Review: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus | iLounge

Review

Review: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

A-
Highly Recommended
iPhone 7 Plus

B+
Recommended
iPhone 7

Company: Apple

Model: iPhone

MSRP: $649-$949

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Phil Dzikiy

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.

While the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus share the same dimensions as the 6s and 6s Plus, one glance will convince you that they’re not the same phones, and the deeper you go, it’ll prove even more obvious. The new iPhones are slightly lighter than their predecessors, and the rear antenna lines have been pushed to the edges of the phone, which looks a bit nicer. Despite the size similarities, you likely won’t be able to use most old 6/6s/Plus cases due to the larger camera cutouts on the rear of the phone. Yes, the rear camera bumps are even more prominent now, especially on the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus. And the headphone jack’s replacement — at least externally — is simply a faux speaker grille.

One of the biggest physical changes to the iPhone might escape notice at first — it’s the Home button. The Home button is no longer mechanical, rather, it’s a capacitive button which requires skin contact, or proper capacitive gloves, to work. This means you won’t even be able to press a button with gloves to see your notifications, which has already given some users concerns about what awaits in winter; however, with iOS 10’s Raise-to-Wake feature, this shouldn’t be a major problem. You can still use the sleep/wake button to see your notifications, as well.

The bigger issue for some will simply be the feel of the new button. It’ll take some getting used to for longtime iPhone users, as that deep required press is gone. In fact, you can set up one of three available different feedback settings to simulate the “click” of your choice. Over time, you probably won’t miss the old Home button, but we let a number of people try it — some really liked it, and others…did not like the new button at all.

The new displays on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus retain the same pixel resolution and contrast ratio as their predecessors, but the screens now have a higher level of maximum brightness and feature a new wide color display. In comparison to the previous models, the new displays are indeed a bit brighter. Close photo comparisons reveal that colors are slightly deeper and richer — the effect is more obvious in some photos than others, based on the colors involved, lighting, etc. The new displays alone won’t convince anyone to upgrade, but it’s a nice minor improvement.

Another major change, virtually unseen, is the new water resistance in the 7 and 7 Plus. Apple claims the new iPhones are splash, water, and dust-resistant. The phones offer IP67 protection, which means they offer complete dust protection and short-term, shallow water immersion protection — generally speaking, the iPhones should be protected in less than one meter of water, for less than 30 minutes. So while the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus aren’t designed to go deep-sea diving, they should be fine for a quick dip in the tub, the sink…or the toilet. We didn’t push the limits of the phones’ water resistance, but independent test results have been promising so far. It’s also worth noting that Apple offers no standard warranty for liquid damage.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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