iPhone 6s first impressions

BY Evan Selleck

Published 26 Sep 2015

iPhone 6s first impressions

After a few hours with the iPhone 6s in Space Gray, one simply has to ask: Was it upgrading from the 6 to Apple’s newest smartphone?

I was not destined to get the iPhone 6s yesterday in any reasonable amount of time. First, I decided I didn’t want to sit in a line in the wee hours of the morning after driving an hour and a half to my nearest retail store, and then FedEx decided it wanted to give me a nice, broad window of arrival by saying the delivery person had until the end of the day to drop off my new phone.

Normally I wouldn’t mind, but obviously the 6s is a bit of a big deal, and, plus, I had already gotten rid of my iPhone 6, so I was kind of needing a phone by the time 4:00pm rolled around. Still, the iPhone 6s didn’t show up until about 6, and I wasn’t able to pick it up, open the box and start playing with it until around 8.

But, finally, here we are.

My first impressions of the iPhone 6s start with the hardware, and the fact that there is indeed an almost imperceptible difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. I went with the 128GB Space Gray, replacing my 64GB Space Gray iPhone 6, and while the body looks identical, there is a bit of a change in weight and feel to the handset. Yes, the iPhone 6s is thicker, a bit heavier, and Apple used a different series of aluminum to construct the handset, and all of those things are immediately noticeable, even if they are minute in the grand scheme of things.

iPhone 6s FI3

I like the change, though. I’m not a huge fan of ridiculously thin devices, so the change in the other direction is a welcomed one in my book. The iPhone 6s just feels better, even if it is a slippery piece of technology that if I were a wiser man would tell me I need to put a case on it, but I’m not going to, so fingers crossed.

Using iOS 9 in itself isn’t that big of a change, considering it’s been available for a while now, but wow, it’s such a better experience on the iPhone 6s thanks to 3D Touch. This is something that Apple is absolutely right when they say it’s going to fundamentally improve on the way we use our phones, and it’s potentially just as big an addition to smartphones as multitouch was. I haven’t been using it for very long, but now I don’t ever want to go back to anything else.

With that being said, there are some oddities to the options available while using 3D Touch. The idea is to reduce the amount of taps an iOS user has to implement before they get to what they want, and it works great in that regard. However, for example, activating 3D Touch on the Camera offers to “Take Photo.” One would think that simply snaps a quick photo, which would make sense. But it doesn’t. It opens the app, and then you have to take a picture like you normally would.

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It’s odd.

The other options like “Take Selfie” or even “Take Video” make much more sense, considering you’d have to launch the camera and then slide over to those specific functions to activate them, or tap another icon. 3D Touch, in that instance, reduces the number of slides and taps, which is great.

I wouldn’t be surprised if “Take Photo” was dropped from the list of options from 3D Touch. In fact, I hope it is at some point in the future.

The 6s (and I would presume the 6s Plus) is super fast in what it does, from opening apps to transitions and just about any other thing you’d want your smartphone to be fast in. It’s fantastic in this regard, and while I didn’t necessarily know that I wanted my apps to open all that much faster, I’m certainly happy they do now. Especially when it comes to games. I’m not waiting at loading screens as often anymore, so that’s a nice change.

iPhone 6s FI2

However, I’m finding myself not all that pleased with the new Touch ID. You’ve heard by now that Touch ID is super quick in registering the owner’s fingerprint, and it has even been shown off in video, but using it makes it tangible. Makes it even more apparent how fast it is. It doesn’t matter how quickly I tap the Home button anymore while the phone is sleeping, it will just bypass the lock screen altogether and get me to my Home screen. I wouldn’t normally care about this, but when I’m listening to music and just want to access the music controls on the lock screen, it’s a real pain.

Of course, it just takes adapting to the device and its hardware. Just like adjusting to any new device, there is some growing pains. This may or may not be the death of the lock screen, but it certainly feels like it could be. Or, it could just be the forced adoption of a different way to do things, like actually hitting the Sleep/Wake/Power button to activate the phone’s display. Plus, Control Center is there so even if I do bypass the lock screen altogether, I can just slide my finger up and access music controls that way.

iPhone 6s FI4

I can understand why people might be frustrated by it, though.

My first impressions of the iPhone 6s are pretty straightforward: This is a phone unto itself. This is something bigger than any of the other “S” variants that have launched before it. With the inclusion of 3D Touch, that 12-megapixel camera (which I’ll get to in another article) with 4K video recording, an even more advanced Touch ID, and more, this feels way more like a future-proof phone than any other iPhone before it. This is a new starting point for Apple and its iPhone lineup, and it’s hard for me not to get excited, already, about what’s coming next.

I wasn’t entirely sure that I’d be sold on the iPhone 6s, even after I got to play with it, but now that I’m using it I’m glad that I upgraded.

Did you upgrade to an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus? If so, and you’ve had some time to use it, what do you think of it so far?