The iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus has been a great device so far with many key features that Apple has announced during their September Special Event.
Although it may seem the same in terms of design but the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has been re-engineered from inside out, from the Design, the Display, the Camera, the Audio, the Battery, the Performance and Software, these has been changed. Let’s not forget the Home Button has been changed as well. Literally, there’s no button in the Home Button. Just Home.
No button in the Home Button. Just Home
Let’s see what’s in the 9:
DESIGN – 4.7 inch & 5.5 inch
With the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus design almost identical to last year’s 2016 flagship iPhone, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but the inside out of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has been re-engineered. This year is Apple’s third year of keeping the same design form factor since 2014. Well, this may seem kind of a surprise as Apple usually updates and redesigns the iPhone every 2 years for past years and it is probably ‘why fix when it ain’t broke’. This follows to back in 2010 with the iPhone 4 where the fiasco of people getting weak or dropped signal when they hold a certain way.
Why fix when it ain’t broke
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus now features in 5 colours which 2 are new colours, Jet Black and (matte) Black that Apple has announced. The other 3 are the standard colours like last year’s most popular colour, the Rose Gold, together with Gold and Silver. At the very least the Gold had its own prime time back in 2013 with the iPhone 5s.
Apple has taken away the Space Grey which was the black for last year’s model and replaced it with the Black. It is a much darker shade. It’s darker than or almost the same as the Slate on the iPhone 5. On the other hand, the Jet Black is a polished finish and its reflective, and is also a huge fingerprint magnet plus more prone to scratches unlike the other aluminium models.
The iPhone 7… is now water
proof resistant, which is being rated IP67. At the very least, you don’t have to worry taking out your device in the rain, while eating something soup based or at the very least worry when you drop it in the toilet.
The volume buttons cut out has been changed too and probably either to strengthen the design of it or allowing the iPhone to be the water resistant.
STORAGE – 32GB, 128GB AND THE MIGHTY 256GB
In iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, it now comes with these 3 models of storage devices, the 32GB, 128GB and the newly added 256GB to any iPhone. Apple has doubled the storage on the iPhone amid from users that has questioned the giant for years of its starting storage capacity of 16GB.
However, if you are planning to get the 32GB, there has been reports that the read and write speeds are slower than the 128GB & 256GB storages.
If you plan to get or upgrade to an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, it is best to get the 128GB if you don’t store that much of media content. But at least you could fill that up with photos and videos.
If you are into huge media content and takes lots of photos and videos, and I meant 4K videos, the 256GB storage is the best bet. That allows you store quite a bit of videos if you really have to max it out.
Also do note that the Jet Black colours only comes with 128GB and 256GB storages if you are planning to get that colour.
Alright, let’s still call the home button, THE Home Button, so that we don’t get confuse, although there is now no physical button that we can press. The home button has been reengineered and a press now goes through the Taptic Engine that Apple has added in. This gives the feedback, called Taptic Feedback when pressed which generates like a mini, short or small vibration to mimic the effect on pressing a physical button. Apple has so far done a fantastic job in doing this. For the first few days to weeks, you may feel odd and weird but when you get used to it, it feels like pressing a normal button.
In the software, Apple has given 3 different levels of Taptic feedback and you can choose accordingly to your own preferences and I personally recommend either getting level 2 or 3.
However, the new home button uses a sensor and detects if a finger or thumb is pressing the home button. Which means if you are wearing gloves, you might not be able to press home though. Don’t be alarmed when the home button doesn’t respond! But at the very least, there’s ‘Hey Siri’ and ‘Raise to Wake’ feature to get things done.
DISPLAY – Same Resolution but still the Best Display with Wide Colour & 25% Brighter
Although it might be a disappointment to some in the smartphone competition, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus still uses the same LED screens and same resolutions as like past years iPhone devices. Not surprisingly, it features the well-known 3D Touch feature that was first introduced in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus last year in 2015 where in iOS 10, huge amounts of software features were focused around 3D Touch.
The iPhone 7 features a 4.7 inch Retina HD display, with a pixel of 1334 x 750 resolution at 326 ppi (pixel per inch) and the iPhone 7 Plus featuring a 5.5 Retina HD display, with a pixel of 1920 x 1080 resolution at 401 ppi (pixel per inch).
The display on both iPhone devices, however, has made it as the best display as according to DisplayMate, calling it “truly impressive” and a “major upgrade” from the iPhone 6.
Also, (via MacRumors), “iPhone 7 achieved the highest colour accuracy, peak brightness, and contrast rating in bright light of any smartphone display, the highest contrast ratio of any IPS LCD display, and the lowest screen reflectance of any smartphone display. ” The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus features a wide colour gamut with more colours which delivers cinema-standard colours.
The brightness according to the article is 602 cd/m2 (nits), also the highest that DisplayMate has tested on a smartphone which Apple has said it is 25% brighter than the previous models.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus has got one of the best display on mobile and it sure will satisfy most users whose looking for one of the best mobile display.
CAMERA – 12MP with f/1.8; 7MP Front Camera; Dual Lens.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus has much improvements to the camera from the 6s and 6s Plus. Retaining the 12MP back camera, but now it features a f/1.8 aperture has compared to a f/2.2 aperture lens in the previous version which allows a wide colour capture and better shooting for photos and videos in low light.
Not only that, the iPhone 7 (4.7 inch) has finally gotten and included the optical image stabilisation which reduces the ‘shakiness’ of a video when recorded on the iPhone 7 that ‘reduces blur associated with motion and hand-shake’ (Apple.com). The back camera on both models now, has got a four (4) LEDs flash which is 50% brighter than the 6s, resulting in sharper, and brighter pictures when taking in low-light.
The front facing camera now features a new 7 MP camera which taking selfie will be much more natural with a wide colour capture and sharper and more vibrant selfies. In low light taking a selfie? No worries, similar with the iPhone 6s, the front display will be the retina flash with the iPhone 7 being brighter than the iPhone 6s due to the brighter display.
On the iPhone 7 Plus, it features a dual lens on the back, first time ever on an iPhone. The iPhone 7 has only a single camera due to space constraints on the iPhone. The dual lens or the second camera, dubbed a telephoto camera gives a 2x zoom without losing quality or gain noise when taking these amazing photographs and shots.
During the keynote, Apple has featured a all new depth effect, named Depth-of-Field effect which brings out the object in the foreground and blurring the background which it really brings out the images. It is available now in iOS 10.1 but the feature is in beta running on an iPhone 7 Plus, which iPhone 7 does not have.
With all that superb cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the brains behind these amazing cameras is he chip in the iPhone. With the A10 Fusion chip, the ISP (Image Signal Processor), ‘powers over 100 billion operations and even uses machine learning to make the images look amazing’ (Apple.com).
AUDIO – Stereo Speakers, Goodbye Jack, Hello Lightning!
As much controversy there is, Apple had decided to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. As we move on to a more wireless environment, Apple is wanting its users to connect and listen to music and media via Bluetooth instead.
In conjunction to using wireless Bluetooth to listen, Apple has introduced the AirPods, which comes with a W1 chip that allows users to connect and switch between your devices seamlessly without the need to connect or re-pair again on each devices you own.
In both models, it has got stereo speakers, first time ever on an iPhone is a great feature but the sound quality is great but not as like using a portable speaker. It is still decent enough to play music and watch videos. The earpiece which is also the earpiece used to take voice calls is placed and faced directly to you. However, the ‘bottom’ speaker which is placed facing to either left or right (depending on rotation of the device) and the quality may not be balanced as like HTC’s BoomSound or the iPad Pro which comes in 4 speakers, but iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus sound quality output is still in a balanced way. From my personal use, I have significantly felt and able to hear the differences in better quality from using previous iPhones to the iPhone 7 models.
The battery on the iPhone 7 Plus is a beast as compared to the iPhone 7. However, from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone 7, you should be able to get 2 more hours of battery life. The iPhone 7 Plus is able to get an hour more than the 6s which is not a huge improvement but is still decent and able to last for a day’s usage.
PERFORMANCE – A10 Fusion
The improvements of the battery comes due to the awesome improvements that the A10 Fusion chip is able to achieve. It is a quad core powered chip with 2 of them being low powered which are high efficiency, that runs 0.2 the amount of energy of the other 2. These other 2 cores are being used should there is a need to drive higher graphics and to achieve higher performance.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (A10) is 2x faster as compared to iPhone 6 which is running on A8 chip. However, based on calculations, the CPU performance on the A10 Fusion chip is 40% faster than the iPhone 6s which is running on the A9 chip. But take into account that the A10 is a quad core and it’s energy efficient.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (A10) is 3x faster as compared to iPhone 6 (A8 chip). Similarly, the GPU performance on the A10 Fusion chip is 50% faster than the iPhone 6s which is running on the A9 chip.
SOFTWARE – iOS 10
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus runs on iOS 10 out of the box with the latest update to iOS 10.1. This newest update as mentioned is packed with new features for the iPhone 7 Plus. iOS 10 is jammed packed with lots of features. From 3D Touch to Rich Notifications and to enhanced iMessages.
The 3D Touch is a feature that enhances what’s beneath a task, a button or a list. For example in Apple Music, when you 3D Touch a song, you are opened to another set of menus which includes like Add to Library, Add to Playlist, Play Next, Play Later and etc.
To access the (Rich) Notifications, swipe down from the top, or swipe right (on the left) of the home screen. It now features a Spotlight & Siri Suggestions, a more content rich widgets, and now you can clear all notifications. That’s by 3D Touch as an exclusive (I suppose).
In iMessage, you can now send stickers, similar like Facebook Messenger to your recipients and play games via the Messages app. Not to forget, there’s full screen effects too. Like balloons appears in full screen when you wish someone Happy Birthday and confetti effects as well.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is a great device with the camera, especially the dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus which introduces a new feature that takes photos in Depth Effect or Portrait Mode, the stereo speakers and the water resistant (IP67) capability. These features are the plus points for having to upgrade to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
It is especially worth the upgrade if you are on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus and lower as the newer models includes 3D Touch, where iOS 10 focuses heavily on most features on it. If you are having an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, the camera is not much of a difference unless the dual camera is something you really need and whether you are going to need the water resistant. But at least on the 6s and 6s Plus, you ain’t losing a headphone jack.
Personally, I’m upgrading from a iPhone 6s (the non Plus version) in 128GB to the iPhone 7 Plus in 256GB. As I read a fair bit of news and articles and watch videos, a larger display would be a decent upgrade. Also, dual camera allows me to take better photos especially in 2x zoom and since university is about to start next year, it would be pretty good to take photos of lecture slides with it. The water resistant is a mix in between a need and a want. Needing just in case of accidental drops in toilets and a want because I really do take care to prevent mishaps to it.
Overall, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is a good upgrade to get but a better upgrade from iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and earlier.