As has become tradition, Apple released their yearly iPhone update this September. After two years with my iPhone 6 Plus, I decided to take the plunge and update to the iPhone 7 Plus. This year, Apple added water resistance, a solid-state home button, telephoto camera, A10 Fusion chip, stereo speakers, and more. Read on for my first impressions.
My shiny new iPhone 7 Plus was delivered at 9:30am on release day. The first thing I was impressed with was the fact that my phone started in Memphis, Tennessee at 3:30am and was delivered to my office in New Jersey within 6 hours! FedEx’s infrastructure is just astounding.
Getting back to the point of this article, check out the unboxing photos, below:
After about 24 hours of playing with my iPhone 7 Plus, I’ve had some time to settle in with the new device and jot down some initial thoughts on my new daily driver. Without further ado, let’s run down my first impressions:
- Overall design: Sleek. I went with the matte Black finish, not the Jet Black, because I was worried about fingerprints and hairline scratches. The relocation of the antennas is an excellent change as they’ve been mostly hidden at the perimeter of the device. This really makes the iPhone 7 Plus appear to be a solid slab of black aluminum. Super classy. Super black.
- Performance: Snappy. Every app opens very quickly and there is absolutely no hesitation during screen transitions and animations. I haven’t had much time to do any more scientific testing, but I’m impressed with the performance of the A10 Fusion Chip thus far.
- Home button: Shockingly impressed. Apple removed the physical, clickable home button in favor of a solid-state button and taptic feedback engine in order to make the phone more resistant to water and dust ingress. You are able to choose the level of taptic feedback, from level 1 to level 3; I chose level 3. The slight vibrations actually do make you feel like you’re clicking a button. My wife was so convinced she was clicking a button that I had to turn the phone off just to show her that there was no button. She was floored.
- Headphone jack: Yes, the rumors are true, there is no headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. However Apple has included lightning earbuds and a lighting to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle in the box to make the transition a bit less painful. It remains to be seen how much of an effect the lack of headphone jack will have on my daily life, although I expect there will be a few “why didn’t I bring the dongle?” moments.
- Cameras: The dual lens camera is excellent. The ability to use 2x optical zoom is a revelation and I imagine I’ll get a whole lot of use out of it. Image quality is very good, as usual, however I haven’t had any opportunities to test the camera in low light conditions. The front-facing camera has been upgraded from 5 megapixels to 7 megapixels. I Facetimed with my sister today who commented that the video quality was much better than before with my iPhone 6 Plus. Selfie quality from the front-facing has also been significantly improved. Check out the photos below for an example of 1x vs 2x zoom from the rear cameras.
- Speakers: The upgrade from single mono speaker to dual stereo speakers is a definite upgrade, however I can’t imagine ever using the iPhone’s built-in speakers in place of a decent Bluetooth speaker. Sound quality and volume has absolutely been improved upon since the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, however.
- Upgraded retina display with 3D touch: Apple tells us that the brightness in the retina display has been increased by 25% and it now can reproduce a wider gamut of colors. While the screen looks great and I have no complaints, I haven’t seen an incredible difference as compared to my iPhone 6 Plus. I’ll need to do further side-by-side comparisons to really see the difference. The 3D touch works very well, however, and the taptic feedback engine gives you a nice tap when you activate 3D touch.
As you may be able to tell, I’m pretty impressed with the enhancements Apple has made to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and it’s only been about a day. Did you get your hands on an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus yet or have an opinion on the changes Apple has made? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to stay tuned to Gear Diary, where we’ll be covering the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus extensively, including accessories, apps, and more.