This is 7.
Ah, iPhone. You’ve come a long way since Steve Jobs introduced you on stage 9 years back. It may have its own hits and misses, but overall the iPhone is still one of the best gadgets out there. We’ve been playing with the iPhone 7 Plus since it was released, and while we had some quips, it is still one of the best smartphones available.
Design-wise, the iPhone 7 Plus mainly retains the same design aspect as the 6/6S, but gone are the annoying white plastic lines at the back for the antenna. It now moves along the side that when put inside a case, won’t even be noticed.
It also comes in a new colors: a new Black option that comes with a matte exterior and Jet Black that feels like polished glass. I do love the Jet Black design, but as expected, it’s a fingerprint magnet. Smudges and even small scratches can be seen after I held the device for a couple of minutes. If you don’t prefer Black, the usual Gold, Silver and Rose Gold color options are still available.
Apple has also finally ditched the 16 GB capacity and all iPhone 7 models now start at 32 GB. A 128 GB follows that and then 256 GB is the top tier model.
I prefer the Black version (reviewed here) more – it’s subtle yet elegant. Even the plastic lines are colored black, making it seem like the entire smartphone was made from one piece of aluminum.
The screen is still at 5.5-inches (4.7-inches for the iPhone 7), and it is probably one of the things I was disappointed at. The smartphone still large on your hand and it would have benefitted from having slimmer bezels – something that Samsung has excellently done with the Galaxy S7.
Even the resolution, 1920 x 1080, is carried over from the previous generations. You can complain that it should have increased the pixels for this version, but considering that would mean all apps need to be updated to match the resolution, I get now why Apple has decided against it.
Not to say the screen is bad – it is still one of the best looking screens we’ve seen on a smartphone. The wide color gamut support also means that it can display colors on a more accurate level not to mention that the screen is 25 percent brighter than the iPhone 6S Plus.
The Home button is no longer a mechanical button, but a force sensitive device just the trackpads found on their recent line of MacBooks. A taptic engine mimics the feel of clicking the home button, which can take a bit of time getting used to.
And one of the dreaded changes about the iPhone 7 Plus is the removal of the headphone jack. Apple does include a Lightning headset inside the package along with an adapter but it does take courage to remove a well-known feature. Personally, I’ve always used Bluetooth to listen to my tunes, so I the removal of that port didn’t really have much impact on me.
Apple has also made the iPhone 7 Plus water and dust resistant, letting use the smartphone on a rainy day or when the inevitable ‘dropped-in-the-sink’ scenario happens, it will still surely survive. Note that Apple isn’t actually recommending that you use the smartphone in water (the warranty does not cover it), so see it as a preventive measure should your smartphone fall into a pool or puddle.
The iPhone 7 Plus rocks iOS 10 out from the box, which includes various new features and enhancements to Apple’s mobile operating system. It also comes with a new quad-core A10 Fusion chip with six-core graphics, that improves upon the 6S – apps launch and loads faster and even graphics on games are more enhanced.
One thing that the iPhone 7 Plus can be proud of is its camera – since it now has dual lens that can take images in wide angle or in telephoto mode. A special ‘bokeh’ effect is also coming on a future update.
Cameras on the iPhone have improved over the years and while I loved the 6S Plus’ camera, the iPhone 7 Plus improves on that by making the aperture larger at f1.8 plus a quad-LED, dual-tone flash. This means it can let more light inside the sensor that should improve low light shots – combine that with optical image stabilization and you got yourself one of the best phone cameras.
It’s almost at par with the Samsung Galaxy S7 in terms of camera specs. You can argue that the S7 takes better images, some may argue the iPhone is better. In my case, I equally love both cameras: it captures images with brilliant color accuracy and detail. Stay tuned for a camera comparison between the iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7 in the coming weeks.
Battery life is also comparable with the iPhone 6S Plus, which was enough to get me through a normal work day with normal usage.
I kind of see the iPhone 7 Plus as an improvement over the iPhone 6S Plus – that being said, it doesn’t have enough features for you to upgrade since the 6S Plus is still a very capable smartphone.
Still, the iPhone 7 Plus has everything you need in a smartphone: fast performance, great design, excellent camera.