You Can Rationalize Anything

When the new iPhones came out, I was unsure what model I should buy this year. Eventually I decided get the iPhone 6s, despite worrying that I would miss the bigger screen of the 6 Plus. After two weeks with the 6s I’m very happy with my decision.

The smaller screen of the 6s doesn’t bother me at all in my day-to-day use. Everything I do on the iPhone, whether it’s reading Twitter, browsing the web, looking at photos, or playing games, works just as well as it did on the 5.5-inch screen. In fact, I can’t remember a single occasion in the past two weeks when I thought to myself, “man, this app would be so much nicer on a 6s Plus”. Even using the phone at home on the couch, where pocketability doesn’t matter, is perfectly fine. This really surprised me. I had assumed the tradeoff would be much bigger.

And of course, the iPhone 6s feels a lot more comfortable in the hand and in a pants pocket. These aspects definitely feel like an upgrade, and I didn’t know how much they irked me (in small ways, but still) until I got the smaller device.

The only real disadvantage is the battery life, which is noticeably worse than on my year-old 6 Plus. I’m also a little sad I had to give up optical image stabilization on the camera. The 6 Plus was really good at low-light photos because it could still get a sharp image at very long shutter speeds, and the 6s feels like a step down in that regard.

I’m glad I had the 6 Plus for a year (see, I’m still doing the rationalization thing), but after having used both sizes, the 4.7-inch screen is definitely my favorite.

Some more observations

It’s so much faster, which was totally unexpected to me. I never considered the 6 Plus sluggish (and I still don’t), but the 6s is in a different league. App launches in particular are way faster. Data in the Health app loads almost instantly, whereas on the 6 Plus it always took a few seconds for the charts to get populated.1 I suspect the faster flash storage interface is a major factor in both of these scenarios.

The Touch ID sensor is much, much faster than before.

It’s hard to overstate how much of an improvement the extra gigabyte of RAM is. Safari can all of a sudden hold a dozen tabs in RAM where it previously struggled with two. A game I launched 24 hours ago is still in RAM the next day. Reviewing a photo I’ve just taken in the Camera app is instantaneous (not sure if that was constrained by RAM).

3D Touch is really cool.

  1. I’d love to know why the Health app is so slow. I understand that it has to deal with large amounts of data, but showing a chart of my weight changes over the last 30 days should be instant on any device. ↩︎