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.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are forward-thinking devices, if not quite as futuristic-looking as one might desire. One can certainly envision more smartphone companies ditching the headphone jack in coming years (some Android devices have already done so), and there’s no doubt Apple will continue to place its own focus on Lightning and wireless — its upcoming wireless AirPods got plenty of coverage during the company’s most recent keynote. But for now, in 2016, some users may feel those growing pains.

That being said, both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus introduce a number of nice improvements. Taken in separate pieces, those improvements may feel minor. But they certainly add up. We think that iPhone 6/6 Plus users should have no hesitation in upgrading to these new phones. But if you’ve got an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus? The question is a bit trickier to answer. If you’re truly going to miss the headphone jack, we don’t blame you for hesitating, but don’t start thinking that it’s going to be coming back. You’ll have to weigh whether or not you’re ready to move ahead. The other upgrades in the 7 and 7 Plus may not be enough for you in the end, especially if you’re not deeply into iPhone photography. We wouldn’t blame you for waiting for next year’s iPhone, which is said to feature a bold, new design.

During the past two years, we’ve given both iPhone models the same grade. We know many users prefer the smaller form factor of the 4.7” iPhones, which was enough to balance out the minor benefits of the 5.5” iPhones. But considering the iPhone 7 Plus’ larger leap forward in camera technology this year, we’re giving separate scores. You may still prefer the smaller form factor of the iPhone 7, but you’re also making even more of a sacrifice in photo ability than you have in the past, while still lingering behind in battery life. We will note, though, that the lower price of the iPhone 7 will justify the purchase for some. We give the iPhone 7 a strong general recommendation, and the iPhone 7 Plus earns a higher recommendation.

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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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