Apple iPhone 6s Plus: Rivals snapping at this solid all-rounder's heels

PHOTO: APPLE

The new 12-megapixel (MP) image sensor in iPhone 6s Plus represents the first time Apple has increased the megapixel count since the 8MP camera of the iPhone 4s launched three years ago.

With the MP increase, the pixel size of the image sensor has been reduced to 1.22 microns, from the 1.5 microns of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But it is still bigger than all the smartphone cameras in this round-up, except for the Google Nexus 6P.

Apple also introduced Live Photos with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. They are still images but with footage recorded 1.5sec before and after the shot is taken.

You can activate the Live Photos by tapping on the Live Photos (or the concentric circles) icon.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: From $1,218

    REAR CAMERA: 12-megapixel (1/3-inch) 29mm f/2.2

    FRONT-FACING CAMERA: 5-megapixel 31mm f/2.2

It is a neat party trick. But as the resulting file is in a proprietary format, this feature requires more apps to support it if it is to gain more traction.

Elsewhere, the camera app is virtually unchanged. You can activate the camera from the lock screen by swiping upwards on the bottom right-hand corner.

To take a photo, simply use either of the volume buttons, both of which act as the shutter release.

The camera continues to be idiot-proof. There is no way to change the shutter speed, aperture, white balance or ISO settings. If you press and hold onto the shutter-release button, it will take a burst of photos and select the best photo for you.

In bright sunlight, the iPhone's photos came out on top. They were sharp with crisp details even in the dark areas, while the sky and clouds were accurately exposed. Colours were well controlled, rather thanoversaturated.

Under low artificial lighting and without flash, it lost out only to Samsung's Note 5, with the latter capturing a more accurate skin tone. But when shot with flash, it bettered all the others in this group, with its natural skin tone and accurate depiction of the ambient lighting.

Panoramic pictures were well- stitched and correctly exposed in different areas of the image.

The night scene shots were a tad flat, compared with the competition. The lights and clouds came out a bit too dim for my liking. Post-processing is likely needed to bump up the image quality for such shots.

Due to the relatively long focal length of its 31mm front-facing lens, selfies can be a bit in your face. But details and colours were crisp and even.

Trevor Tan

• Verdict: The competition has caught up and the iPhone 6s Plus camera is no longer the champion. It is still an easy-to-use, solid all-rounder, but falls just behind the pack when it comes to selfies and night scenes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2016, with the headline 'Rivals snapping at this solid all-rounder's heels'. Print Edition | Subscribe