The iPhone 6S Plus offers a large, good quality screen and great performance, while 3D Touch is an impressive piece of tech and a useful addition. The 6S Plus is a great choice of handset for anyone looking for a phablet with a premium build, although the cost could prove prohibitive.
Great performance, decent battery life, 3D Touch, large screen
Cost, too large for one-handed use
Processor: Apple A9 with 64-bit architecture and embedded M9 coprocessor
Display: 5.5in 1920x1080 pixels at 401ppi Retina HD with 3D Touch
Storage: 16GB, 64GB or 128GB
Camera: 12MP rear-facing iSight with OIS and 1080p HD video recording at 30fps or 60fps, 5MP front-facing with 720p HD video recording
Connectivity: GSM/EDGE/HSPA+/HSDPA/LTE 4G; 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
Ports: 8-pin charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack
Operating system: Apple iOS 9
Battery: Built-in lithium-ion offering up to 24 hours of talk time over 3G, 12 hours of online use over WiFi, 3G or 4G, 14 hours of HD video playback, and up to 16 days in standby quoted
The iPhone 6 Plus was Apple's first foray into the phablet market, and a year on from its release the firm has updated the model with a few new features. The iPhone 6S Plus has the same larger screen and build size of its predecessor, but adds 3D Touch and camera improvements.
Design and build
The iPhone 6S Plus has the standard high-quality build associated with Apple. The aluminium case gives the iPhone 6S Plus a premium feel and the glass screen is integrated seamlessly into the phone's case.
The iPhone 6S case is crafted from 7000 Series aluminium, which Apple says is the strongest alloy it has used in an iPhone. However, aside from doing a test where you repeatedly smash your iPhone 6S and iPhone 6 onto a concrete floor to see which breaks first, you won't really notice much difference in the build of the new model.
The iPhone 6S Plus is available in four colour choices: the original gold, silver and space grey, along with a new rose gold option.
The device is very thin for its size, measuring 158x78x7.3mm and weighing 192g. The handset has curved corners, making it comfortable to hold for long phone calls or while viewing media.
While its weight at 192g is heavier than some smartphones on the market - 49g heavier than the iPhone 6S and a 20g increase from the original iPhone 6 Plus - the overall proportions made it feel lightweight in our hands, as with a device that size, you'd expect it to feel heavier than it actually is. The extra weight is likely to be down to the addition of the 3D Touch technology in the display and the higher quality aluminium, both worthy updates in our view.
However, as with its predecessor, the smaller handed among us will find the length of the iPhone 6S Plus a disadvantage. We found typing quite awkward, as it was quite a stretch for our fingers to hit those keys in the middle of the keyboard when in landscape mode. It also makes the handset difficult to use one-handed, not ideal for train or bus journeys when you're standing up and trying to browse the web, or trying to use a navigation app to get directions while walking.
This is despite Apple taking account of one-handed use with its Reachability feature, so double-tapping the home button will pull down the top of the screen so it takes up only the lower half of the device.
This issue won't affect every smartphone buyer out there. Many of you will have larger hands or longer fingers, and there will be others who want a mobile mainly for playing games, viewing media or browsing the web with both hands available.
But for those of you needing to do lots of typing and currently using a smaller smartphone, we'd recommend trying the iPhone 6S Plus first to make sure it's comfortable to hold and use.
On the outside, Apple has made no changes to the buttons and ports compared with the original phablet. The iPhone 6S Plus power/standby button is on the right-hand side of the device, along with the Nano-SIM slot. The ringer on/off switch and volume controls are on the left; the volume buttons can also be used to take pictures from the camera app.
At the bottom are a 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone, Lightning charging port and speaker. The home button with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor built in is on the front, while the back sports the dual flash and camera lens.
When you turn the iPhone 6S Plus over, you'll find the only minor change, the addition of an 'S' on the case. After all, you have to have a way of telling apart your original iPhone 6 Plus and your new one, right?
The speakers and microphone are both good quality. We got a decent level of audio out of the speakers, meaning you don't need to pack travel speakers for a bit of music or video playback on your next trip, and we found the mic performed very well at picking up sound for audio recordings, even when far away from the source.
Next: 3D Touch and display