I’ve had the latest iPhone for about a month, now, and the final verdict is (unsurprisingly) it’s the best iPhone yet! I don’t just mean that it’s improved due to accelerations in technology and obviously beats out its predecessor; the iPhone 6S is a lot faster due to a 100% increase in RAM (finally) and some fine tuning in the SSD storage controller (boring stuff, really). In fact, the iPhone 6S is beating out Apple’s own MacBook released last year, a fact that has a lot of people excited for how an iPad Pro might perform in the wild.

Another notable improvement is the near instant Touch ID; it’s so fast that using the home button to turn on your phone will completely bypass the lock screen, reiterating that notifications should live on the wrist (Apple Watch review coming soon). The camera now shoots 4k, includes Live Photos, and has an amazing front facing flash that utilizes the same principles of the dual amber/white light balancing that the back facing flash employs. Pictures truly are sharper, whatever the lighting conditions, and the difference is quite noticeable. I’m not the best photographer, but I’ve included a few shots in various lighting conditions from a recent trip down to DC/VA.

One of the biggest qualms I have with the latest iPhone actually doesn’t apply to my device: they continue to maintain a base of 16GB. The 16GB phone with 4k and Live Photos is almost insulting; fortunately, I have the 128GB iPhone 6S Plus, meaning it can handle whatever I throw at it, including optical image stabilization for those less than favorable road trip selfies.

The biggest change is, obviously, the addition of 3D Touch. I can say that it truly is a game changer. I use it to preview full messages without leaving a Read Receipt, peak at photos in full size to make sure I’m selecting the right thumbnail, and lots of other things. Most conveniently, pressing firmly on the keyboard activates a cursor to precisely navigate and edit text.

It’s a huge time saver from Mail, or quick reply via iMessage. 3D Touch keeps down the loading of full size images on Instagram, since you can use press firmly on the icons to get a preview; Snapchat is also using it to offer slo-mo and some other features. I probably get the most use out of it on photos, but there are a lot of cool apps that take advantage of 3D Touch that I’ll be touching on in my App Review post next week! All of the photos above are actually live photos, and would respond to 3D Touch; I have an app that can convert them to GIFs for the web and I’ll be featuring that in the App Review post, as well. Stay tuned.

My phone is currently sporting a very hi-res satellite image of Mars, courtesy of the WLPPR app (a great place to find satellite imagery), on the home screen and my lock screen features a default Live Photo of some heavy liquid suspended in a lighter liquid. Pressing slightly on the lock screen will activate an animation, although I can’t entirely comprehend the purpose of such a feature if it requires that action. All in all, we’ll label that one frivolous and categorize it under irrelevant; besides, we’ve already discussed that the lock screen is usually bypassed by the fingerprint reader.

So that’s my initial assessment of the device. I’ll go more in depth about how it pairs with the Watch in my next post; I didn’t get into battery life for that very reason, actually. If you have any questions about the new iPhone, leave a comment or tweet @m_rlons and I’ll offer my thoughts!

Final verdict: iPhone 6S is a solid upgrade and I recommend upgrading, if it’s in the budget.

By: Marlon Stevenson