Apple iPhone 7 Review
Apple iPhone 7
- Water Resistance
- Good low light camera
- A10 Fusion chip is crazy fast
- Great speakers
- Retina display with great contrast
- Comprehensive sensor equipment
- Conservative Design
- Battery life unimpressive
- No headphone port
- No microSD-slot
Apple iPhone 7 Review – Makes a splash. Takes a splash.
Apple iPhone 7 dramatically improves the most important aspects of the iPhone experience. It introduces advanced new camera systems. The best performance and battery life ever in an iPhone. Immersive stereo speakers. The brightest, most colorful iPhone display. Splash and water resistance.1 And it looks every bit as powerful as it is. This is iPhone 7.
Few companies can generate an emotional response like Apple can. The Apple iPhone 7 is a good phone, but for every step forward we find with lifestyle features, there seems to be a step back somewhere else. Trading pieces around, in many ways the iPhone 7 feels like a lateral move from the iPhone 6S, less like a true successor. Perhaps an iPhone 6SE if you will.
If you own an iPhone 6S, water resistance and stereo speakers are nice perks, but little else will separate the daily experience from what you currently own. Ignoring Android options, the iPhone 7 actually finds itself in tough competition from the revised 6S with more storage for a hundred dollars less, and folks who like the iPhone 5 form factor can find a bargain in the iPhone SE.
And both of those phones have better headphone audio.
Apple has hit its marks with the Apple iPhone 7, delivering upgrades in the right areas and to a decent level at times – it knows the level it needs to hit to make the iPhone seem new, and it’s done just enough to achieve that.
The water resistance is mostly there to improve your confidence in the robustness of the phone, and you’ll need to be ready to listen to your music on the new phone in a slightly different way.
Over time, we found that the water resistance is far more useful than anticipated, as you can take shots in the rain or just feel more secure around ponds.
Longer term testing has proved that the battery life is rather poor though – if you’ve got an iPhone 6 you’ll find it improved, but overall it’s still rather sub-par from Apple, which is disappointing.
If you have three pairs of 3.5mm jack-connected headphones in constant rotation, it’ll be mere days before you get incredibly frustrated that you can’t use your cans or buds with the iPhone 7 as you’ve left the sodding adaptor somewhere else.
But if you’re someone who just uses the headphones in the box, or only has Bluetooth cans, then you’ll not notice the change one single jot.
The real question you should ask yourself here is: should I just go for the iPhone 6S? That phone has the same sharpness of display, a similar camera, the same dimensions and the same iOS capabilities – plus a clickable home button and a headphone jack, familiarities some will love.
It’s the same phone but just a paler version – it depends if that matters to you, as it’s a good way to save money without losing loads of functionality.
The iPhone 7 isn’t a huge upgrade; it’s a few small – but useful – steps forward.
The things that are great about the Apple iPhone 7—primarily its speed and the camera—are likely to be even better in the next generation. On the other hand, the things that aggravate me about this iPhone—namely, the weird Home button and the aggravation of switching to wireless headphones—are likely to be improved.
If you’re excited enough about the camera to upgrade, or your current iPhone is old enough that you want to upgrade, this is the best iPhone for you. But if the drawbacks make you want to sit out a year, I think that’s really smart.
It’s hard to judge Apple’s battery-life claims on the Apple iPhone 7, because a lot of what’s being touted involves low and high-power performance management that happens automatically in Apple’s processor, and can’t be adjusted in settings.
It also took us a while to figure out how best to test battery life on this iPhone.
Our battery life test involves a video playback loop in airplane mode, which doesn’t reflect everyday use cases for how most people would use an iPhone. But on that test, using iOS 10 .1, the iPhone 7 lasted around 10 hours, 45 minutes — a bit better than last year’s iPhone 6S, but not by much. Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Google Pixel both fared a lot better on our test.
And, as Apple’s own claims suggest, your mileage may vary depending on how you use the phone. I still find myself needing a top-off charge around 4 p.m. That being said, I found the iPhone 7 eking out better battery life through the day, lasting me a little longer than before. I’d say the difference is subtle. With Apple’s new power-managing processor, what you do will possibly cause different results.
Apple’s attentiveness to more power-efficient processing is promising. But lots of great phones now have supersize batteries in them: think of the Motorola Moto Z Play, the OnePlus 3T and Galaxy S7. If you want an even better battery, consider the iPhone 7 Plus, a battery pack, or another phone.
Barring its battery life the Apple iPhone 7 is a great phone. Its camera, screen and performance are awesome, and the water resistance is a real boon.
While the starting capacity of 32GB (£599/$649) isn’t exactly massive, it’s a lot better than the piddly 16GB we’d become so used to. The jump is big if you need more – up to 128GB (£699/$749) and then a ludicrous 256GB (£799/$849) for the top-of-the-range model. I’m not sure who’d need that much storage on a phone that can’t be used as a hard drive, but the option’s there.
However, the iPhone 7’s battery life is a real worry and the lack of a headphone jack will be a major annoyance to some. I suspect the iPhone 7 Plus won’t be as problematic, but at the moment if you’re hell-bent on a small iPhone I’d recommend the more compact, and far cheaper, iPhone SE.
It might sound strange to say this when talking about the most valuable company in the world, but Apple doesn’t always get the credit it deserves for its engineering efforts. The A10 Fusion chip inside the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is a prime example of a company at the top of its game, and the way everything just comes together, especially on the iPhone 7, is nothing short of spectacular. We’ve been using the device for over two months now, and it still manages to delight us every single day.
Yet, if you believe everything you read, you’ll come away with the impression that Apple is a marketing company that happens to be in the technology business, and its success is down to its ability to convince people to pay for its products, instead of any real technical acumen. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus cost a premium, but they deliver on almost every possible parameter, and they are certainly no stopgap before the rumoured tenth anniversary iPhone next year. Apple might of course wow us all next year by releasing something completely new and different, just like it did with the original iPhone, but that doesn’t take away from what you get from this year’s iPhone models right now – amazing performance, great cameras, good battery life, timely software updates, future-proof displays (in terms of colour, if not PPI), and a design that’s up there with Apple’s best efforts.
If you are confused between the Apple iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus or wondering which colour to get, we would like to put our weight behind the Jet Black iPhone 7. Yes, it gets scratched, but it’s a joy to hold – and use – every single day. The smaller iPhone’s camera now packs in the all-important optical image stabilisation feature, and the secondary lens isn’t reason enough for most people to pay a premium for the big iPhone. However, the extra RAM on the iPhone 7 Plus could theoretically make it more future-proof, especially if Apple’s rumoured move into the world of AR materialises, so you have a bit of a decision to make there.
While there’s obviously a lot to love about Apple’s newest flagship phones, they aren’t perfect. The more time we spent with the iPhone 7, the more its bigger sibling seemed ungainly and just a tad bit slower in comparison. As we’ve mentioned before, Apple needs a reboot of the iPhone design to improve the screen-to-body ratio of its phones compared to other manufacturers – thankfully, rumours suggest we’ll get just that next season. We also wish the iPhone 7 had all of its bigger sibling’s features and specifications, so customers could choose between the two on size alone, and not worry about missing out on something – now, or in the future.
The missing headphone jack didn’t bother us as much as we imagined it would, and it’s clear that Apple is pushing us towards a wireless future, even though its other big push for wireless audio hit a few bumps along the way. All in all, the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus set the foundation for some fundamental technology like wide-gamut displays and wireless audio that will form a key part of Apple’s ecosystem going forward, and they do that while being compelling offerings in the present.
The Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are at once the most technically impressive smartphones Apple has ever made and the most divisive. After all, they’re excellent because of Apple’s renewed attention to the basics: the speed, the camera, the screen, the battery. None of these improvements on their own are terribly exciting, but together they make for a pair of phones that are more than the sum of their parts. Then again, where’s the envelope-pushing? Where’s the Apple that upended an industry? It’s surely still there, locked behind closed doors that won’t be opened again for another year. In the meantime, we’re left to consider this year’s work.
If you can get over the all-too-familiar design and the no-headphone-jack thing, then the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are serious contenders for best smartphones, period. Note that I used the word “best,” not “most innovative” — neither of these devices is groundbreaking. We’ve seen many of these features (or features like them) pop up in rival phones already. That headphone jack thing aside, most of the choices made in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feel like safe ones. There’s nothing wrong with that, but no matter how good the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are (answer: very, very good), Apple already has us all wondering what next year’s iPhone is going to be like.
Apple’s honed its smartphone-making game to the point where it’s easy to see the launch of a new year’s model and quickly get cynical about how everything’s just business as usual, or how the company’s afraid to take big risks with its phones.
But with the Apple iPhone 7, we see an Apple that’s managing to turn that characterization on its head. The iPhone 7 isn’t a big, big new step for Apple smartphones – and if you’re happy with your iPhone 6s (or even iPhone 6), there’s little in the way of must-have new features here twisting your arm to upgrade.
Instead, we see all these really focused improvements that on their own might not seem so hot, but add up to giving us an iPhone that’s superior to its predecessors in nearly every way. From the screen, to the speakers, the camera, and even in terms of durability with its dust and water resistance, the iPhone 7 is the best iPhone of its size Apple’s ever brought us.
Probably the easiest target to hang on the Apple iPhone 7 is the phone’s missing headphone jack, but even that’s not the disaster it could be. While we don’t quite agree with the way Apple’s framing itself as courageous for dropping the port, it’s still a big move that – as we mentioned – is going to have far-reaching consequences. Do benefits like the phone’s larger battery outweigh the inconvenience of needing that adapter for older headphones? Or the need to buy all-new Lightning-equipped headphones?
Well, it will probably be some time before we see how users respond, especially as more and more Lightning-supporting headphones come to market, but that’s not even the most important point here. What we have is evidence of an Apple that’s not afraid to take risks, to keep pushing its users towards its vision of the perfect personal communication/entertainment/fitness – heck, just the perfect device for everything. And while nobody – not even Apple – is there quite yet, handsets like the iPhone 7 remind us that there’s always room for smartphones to grow, to improve, and to expand our perceptions of what a phone can do for us.
The Apple iPhone 7 will certainly not be remembered as a revolution on the smartphone market. If you believe the rumors, Apple is saving the revolution for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone next year. The manufacturer still offers a very good high-end smartphone, which is above-average in almost all areas.
There were also some evolutionary changes: The case is not protected against water and dust and there are new colors. iOS 10 and the corresponding apps were improved. Once again we cannot see big changes, except maybe the unlocking via Home button. We also get a new modem for even faster and more comprehensive mobile Internet connections. That the Lightning port is now the only physical connector introduces some problems, so you need adapters for even more activities.
However, some aspects of the Apple iPhone 7 can still be improved: The support for high quality music files is actually worse since the Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter affects the dynamics. Maybe the new AirPods will improve the sound quality, but not everybody likes wireless headphones that you will have to charge after 5 hours…
The sound quality of the new stereo speakers is also average at best, which can also be said for the voice quality. The aluminum chassis also gets noticeably warm under load.
In return, there are also many positive aspects like the very clear high-contrast and colorful display, despite the comparatively low resolution, as well as the high performance and the very good battery runtimes. It is also very enjoyable to use the smartphone thanks to the precise touchscreen and the impressive Taptic Engine.
If you are looking for a great high-end smartphone and have the money, there is no way around at least considering the latest iPhone generation. If you can still wait, you will probably get a revolutionary iPhone next year, but for now, the Apple iPhone 7 is a very well developed classic smartphone.