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.

As the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were revealed, we thought the new cameras would likely be the most enticing reasons to upgrade for most users. In previous years, the Plus got a slightly better camera. But this time around, the iPhone 7 Plus has a dual-lens camera, while the iPhone 7 keeps a single-lens camera. That dual-lens camera gives the iPhone 7 Plus a 2x optical zoom, and a 10x digital zoom, as opposed to the iPhone 7’s 5x zoom. That’s not all, though. Both cameras get a larger f/1.8 aperture wide-angle six-element lens and wide color capture, a new quad-LED True Tone Flash. The iPhone 7 also finally picks up optical image stabilization, which wasn’t seen on the previous 4.7” models.

We went out and took a number of similar shots on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus. On many types of pictures — standard posed shots, short-to-medium range shots — you likely won’t see much of a difference when doing a side by side comparison, especially in good conditions. (You will note more of a contrast when looking at the pictures directly on the phone, however, due to the improved color on the displays in the iPhone 7/7 Plus.) The new iPhones, though, are more effective in low light. Below are pictures taken indoors with natural light in the evening — the picture from the iPhone 7 Plus is first, followed by a picture from the iPhone 6s Plus, demonstrating the improved color.


The iPhone 7 does a pretty good job keeping up with the 7 Plus in many situations, but the lens combination allows the Plus to do a better job with portraits. The larger iPhone also excels when it comes to zooming in, as you’d expect. Seen below, an iPhone 7 picture, then digital zoom while standing in the same position.


Compare that to the 7 Plus’ standard picture, and then a picture using the 2x optical zoom. It offers a clearer picture and more accurate colors than the iPhone 7’s digital zoom.


Here’s another series of pictures from the iPhone 7 Plus. First, a standard picture, then the 2x optical zoom, and lastly, the 10x digital zoom. The last picture certainly isn’t top-notch quality, but it’s nice to have the option of a 10x zoom.



Another feature, exclusive to the iPhone 7 Plus, is coming later this fall. It will allow users the ability to adjust the out-of-focus areas in a picture — known as bokeh. But for now, it’s not available, and thus, can’t factor into our review. FaceTime, however, gets a bump in both new iPhones, from 5MP up to 7MP. So selfies and FaceTime will show an improvement, and the FaceTime camera offers 1080p HD video recording now, as well as auto image stabilization. Here’s a lazy dog in greater detail using the iPhone 7 FaceTime camera (above), when compared to the 6s FaceTime camera (lower).


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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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