Review: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus | iLounge


Review: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Highly Recommended
iPhone 7 Plus

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.

Internally, there’s a bit more going on within these new iPhones besides better battery life. The new Taptic Engine allows the 3D Touch feature to provide more feedback this time around — press an app on the screen and you’ll feel a legitimate buzz, rather than the light feedback on the 6s and 6s Plus. Does this really matter? Some would argue that it gives a user a “closer” or “deeper” connection with their iPhone. Others could care less.

The A10 Fusion chip is designed to use faster processing when needed, and less power when you’re doing tasks that aren’t as demanding. Not only is this made to deliver better battery life, but of course, it’s built to make the new iPhones both faster and more efficient. As benchmarks show, both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus offer great performance (oddly, the iPhone 7 gave us slightly better benchmark results). In real world use, though, we’ve entered the land of diminishing returns. While these iPhones are very fast, the 6s and 6s Plus were quite speedy, too. Power users may notice a difference, though — and anyone upgrading from an older iPhone certainly will.

We played some games on the new iPhones, including the game Apple demoed during the iPhone 7 introduction, Nexon’s Oz: Broken Kingdom. The game ran smoothly on both iPhones, while our 6s Plus did have a bit of slowdown comparatively at times. Perhaps this is where the performance of the A10 Fusion really shows up — gamers take note. Also notable: the iPhone 7 has 2GB of RAM, while the iPhone 7 Plus gets 3GB.

There have been a few reports about the new iPhones giving off a slight hissing sound when “under heavy load.” Our iPhone 7 Plus didn’t require any sort of “heavy load” — we opened an app and heard the slight buzz, or hiss, emanating from the back of the phone. We didn’t notice it at all during normal testing, however — we could only hear the noise when we put our ear right next to the back of the iPhone while opening an app in a quiet area. Which is, clearly, not a normal thing to do. Our iPhone 7 made no such noises. Though this apparent defect may never be noticeable to most users, Apple may determine that it’s indicative of a larger problem. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially in this first run of units, and we’ll keep our eye on it. The company appears to be offering replacement units to users with hissing iPhones, indicating the problem may not be widespread. Another possible issue we encountered was the rear of the iPhone 7 Plus becoming somewhat hot to the touch during extended use of the phone’s speakers when listening to music. However, we weren’t able to replicate this more than once.

Editor’s note: Following speculation that the iPhone 7 models might support USB 3, we tested Apple’s updated Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader that provides USB 3.0 transfer speeds for the iPad Pro, importing large collections of 20MB RAW photos with both the new and old Lightning to SD Card Camera Readers. Testing revealed that both adapters transferred the same collections of photos to multiple iPhone 7 Plus models at identical speeds, revealing no advantage to the newer USB 3.0 Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader for iPhone 7 users. Data transfers to the new iPhone 7 models are faster than prior models, but this is due to new hardware — primarily faster CPU and memory — rather than an upgrade to Lightning transfer speeds.



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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