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Buyer's Guide: iPHONE 6s PLUS

Despite a near £100 price disparity, Apple's obligatory Plus model of 2015 is openly marketed as little more than a physically larger version of the plain iPhone 6s. The two phones, which even share the same profile page on the company's official website, have nearly identical standardised specifications, with the exception being that the 6s Plus is around 2cm (roughly 0.8in) longer in height and 50 grams (1.8 ounces) heavier.

Users are consequently afforded the semi-luxury of a trifle more screen space with the plus model — measuring some 5.5in across, as compared with the 4.7in display of the 6s — which is not totally insignificant if you want your mobile to support some of the more expansive leisure activities usually reserved for a tablet or small laptop as well as those of a conventional phone (think: Netflix streaming) but more generally has little bearing on your overall product experience.

Inevitably, it carries some of the limitations associated with a pocket-sized device as well: unless you are particularly adept at operating a tiny keyboard, it is unlikely to become your instrument of choice for completing exhaustive word processing assignments, for example. Moreover, with maximum battery life estimations based on power use during the phone's dormant state, you will soon find yourself chained to a wall in any event (something you will avoid with, say, the latest Samsung releases, which have finally perfected wireless charging).

Like the 6s, the Plus model supports the much-heralded new 3D Touch technology launched in iOS 9, which allows deft-handed users to preview the contents of a webpage, text message or email with a soft tap of the display, as opposed to fully launching the relevant app with a harder push. This purportedly makes general navigation quicker, and it is not difficult to conceive of scenarios wherein it would be useful, but there has also been a palpable (and justifiable) sense of disappointment among fans at Apple's failure to live up to the heights of previous innovations.

Compared to the launch of the ingenious voice-activated personal assistant Siri on the iPhone 4s in 2011, for example — which genuinely added something extra to daily smart-phone use — 3D Touch is an altogether underwhelming addition, particularly as it represents the new models' one major upgrade. The good news for Apple is that Samsung's counterpart, the Galaxy S6 Edge, features the debut of an equally superficial gimmick in the shape of its skin-deep double-curved screen. Bottom line: if you were hoping for groundbreaking new mobile technology, 2015 has not been a vintage year.

Of course, iOS 9 also bears the footprint of Apple's more practical side, introducing the long-overdue reduced power option which enables users to prolong their mobile's battery life by a few hours; and also the network expansion of Wi-Fi calling for use during periods of low cellular coverage. Admittedly, these features are not insignificant, but also not exactly exclusive to — nor even enhanced by — the iPhone 6s Plus, having been made available for all models compatible with the new operating system (in addition to being supported by a host of competing Android devices).


Watch the first iPhone 6s Plus Unboxing Video

Verdict

By Apple's own admission, there is no reason to favour the 6s Plus over the 6s unless your daily mobile use demands that extra 0.8 inches of screen space. At whichever size, 2015's iPhone release will go down as a largely forgettable one, with both the 6s Plus and its streamlined namesake failing to deliver the sort of upgrades we have come to expect from the purported global leaders in smart-phone technology.