Apple's iPhone 6s, 6s Plus win Anandtech's "Editors Choice Gold" award

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Anandtech has awarded Apple's new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus the site's "Editors' Choice Gold" ranking, the first iPhone to ever rank that highly and only the second phones to receive it since the site began in 1997.

In a 15 page report detailing the new iPhones, Joshua Ho & Ryan Smith wrote that the criteria for the Editors' Choice Gold award is a product that is "not only one of the best in its category and an extremely good product in a vacuum, but pushes the smartphone user experience forward in significant ways."

Of particular interest in the site's report is a detailed overview of Apple's A9, which concluded, "in a nutshell A9 and [its CPU core design named] Twister are a very potent update to Apple's CPU performance, delivering significant performance increases from both architectural improvements and from clockspeed improvements."

It further noted, "A8 and Typhoon already set a high bar for the industry, but A9 and Twister will make chasing Apple all the harder."

The site compiled a series of benchmarks ranging from general web browser and JavaScript performance to system, memory and graphics, noting that, in "looking at Basemark OS II, once again Apple is basically taking the lead across the board," and in "GFXBench, the A9 SoC just shows absurd performance."

It added, "Overall, the Apple A9 SoC is the best SoC in any phone shipping today."

After detailing video game benchmarks run by GFXBench, the site noted that "iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are basically pegging T-Rex at the maximum possible frame rate for most of a 3-4 hour infinite run of this intense benchmark ... No other SoC I've tested this year can sustain this level of performance for this level of time."

Regarding its camera, the site noted, "Overall, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are pretty consistently good cameras. In some ways Apple is losing out in raw detail for photos because they went with a smaller sensor size than most, but in general color reproduction, post-processing, and low light photo quality and overall camera UX Apple is leading quite strongly.""The iPhone 6s' are the best phones you can buy today"

In video, it concluded that "overall, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are both some of the best phones on the market for video capture. The iPhone 6s Plus manages to lead over the iPhone 6s by virtue of its OIS, but even without it the iPhone 6s is clearly pulling ahead of others when it comes to slow motion and 4K video capture. Looking at both video and still image performance together, the iPhone 6s Plus arguably has the best camera in an iOS or Android smartphone today."

The reviewers concluded, "Overall, after spending all this time with the iPhone 6s I can't find anything really wrong with this phone. On the contrary, the A9 SoC is a huge jump in performance even relative to other SoCs on the same process node to give impressive application performance. The storage solution is unlike anything else in mobile that I've seen so far. The camera's overall user experience is just about the best that you can get on the market. 3D Touch is a big improvement in user experience, while TouchID v2 and always-on Siri are worthwhile improvements in user experience. The only real issues I can think of are that the iPhone 6s doesn't have OIS and that the base SKU is still 16GB of storage... However, despite these issues I would argue that the iPhone 6s' are the best phones you can buy today."

There's lots of technical details delving into the design of A9 and other technical aspects of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in the extensive review.