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Apple products have always been cool, but they haven’t always lived up to their hype. A great looking phone is well, great, but only if it gets good performance as well. But Apple’s newest offering, the iPhone 7, manages to combine not just good looks but also some impressive internals. This is the phone that Apple need to beat the Android competition, and it’s a thing of beauty as well as power.
Why should you want one? Well, there’s that performance, it’s fast and responsive, and there’s some great cameras. But the big selling point here is sound quality, with new headphone connections and dual speakers this is a must for music lovers. For anyone shopping at the top end of the market, the iPhone 7 is a great choice.
This could only be an iPhone. It’s got the familiar sleek lines, the smooth curves, the slimline profile. It’s a unibody metal and glass design that manages to be simultaneously light weight and robust. The observant will see that the camera bump is more pronounced than on the 6S model, and that the physical home key is gone, replaced by a haptic feedback pad. But the 7 still shines with Apple style.
Aside from those looks you’re getting a phone with some nicely upgraded internals. There’s plenty of speed with a new chip set, a nice couple of additions to the camera set, and some completely new things, like water resistance and dual speakers.
As always, there’s a high price tag attached to the newest iPhone, but for many that will be a price that’s more than worth paying for a phone that looks great and performs almost perfectly.
Speaking of performance, let’s turn there first. Apple rarely give us actual processor specs, but the iPhone 7 obviously has quad core processing power. We know for certain that it’s got 2 GB of RAM and the new Apple A10 chip set on board. The real meaning behind all of this is that the 7 is very fast and very responsive, exactly what you’d expect from a high end phone.
All Apple products run iOS, and here you’re getting the newest iOS10 version out of the box. This brings added speeds and more stability, plus a few nice new things as well. Lock screen notifications have been improved, and there’s a new option to wake your phone by simply picking it up, rather than pressing a button. And the interface has been made cleaner, with simpler, less crowded menus.
The iPhone 7 gets fantastic performance, whether you’re a casual user looking for gaming and internet surfing, or a high end business user looking to multitask. There’s no lag, no delay, the iPhone 7 is simply fast.
Larger screens are reserved for Apple’s 7 Plus line of phablets, so the regular 7 gets a 4.7 inch screen, which is actually a pretty good size. You’ll find that typing is still easy, but that one handed use is comfortable and that the 7 is very portable and easily slipped into a pocket (more than can be said for most monster phones these days).
Resolution numbers are a little misleading. You’ve got 750 x 1334 pixels (so around 326 PPI), which isn’t true HD. The image does lack a little sharpness, but the colour reproduction is so fantastic it’s easy to forget this. There’s an LED backlit LCD screen that gives bright whites and deep blacks, as well as IPS for better than ever viewing angles.
Whilst other phones might get better spec numbers, the bottom line here is that the display on the iPhone 7 is more than good enough to satisfy most users, and the colours in particular make it truly beautiful to look at.
And for once, Apple have presented us with a truly pleasing camera set as well. The 7 MP front facing cam is better than we’d expect to see for a camera used only for selfies and video calling, and it gets auto face detection and HDR too.
Around at the back there’s the same 12 MP camera found on the 6S iPhone, but there are some new features. The best of these has to be quad LED flash, meaning you get great shots even in low light. You can also simultaneously record 4K video and take 8 MP pics, and you get the normal HDR, panorama, and phase detection auto focus as well.
Mobile photography is pretty standard for most people these days, and the iPhone 7 is more than good enough to do your pictures justice. You’ll find it tough to take a bad snap with a camera set like this.
Flagship phones have plenty of added features, and the iPhone 7 is no exception, though some are worthy of special mention. Battery life has been improved, for a start, giving you up to 14 hours of use per charge. And you’re getting water resistance with an IP67 rating (good in water up to a metre deep for up to half an hour). The mono speaker has been replaced by dual external speakers for real stereo sound too.
Controversially, there’s no standard headphone jack on the iPhone 7. You will receive an adaptor for your regular headphones, or you could opt for Apple’s wireless ear buds if you prefer. But headphones now plug into the lightening port, which give better sound quality thanks to faster data transfer, though this does mean you can’t charge your phone whilst listening through your headphones.
|Technology||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE|
|Dimensions||138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in)|
|Weight||138 g (4.87 oz)|
|- IP67 certified - dust and water resistant|
|- Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes|
|- Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified)|
|Type||LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||4.7 inches (~65.6% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||750 x 1334 pixels (~326 ppi pixel density)|
|Protection||Ion-strengthened glass, oleophobic coating|
|- Wide color gamut display|
|- 3D Touch display & home button|
|- Display Zoom|
|Chipset||Apple A10 Fusion|
|Internal Memory||32/128/256 GB, GB, 2 GB RAM|
|Primary Camera||12 MP, f/1.8, phase detection autofocus, OIS, quad-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Features||Geo-tagging, simultaneous 4K video and 8MP image recording, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR (photo/panorama)|
|Video||2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, 720p@240fps|
|Secondary Camera||7 MP, f/2.2, 1080p@30fps, 720p@240fps, face detection, HDR, panorama|
|Alert types||Vibration, proprietary ringtones|
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
|- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|- Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter incl.|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||v4.2, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS|
|NFC||Yes (Apple Pay only)|
|USB||v2.0, reversible connector|
|Sensors||Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Messaging||iMessage, SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email|
|- Siri natural language commands and dictation|
|- iCloud cloud service|
|- MP3/WAV/AAX+/AIFF/Apple Lossless player|
|- MP4/H.264 player|
|- Audio/video/photo editor|
|- Document editor|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Po 1960 mAh battery|
|Talk time||Up to 14 h (3G)|
|Music play||Up to 40 h|
There are plenty of premium hand sets to choose from, but Apple’s new iPhone 7 is top of the list. With beautiful design and great performance, as well as improved audio to please even the most serious of music lovers, this is an awesome phone, and it’s water resistant too. Sure, it’s going to cost you, but that could be worth paying if you want the best.
For connectivity there are the normal options, so WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G and 4G, though the 7 now supports even more LTE bands. You’ll be getting 128 GB of internal storage on this model, which should be more than enough for most people. But do remember that you won’t be able to add any more storage since there’s no SD card slot. You do get an iCloud internet storage account, however.
Time for our complaints, and we really don’t have anything too serious. It would be nice to see higher screen resolution, but whatever the numbers say picture quality on the 7 is actually quite good. This is an expensive device, but then Apple phones always are. The bottom line is that this is a wonderful hand set, and if you’re in the market for a flagship phone then you could definitely do a lot worse than the iPhone 7.
by Dan Forster, Mobile Phone Expert
Dan is our mobile phone review expert helping customers make better buying decisions. With a passion for technology and taking things apart Dan single-handedly reviews all the phones listed on the TigerMobiles.com website.