iPhone 6s Plus

Summary

The iPhone 6s Plus is a remarkable workhorse of a device. It’s speedy and well-built, it shoots amazing photos and videos, and everything ‘just works’ in a way that doesn’t dumb-down the quality of the workflow. It’s expensive and enormous and not ideal for some scenarios, but in general, it’s worth the price paid and pocket real estate consumed.

Details

The last iPhone I owned at a 3s, I think. I had every model up to that point, too. iPhones tend to be gorgeous devices that are remarkably good for a lot of reasons.

But much of what made many iterations of the iPhone a solid day-to-day smartphone is also what made it horrible for travel. Most of its applications ‘just worked’ and there were fewer gray areas in its setup and customization, but these features over-simplified in some cases, rendering it useless for professional-grade work of any sort except those featured in the latest iOS build, and made traveling with the device an exercise in futility; you had to pay for roaming data from your provider, and that’s if the US-centric antennas tucked within the hardware even worked on foreign networks.

Today, a lot has changed. The iPhone 6s Plus works on every network in the work, has an easily accessible SIM card slot, has a camera/video camera that shoots high-res photos and records 4k video, and is available unlocked with little muss or fuss. The one remaining downside of carrying an iPhone on the road is that it’s easily identifiable, and the price easy to deduce. This means that potential thieves can do a simple cost/benefit analysis to sort out whether swiping your device is worth their while, whereas if you have a generic-looking Android phone (my typical preference), the payout, and therefore the crime, is less certain.

At the moment I don’t know of a better all-around device for production than the iPhone 6s Plus. Even the non-Plus 6s isn’t quite up to snuff, as it lacks some video stabilization and battery upgrades that Plus model boasts. There are some very close seconds in the Android field in terms of raw power, but the software and processing that takes place in the camera sensor in the 6s Plus means that the resulting media tend to look better, even if the camera and lens, say, one of the new Samsung or Sony models is technically higher-end.

I personally still use a middle-end Android phone alongside my 6s Plus, because the Google Marketplace has a few apps that the iOS App Store lacks, and because of the aforementioned advantage when traveling to theft-heavy locales.

For general use, and for most of my higher-end portable production work, though, this is the device to beat.

One thing to note: there are many, many ways to buy an iPhone, and some of them are brand new with the release of the 6s. That means that a lot of salespeople aren’t aware of how it all works, and it’s worth doing some research for yourself before committing one way or another.

I was initially planning to buy the sim card-free iPhone 6s Plus outright, which is expensive, but worth the cost, as it was meant to be my primary piece of hardware for many different tasks. I started looking into Apple’s Upgrade Program, however, and was sold on that, instead.

The upgrade program works like this: over the course of two years, you pay the full amount for the phone and for Apple Care, though the latter is slightly discounted. For me, after taxes and whatnot, this sorts out to something like $65/month for the 128GB iPhone 6s Plus. I’m usually not into contracts, but in this case, paying out month-by-month grants an interesting option. At the one-year mark, you can trade the phone in for the newest model and sign up for a new, two-year payment plan.

In essence, this means that I’m paying about the same amount as I would have buying the phone outright, but I have the option, when the iPhone 7 is released, of trading in the 6s Plus I have now for the newest model. That means the $500-ish I will have paid up to that point was something like a lease payment, but looking at it another way, it means I have the option of either keeping the phone (by paying off the remaining half all at once, or continuing to do so over the course of the second year), or trading it in for more than I would be likely to get on the open market, and without the hassle of dealing with Craigslist.

This may not be ideal for everyone. Some people may prefer the more intense contract you get when opting for a discounted phone through a particular cellular network, or may prefer to do what I originally intended and just buy the thing outright.

That there are so many options is a good thing, though, because now it’s more likely you’ll find something that’s closer to ideal for your particular situation. It was a clever move on Apple’s part, but it’s also better for the consumer.

Procure It

Via Amazon

Via Apple / Via Apple Upgrade Program

Review at Engadget