Apple iPhone 6s – full Australian review

The 4.7 inch Retina HD display maintains a 1334 x 750 resolution, however, when compared to an iPhone 6, the new display has a slightly warmer (yellow) tinge.

The new display is slightly more yellow (left).
The new display is slightly more yellow (left).

Still, it’s very sharp with a 326 pixels per inch density and the dual-domain pixel technology yields excellent contrast at 1400:1 and realistic colour rendition.

The screen is protected by an Apple-exclusive glass, hardened by a dual-ion exchange process. While it’s not technically Corning’s Gorilla Glass, it’s made by Corning just for Apple and meant to be even harder and more durable.

Good looking camera
Another major improvement on the iPhone 6s is the introduction of a 12 megapixel camera, over the 8 megapixel version found in the iPhone 4s, 5 and 6.

Simply increasing the megapixel count is not a sure-fire way to improve image quality, and it’s good to see that Apple has done the ground work starting with an f2.2 lens, Apple-designed image signal processor, advanced pixel technology and improved noise reduction.

Just like the models before it, the iPhone 6s uses digital stabilisation, while the iPhone 6s Plus gains an optical image stabilisation assembly.

The net result is photos with more detail, impressive low light performance, accurate colour rendition, and an instantaneous shutter response.

The iPhone 6s photo detail.
The 16MP iPhone 6s camera captures plenty of detail.
The 8MP iPhone 6 camera shows less detail in the stone.
The 8MP iPhone 6 camera shows less detail in the stone.

The additional megapixels can capture a vast amount of detail, meaning that you can zoom in or even crop into your photos to get that perfect shot. The panorama mode can now create stunning 180 degree images up to 63 megapixels in size.

A 64 megapixel panoramic photo from the 6s.
A 64 megapixel panoramic photo from the 6s.

During testing, and shooting in less than ideal conditions such as into direct sunlight, the results were impressive.

Below, a photo taken by National Geographic Photographer @markleongphotography in Longsheng, Guangxi shows off the iPhone 6s’s low light performance, with visible detail captured in the shadows. It’s been liked over 240,000 times.

A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on

Not to rest on its laurels, Apple has created a new photo mode called ‘Live Photo’. The idea behind this is to provide some context to the moment you took a photo, so 1.5 seconds of movement and sound are captured before and 1.5 seconds after you’ve taken the shot.

Great detail captured in low light.
Great detail captured in the shadows.
Good colour reproduction and contrast.
Good colour reproduction and contrast.

With this you might enjoy revisiting the memories a noisy street carnival, or catch a friend’s sly wink just before or after you’ve taken the shot.

To review the ‘Live’ playback element of a Live Photo, just press and hold your finger on the photo, or mouse hover over it in the Photos app on your computer.

You can also view Live Photos on other iPhones and iPads provided they’re running iOS 9, and even the Apple Watch. Otherwise, just the still photo will viewed or sent. If you don’t want Live Photo, you can switch it off.

The only problem we found with Live Photos is that it’s easy to forget that the phone is still recording after you’re taking a photo. While a yellow ‘Live’ symbol does appear on the display, it’s easy to overlook this, resulting in Live footage pointing at the ground.

The Live icon lets you know that Live Photo is recording.
The yellow ‘Live’ icon lets you know that Live Photo is recording.

An Apple rep tells me that in an upcoming software update, Live Photo will use the accelerometer to detect if you’ve lowered the camera and stop recording.

Given our fascination with selfies, Apple hasn’t forgotten the more self-indulgent crowd with an uprated 5 megapixel f2.2 FaceTime HD Camera. This captures Live Photos as well and adds additional clarity for FaceTime video conferencing.

Also new is that the Retina HD display can act as a flash since there’s no front-facing flash on the iPhone 6s. A pre-flash detects ambient lighting and then a true-tone flash from the display lights up your face.

This helps produce more true-to-life colours than a white-only flash, and a custom chip enables the display to flash 3 times brighter than normal.