iPhone 6s full review
If you're in the market for a new phone, you may be trying to choose between an iPhone or an Android Phone.
Apple makes just the iPhone, and the latest model is the iPhone 6s, although you can also get the larger iPhone 6s Plus. There are lots of different Android phones, but the Nexus range is the closest you'll get to an actual Android phone (although LG makes it, not Google). The latest Nexus model is the Nexus 5x, so if you're in the market for a new phone, these are good phones to compare.
This review is a comparison test between the iPhone 6s and Nexus 5x. We'll look at the technical specs, price and software on both devices.
- iPhone 6s Plus vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison review
- iPhone 6s review: 3D Touch, Live Photos & more
- iPhone 6s Plus review
iPhone 6s vs. Nexus 5x: Technical Specifications
In terms of technical specifications, the two phones have more in common than you'd think. The Nexus 5x is a little bigger, but a little lighter than the iPhone. It has a larger 5.2-inch screen. Both have 2GB of RAM.
The iPhone 6s has a faster dual-core A9 compared to the Nexus' slower, but quad-core, Snapdragon 808.
iPhone 6s tech specs
- Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
- Weight: 143 g
- Display: 4.7 inches
- Resolution: 750 x 1334 pixels (326 ppi)
- Chipset: Apple A9
- CPU: Dual-core 1.84 GHz
- GPU: PowerVR GT7600 (six-core graphics)
- RAM: 2GB
- Main Camera: 12 MP
- Front facing camera: 5 MP
Nexus 5x tech specs
- Dimensions: 147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 136 g
- Display: 5.2 inches
- Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels (424 PPI pixel density)
- Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808
- CPU: Quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53 & dual-core 1.82 GHz Cortex-A57
- GPU: Adreno 418
- RAM: 2GB
- Main Camera: 12.3 MP
- Front facing Camera: 5 MP
We'd bet good money on Apple's faster dual-core being much faster than the Nexus 5x. A speed test by Cult Of Android showed an iPhone 6s smashing a Galaxy Note 5, even though it had an octo-core processor and 4GB RAM. A lot of this is down to better app management in iOS than Android. Both phones are plenty fast enough for regular users to do all the usual things they want without undue lag. We will be running our own tests and will update this article when we have the result.
Feature-wise, it's much of a muchness. Both phones pack fingerprint sensing technology, and a form of mobile payment (Apple Pay and Android Pay respectively). The cameras are similar in specification, and both phones can record 4K video. Although Apple's new Live Photos feature is a point of difference, it's a bit gimmicky, and there are similar apps available for Android.
The biggest difference between the two phones is Apple's new 3D Touch interface. 3D Touch is both a hardware and software implementation, but the real difference is noticeable in software (so we'll come to it in a bit).
iPhone 6s vs. Nexus 5x: models and pricing
The iPhone 6s and Nexus 5x are available in a range of different models and prices. Here are the options available:
- iPhone 6s (16GB): £539
- iPhone 6s (64GB): £619
- iPhone 6s (128GB): £699
- Nexus 5x (16GB): £339
- Nexus 5x (32GB): £379
Price is clearly a difference between the two phones. The Nexus 5x is much cheaper than the iPhone. While Apple has larger storage models available, you save £200 by choosing a Nexus 5x. We think 32GB should be the entry point for a new iPhone, and are still slightly disgruntled that Apple hasn't got a model available (in our opinion 16GB is too small, but that isn't enough to stop people buying what is essentially the cheapest option).
The real comparison should be between the Nexus 5x: 32GB and iPhone 6s: 64GB. You'll have a whopping £240 in your pocket if you go for the Android.
Of course these prices depend on whether you want to buy the phone up front, rather than on a contract.
iPhone 6s vs. Nexus 5x: colours and options
Both the iPhone 6s and Nexus 5x come in a range of different colours. Here are the official colours (the honest descriptions in brackets are ours)
iPhone 6s colours
- Gold (gold)
- Rose Gold (pink)
- Space Gray (black)
- Silver (silver)
Nexus 5x colours
- Carbon (black)
- Quartz (white)
- Ice (pale blue)
Rose Gold seems to be the interesting new choice, although it's not for everybody it has apparently proved popular. The gold of the iPhone is metallic gold, rather than plastic gold. It looks stylish, but quite bling. Space Gray and Silver are less ostentatious options.
The Nexus 5x range of colours have fancy names, Carbon, Quartz and Ice, but it's really just black, white and blue.
The iPhone does look more stylish to our eyes (in terms of design and colour schemes) although the build quality on both phones is great.
iPhone 6s vs. Nexus 5x: software and apps
What it comes down to is software, to be more precise the integration of software and hardware. And here the iPhone leads the way. Apple manages to integrate software and hardware in a way that few other companies are able to match - it makes the hardware and the software itself, after all, while other companies buy a operating system to run on their hardare.
Apple consistently delivers new ideas, and implements them on both the hardware and software level. 3D Touch is a good example of this. Inside the iPhone 6s is a new type of touchscreen that senses pressure. You can use this to "peek" and "pop" inside items in iOS 9, or perform quick shortcuts. Android has a similar gesture in the form of a long-press, where you hold your finger down for a while. We think that it's just not as good an implementation.
And then, beyond that there's the whole of iOS vs. Android debate. From various speed tests, it's clear to us that iOS is more efficient than Android. It's also a safer operating system because Apple keeps such a tight rein on development so you can generally be confident about the apps you are downloading from the App Store.
As well as risks, there are advantages to Android's side-loading feature (where you can install apps without Google's permission or security). And Google has a much faster turnaround for app development, which is why it's becoming much more popular among developers and enthusiasts.
iPhone comparison reviews
If you've enjoyed this article, perhaps you'd be interested in more iPhone buying advice? We've written a series of comparison reviews, which set various combinations of iPhone against one another, head to head:
- iPhone 6s vs iPhone 5s
- iPhone 6s Plus vs iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6
- iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6 Plus
These may be useful if you're trying to device between two specific iPhone models.
iPhone buying guide, autumn/winter 2015
And for a broader look at Apple's current iPhone range, take a look at our iPhone buying guide video for autumn/winter 2015:
Or, if you'd prefer to see our buying advice in written rather than video form, head over to our iPhone buying guide article.
But now, on to the verdict!