iPhone 6S First Impressions
For context I’m reviewing the 6S after being the restrained owner of a 4S for several years. I’ve resisted upgrading each year, because I’ve been waiting for sufficient innovation to finally creep out of Cupertino. That point has finally arrived, a great camera, enough CPU power to handle my large offline Evernote database, enough graphics power to cope with my large photo collection and to render my beloved collection of high resolution ordnance survey maps, 3D touch and a larger screen. The few bugs and the upgrade experience aside (terrible) I’m very happy with my upgraded experience.
This post isn’t so much about the iPhone itself, but how the 6S, peripherals and upgraded apps are enhancing my usage experience overall, lets get started.
The overwhelming first impression is one of smooth luxury, smooth because everything is so fast, all of the lags and often achingly slow actions – like opening up the camera roll in Instagram – have gone, the 6S is just silky smooth in operation. Luxurious because there’s so much more room to breath, the big screen is gorgeous, the build quality is excellent and Touch ID ‘s elimination of PIN and password entry makes interactions seem to natural again. Lot’s of things that were just too fiddly on the 4S seems just right, for example playing drop 7, reading books and articles on Instapaper are much more enjoyable.
Once I’m over these first impressions the sheer power of the 6S starts to reveal itself. I can now easily sync my whole music collection, the whole of Wikipedia, keep all of my maps on the device and a good collection of essential reference books. The real power though comes from no longer needing to think about storage capacity, after battling weekly to live with the confines of 32GB of memory, I’m no longer constrained. One of the biggest advantages that comes from plenty of storage, CPU and RAM though is that Evernote comes into it’s own. My life revolves around Evernote on my PCs and I have loads of automated feeds that flow into it, but on the 4S it was useless. I had very few notebooks offline, always the ones I didn’t need, and performance was glacial. On the 6S everything is synched offline and performance is fast and fluid (although there is a bug with snippet view).
Ok, so it’s fast, smooth, luxurious and powerful but it’s also so much more convenient. Touch ID immediately removes the biggest hassle associated with the 4S, I now have only one set of cables to carry, all of my most used apps now easily fit on the much larger screen rather than spilling onto the second, 3D touch streamlines multi-tasking, and quick access to information and battery life is much improved (mostly because of the built in motion tracking) leading to fewer recharges.
I’ve also taken the opportunity to upgrade all of my key peripherals. The most important of which are a car kit, a holster and a charging case. I already have a couple of battery packs that charge my PC (via USB-C), iPad and now the 6S. For the car holder I chose the MONTAR Universal Car Mount for its rigidity and flexibility, it happily holds the 6S in either of it’s cases or naked. For the holster I went back to basics and picked a design that I’d loved for years when I had a Blackberry, choosing the Seidio DILEX Pro holster which comes with thin shell case with a metal kickstand. I also went for an Anker charging case (66% off right now), for long days out exploring. When hiking or on city breaks I will be constantly referring to the phone screen, taking photos, listening to books and tracking my location with GPS, with the Anker case I should be fine, and as a plus the 6S in it’s charging case fit’s perfectly in a lovely leather holster that I had for a Nokia 930 last year.
I’m already noticing how much some of my favourite apps (see below) take advantage of the extra screen space. My beloved diary app Memento feels fantastic, MyFitnessPal now integrates directly with the motion co-processor rather than depending on FitBit, Moves now uses far less battery, GB & Parks renders the Ordnance Survey maps very quickly and they look great, Evernote becomes useable and oh so powerful, and reading on Instapaper and Kindle is a joy. Of course taking and browsing photo’s is vastly improved, they need a lot less post-processing and I now have the space to keep my full photo library on the phone at full resolution.
There are a few minor niggles though, there are several bugs, for example Evernote can’t open notes from Snippet View, you have to change to Card View, and podcasts stop playing when you open the camera.
I’m writing this review in my conservatory office, the photo that adorns the post is from my walk along the beach this morning and shows the North St Annes beach access, on the 4S a photo like this would benefit from a little enhancement, but the 6S seems to get the look just perfect.