The fact that Apple is still selling the iPhone 6s, a two-year-old phone, is a testament of how good the iPhone 6s is.
Usually, Apple only offers the previous-generation iPhone when it announces a new model.
But if you compare the specs of the iPhone 8 or iPhone X on Apple’s website, you’ll notice that the phones look pretty similar. You’ll be telling yourself: “Yep, the iPhone 6s has this, and that, and that.”
The main differences are the chips that dictate performance and certain features, as well as a few incremental improvements to things like the display and camera. These are hugely important factors when deciding which iPhone to buy, but the iPhone 6s is still a top contender, especially for its new price starting at $A699.
Here’s why you should consider buying the iPhone 6s instead of the iPhone 8:
It should go without saying that Apple's older iPhones are going to be cheaper than their new ones.
Here's what the new iPhones cost:
- iPhone 8 with 64GB of storage: $A1,079
- iPhone 8 Plus with 64GB of storage: $A1,329
- iPhone X with 64GB of storage: $A1,579
To compare, Apple is still selling the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus for significantly less than the new iPhones:
- iPhone 6s with 32GB of storage: $A699
- iPhone 6s Plus with 32GB of storage: $A849
The new iPhone 8 phones only come in silver, gold, and space grey. The new iPhone X only comes in silver and space grey.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus come in silver, gold, space grey, as well as rose gold. You can't get an iPhone 8 or iPhone X in rose gold.
If you value design above everything else, the iPhone X would be the iPhone of choice. It's the freshest iPhone design since the iPhone 6 was released in 2014, and it looks downright gorgeous. But the iPhone 6s has an excellent design -- and you'll find comfort in knowing that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus look nearly identical to the new iPhone 8 models. Both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 8 have the same bezels around the display, same overall shape, and their screens are the same size and same resolution.
The iPhone 6s phones have metal backs, which won't shatter like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X's glass backs.
The glass back on the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X phones allows them to charge wirelessly using the Qi wireless charging standard. That's great, but it also means that the glass backs can shatter after a drop, much like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s could. I had an iPhone 4 with a glass back and it shattered, despite the fact that I had it in a relatively bulky protective case.
The iPhone 6s' aluminium back won't crack like glass. It might get dings and dents after a drop, but it's less likely to break or crack like the iPhone 8 or iPhone X could.
All the new iPhones come with the same chargers that the iPhone 6s did, which means they will charge at the same speed.
Apple added support for fast charging into its new iPhone 8 phones and the iPhone X, where you can charge your iPhone up to 50% in 30 minutes. But you'll have to buy extra accessories to take advantage of fast charging, including a USB power adaptor with the Power Delivery standard, and Apple's own USB-C-to-Lightning power cable.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X also support wireless charging, but that also requires you buy a separate wireless charger, too.
The Apple A9 chip turning the wheels inside the iPhone 6s phones is still a great performer. I updated my iPhone 6s Plus to iOS 11 last month and I've hardly noticed any slowdown. Apps might take a little longer to load on the iPhone 6s than they do on the iPhone 8, but it's still perfectly suitable for my day-to-day needs, and I'm very fickle about my apps opening quickly.
On top of the A9 chip, the iPhone 6s still has an incredibly fast Touch ID sensor so I can unlock my iPhone 6s Plus with minimal delay, which is also very important to me. Face ID, an iPhone X exclusive feature that lets you unlock the phone using the front camera and your face, looks nice. At the same time, I don't anticipate that Face ID will make unlocking my phone a drastically easier experience than Touch ID.
The iPhone 8 Plus recently overthrew Samsung's Galaxy phones as the best smartphone camera -- it's truly an excellent camera. It's also an undeniably better camera than the iPhone 6s' camera. Still, the camera on my iPhone 6s Plus takes incredible photos, and I'm happy to capture my memories with it. Mind you, this phone is only two years old!
If the headphone jack still matters to you, the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE are your only choices if you want to stick to a pure dongle-less iPhone experience. Even Android phones are starting to ditch the headphone jack.
Eventually, however, you'll have to adjust to a headphone jack-less world when you upgrade beyond the iPhone 6s.
Apple added a bunch of new improvements to iPhone screens on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, including TrueTone that adjusts the overall colour temperature to match the lighting in your surrounding, and a wide colour gamut for richer colours.
At the same time, the screen on the iPhone 6s phones is still excellent. The screen on that phone has the same sharpness and resolution as the new iPhone 8, and it reproduces colours just fine for browsing the web, using apps, watching videos, looking at photos, and playing games.
The iPhone X's screen brings the most significant improvements with its sharper and larger 5.8-inch display, but again, you won't feel like you're missing out on much when you're holding an iPhone 6s.
You'll get the same great iOS experience and Apple ecosystem with the iPhone 6s as you would if you bought an iPhone 8 and iPhone X, including timely updates.
Sure, you won't find some of the cool new software-based features you'd find on the iPhone 8 or iPhone X, like Portrait Mode in the camera app. But for the most part, you're getting the same smartphone experience as every other iPhone.
When a company promotes a new feature, it shows off the best thing you can do with it. For the iPhone 8 and iPhone X augmented-reality features, Apple thinks the best thing you can do with it is 'digitally redecorate your home, explore a city you've never visited, or even walk with dinosaurs.'
Augmented reality is in its early stages, and as Apple itself notes, 'the possibilities are endless.' But right now, there aren't that many possibilities with augmented reality that excite me to the point that it's worth the extra cash for an iPhone 8 or iPhone X. Even the top augmented-reality app in the App Store right now can't crack the top 500 apps.
If you were to spend the extra money to get a new iPhone instead of an iPhone 6s, here's a breakdown of what you're getting.
That said, The iPhone 6s has excellent performance, a stellar camera, and a great screen. But some features on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X simply don't exist on the iPhone 6s, like water resistance and most augmented-reality apps. For those things that are missing entirely from the iPhone 6s, you'll have to decide for yourself whether it's worth the extra money.
Here's what you're getting if you want to spend more for a newer iPhone than an iPhone 6s:
- Faster performance
- Better cameras
- Slightly better screen on the iPhone 8 and a drastically better screen on the iPhone X
- Extra features that are nice, but not essential, like Portrait mode, wireless charging and fast charging, the latter two features requiring extra purchases
- Augmented reality
- A fresh design with the iPhone X
- Water resistance
These are all improvements to be sure, but you have to ask yourself whether paying the extra money is worth it when the iPhone 6s is still such a good phone.
It's true that the iPhone 6s will show its age a lot quicker than the iPhone 8 or iPhone X. But look at it this way -- when the iPhone 6s becomes too slow for your day-to-day use in, say, two years time, you could upgrade to the iPhone 8 model that will cost less than the brand new 2019 model.
The iPhone 6s is an example of how recent iPhones have longer lifespans when it comes to performance, and we don't need to spend top dollar for the new models.