Earlier this month, Apple announced the launch of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that are filled with new features but have the glaring omission of a headphone jack. Critics thought potential buyers would shun the phones because of the headphone jack issue, but naysayers are often wrong and many models of the new phones are now backordered until November.
I received my iPhone 7 Plus last week that replaces my two-year old iPhone 6 Plus. The design and screen size have stayed the same (5.5 in/14 cm), but many features are new since I got my iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.
Sometimes the biggest improvements are the internal ones you can’t see. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have an upgraded processor with an A10 Fusion Chip that makes the phones speedier, with less lag time and fewer app crashes.
If you’re a heavy user of your phone and have multiple apps running at once, having a faster processor can mean a major improvement for you. For example, filtering photos using the app Prisma is much quicker on the iPhone 7 Plus than on the 6 Plus.
The 7 and 7 Plus come in jet black, black, rose gold, gold and silver colors.
Storage options have been changed as well with double the space of other iPhones. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available in 32, 128 and 256 GB models.
For the first time ever, the iPhone is equipped with stereo speakers, greatly improving the sound that comes from the phone. According to Apple, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are twice as loud as the previous 6s and 6s Plus.
The speaker at the top of the screen that was used only for phone calls now does full-time duty as a speaker for all functions of the phone. The top speaker is larger and emits louder sounds.
When I answered my first phone call on my iPhone 7 Plus, I thought I had the speaker phone on, the sound was so loud. I didn’t have the speaker phone turned on so I’ve learned I must lower the volume, unless I want others in the room to hear the entire conversation.
The dual stereo speakers mean that if you play music, podcasts, audiobooks or other sounds from your phone, they will be easier to hear and give better quality sounds than on previous phones. However, if you forget to turn off the sound on an app, you
may will wake up your significant other in the middle of the night when you start playing a game. Not that I’ve done that….
The home button on the phone has been significantly changed. Instead of a movable button, the home button now is stationary but gives the feeling of movement when you press it. The new button is less likely to break as it has no moving parts.
The difference is noticeable not to the eye but to the touch, with some people preferring the feel of the new button while others are missing the former one. At first I found the feel of it odd but quickly got used to it. Now the home button on my 6 Plus feels strange.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have more powerful batteries than previous models have. According to Apple, the battery life on the iPhone 7 is two hours longer than on the 6s and the 7 Plus is one hour longer than the 6s Plus.
The iPhone 7 Plus comes with a 2900 mAh battery that, according to Apple, gives up to:
- 21 hours of talk time on 3G
- 16 days standby
- 13 hours of Internet on cellular data
- 15 hours of Internet on Wi-Fi
- 14 hours of wireless video playback
- 60 hours audio playback
The screen on the iPhone 7 Plus is 25% brighter with a wider range of colors. According to Apple, the display can show “cinema‑standard colors,” giving these phones “the best color management in the smartphone industry.”
The colors of the screen are extremely vivid, with a noticeable difference over the screen of my iPhone 6 Plus. I accidentally picked up my iPhone 6 Plus, instead of my 7 Plus and immediately noticed the screen seemed duller and the colors more washed out on my older phone. How quickly we get spoiled!
Like their predecessors 6s and 6s Plus, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have 3D Touch, meaning that when you press on the screen, you get a reaction, both physically with a vibration and functionally with a shortcut screen popping up on some apps.
No Headphone Jack
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have no separate headphone jack. Instead, the lightning port, used to charge the phones, also serves as a headphone port.
An adaptor is included with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus so you can continue using your headphones that don’t have a lightning cable. The phones also include standard Apple earbuds with a lightning connector.
The lack of a standard headphone jack means you have at least four choices if you want to listen to your phone using headphones:
- Use Bluetooth/wireless headphones
- Use the included headphone adaptor
- Buy new headphones with a lightning cable
- Use the included Apple earbuds
You cannot charge your phone and listen via cabled headphones unless you use a splitter such at the Belkin Rockstar Lightning Splitter.
Water and Dust Resistant
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are now water and dust resistant, making the phones more durable should you drop them in a puddle of water or a mound of dust .
I haven’t tested this, and hope never to need this feature, though it gives me comfort in the event of a dropped phone. In August I accidentally plunged my iPhone 6 Plus in the Atlantic Ocean and used Apple Care to replace my ruined phone. I was only a few months away from the end of my Apple Care term, after which a ruined phone would have been a much bigger problem.
Water-resistance is one reason given for the absence of a headphone jack, though other phones are water-resistant yet retain the headphone jack.
Apple has improved both the rear and front cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus from previous models. The 12 MP rear camera has an improved processor that performs over a million calculations per second. The 7 MP front camera has also been improved for better selfies and FaceTime images.
The iPhone 7 Plus has two rear cameras that work together to produce different types of images. The dual cameras are the feature that propels many to choose the larger iPhone 7 Plus instead of the smaller 7.
Only the 7 Plus has dual rear cameras, allowing both an improved zooming capability and a special effect called Bokeh that blurs the background while focusing in on the subject. As the Bokeh feature is not available until next month with a software upgrade, that wasn’t a feature I’m able to test now.
Here are some sample photos I took with the iPhone 7 Plus rear cameras:
The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus are 12 MP and allow you to take both wide-angle and telephoto images. The cameras allow up to 2x optical zoom and up to 10x digital zoom for photos and 6x digital zoom for videos.
Here are some zoom shots I took with the 7 Plus:
You can view my uncompressed photos at my iPhone 7 Plus Flickr album: iPhone 7 Plus Review Album on Flickr.
Like its predecessors, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus let you take Live Photos. Tap the yellow target at the top of the screen in your photo app and the iPhone will shoot a short video instead of taking a photo. This feature is best used for photos that have movement.
You can use Live Photos as wallpaper on the home screen of your phone. Live Photos are also supported on Facebook, Google Photos, and Tumbler.
Apple has made setting up your new iPhone easier by offering 25 minute Personal Setup lessons to walk you through the process in a video call. No need to head into the Apple Store to get help with your new phone, a session with an Apple representative can lead you through the process without you needing to leave home.
I took advantage of Personal Setup and had a session with Rodrigo this weekend, who was very helpful in guiding me through the features of my new phone. Rodrigo shared his screen with me so I could see what he was describing as he demonstrated each feature on an iPhone.
My iPhone 7 Plus was already set up, but Rodrigo showed me how to use features such as Live Photos, the new Camera app, 3D Touch, Messages and more. If I have further questions, I can schedule another session in the future.
iPhone 7 Plus is available in the US for:
- $769 for 32 GB
- $869 for 128 GB
- $969 for 256 GB
Some carriers are offering discounts on the 7 and 7 Plus so be sure to compare prices before you upgrade.
=> See, Wall Street Journal, Carriers Bring Back Subsidies With iPhone 7 Launch
What do you think of the new iPhone 7 Plus? Which features do you like best? Would you miss the traditional headphone jack? Do you like the idea of dual cameras?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Speaking of cell phone carriers, Verizon Wireless is once again helping to support Domestic Violence Awareness month with its 9th Annual iPledge campaign and HopeLine program.
From Verizon Wireless:
Verizon Wireless, Health Partners Plans and Wawa will launch Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Philadelphia with the 9th Annual iPledge Campaign press conference on September 30 at noon at Thomas Paine Plaza. The theme of this year’s iPledge event will focus on the intersection of domestic violence and child abuse, because there are no safe children without safe families.
Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney will deliver opening remarks at the event, and NBC10 reporter, Harry Hairston, will be the Master of Ceremonies. Women Against Abuse will honor Dr. Sam P. Gulino, Chief Medical Examiner and Chair of the Act 33 Child Fatality Review Team, with the Patricia Fox Trailblazer Award in recognition of his leadership on behalf of child victims of abuse and domestic violence. A survivor of child abuse and domestic violence will also share her story as a powerful reminder of the impact family violence has on our community and the importance of our work.
“All too often, we see children killed in the context of domestic violence,” said Jeannine L. Lisitski, Executive Director & President of Women Against Abuse. “And all too often, domestic violence goes unnoticed until it’s too late; until a precious young life is lost and the shockwaves alter our community forever. Women Against Abuse is working with city systems and community partners to prevent these tragedies and ensure the safety of children and families in Philadelphia.”
Verizon Wireless, the founding sponsor of the iPledge Campaign. will share information about its HopeLine program at the event. Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 12 million phones and in 2015, the HopeLine program collected over 700,000 mobile phones to help domestic violence victims. Additionally, $7 million dollars in cash grants have been provided to domestic violence organizations in 2015.
“Domestic violence is an issue we cannot ignore,” said Kevin Zavaglia, President of Verizon’s North East Market. “We must work together to continue to raise awareness about this silent epidemic and help prevent it. I am proud of Verizon’s long-standing history of supporting this cause and partnering with organizations like Women Against Abuse to change our world for the better. I am inspired by the tireless efforts these organizations put forth to assist those affected by domestic violence every single day.”
Additionally, the public is invited to take the #iPledgeBecause Challenge, which encourages community members to post a “selfie” to Facebook and Twitter with their motivation for taking Women Against Abuse’s pledge against violence (found at www.iPledgeWAA.org), using the hashtag #iPledgeBecause, and then to challenge their friends and family to follow suit. The iPledge Challenge has garnered more than 1.7 million impressions or timeline deliveries on Twitter since it began in 2014, and has served as a powerful local rally cry for the national conversation around domestic violence.
The event will conclude with a community pledge against domestic violence. Attendees can also take the pledge digitally via Verizon tablets on-site or by visiting www.iPledgeWAA.org. An iPledge Toolkit filled with resources for getting involved in the effort to end domestic violence is available via a free download at www.iPledgeWAA.org.