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.

Obviously, Apple’s removal of the headphone jack has been the most divisive issue surrounding the launch of the new iPhones. While Apple SVP Phil Schiller said the decision to remove the analog audio jack took “courage,” not everyone would agree, with many offering another word: why? As in, why remove the headphone jack? The reasons to keep it are many, but the reasons to get rid of it — the future being wireless, and Lightning being a better audio connector — appear to be lost on a large portion of the possible consumer base.

There’s actually no doubt that Apple is ahead of the curve here. The future IS wireless, and Bluetooth (or any other wireless protocols that may come along) will only improve over time. So it can be argued that Apple is the right company to push the market in this direction. But does that make it the right decision? We’d guess that most users who use headphones for iPhone listening only use one type of headphone. Those people can simply attach the included Lightning to 3.5mm adapter to that set of headphones and leave it there. So that shouldn’t be much of a problem. For the listeners who use multiple headphones, it will be more of an issue, but the adapter is only $9 sold separately. That’s cheap enough to buy an extra adapter — or replace one — without too much concern.

But yes, it’s still kind of annoying for frequent headphone users. Charging while listening will require another accessory, and that will cause some issues, especially for those who like to listen to iPhone music, like Apple Music, while driving. Those drivers who don’t have CarPlay may keep an extra audio cable in their car for car listening, and they’ll probably feel like they need an extra adapter for that. So, we’re somewhere in the middle on the headphone jack issue. It’s probably not nearly as a big a deal as many are making it out to be, and yes, we can’t envision the analog jack lasting forever…but we also wouldn’t discount anyone who sees the missing headphone jack as a downside in 2016. For what it’s worth, the included Lightning EarPods and adapter both worked fine in our testing.

A surefire positive are the new stereo speakers on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, as the bottom speaker is used in conjunction with a front-firing top speaker. We often cupped our hand around the bottom speaker on past iPhones to amplify the volume, and these speakers should cut down on any need to do that. It’s also noteworthy when it comes to speakerphone use, as callers come in louder than ever before. But don’t be fooled by the left speaker grille that’s replaced the headphone jack on the outside of the iPhone — it’s a faux speaker grille for aesthetics only.

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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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