iPhone 6s 3D Touch in hand 006

The iPhone 6s review embargo lifted this morning, and as is always the case, many outlets immediately published their reviews. Those reviewing the new iPhone 6s have been able to use the new digs for almost two weeks, which is plenty of time to form an accurate opinion.

The consensus? The iPhone 6s is a performance beast, and features amazing camera quality. But what stood out to me most about nearly all of the reviews were the thoughts on 3D Touch. In a nearly unanimous chorus, reviewers praised the iPhone 6s’ flagship feature, which allows users to press on the screen to access new menus and features.

3D Touch

The Verge’s Nilay Patel:

“When you push down on the screen, the distance between them changes, and the phone can do things based on how hard you press, with precise bits of haptic feedback from Apple’s Taptic Engine vibration system. Apple won’t say exactly how many levels of pressure-sensitivity there are, but it’s definitely so many as to feel almost analog, like the interface is reacting in real time to physical pressure — the homescreen blurs in and out in response to how hard you press on an icon, for instance.”

The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple:

3D Touch is one of the handiest features that I’ve seen from Apple in a long time. It’s not just that it’s cool, it actually saves me time. It’s a new way to navigate the iPhone that’s quick, easy, and efficient.

Tech Crunch’s Matthew Panzarino:

3D Touch may, on the surface, appear to be a ‘neat trick’, but it’s the first major step since rich corinthian leather towards a future where our digital devices are as easy to comprehend and manipulate as the physical world is with our fingers.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern:

I had to remind myself to use 3D Touch at first, but after two weeks, it’s becoming part of my iPhone muscle memory. In Mail, I now press hard on a message to preview it, then swipe left to delete. I love how you can hold down on a link to see a preview of the website, without leaving the app you’re in. Press harder and you can “pop” into that app. Third-party app support could make it even more useful.

Live Photos

The Verge’s Nilay Patel:

Both cameras can take Apple’s new Live Photos, which are fun, if a little gimmicky. Nokia and HTC have released similar ideas, but Apple’s implementation is the most seamless

The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple:

You can also turn off Live Photos if you want—it’s right on the camera screen, so it’s really easy to get to. Having used it for a while now, I can’t imagine why you would want to though.

Tech Crunch’s Matthew Panzarino:

I could go on about Live Photos, I find them to be very, very powerful, but I think that the best uses of them are still undiscovered. I’ve gotten some lovely test shots, which you can see here and in our video above, and I’m going to leave the feature enabled. But there is some very, very interesting potential here for creative uses.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern:

The absolute best thing about the 6s is Live Photos. While capturing a still photo, it also captures a bit of live action. They’re awesome for reliving fun moments, especially of an active puppy or child, and anyone with an iOS 9 iPhone or iPad can view them. But they generally take up two to three times as much space as an iPhone 6 pic because they also save three seconds of video. Sure, you can turn them off, but you won’t want to.

Camera

The Verge’s Nilay Patel:

Let’s be real for a second: the front-facing camera upgrade to 5 megapixels from a paltry 1.2 on the iPhone 6 is the biggest news here. Selfies and Snapchats and video chats are part of the fabric of modern communication, and Apple’s been way behind the curve with its front-facing cameras. The improvement in quality from the iPhone 6 to 6S when using the front camera is just tremendous…

The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple:

One of the things I’ve noticed in using the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is that I can now take much better pictures in low-light situations. I’ve always found the iPhone camera to be lacking in this area, but the new one is much better.

Tech Crunch’s Matthew Panzarino:

I was incredibly impressed by the differences in camera quality between the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6s Plus. It’s very, very noticeable and very welcome. The images aren’t over-sharpened because they don’t need to be — the detail is already there.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern:

The new 12-megapixel camera on the 6s captures sharper, higher-resolution photos—and they’re generally 1MB bigger. The new 5-megapixel “selfie camera” photos capture my mug and the side of my arm more clearly, yes, but those also take more room.

Battery Life

The Verge’s Nilay Patel:

Of course, every new iPhone gets great battery life for the first few months and then starts to fade, so don’t get too excited. My guess is that the iPhone 6S won’t offer you a power experience wildly different than previous iPhones you might have owned and used in your particular life / work patterns. Apple is very much just holding serve here, and if we’re going to eventually use our phones as our wallets and keys and everything else, they need to start lasting much longer.

Tech Crunch’s Matthew Panzarino:

Battery life is only worth mentioning in that there has been some talk about a slight reduction in battery size for the iPhone 6s. I don’t know about that, but I can say that battery life is spec’d to be exactly the same by Apple and that’s the way it felt.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern:

The 4.7-inch 6s will get you through the day, but you’ll struggle to make it til bedtime with moderate to heavy use. And it seemed to drain even faster than my 6 when I used the new processor-intensive camera features like Live Photos. The bigger 5.5-inch 6s Plus lasted longer and is the best choice if you’re a heavy user and want some juice left over at the end of the day. (Of course, battery life on any smartphone generally degrades over time.)

Touch ID

The Verge’s Nilay Patel:

Even TouchID has been improved for faster recognition — it’s fast enough to recognize your fingerprint and unlock the phone in just about the time it takes to click the home button and wake the phone up, which means it’s almost invisible if you get the motion down just right.

The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple:

The sensor is so fast now, I’ve had to change the way I touch the phone in order to see notifications. In the past, I could tap the home button, but it wouldn’t unlock, allowing me to browse through the notifications on the lock screen.

Tech Crunch’s Matthew Panzarino:

I pull my iPhone out of my pocket with my finger on the home button to tap it and check my notifications. That behavior is out the window now, because by the time it’s out of my pocket, it’s unlocked. It’s incredibly quick. So quick that I think some people will have issues adjusting. Eventually I had to switch to tapping the power button to wake it so I wouldn’t miss my notifications.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern:

Unlocking your phone is also much speedier. The new Touch ID fingerprint sensor is at least twice as fast. You barely place your finger on the button and you’re in.

Conclusion

In the end, it looks as if 3D Touch is a runaway success, and Live Photos, while sounding gimmicky at first, is a sleeper favorite for the new iPhone 6s. Camera quality has noticeably improved, as has Touch ID—it’s almost invisible now, that’s how fast it is.

The one “negative” take away is probably battery life, if you even want to call it that. It sounds like battery life is pretty much the same as last year’s model, even with a smaller battery. That’s likely due to the battery optimizations made in iOS 9.

We’ll be back with our own review of the new iPhones when they drop at the end of the week. What do you think about the reviews that have been posted thus far? Are you seeing any other notable opinions that caught your eye?

  • Diogo Pires

    Hi Jeff! I also suggest you to “pick” the Mossberg Review at THE VERGE 😉

  • James G

    I think iDB deserves to get these devices in advance!

    • Especially Jeff, no offence to anyone else though..

    • Mr.Coolfreak

      Lol, Apple will never give iDB anything, mostly due to there jailbreak coverage

      • James G

        I know. Sad, really.

  • Damian

    Can’t wait for iPhone 7, it seems Iphone 7 will be the phone we all were waiting for. It is already a power house, but with limited battery. Next year this will change.

    • thunderqus

      Apple has historically maintained that “10 hour” browsing time, what makes you think next year it will change?

      • Damian

        Look up the comment below
        10 hour browsing was never the case for most of us

    • That_Fruitarian

      Using that logic… You should wait for the 7s or 8 or maybe 8s.

      • Damian

        You missing the point. Would not it be nice if you can go crazy with your phone and don’t worry about running out of charge within 6 hours? Because it would make me feel comfortable as hell. Right now with my iPhone 6 I am constantly stopping myself from using iPhone when I am outside. I keep watching my battery drain on cellular connection like there is no tomorrow.
        It really makes you feel uncomfortable when you know you will be out for another 8 hours

      • Get a Mophie or any other brand Battery Case; keeps it a 100% for most of the day

      • Damian

        And has this thing triple the size of my phone? I rather not

      • miras

        Buy 6S Plus

      • Damian

        Listening to Jeff and Codi has me convinced that + model is not really for convenient use

      • James

        Sounds like you need to adjust your location settings and turn bluetooth off when you’re not using it.

      • Damian

        already adjusted and battery still goes fast. 3G just kills the battery and so wifi

      • Fanboy 

        Unfortunate that common sense is the most uncommon thing people have. People who say they’ll wait until next year because that model will be better that this years shouldn’t even be allowed to comment lol

      • Damian

        Why
        It looks like you are entitled to express your opinion more than I am mine. Way to go

    • Logically I’d wait for the 7 but there is NO WAY I can wait an entire year with the rest of the world using 3D Touch. Im sure the 7’s battery will last an entire week

      • Damian

        Are you willing to spend over $1000 this year and next one? Because I am sure iPhone 7 will blow our socks off

      • Whats your guess on its features?

      • Damian

        God I can’t even imagine it. Historically we know the iPhones with a new number never disappointed and had big changes. They were always better than “s” in terms of surprise and wow factor elements

      • Fanboy 

        Except for the fact that this has been the biggest “S” upgrade ever in the history of iPhone. They finally gave us everything we want AND more (2GB ram, upgraded camera, 4K video, bonus feats like 3D touch, etc.) so if you’ve ever wanted to upgrade this is it. Now, if you spend $1,000 on the new iPhone today and simply take care of it you can easily flip it for $750-$800 next year so no you wont be dropping $1k this year AND next year.

      • Damian

        All you said we know already and I agree with you. I can only imagine what improvements would iPhone 7 bring to the table.

      • Alberto Espinal

        Hello Damian, I don’t think it will be a big change, as you can see from the 5s to the 6 was just the size and a bump on the camera performance, so next year’s will be the form factor and a boost in performance but this year’s iPhone wooaa I can’t wait for mine!!

      • TwinSon

        Honestly with all the new installment plans (Specifically Either Apple or T-Mobile, the rest are rip offs), it’s relatively inexpensive to upgrade yearly.

      • Damian

        You speaking strictly about USA, unfortunately the rest of the world will just stand and watch this from a sideline. Like me

      • TwinSon

        This is true. Outside of the U.S., you definitely have to pick and choose when upgrading is the right time for you.

      • Damian

        Yeah that’s why I think I would really happy with i7. I would feel sad if I bought 6s for $1100 and then i7 would turn out to be a screamer. I would not like to spend another 1100. Also my main reason not upgrading to 6s is the battery life. Seems other people are just missing the point or misunderstanding me

      • TwinSon

        I’ve never had a good battery life on an iPhone. I’m a Power User for all intents and purposes but usually always near a charger so it’s never really been a huge issue. However, I’ve been able to get my phone to last all day when on trips, or just being out and about the city (probably because it remains in my pocket).

      • OneBigInFiniteJoinT

        i have always had a power bank. once you get comfortable using it. you will never run out of power. plus at work my phone is always on the charging cradle, so is in the car so i rarely use the power bank but it does comes in handy when i really need to charge my phone and i am out of office and away from the car.

      • James

        If you’re going to wait for the 7, then you might as well wait for the 7s. I have the 5 and have been very pleased with it, but the 5s with Touch ID and more speed is a far better choice.

      • Damian

        I think I would not stand looking at the new design overhaul for a year an extra year if I had s model. I like to go with new looks every 2 years

      • James

        Not all Americans upgrade every year. I try to pick the right phone at the right time. This will be my first S upgrade. I currently own the 5. If I owned the 5s, I’d likely not upgrade, but my 5’s touchscreen is malfunctioning and I’d just rather get a new one for my birthday and I’m very excited about finally having Touch ID. But I plan on having the 6s Plus for the next 3-4 years. I’m not interested in having monthly device payments for the entirety of my life.

    • James

      iPhones tend to stand the test of time no matter which model you have, but the S models even more so. The 7 will bring (hopefully) a better outward appearance, a better camera, and maybe something else, but then the 7s will come around and blow the 7 away with performance and another critical feature they’ve been developing and sinking tons of money into for the past several years.

      • Damian

        Of course each new model blows away the older one. Obviously. But I am more concerned with battery life. Seeing Iphone 6s does not improve on battery life is really disappointing therefore I will wait for iPhone 7. I already struggle with iPhone 6 to go through one day. I need to watch if use it too much during the day or else it will die on me while I am outside

      • James

        I have to disagree that each new model “blows” away the older one. In terms of appearance? Maybe – the 6 certainly failed on that front in my opinion as I find the new bodies to be quite cheap-looking and grotesque. But in terms of performance, the S is always leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor and always introduces a new game-changing feature. The S models truly do blow away the previous generation. What makes you so sure that the 7 will have better battery life? If nothing else, they’ll probably make it even smaller, so they can remove the camera bump (I actually don’t know if those are even related), and continue to optimize battery usage to achieve identical battery life as the iPhone 6s. What I’m saying is, if battery life is your only gripe, I wouldn’t hold my breath for the 7, if I were you. Also, do you keep bluetooth turned on all the time and do you constantly have the location arrow in your status bar? If so, you’ll recover a ton of battery life by adjusting those settings. Edit: One more thing…the 6 Plus is said to have WAY better battery life than the 6, so maybe go for the Plus model.

      • Damian

        Bluetooth and locatiOns as well as wifi and cellular are turned off. The second I start browsing I can tell the battery is not strong enough to hold till the end of the day

  • That_Fruitarian

    But the consensus here was that 3D was just a gimmick. Seems those who have actually used the device disagree. Hmmmm….

  • Mr.Coolfreak

    You guys should take a look at Casey Neistat’s new vlog shot entirely by iPhone 6s

  • Once again Apple has seduced me into parting with my money

  • n0ahcruz3

    Sick of the 6 series design so i’ll wait for 7 or 7s

  • James

    Whaaa? They no givey you no review unit? That’s messed up.

  • TwinSon

    Has anyone gotten a screen protector in advance for their 6S/6S Plus yet? Debating whether or not to get a Tempered Glass or Regular “Skin” but I don’t want it to interfere with 3D touch.

    • JulianZH

      if you take good care of your phone, you dont need any of those protector or brick size case.

      • TwinSon

        You’re right, if I take care of my phone, all accidents and unforseeable events will cease to exist….s.

        Thanks for the response, but Iife happens and I’m not going to act like it doesn’t.

  • Franklin Richards

    Was skeptical about the 3D touch thing but it seems like it’s pretty useful. Shame I won’t know about it until iPhone 7 though.

    • iPhoneWINS

      yeah its more about the UI implementation that made is great not the actually physical mechanical analog effect

  • I wanted to wait till iPhone 7 but these reviews of 6s man they’re making it harddddd :@

    • James

      S models are always the way to go. iPhone 7S will bring something even better and then you’ll be in the same boat two years from now

      • diggitydang

        I know what Namra means… But that said, you also have all third party accessories (cases, battery cases etc) out with all the S models. It’s always much more limited when they redesign the hardware.

      • iPhoneWINS

        i prefer to have the redesigned model as soon as it drop sin stead of waiting 6 months for the S version of it

  • JulianZH

    I’m going to wait for iPhone 7.

    • iPhoneWINS

      me too S models are just filler to make more profits