This review of iPhone 7 Plus takes a deep look into the newest Apple’s flagship which has a dual camera and new color. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are this year leaders of much praised Apple which managed to get a lot of attention and encourage lots of fans to purchase their products during the past years. But in spite of the tendency to make some fundamental changes every two years, this time Apple decided to break this rule, so the new iPhone doesn’t have many innovations. Although, it must be said that Apple has never been after crazy innovations, they have always tried to provide the best quality and user interface and improve it each year.
Next year is iPhone`s 10th anniversary, so Apple has probably decided to postpone some major changes for iPhone to that time. But are this year’s iPhones only to pass the time? Is it reasonable to upgrade your iPhone 6 Plus to iPhone 7 Plus? How good is the performance of iPhone 7 Plus dual camera? Stay with us to find out all the answers in our iPhone 7 Plus review.
|iPhone 7 Plus Specifications|
|CPU||Apple A10 Fusion|
|GPU||6 Core GPU - 2 x "Fast Core"|
|Display||5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD, DCI-P3|
|Dimensions / Weight||158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm / 188 grams|
|Rear Camera||12MP ƒ/1.8 wide angle, OIS, Wide Color Gamut, Quad LED True Tone Flash|
|Front Camera||7MP ƒ/2.2, Wide Color Gamut, Retina Flash|
|I/O||Apple Lightning connector|
|Wi-Fi||2.4/5GHz 2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, BT 4.2, NFC|
|Warranty||1 Year Apple Warranty|
|Cheapest Place to Buy||Amazon.com|
Review of iPhone 7 Plus
We all got used to big changes that were made to new iPhones every two years. But Apple has changed this tradition, so we won’t see major changes in design and appearance of iPhone 7. It seems that they tried to hide this fact behind the gloss black color of iPhone 7 Plus which we reviewed. However, the location of antenna strips has been changed, the bump of the camera has become smoother – all of them are small but important changes in iPhone 7 Plus.
Taking iPhone 7 Plus in your hand feels the same as iPhone 6s Plus. Though the dimensions of the phone haven`t changed, it’s still slim and its metal body feels really good. Front panel hasn’t changed a lot compared to the past and only Home button has become a touch button.
The edge of the screen and the location of the speaker haven’t changed at all and the dimensions of the phone are still bigger than other 5.5-Inch smartphones in the market. The interesting thing is that the length of the phone is even larger than Galaxy Note 7 with its 5.7-Inch display.
But Home touch button is a small and positive change which goes the right way. If you have used such smartphones as OnePlus 3 in the past, you are used to this touch button and probably know its advantages very well. The remove of the push button helped new iPhones to get IP67 certifications and be water resistant and dust-proof and you won`t get any problems with it in long-term use.
Home button has 3 levels of vibration which are generated by a taptic engine. It gives a feeling of actually pushing the button and is responsible for the vibration of the whole device. Although it will probably take some time to get used to this button, but when you do, you’ll be comfortable using it and it will feel great. You need to use it just like a push button; the only difference is that there is no movement in there.
New features that have been added to iOS 10 make working with this touch button easier and the fingerprint sensor embedded in this button works even better that before what makes it one of the best fingerprint sensors in the market at the moment.
To see the first change, you just need to take a look at the frame of the phone. Absence of 3.5mm audio jack which got a lot of attention may not be suitable for many. We’ll talk about it in details in Speaker section. Instead of this 3.5mm jack, you`ll see something very similar to the speaker which is not actually a speaker, but a microphone for calling.
Turn the phone and you’ll see more changes in the back of it. Matte black color shows these changes more than other colors. In addition to the new different color, a dual camera, a smoother bump of the camera and the change of location of antenna plastic strips (which are invisible in black) give a totally different feeling compared to last year iPhones. Also, two new colors make antenna strips totally invisible.
Although Apple admits that Jet Black color get scratches easily, the question is how resistant are new iPhone colors in everyday use? It must be said that Apple said the truth about this issue and you will probably see some small scratches in first 24 hours of using the phone. It also gets spots fast and needs frequent cleaning.
You`ll need to clean Jet Black iPhone with a special tissue because cotton cloth will leave scratches on your expensive phone. If you don’t care much about it, Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus is a good choice as it looks very stylish and different and doesn’t slip from your hand so easily compared to other colors. But if you worry about scratches on the phone, it’s better to choose another color like Matte Black or get a case!
In general, Apple preferred not to change its good and high quality design this year and made only minor improvements. It will probably come back with major changes next year. New colors, new location of antenna strips and being water-resistant (up to 1 meter) are improvements that may not be determinative for many but they can be enough of a reason to upgrade their phone for others.
In total, with advanced design that we’ve seen in smartphones since introduction of iPhone 6, changing the location of antenna strips and a smoother bump of the camera aren’t changes that can make iPhone 7 different from other competitors. Except of new colors, the design of iPhone 7 doesn’t have any surprises compared to two past generations and design alone can’t be the only reason to buy iPhone 7.
One of the positive changes in iPhone 7 is adding the second speaker. At first you may think there is dual speaker when you see slots on the bottom of the phone, but only one of them is the speaker and another is the microphone. The dual speaker is embedded in the front panel of the phone.
These speakers give you absolutely the best quality among all previous iPhones and are a significant change. However, the direction of the sound is different in both speakers what negatively affects user experience because one can clearly understand they play sound in different directions.
Despite that, very good sound volume and at least one speaker in front of the phone plays undeniable role in audio and multimedia experience.
But change most people talk about is removing 3.5mm audio jack in iPhone 7 which was, as Apple put it, courage!
However, embedding a taptic engine, a larger battery and, above all, helping the largest producer of wireless headphones Beats Electronics LLC in sales which is owned by Apple, by the way, look like more realistic reasons than courage. Removing the 3.5mm audio jack for any reasons doesn’t improve user experience and makes you use an adapter or Bluetooth headphones.
This year`s EarPods connect through the lightning connector which is used for both headphones and charger what will definitely reduce its life. But if you still want to use a 3.5mm audio jack, Apple has placed a adapter in the phone box which will let you convert lightning port into 3.5mm jack. However, if you lose it, you`ll have to pay extra $10 to get another one.
Anyway, there is no difference in quality whether you use the lightning port or a 3.5mm jack – the sound quality is as good as it was before. Generally, we can easily say that removing the 3.5mm jack hasn’t improved UX, but Apple has taken a significant step forward by adding a dual speaker.
Like in iPhone previous generation, Apple has put a 5.5-inch Full HD display in iPhone 7 Plus which means 401 ppi (pixel per inch).We’ve expected to see higher resolution in iPhone 7 Plus since there is QHD resolution in other much cheaper smartphones, but it didn’t happen, and there has been no changes in the resolution for three years in a row.
Of course, low resolution doesn’t mean that it’s a low quality display. Apple applied a wider range of colors which lets the display show more colors. On the other hand, its ppi density is appropriate for human eye. Of course, you`ll need good quality content to benefit from its wide range of colors. If your content isn’t good enough, iPhone will change it using software to avoid saturated colors. Anyway, if you watch good quality content, this feature will definitely improve your multimedia experience.
Maybe the display of iPhone 7 Plus isn’t as good as Galaxy Note 7`s one, but it can certainly be one of the best after Galaxy Note 7. Colors seem very natural on this display, and Apple mentioned that its brightness is 25% higher than before.
Displays used by Apple always have high brightness and iPhone 7 Plus is no exception – watching content on its display under direct sunlight is easy. Also, the minimum brightness of this display is suitable for long term use in dark environment and its night mode will help your eyes get tired much less when you use it in the dark.
iPhone 7 Plus display is one of the best ones according to such parameters as accurate color representation, contrast and brightness, but it can be easily said that Galaxy Note 7 display is better than the one in iPhone 7 Plus. However, it seems that Apple will use OLED panels and higher resolution next year to challenge Samsung.
The tenth edition of iOS for smartphones like iPhone 7 hasn’t changed much in terms of appearance; all changes made are aimed at making it easier to use. One of Apple’s positive points is its OS that it`s made in compliance with iPhone hardware. On the other hand, if you bought your iPhone 3-4 years ago, you’re still able to get this update and give a fresh appearance to your old iPhone.
iOS 10 supports widgets now and its focus on this field is shown by separating a specific page for widgets. Now you can get some information on your lock screen or even access phone’s camera fast by swiping to the left. Ability to delete default apps is another interesting feature which is included in the new version of iOS and it lets you remove not very useful apps such as Tips. Of course, app will not be deleted completely; its icon will just become invisible what is very useful and helps to organize the screen.
The biggest change, however, appears in iMessage. In addition to appearance changes, it supports stickers and provides many features such as changing chat’s background and inserting text on the picture.
Also, there’re changes in Control Center. It has been separated in two pages so that Apple music can have a separate page. Toggles also are not the same as well; for example, you’re able to set flash light in 3 different modes: low, medium and high, to get different light intensity for flashlight mode. However, lack of access to setting shortcut icons is a feature that is available in Android, but hasn’t come to iOS yet.
One of the most obvious changes appeared in Apple music section which is more similar to Spotify now. Also, one of the main issues of this service has been solved by adding Recently played music tab. In addition, you can see lyrics of many songs as well as recommendations from Apple based on your favorites; and it does a really good job.
Siri has become more practical in iOS 10; its API was put in hands of developers, so we might see expansion of the area of its usage in near future such as using in more non-Apple apps.
Apple’s Photos app isn’t the only app that can sort taken photos by, for instance, face or location. Google Photos has been doing it perfectly for a long time, but Apple has promised that there will be no need to send photos to iCloud for analysis what will provide more privacy to your images.
Anyway, Photos app isn’t perfect yet, and photos analysis sometimes may take up to several days, especially when there’re a lot of images. On the other hand, photo analysis will be done only when your phone is connected to charge supply and it’s another reason for processing delay. But in general, having default apps like Google Photos on iPhone can be useful and make sure that data analysis is done well by this application.
In total, iOS 10 has small but effective changes which improves UX (user experience) a lot. On the other hand, high coordination of hardware and software and multi-year support of your phone make iOS 10 one of the determinative reasons for buying iPhone.
Camera, or better to say iPhone 7 Plus camera, represents one of the biggest changes in this phone. As far as we remember, iPhone’s camera improved impressively each year, and every year it became better than before, and if it wasn’t the best, it always remain among the best.
iPhone 6s is still one of the best at the moment; however, one of its biggest weaknesses is its performance in dark and dim environments, compared to other competitors like Galaxy S7. But this year iPhone has come with f/1.8 to cover this drawback.
With the new features and of course, four-color flash, new Apple’s iPhones are considerably better than iPhone 6s in dim environments, but except of better dynamic range, there is no any other major difference between them in proper lighting conditions.
Of course, with f/1.8 diaphragm macro photos have become much better than before with the help of bokeh background effect. However, pictures taken in proper light will be just slightly brighter and show more progress in dynamic range.
The piece where Apple has put more effort to change significantly is the dual camera of iPhone 7 Plus. In addition to 28mm lens, iPhone 7 Plus is equipped with wide view angle, 56mm telephoto lens and f/2.8. These two lens act simultaneously, so it gives you 2x optical zoom switching to telephoto lens and getting closer to your subject.
Since this act will be performed by lens, you won`t lose quality like digital zoom and will get better pictures. Although this isn’t a new feature and we’ve seen it before in such smartphones as LG V20, 2x optical zoom would be very attractive for some people. Of course, you can get digital zoom up to 10x, but it decreases image quality a lot.
2x optical zoom is the only task that the second lens does for now, but Apple’s update will add Portrait Mode to this camera, so you’ll have more beautiful and attractive portraits with blurred background. Of course, we hope Apple will let software developers use potential of this camera more.
In regards to the quality of taken pictures it must be said that iPhone 7 Plus again has a very good camera. The main lens captures images with high quality, excellent dynamic range and beautiful bokeh effect. Also, pictures taken in dark environment are bright enough. The camera has definitely made tangible progress compared to the previous generation.
Taking f/2.8 focal length of the second lens into account, taken photos have more noise and don’t have good dynamic range. Anyway, the second lens’ task is to provide 2x zoom which is done perfectly.
Some changes have been made to the front camera of iPhone 7, and now it has a 7-megapixel sensor that results in pictures with clarity and resolution better than In the previous generation. Again, iPhone 7 Plus camera is one of the best ones and provides one of the best photography experience.
Photos Taken by iPhone 7 Plus camera:
“Some pictures have been taken twice, one in normal mode and the other with 2x optical zoom”
Efficiency & Performance
Like in past years, Apple introduced a new processor along with iPhone 7. Apple’s new SoC (System-on-a-Chip) is called A10 Fusion, although, Apple hasn’t released any technical comments yet. However, its die shots gave us some information about this processor. At the moment, we at least know that its TSMC version is based on 16-nanometer lithography what means the processor of next 3 iPhone generations will be made based on one lithography. Dimensions of this processor are 125 cubic millimeters and according to Apple, it has 3.3 billion transistors.
A10 is the first quad-core processor among iPhones and two of its cells are pluripotent while the other two are low power cells. It’s not clear yet what architecture their work is based on, but some experts believe, Apple applied big.LITTLE technology.
Nevertheless, we know that two low power cells are used for general purposes which don’t require high processing power to minimize energy consumption, and two pluripotent cells are be used for playing games or some heavy tasks. Although we don’t know what the operating frequency of these cells exactly is, some experts say that 2.4 GHz is the maximum operating frequency of this processor.
Although Apple announced that A10 is 40% stronger than A9, different benchmarks results show that iPhone 7’s processor works 20% to 40% better compared to iPhone 6s, while A9 acted 70% faster compared to its previous generation. This processor comes with 3GB RAM to make sure that it can run all App store apps and games well. Although, there are no application which can`t be run perfectly on A9.
You’ve probably heard the news recently about iPhone 7’s hissing sounds while pressuring onto the processor. We witnessed such a thing only once, while recording a 4K video. It doesn’t happen on everyday basis or even while running games, so you don’t need to worry about it.
Removing the 3.5mm audio jack gave more empty space to designers which resulted in 2900mAh battery instead of 2750mAh battery. Apple promised that battery life time will increase by 1 hour and our tests confirm it.
But how is the battery performance of this smartphone? As before, we’ve set brightness of the display on 50%, turned off Wi-Fi and played an HD video until the battery ran from 100 to zero. iPhone 7 Plus battery worked for 14 hours and 20 minutes before running out of the charge which is a pretty good time. In addition, iPhone 7 Plus can guarantee about 12 hours of web surfing.
As you can see, battery life performance of iPhone 7 Plus is excellent and can cover a day of semi-heavy tasks. Of course, battery life of iPhone 7 Plus is better when it’s compared to the past, but there is no any significant difference when it comes to general purposes. The most important part is its very long charging time. You need 3 hours to charge iPhone 7 Plus completely using the charger from the phone’s box which is very disappointing when you compare it with other competitors which charge really fast now.
If we want to wrap it up in one sentence, we would say that there are no significant changes in new iPhones compared to the previous generation. It just provided a foundation for the next year iPhone.
Now, iPhone 6s Plus is one of the best available phablets in the market at the moment and iPhone 7 Plus didn’t have many changes to justifies upgrading from the last year’s flagship to this year Apple’s flagship. If you don’t care about new color and its water/dust resistance, it’s better to wait for the next year’s iPhone.
But another question that may come up is which one is better – iPhone 7 Plus or Galaxy Note 7?
If only appearance matters, without a doubt, Galaxy Note 7 is the winner, but iOS ecosystem as well as Apple’s unsurpassed support for consecutive years can’t be ignored which results in huge advantage for iPhone 7 Plus over its Android competitors.
In total, upgraded camera, new colors, water resistant ability and of course, very powerful processor, improved last year’s excellent iPhones and made iPhone 7 Plus one of the best in the market. However, repetitive design and removed headphone jack are things that should be taken into consideration. Apple promises major changes for the next year iPhone, so you may regret buying iPhone 7.
Finally, if you own iPhone 6 or one of the previous iPhones, or if you want to buy a new flagship smartphone, you can consider buying it.
- High build quality
- Excellent quality of display
- Very good performance of camera
- Water and dust resistant
- Absence of 3.5mm audio jack
- Jet black color gets stains and scratches easily
- Its dimensions are bigger than other similar 5.5-inch smartphones
You can also watch Unboxing iPhone 7 Plus video here:
If you have own iPhone 7 Plus or want to share your opinion about new member of iPhone’s family, feel free to share your thoughts in comments below!
Images courtesy of Zoomit