iPhone 6S and iPhone 6 Plus Comparison

This last May I traded in my handicapped iPhone 5S for a 6 Plus. I was completely convinced that #MykeWasRight because the Plus fast became my favorite iPhone. The larger display offered a larger keyboard, the battery life was the best-in-class, and the camera’s video stability enhancements made my home movies watchable.

Then, while I was visiting T-Mobile this past Saturday, I learned what it would cost to upgrade to a 6s or 6s Plus. I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty details, but suffice it to say it was worth the jump to me because my monthly bill would drop $20 because of a special offer they have running through the end of the month.

And now, I have thoughts because I switched from a 6 Plus to the standard 6s. Everything about the body of my new device is smaller. Here’s the take of the 6s’ size from a happy 6 Plus user.

Noticeably the better generation

The iPhone 6 Plus’ keyboard was the most comfortable because I have fairly large hands. The longer battery life meant I only needed to charge the Plus overnight on my nightstand (never used a second charge in one day, an external battery backup, or a battery case). And the camera’s superiority over that of the iPhone 6 meant my videos didn’t look like they were shot with a shaky cam technique. Everything about the iPhone 6 Plus seemed to be ideal.

But over the last month I’ve had the agonizing experience that many an iPhone 6 Plus user faces. The 1 GB of RAM diminishes it’s ability to multitask. The app switcher—the one presented when you double press the home button—wasn’t especially useful because apps that I recently used would need to be reloaded. Podcasts, video recordings, and Safari would crash just because I was using more memory than the 6 Plus could handle.

After using my iPhone 6s for just a few hours I knew without a doubt that the 2 GB memory gives this generation total supremacy. The CPU, integrated graphics, and additional RAM combined make the 6s jump between actions speedily. It’s ridiculous how quickly the phone unlocks at the touch of the home button with Touch I.D. There’s a fluid motion—no lag—to the app switcher. Apps that crashed two or three times a day on the Plus run without fail on my 6s.

Size matters

All that stated, we already knew the 6s would be faster and more efficient. The scale of the Plus and 6s are completely different and gives one pause to wonder which size is better in day-to-day use. That’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.

Pocketable

I didn’t think this would matter so much to me, but the 6s fits in my pocket way better than the Plus. I hate bulky keys, wallets, and other paraphernalia in my pockets. The 6s is small enough that I can forget that it’s on my person.

Handy

The 6s is grippier. My fingers can reach all the way around it and I can adjust it with more dexterity. I can cradle the phone or balance it on one finger. It’s more comfortable to grip with two fingers when I have a reason to.

And I thought that the smaller keyboard of the 6s would be a significant frustration, but with practice my typo rate is about the same on the smaller and larger models. I don’t notice one producing significantly better results.

Say ‘no’ to landscape orientation

The most significant drawback of the 6 Plus was the landscape orientation. At seemingly random moments, my Plus would switch to landscape. It was always a chore to get it to rotate the interface back to portrait. When I was using the home screen this was a real impediment because apps would be in an unfamiliar layout. So, I would often fight with the gyroscope to get the phone back to portrait.

The only time I want my phone to view content in landscape is while watching videos or viewing pictures, but the 6 Plus was always mixing signals from the gyroscope and rotating when it didn’t make sense. Three or four times a day I would adjust it back and forth in my hands to get landscape to go away.

Turning on ‘Portrait Orientation Lock’ from Control Center would then introduce a different chore. If I wanted to watch a video or view a photo in landscape then I would have to unlock the orientation, then set it back on when I was done with the videos and pictures.

For the 6s, the landscape problem doesn’t even exist! iOS 8 and 9 don’t allow the 6 and 6s to rotate for half as many apps as what the 6 Plus and 6s Plus rotate for.

Camera equality

Since the camera hardware for 6s and 6s Plus are identical, there’s no tradeoffs between them like there are for the 6 and 6 Plus. The new cameras are simply great.

Update: I overlooked the 6 Plus and 6s Plus have optical image stabilization that the 6 and 6s do not. This was one of the significant reasons I preferred the 6 Plus over the 6, because shaky cam is so 2004. This is probably the one feature over the life of my 6s that I’ll truly miss from the Plus. The good news is that all other camera specs are the same.

Conclusion

I think the scale of the two models are great for different users’ preferences. I like the clarity of the Plus’ display, it’s larger keyboard and longer battery life.

But I also love the feel of the 6s: a phone that I can handle with one hand and slip into my pocket with greater ease. And knowing that landscape view is a non-issue for the 6s—at this time—matters to me. I would prefer a 6s over a 6s Plus any day.