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iPhone 6S Plus vs. iPhone 6 Plus: Spec Showdown

Apple may have moved on with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but let’s not forget about the smartphones that came before. When announced, the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6S Plus were Apple’s flagship devices.

A few years down the line, and they remain quality phones that offer excellent performance for the price. Having spent enough time with both devices, we now know exactly what made the 6 Plus and 6S Plus notable upgrades for Apple aficionados. To get an idea of what sets the 6S Plus apart from its predecessor, we’ve decided to pit the two against each other in a spec comparison. May the best phone win (spoiler alert: the iPhone 6S Plus wins, though you should just wait for the iPhone 8).

Specs

Apple iPhone 6S Plus

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Size 6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches 6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
Weight 6.77 ounces 6.07 ounces
Screen 5.5-inch 5.5-inch
Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels
OS iOS 10 iOS 10
Storage 32, 128GB 16, 64, 128GB
SD Card Slot No No
Processor Apple 64-bit, A9 Apple 64-bit, A8
RAM 2GB 1GB
Connectivity 4G LTE, 802.11ac 4G LTE, 802.11ac
Camera 12MP rear, 5MP front 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
Bluetooth 4.2 4.0
Fingerprint sensor Touch ID Touch ID
Battery 24 hours of 3G talk time 24 hours of 3G talk time
Charger Lightning Lightning
Marketplace Apple App Store Apple App Store
Avg. Price $27.05/month for 24 months, or $649 without a contract N/A
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile No longer available
DT Review 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Design

Apple’s design for the iPhone 6 Plus was beautiful simplicity, wrapping rounded edges into glass in an unassuming style typical of past iPhones. Apple decided not to fix what wasn’t broken, bringing back a nearly identical style for the 6S Plus. However, it did improve the phone’s enclosure, borrowing a page out of the aerospace industry’s book and wrapping it in an alloy of 7000 Series aluminum. In other words, this is the strongest and most durable iPhone yet.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Aside from the dimensions of the 6S Plus registering one-hundredth of an inch bigger in height, width, and thickness, these two phones are mirror images of each other. Back is the same 5.5-inch screen with the same gorgeous 1920 x 1080 screen resolution owners of the 6 Plus came to know and love. Where the iPhone 6S Plus does diverge a bit from the 6 Plus is its available colors. While the 6 Plus comes in just Space Gray, Silver, and Gold (the Gold has been discontinued), the 6S Plus comes in Space Gray, Silver, Gold, or Rose Gold, giving buyers an even greater opportunity to customize their smartphone.

Power and productivity

The 6S Plus is definitely faster than the 6 Plus. Apple’s A9 chip runs 70-percent faster than the A8, with a GPU that’s a staggering 90-percent faster. The iPhone 6S Plus also features 2GB of RAM, which is double that of the original 6 Plus. Additionally, Touch ID is faster — there’s no lag when you swipe around — and games run more smoothly.

Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

The iPhone 6S Plus also touts what Apple calls 3D Touch, which grants users an extra level of touch sensitivity. Slightly touching an application, for instance, brings up a table that’s similar to the right-click menu you might see on a computer. Apple claims the feature improves productivity and streamlines the smartphone experience when time is at a premium. Although you can get iOS 10 on the 6 Plus, it doesn’t support the 3D Touch feature.

Camera

The one area where the iPhone 6S Plus arguably blows the 6 Plus out of the water concerns its camera functionality. Instead of an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a sub-par 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, the 6S Plus touts a gorgeous 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. In other words, Apple continues to make it easy for casual photographers to ditch digital cameras altogether and rely solely on the contraption they have in their pocket. For years, Apple has continuously boasted about the iPhone’s camera prowess, and the iPhone 6S Plus legitimately raises the bar.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Packed within the camera’s massive upgrade is also the ability for users to not only shoot HD videos, but incredibly detailed 4K videos. Obviously it’s tough to put much stock in 4K actually mattering on something with a screen as “small” as an iPhone 6S Plus, but videos shot in 4K certainly looked a whole heck of a lot better than anything shot on a 6 Plus. Moreover, with 4K gaining popularity and momentum in the HD community, why not include it if the tech is there?

Availability

As always, the 6S Plus comes in three different storage sizes, each of which carries its own price tag. The 32GB 6S Plus comes in at $649 (or $27.05/month for 24 months), and the 128GB at $749 (or $31.21/month for 24 months). As of 2017, however, the iPhone 6 Plus is no longer being sold by Apple or any of the major carriers. With the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus out now, the iPhone SE is the represents the company’s entry-level model. If you want to buy an iPhone 6 Plus, you’ll have to scour the second-hand market.

Conclusion

As is typically par for the course for Apple, each new line of iPhones is described as the most advanced ever created, when compared to other smartphones available at the time. With a newer processing chip, a much-improved camera, a new operating system, and two extra snazzy colors, the iPhone 6S Plus offers a tangible step up from its predecessor. The 6S Plus has also dropped in price since the 7 Plus was released, making it even more tempting. If you already have a 6 Plus, then skip the 6S Plus, and look at the latest model. But if you’re choosing between a second-hand 6 Plus and a new 6S Plus right now, we’d definitely advise you to go for the 6S Plus. If you’re not in a rush, we recommend wiating for the iPhone 8, which is rumored to arrive in September 2017.

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Kyree Leary
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyree is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who spends a lot of his time writing about video games and all kinds of tech…
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