Review Apple iPhone 5S vs iPhone 6 vs the new iPhone 6S

Discussion in 'Gadgets and Consumer Electronics' started by JD666, Nov 21, 2015.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Yes, I've finally figured out why the iPhone is so common in first world countries. A) - It is super easy to get one and :cool: You don't really need to be too smart to operate one. Now that I have satisfied the Android brigade and iProduct haters, lets move on to the main topic of discussion.

    As some of you know, I got an iPhone 6S from my service provider. It comes SIM free (I can use any SIM in it), but I get a lower monthly bill for the data and calling allowances I have. Well okay, it isn't technically free, but then if you are paying about 800 Rs extra in your monthly bill for 2 years, does it really count?

    6 vs 6s vs 5s.jpg

    Plus, iPhones hold their resale value really well. I sold my 5S after nearly two years of usage for about 19,800 INR. Try doing that with a S4 or equivalent Android flag ship. So whatever extra I spend over 2 years, I hope to recover and reduce my monthly bill (over all) when I sell the device.

    To be honest with this review/shootout, I spent a week each with all three devices. Which was quite easy, since I was using the 5S, when I got the 6S. The missus is using the 6, so it was readily accessible as well. I did do a few photo shots and comparos, since the major talking point for the 6S was the camera. That'll follow later.

    For now, I will write about each phone, individually, their strengths and weaknesses. Please take this as an unbiased review, or as the wife likes to say, she's using an iOS device, because of all the unwanted mobile operating systems in the world, this is the one she dislikes slightly lesser compared to others.

    First up, the trusty work horse, iPhone 5S -

    The iPhone 5S had been a purchase, much similar to the above scenario, to reduce my monthly mobile bills. I had to buy a post paid connection, and for the same amount that I would pay, I was getting an iPhone 5S. So I waited a few weeks, and got the device. The iPhone 5S was the first true iOS device in my hand (if you don't count a 3rd gen iPod Touch).

    The features that I really liked, and found lacking in other Android devices - Fingerprint sensor to unlock/sign-in/purchase online. Trust me, once you get hooked to it, there is no turning back.

    The camera was a minor improvement over the 5, but no great shakes. The fit, feel and compact nature of the device was an instant hit with me and the wife. I soon handed it over to her, since I ran into the first big stumbling block with the device, and that was battery life.

    I don't like my phones to run dry at the end of the day. I would like them to retain at least 30-40% charge till I get home. The iPhone 5S would burn thru its battery in about 10-12 hours, which was not working for me. And I don't leave features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Location switched on at all times. Switch them on, only when you need em. Eventually I switched to the HTC One Mini, which lasted well, but the camera and fingerprint sensor were sorely missed.

    Of the three phones being discussed here, the iPhone 5s is the device that has made it to the lowest, entry level rung of the current Apple line up. It is quite a capable device (for now) and iOS 9 has been a mixed bag for it. A few friends who upgraded their devices, initially complained of lower battery life and device hanging, but that was soon sorted out with the next update.

    The 5S might be around to see the next version of iOS, but that would be about it probably.

    Why you should buy one?

    - To enter the Apple/iOS environment
    - You still have regular hands and not Gorilla sized hands.
    - The 4 inch screen is a delight to operate, especially single handed.
    - The camera is at par with the iPhone 6, probably slightly worse in the dark.
    - The design/shape still appeals to you
    - The price is affordable
    - You are upgrading from an el-cheapo Android device or iPhone 4-4S

    Why you shouldn't buy one?

    - If you are a heavy user, this device is not for you. The iPhone 6 will last better.
    - You would'nt want to be seen with something that is 2 generations old.
    - you would like a big screen to view videos and play games. It can play games and videos, however the screen might not be to everyone's liking.


    Moving on, Lets talk about the iPhone 6 -

    Part of Apple's alternating upgrade process (one generation will be an improved 'S' version of the previous device, and the next one will be a new design), the iPhone 6 was the upgrade that was much awaited. I was one of the first buyers to get my hand on a 64 Gb device, and reviewed it somewhere in this forum. What the iPhone 6 impressed me, was with the build, especially the slim form factor it encompassed. The 4.7 inch screen was big, but still manageable, just about. The camera was faster, snappier and the device stood out from the rest of the bazaar.

    After a year of having one, I found that the battery life was much better, apps were nicer and smoother on the 6, and gaming was fun. I was never into music with my mobile device (and I hate the resource burn iTunes puts on my PC) so never bothered much with that. Browsing was snappy, so was chatting, texting, emails etc.

    And then I dropped it. Sigh. The iPhone 6 dents faster than you can say Holy Cow! I dropped the damn thing once, and it proudly displayed 4 bumps (one on either corner) for them. That too, despite being inside a protective case. Not much there.

    Anyhow, in this time, I also got to experience Apple care, which is slightly pricier here compared to other places, but nonetheless great. Phone fell, screen (touch only) broke, still operational, gave Apple care a call. Went into the place in the evening, after 3 days got a replacement device (brand new) but had to pay some amount for it. Was any day better than getting the screen replaced locally and then haggling with bad workmanship and authenticity of parts.

    Why should you buy the iPhone 6?

    - You like the bigger screen/display
    - You would like to have a device that looks like the latest one, but can't afford the 6S
    - The additional battery life and processing power will make a difference to your usage
    - With the 6S on the market, the price of the 6 is quite the balance of cost vs performance
    - Your previous device is minimum 2 generations old, so is at least a 5 or an Android device running 2.2

    Why shouldn't you buy the iPhone 6?

    - Coz it hurts like a baby if you drop one. The body is extremely prone to dents.
    - It is slightly bulky compared to the 5/5S
    - The Camera is a marginal improvement over the 5S. If you need a decent shooter, the 5S does as well.

    - Features like Apple Pay/NFC etc are not in the reckoning, since they are not really making any inroads with that for the Indian market. For an international reader, yes the additional features would make sense, if you are comfortable putting your card details into an electronic device and waving it around to pay. I'm not, so I'm gonna hold off for now.

    The iPhone 6 does bring about a noticeable bump in performance vs the 5S, and this does show when you are using Skype, or have multiple tabs open. With regards to streaming video or audio, they are pretty much at par, though this is decided by your network strength as well. They both worked at par for me in that regard.


    And with that, we come to the latest, the U2 album free, iPhone 6S -

    As you can see from the image above, there isn't much that distinguishes the iPhone 6S from the 6. It's only about 0.2 mm thicker, but regular covers for the 6 fit the 6S. So don't be misled for paying more, just coz you're getting a 6S cover. The ones for the 6, work just fine on the 6S.

    What does become obvious when you hold the two devices (and to be noted, two of them together), is how much heavier the 6S is versus the iPhone 6. Apparently the 3D Touch engine, or the layer that flexes and allows sensors to read the difference in capacitance, so that they register a hard press is quite heavy. And takes up space. So much so that this was perhaps the first manufacturer, that ended up reducing battery capacity.

    Which I will probably take up at the end of this article, or perhaps in a separate one.

    The first impressions were the same. To keep it short, 3D touch is gimmicky for some, and useful, if you can remember to use it. I played around a lot with it, and this was my conclusion. Probably if you're introducing the concept of a touchscreen to a toddler or a first timer, they might actually use it more than a regular X-Y axis touch screen user.

    Perhaps our coming generation will have native support for 3D touch screens, so that they won't have to re-wire their brains to press harder if needed.

    3D touch does have a long way to go, coz as many people argue, the same functionality can be handled by long press as well. If you are critical about the time spent for your device to respond to an input, 3D touch is definitely for you. Because in its first gen iteration (we know there will be an improved 3D engine for the iPhone 7, isn't there always), it registers a hard press pretty quickly. Which does make long press redundant.

    The gripes against it? doesn't work everywhere, more functionality and features could be implemented. It is half baked, but well done. iOS 10 might sort it out.

    The other talking point of the 6S has been the camera. They have improved the resolution of the sensor, and bought in something which is called light isolation sensors, so that the light reaching one sensor does not spill over into an adjacent one. I can quite easily sum it up by saying, the iPhone 6S camera is good, and snappy, but has been bested by many devices out there. The S6 family and onwards is one such generation that I personally have experienced, are better in this regard.

    Slow Mo shooting, Live photos, instant snapping, Front screen flash for Selfie and all are really nice. I used all of these features over a recent holiday. And that's the USP of the iPhone. It is quick, easy to use, does not lag, focuses well, essentially does everything but just isn't the best out there.

    Night time/Dark shooting was a major improvement over the 5S/6 Camera. The flash range also seems, has been improved.

    Battery life for me, surprisingly has been slightly better than the 6. So I cannot really complain about the battery life, other than Apple should pack like a business version of their iPhone that is probably 8-9 mm thick and packs an extra 1200-1500 mAH in it. The battery life of all iPhones is abysmally low and this is really funny that I now have 6 iPhone cables in my house (1 in each car, 1 in each of our bags, 1 in the bedroom and 1 in the living room). Seriously, this is insane.

    Why you should buy the iPhone 6S ?

    - You really like the new Rose Gold color. Since that is the only external factor that sets the 6S apart from the 6
    - You are into having the latest hardware, the moment it rolls out
    - You get the iPhone free/reduced price with a bill plan that saves you some money
    - The improved camera and 3D touch do make sense for you
    - You can afford it
    - The casing/body is better constructed and of a durable metal, better than the 6.
    - The fingerprint sensor is super fast, better than the 6.


    Why you shouldn't buy the iPhone 6S?

    - Coz the device will be surpassed by the iPhone 7 in about 8-9 months. Which will be a design/hardware rework.
    - It's too expensive
    - The 6 does pretty much everything that the 6S does. When the 5S came out, it was an improvement on the battery/heating/surface finish issues of the 5. The 6S does improve on these aspects, but the 6 was pretty well thought out to begin with.

    Now after writing all this, I am quite inspired to write another piece, "Why you shouldn't buy an iPhone".

    Every time I pick up a flagship Android device, I feel, find some lag, heating, UI mess up, the feel is not right, not smooth enough, or just doesn't feel uniform. Android fragmentation has a lot to be blamed for it. Till then the UI benchmark does remain with iOS (though I have seen chinks with hangs and unresponsive behavior at times). Until Android can sort that aspect out, it's going to have a hard time.

    Hope you guys liked this effort. Do try and share with your friends, and get us the clicks/views that feed the keyboard warriors.



    -
     
  2. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    In the next post, I will do a compare of the cameras, so that everyone has clear samples to view and compare for themselves.
     
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Moving on, I did a few compare shots between the 3 to identify if there is a progression in the image quality.
    All three have equally snappy cameras, with the 6S edging out the rest by a bit. The 5S and 6 work at par in this regard (snapping speed). Though they all lag way behind the S6, which in my opinion is the current Camera phone to have.

    DSC_0133.JPG

    My test comprised of a few colorful items (gifts for my niece) and taking shots of them in Auto mode in the following scenarios -

    - Normal daylight flash off
    - Normal daylight flash on
    - Dark - flash on
    - Dark flash off

    For reference sake, I took an image with my D5200 and the Lumia 1020.

    All images have been resized to half size of their original. The DSLR image has been resized to a quarter of its original size. You can click on them to view them in a separate tab.

    The image taken with the D5200 is below -

    DSC_0140.jpg
     
  4. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    First up, the Normal Daylight - Flash off shots -

    The iPhone 5S -

    IMG_0001.jpg


    The iPhone 6 -


    IMG_3823.jpg

    The iPhone 6S -



    The iPhone 6S -

    01.jpg

    And for reference the Lumia 1020 -

    WP_20151026_003.jpg
    --- Double Post Merged, Nov 29, 2015 ---
    As you can see, the colors are probably slightly lost in the 5S, but are maintained equally in the 6 and the 6S. The Lumia 1020 does over do the upper bright of the book, but the colors are deeper compared to the other phones.

    Daylight with Flash -

    Just to get an idea, how natural is the flash on these devices -

    First up iPhone 5S -

    IMG_0003.jpg

    The iPhone 6 -


    IMG_0003.jpg

    And the iPhone 6S -

    02.jpg


    For reference, the Lumia 1020 with Xenon flash, outdoes the LED flash on all three devices -

    WP_20151026_003.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015
  5. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Third Sample - Dark with flash on -

    The iPhone 5S -


    IMG_0008.jpg

    The iPhone 6 -


    003.jpg


    The iPhone 6S -

    03.jpg

    Surprisingly the 6S had paler colors in comparison to the other two.

    The Lumia 1020 below -

    WP_20151026_006.jpg
     
  6. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Now for the final comparo - Dark - Flash off

    This is where some discernible differences were seen between the 6S and the 6/5S -

    First up, iPhone 5S -

    IMG_0011.jpg


    The text was grainy in the image, and quite blurry with the slightest levels of zoom.

    004.jpg

    The iPhone 6 (above) fared at par with the 5S in this regard. Only difference was perhaps the capture speed was higher than it.

    04.jpg

    The camera difference of the iPhone 6S was visible, with better resolution and clarity to the text. But that was about it.

    The Lumia 1020 took its own sweet time to capture, but the result was much better than the others. Again, this was shot in Auto mode -

    WP_20151026_010.jpg
     

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