I bought the iPhone 6S Plus when it came out in September 2015 for $800+ (with taxes), and I couldn’t be happier that I saved $800+ in 2016 and 2017 by not upgrading to the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, or the iPhone X.
Don’t get me wrong — Apple’s newer iPhones are great and objectively better than the iPhone 6S Plus. They have faster processors and better cameras with dual lenses, which makes for beautiful photos. Those two features are arguably the main reasons someone should upgrade to a new smartphone.
That said, the upgrades to the camera and processor simply weren’t enough to warrant the dent in my bank account that a new iPhone would have caused.
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The iPhone 6S still looks like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8.
The iPhone 7, left, and iPhone 6S. YouTube/SuperSaf TV
The iPhone 6S looks nearly identical to the iPhone 7, save for the redesigned and less visible antenna stripes. The plastic stripes might bother some, but I dress my iPhone in a case, so I can’t see the stripes anyway.
As for the iPhone 8, it’s also largely the same as the iPhone 6S’ design save for the glass back. The glass back on the iPhone 8 feels a little more premium than the metal back on the iPhone 6S and 7, but it’s not a good reason to upgrade, in my opinion.
The newer iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 colors are nice, but I still prefer the silver model.
While the iPhone’s 7’s jet black and matte black options are nice, they have no effect on my desire for the iPhone 7. If I were to buy a new iPhone 7, it would be the white/silver model, anyway.
The iPhone 8’s new “gold” color option – which looks more like rose gold – is also pretty nice, but I’d still get the silver model.
The only color that would tempt me to upgrade is an ’80s-electronics beige.
The iPhone X is absolutely gorgeous, but its price tag is a major deterrent.
The iPhone X is the best-looking smartphone you can buy at the moment with its incredibly narrow bezels, which allows the display to cover the majority of the phone’s front surface. I have to admit, its design alone has tempted me away from my iPhone 6S Plus. It’s even nicer when you hold it in person, as photos don’t do it justice.
Still, I just couldn’t lay my iPhone 6S Plus to rest if it meant spending a minimum of $1,000.
My iPhone 6S Plus is still speedy and reliable.
One of the main reasons I upgrade to the latest smartphone is to make sure I can run my apps quickly. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than waiting for an app to open and run — especially Google Maps when you’re in a hurry.
The A9 chip turning the wheels inside my iPhone 6S Plus still feels speedy, and it rarely stutters while opening and running my apps.
The camera in the iPhone 6S Plus is still a great camera.
A photo I took during a trip to Hawaii with my iPhone 6S Plus. Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
The iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X got significant camera upgrades over the iPhone 6s Plus’ camera in the form of a dual-lens camera. Apple’s newer iPhones can zoom without losing photo quality, and the Portrait Mode feature adds that fuzzy, out-of-focus texture from professional cameras, called “bokeh.”
The zoom is a meaningful upgrade, as my iPhone 6S Plus photos will look worse and worse as I try to zoom in with the camera app. But I’m not about to spend $800-plus on better zooming, and Portrait Mode is a mixed bag. Somelike it; othersweren’t so impressed.
For the extra $800 in my bank account, my iPhone 6S Plus takes photos just fine.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 have a slightly better screen, but it’s not a meaningful change.
A comparison of the 6, 6S, and 7 shows the iPhone 7 has a marginally brighter and more colorful screen. YouTube/ApplePie
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 have slightly brighter displays that can show slightly better colors with their “wide color” features. Yet I haven’t craved a brighter display with better colors on my iPhone 6S Plus. And they all have Apple’s 3D Touch feature, which lets you press an item to bring up a menu of useful shortcuts.
The iPhone X is the only iPhone so far with a major display upgrade, but that price tag…
The iPhone X has a fantastic OLED display, which makes for incredible colors and beautiful contrast between light and dark parts of the screen.
Still, considering the excellent performance of my iPhone 6S Plus, I can manage without an OLED display until it’s truly time to upgrade.
The home touch buttons on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are nice, but they don’t work any better than the iPhone 6S’s home button.
I quite like the new home button on the iPhone 7. It’s a capacitive button that you don’t have to physically press, and it feels more modern compared with the iPhone 6S’s mechanical button.
But it’s not an upgrade worth spending more money on. The mechanical button on my iPhone 6S Plus works just fine, and it can read my fingerprint to unlock my phone or make mobile payments with Apple Pay just as quickly.
Face ID on the iPhone X doesn’t tempt me.
Face ID looks cool because it’s a newer way to unlock your iPhone, but Touch ID has been working just fine.
My iPhone 6S Plus isn’t officially water-resistant, but that’s fine.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
The iPhone 7’s water resistance is a big deal because the phone is less prone to damage if you drop it in water accidentally.
At the same time, I’ve never dropped my iPhone in water. (I’m literally knocking on wood right now. Look, here’s a photo of me knocking on wood, taken with my iPhone 6S Plus.)
Also, the iPhone 6S is (unofficially) somewhat water-resistant , which should be enough for minor splashes and drops, even if it’s likely not as water-resistant as the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 or iPhone X.
The only time I’d upgrade would be if my iPhone 6S Plus succumbed to water damage.
My iPhone 6S Plus has a headphone jack.
I’m fully on board with Apple’s vision of a “wireless future,” as my tech arch nemesis is the cable. At the same time, I own a pair of wired headphones as a backup to my Bluetooth headphones, and there have been several instances when the headphone jack in my iPhone 6S Plus has come in handy.
Sure, I could still use wired headphones with the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X, but only if I have a dongle or if my wired headphones have a Lightning connector, neither of which is as convenient as the good old headphone jack.
I’m a little worried that I’ll have to adjust to using a dongle, which I’ll surely lose, when I buy my next iPhone — if it’s an iPhone.
So there you have it. I’ve saved a bunch of money by not buying Apple’s latest iPhone, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
I’ll keep using my iPhone 6S Plus until it can’t keep up with me. That could potentially take it beyond the iPhone 9, or whatever comes after the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. We’ll have to see what Apple comes up with in September 2018 when it’ll likely announce its new iPhones.