First and foremost, we’ve already talked about the iPhone 7 but what you should now about the iPhone 7 Plus is that the difference between the two resides just in the screen size, the battery capacity and the main camera. As for the rest, you can consider the iPhone 7 Plus as an upgrade of the iPhone 6s Plus, namely an unchanged hull with some small changes in details. When it comes to Apple, the plus only means three things: large, large AND large. Too much large, isn’t it? I would say yes.
The new 5.5 inches iPhone weighs 4 grams less than its predecessor. Although it has kept the same size and the same design. The adaptation of the iPhone 7 on a bigger canvas, didn’t really work that well. It has only resulted in a massive device with no big added value. Especially if we look at what the market has to offer. If we compare, the Galaxy S7 Edge for instance, which has a similar screen with the same dimensions, to the new flagship of Apple, the first one has brought up a lot of new features. And if we compare a G S7 to a G S6, we can touch the difference. Can you see what I’m talking about?
All of this, of course, doesn’t prevent the Californian’s phablet from establishing itself as the most powerful smartphone at the moment of its release and as one of the best mobile terminals of the year. Let’s discover why’s that throughout the lines of this review.
As you probably saw in the pictures or as you probably already know, the iPhone 7 Plus is not prominent in the design side. Apple just relaunched the iPhone 6 of 2014 with some minor improvements. Same aluminum structure, same placement of the loudspeaker grid, lightning port is the same, physical side buttons … The only remarkable change the placement of the Antennas (wow, they are on the perimeter of the structure now). The clear bands sheltering the antennas are more discreet. Previously, they were present on the back of the iPhone, however now they are integrated into the edges of the device. Just like the Apple 7, the jet-black version is an exception as the antennas are invisible. In the bigger shell, two black colors are also available; the shiny “jet black” and the matte version of plain black. Both particularly successful. As a result, the sidereal gray disappears and the silver, gold and rose gold versions complete the range and all three have a white front.
On another note, the shiny black is extremely sensitive to scratches on the back and catches dirt easily. Aka if you’re planning to casually hold your phone, your fingerprints will always be there unless you’ve decided to put some gloves. The second option would be covering the device with a phone case but that would be unfortunate. Why purchase such an attractive design if I’m going to end up hiding it?
On the front, no apparent change, it looks just like an iPhone 6s Plus. And with that comes also fatally this famous ratio of occupancy of the front face that Apple has been dragging for too long: 68%. Space optimization, we’ve known (much) better, like Samsung that sits above 76% screen occupancy rate with the GS7 edge or Note 7.
And to ensure its effect, Apple integrates a menu capable of managing the level of depth of the click felt when pressing the home button. It is certain that users will have to take a little time to accustom themselves to this new interaction that takes place between the physical and the sensory. Just for the mention, the fingerprint sensor is still responding in a heartbeat.
The touch screen, first of all, remains on the 5.5-inch Full HD format (1920 x 1080 pixels on a diagonal of 14 cm) in IPS slab inducted 2 years ago on the iPhone 6 Plus, against 4.7 inches HD in 1334 x 750 pixels on the iPhone 7.
With this new generation of iPhone, Apple seems to have focused on color control and brightness. The colors have never been so loyal and balanced in the Cupertino manufacturer, with a medium delta E at 1.4 – with the exception of the iPhone 5c at medium delta E at 1.2 – and a good average color temperature.
For maximum brightness, the 7 Plus backlight captures up to 661 cd / m², one of the largest on the market, and with an average contrast of 1400: 1 and a light reflection of the panel of only 9%, The terminal remains very readable even in very good weather with direct light.
Note a slight decrease in rhythm on tactile reactivity (43 ms, against 23 ms on the iPhone 6s Plus) and a reading comfort that does not change, with a display density of 401 pixels per inch. This is sufficient for any type of content (except VR), but inevitably less fine in the absolute than the 515 dpi of a Galaxy S7 edge, for example.
To increase its performance, Apple incorporates a new A10 Fusion quad-core mobile chip (2 low-frequency cores for all general tasks and 2 cores dedicated to heavy tasks, including photo, video and game), accompanied by a RAM of 3 GB, a non-expandable storage capacity of three options: 32, 128 and 256 GB. The 7 Plus, like the 7, throws the 3.5 mm mini-jack plug into the dustbins and only passes through the Lightning port (recharging, transferring data and therefore audio now). A Lightning to mini-Jack adapter is provided by the brand in the box. The operating system embedded at startup is iOS 10.
By switching to generation 7, Apple also switches to iOS generation 10. Available a few days before the release of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus for a large number of previous smartphone models, iOS 10 changes a lot, starting with the arrival of a dynamic widget pane that appears sliding completely Left of the home screen. There’s still a lot to discover since more applications are updating to propose their version of widget.
With a battery of 2900 mAh, the battery of the iPhone 7 Plus gains a bit of capacity compared to that of the iPhone 6s Plus, but still just 150 mAh more that of the 6 Plus. In practice, the 7 Plus holds two full days before requesting an outlet. The difference remains thin with the iPhone 6s Plus, which is already performing very well in this area.
Apple returns from afar with its new camera features in the iPhone 7 Plus. Since the brand was not up to the game in the competition of the last mobile generation (too much dynamics, smoothing everywhere, lack of management of low lights, …), the firm rolls up a bit its sleeves this year.
The main focus of this 7 Plus is the presence of the two photographic modules, each with a 12 Megapixels sensor. One is classic, but enjoys a focal length different from the old iPhone, going from 31 mm to 28 mm. The second is an equivalent of 56 mm. The transition from one to the other offers a form of 2x optical zoom. It is thus possible to pass from module 1 to module 2 with deterioration measured on the zoom. It could have been null, but Apple preferred to accommodate a smaller sensor and a less generous opening: 1/3 inches for a f / 1.8 opening on the 28 mm; 1 / 3.56 inches and f / 2.8 on the 56 mm.
The image rendering oscillates between the voucher for the module 28 mm, which has an optical stabilization, and the perfectible, necessarily, for this module 56 mm intrinsically less well equipped than the old iPhone.
For the 28 mm, it will be noted that Apple makes an effort on the dynamics, with a return of a better controlled contrast. Formerly close to reality, Apple will now accentuate its color rendering, especially on red and blue colors. In low light, there is less approximation, better exposure and especially rich details than on the 6s Plus. The 2x zoom will capture well even with more saturated colors capturing quite sharp photos even in low light conditions.
As for video shooting, Apple finally reached the level of Samsung, by reviewing its specs and its optical stabilization. The camera offers good light and shadow transitions, also a stabilization feature that ignores any brusque movement. We can, therefore, say that the new iPhone is a great tool for taking family videos and souvenirs of friends.
As for the front sensor, Apple goes from 5 Megapixels on the previous generations to a 7 megapixels’ camera. The gain in sharpness is evident and you can now take self-portraits or make video calls even in the dark.
Overall, the Plus line of the iPhone is presenting very little added value to the market. This one has changed mainly the rear camera, adding a new waterproofing and of course a larger space means a better battery life.
On the other hand, we can say that Apple still bring the best benchmarks to the market, like the disappearance of the jack that would soon be part of the norm and it is a good bet that other manufacturers will follow in the months to come. The worthy highlight of the iPhone 7 Plus is the high-end camera and its dual sensor, but the “optical zoom” is kind of disappointing on its rendering quality.
Nevertheless, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus remain excellent smartphones that bring beautiful novelties and can satisfy most of your needs. You also have the possibility to save a great amount of money and buy an equivalent top notch device.