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.

Apple claims the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus offer the “longest battery life ever in an iPhone.” The batteries are indeed larger than they were in the previous year’s iPhones, though the 7 Plus’ new battery is about the same size as that found in the original 6 Plus. Any other battery gains would come from iOS 10 and the new A10 Fusion chip found in the new iPhones. We put the new phones through Wi-Fi browsing and video playback tests, at 50 percent brightness and volume.

In our Wi-Fi browsing tests, the iPhone 7 gave us a very strong performance of 11 hours and 41 minutes, far better than the 6s ever did. The iPhone 7 Plus gave us 12 hours and 16 minutes, which is extremely strong, though not too much better than the 7. While both phones did well, they also fell far short of Apple’s estimates, which are 14 hours for the iPhone 7 and 15 hours for the iPhone 7 Plus, respectively.

Our video playback results were similar, with the iPhone 7 delivering nearly 11 hours (2 hours short of Apple’s estimate), and the iPhone 7 Plus running for nearly 12 hours (again, about 2 hours short of Apple’s 14-hour estimate). Oddly, the iPhone 7 Plus couldn’t compete with the iPhone 6s Plus in this category, though as always, other factors may be at play which affect the results.

Also weirdly, the iPhone 7 Plus took nearly 4 hours to fully recharge from a depleted battery, as the 6s Plus recharged in about 3 hours. There were rumors that this year’s phones would contain some kind of fast charging capability, but it’s not the case. The iPhone 7 recharged in 2 hours and 20 minutes, which is right on par with last year’s 6s. Keep in mind that the A10 Fusion chip may make more of a difference in real world use than it does in our tests, based on how it’s designed.

Editor’s note: For clarification, both iPhone 7 models still only include a 1A adapter in the box. We later tested charging with 2.1A, 2.4A, and Apple’s 29W USB-C power adapters and cables. As with prior models, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will charge significantly faster if you have a higher-power adapter — you’ll be able to fully charge an iPhone 7 Plus in about 2 hours with Apple’s 12W/2.4A power adapter. For those who may have thought Apple snuck in faster charging, however, we can confirm this is not the case: unlike the 12.9” iPad Pro, the iPhone 7 models do not charge any more rapidly with Apple’s 29W USB-C adapter and USB-C to Lightning cable — you’ll get the same 2.4A charging rate as Apple’s 12W adapter when using the USB-C adapter.

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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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