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Apple have been market leaders in the mobile niche for a while now, and some might say that they’re starting to lose their touch. Releasing new models every year makes it tough to really innovate. Yet the iPhone 7 might be the device that shows those doubters who’s boss. With great new features, and vastly improved battery life, this is the best iPhone to date, and one that’s sure to be topping bestseller lists this year.
Why should you buy an iPhone 7? Well, you’re getting great performance and cool design, of course, but you’re also getting water resistance, improved sound quality, great cameras, and all kinds of neat new stuff. If you’re shopping for a top end phone, then the iPhone 7 should appear at that top of your list.
The iPhone 7 is very similar to the iPhone 6S in looks, and uses much the same chassis. You’ve got the familiar slim profile, the rounded edges, the sleek lines. You’ve got a metal and glass unibody design. However, a closer look will show you that the camera bump protrudes just a little further, and that the home button is no longer a physical button, but a haptic feedback pad (meaning it vibrates rather than clicks).
Looks aside, you’ve got some nice internals here, with most systems getting upgrades. There’s a new chip set, new camera features, and of course that water resistance. There’s also improved sound and audio. All in all this is a definite step up from last year’s model.
We’ll be straight with you: you’re going to be paying top shelf prices for the iPhone 7, but it’s an investment that’s going to pay off. This is the best iPhone we’ve seen yet, and a worthy competitor to all those high end Androids.
Apple are usually reluctant to release specific processor info, but the iPhone 7 appears to be running a quad core processor, and it definitely has the new A10 Fusion chip set. Combine that with 2 GB of RAM and you’re looking at a mobile that’s very responsive to input and very speedy indeed.
Obviously, as an iPhone this is an iOS device, and you get the brand new iOS10 version right out of the box. This gives you some new features, such as the ability to wake your phone simply by picking it up, and better lock screen notifications. The user interface is also simplified, most notably by having less crowded menus.
As you’d probably expect from Apple, performance on the iPhone 7 is excellent. There’s no lag, even when switching between high CPU use apps, and there’s immediate response to input. Even the most demanding of users will be more than satisfied here.
Moving onwards to the screen, and you’re getting a 4.7 inch display, which means the iPhone 7 is large enough for comfortable typing and yet small enough to slide into your pocket. Larger screen lovers will want to look at the phablet iPhone 7 Plus model. And you are getting the 3D touch display that premiered on the iPhone 6S.
When it comes to resolution, disappointingly this isn’t a true HD screen, never mind 4K. You’re getting 750 x 1334 pixels, so around 326 PPI, so the image isn’t as sharp and clear as it could be. However, you are getting amazing colour reproduction with an LED backlit LCD screen, and great viewing angles with IPS technology.
In truth thought, the screen on the iPhone 7 is a joy to look at, and you won’t notice that lack of true HD unless you hold it up alongside a very high resolution screen. The flawless colour reproduction makes for natural looking picture quality, and that’s what most users are going to notice.
You can’t have a great mobile phone these days without a great camera set, and here the iPhone 7 really excels. The camera set is very solid indeed, with a full 7 MP front facing camera complete with HDR and automatic face recognition.
Around the back you’ll see the familiar sight of the 12 MP camera seen on the 6S model, but you do get some new features here too. Of course there’s the normal panorama mode, HDR, phase detection auto focus, as well as the ability to record 4K video whilst simultaneously taking 8 M pics. But there’s also quad LED flash, meaning even low light level pictures come out perfectly.
The bottom line here is that the iPhone 7 takes amazing pictures, whether you’re a pro or an amateur. And the easy to use, intuitive camera software means that it’s close to impossible to take a bad picture with the iPhone 7.
We need to single out a few features for special mention here. Firstly, the iPhone 7 is water resistant (it’s IP67 rated so it’s fine in water up to a metre deep for up to thirty minutes). You’re getting better battery life as well, which should please most people, with up to 14 hours of 3G use per charge. And Apple have replaced the typical mono speaker with dual speakers for true external stereo sound.
The controversial subject here is the lack of headphone jack, however Apple do provide an adaptor so you can plug regular headphones into the lightening charge port. Alternatively, you could buy special headphones, or get Apple’s new wireless ear buds. This does mean you can’t plug in headphones and charge your phone at the same time, however, since the lightening port can transfer data faster, you’re getting far better audio quality.
|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|
The iPhone 7 is the best iPhone we’ve seen yet, and it’s the perfect combination of looks and performance. You’ll get great speeds, nice special features, awesome design, solid cameras, and everything else you could hope for. All of this means that the iPhone 7 is going to be a great device for nearly anyone.
When it comes to connectivity there’s Bluetooth and WiFi, as well as 3G and 4G (this device supports more LTE bands, meaning better 4G reception). Internally you’re looking at a whopping 256 GB of memory, but do remember that this is an Apple product, so you cannot add extra external memory. You will get an online storage iCloud account, however.
Right, time for complaints. For the price we’d really like a higher resolution screen, though we’re willing to admit that that awesome colour reproduction really does go a long way to making up for lack of resolution. The haptic home button is a little strange to use at first too. But on the whole, we’re big fans of the newest iPhone and think that you will be too. If you want a premium hand set, then the iPhone 7 is the way to go.
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.