Review: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
Pros: A forward-thinking device that offers a number of improvements. The iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-lens system is the next step in smartphone photography, and FaceTime improvements on both iPhones are notable. Battery life has improved. We still suggest using a case, but dust and water resistance should offer greater peace of mind. Stereo speakers make iPhone listening — and speakerphone use — better than ever. A10 Fusion chip is plenty fast and efficient. Bright, new displays offer more accurate color.
Cons: The lack of a headphone jack has been overstated, but it’s still an annoyance for the time being. Without the dual-lens system, the iPhone 7 lags behind its larger brother in photography. The form factor for both iPhones is pretty much the same as two years ago, but you’ll likely still need a new case due to the camera bump changes. The feel of the new Home button may annoy some users, especially at first.
Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus follow the company’s typical naming schedule — a new numbered iPhone is followed the year after by an “s” iteration, and the 7 is indeed the next step. But it’s possible to argue that this year feels a little different. This is the third straight year Apple has maintained the same basic form factor in its smartphone — iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus actually feature the same exact measurements as the 6s and 6s Plus. Now of course, Apple has made plenty of changes to the new devices, a few of which are immediately visible. There are new features, too, and we’ll get to all of them. But at the outset, it’s possible that prospective iPhone 7 and 7 Plus buyers might not be quite as wowed as they usually are during a “new,” non-S model year of iPhone. Especially when considering what’s supposed to be coming next year.
Apple has introduced two new colors this time around — black and jet black. The latter has proven quite popular since its announcement, selling out quickly in the preorder window, but its back has also been shown to scratch quite easily. It wasn’t too long ago that space gray was considered the hot new Apple color, but it’s been dropped from the iPhone 7/Plus lineup, as silver, gold, and rose gold round out the color selections.
Also notably — and finally — Apple has made the 32GB model the entry-level iPhone 7/Plus. We’ve been calling for such a step up for years, as larger apps, photos, and videos make a 16GB modern iPhone only reasonable for the most basic users. The midlevel iPhone is now 128GB, with the top-level model an extremely sizable 256GB iPhone. While the 4.7”-screened iPhone 7 stays at the same pricing levels — $649, $749, and $849 — the iPhone 7 Plus moves up to a $120 premium instead of $100 extra. The 5.5”-screened iPhone is now $769/$869/$969.
In the following pages, we’ll determine if the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are worthy of a new number, or if they’re more like “s2” models. We’ll examine the new features and put the phones through their paces — and yes, we’ll get into the dearly departed headphone jack. We hope to help consumers figure out if it’s worth it to upgrade this year, or if you’re better off waiting for next year’s iPhone, which early reports claim will have an all-new design, with a “virtual” Home button behind a display that covers the entire front of the phone.