobile payment service. Apple Pay is the only thing Apple's implementation of NFC is good for at this point.

There's a growing list of stores that support Apple Pay, including several national chains like McDonald's, Subway, and Walgreens, to name just a few. Using Apple Pay, you can store your credit card information on your iPhone and pay for goods and services simply by tapping a supported terminal with the phone.

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