The iPhone 7 Plus was introduced by Apple in September 2016 along with the traditional iPhone 7. As seen in previous years, the Plus variant always brings a few extras, not just a big-screen version for those who love phablets. The big differential this year is its dual camera that promises professional-looking photos in addition to optical zoom.
At first glance the impression we have is that little has changed in this generation. From the front the iPhone 7 Plus looks identical to its predecessor, with wide edges, circular button below the screen, metal back, and the Apple logo stamped in a flashy way. The packaging is also quite similar to that of other company products – being predominantly white with the iPhone 7 Plus stamped on the lid.
Along with the iPhone 7 Plus you get a wall charger with 1A output, EarPods earphones with Lightning plug, metal key to open the SIM card drawer, USB cable to be used with the charger and also to connect the smartphone To the PC, and an adapter to use with your old headphones – the iPhone 7 Plus does not have a traditional headphone jack.
Design and construction
Many Apple fans were hoping for more radical changes in 2016, as the latest major change in iPhone design took place in 2014 with the launch of the iPhone 6. What changes in this generation is the most jumped-up camera module versions, with A secondary sensor in the Plus, in addition to the antennas that now traverse more discreetly the rear of the device.
The iPhone 7 Plus features a metal body 158.2 mm high, 77.9 mm wide and 7.3 mm thick weighing 188 grams. Its edges are rounded, as is the glass covering the screen that is slightly curved at the ends – something usually called 2.5D.
The finish, without a doubt, passes a premium smartphone sensation. However, any fall can cause serious damage to the metal frame of the apparatus. It’s virtually mandatory to use some sort of protection, even more so on a smartphone with such large size as the iPhone 7 Plus that it could end up slipping if you try to use it with just one hand.
The iPhone 7 Plus features the same panel type, resolution and size of previous generations of Apple’s phablet. Here we have an IPS LCD panel with 5.5 inches and Full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels). It may seem like a low resolution for a flagship ship launched in the second half of 2016, but it’s more than enough to play any kind of content with quality.
The changes in this generation are due to the maximum brightness and contrast capability displayed by the iPhone 7 Plus IPS panel. In our tests, using a lux meter to measure the maximum brightness level, the iPhone 7 Plus managed to reach 693 lux when the screen brightness is in manual mode and 815 lux when in automatic mode – an increase of 18% compared to the maximum brightness of the Screen of the iPhone 6s Plus.
The screen of the iPhone 7 Plus also features a contrast higher than the previous model. This ensures darker blacks and brighter whites. However, the big difference is in the color calibration that now follows the DCI-P3 standard, used by the film industry. In practice you will have photos and movies with more real tones displayed on the smartphone screen.
The iPhone 7 is Apple’s first smartphone to bring stereo sound, and the same can be said for the Plus variant. At the bottom of the smartphone we see two speakers, but the one on the left, in fact, is just an aesthetic detail. The true speaker is on the right side as it has always been in previous generations.
And where is the second speaker to generate the stereo effect? The same one that sits above the screen and is used to make calls. It is larger in this generation, which allows it to be able to emit a louder sound. The loudspeaker above the screen is responsible for the higher pitched sounds, while the lower pit is responsible for bass.
In practice the stereo effect is quite noticeable, especially if you watch some video with the cell phone next to you and before your eyes. When you tilt the device away from your ears, the sound becomes less enveloping. However, the bass sound emitted by the lower speaker generates vibrations in the metal casing of the iPhone, which extends the immersion especially in games (you will feel the vibration in the engine snoring in racing games).
Internally we have a great innovation in the iPhone 7 Plus: this is the first Apple smartphone with quad-core processor. For years, the company has been refusing to extend the raw power of its smartphone by always keeping the iPhone’s processor with only two processing cores.
The Apple A10 Fusion chipset features two logical blocks, each with two cores. The first one offers two processing units working at 2.23 GHz. These cores are responsible for doing the heavy lifting, while the second dual-core block with lower speed takes care of simpler processes and helps reduce energy consumption.
Another differential in the iPhone 7 Plus is the amount of RAM. While the traditional model has 2 GB, the phablet comes with 3 GB of RAM. In terms of storage we have 32 GB for the most basic model, 128 GB for the intermediate and 256 GB for the most expensive. To feed all this there is a battery of 2,900 mAh (11.17Whr).
In our speed test the iPhone 7 Plus even beat the record among tested models by opening and reopening all apps in just 1 minute. In benchmarks, Apple’s smartphone also makes handsome 150,000 points on AnTuTu, scoring 3,259 / 5,684 points (single-core and multi-core) on the Geekbench and 1,594 points on 3D Mark.
In real use we do not see any problem of slowness or locking with the device. If some app stops responding for a few seconds, it’s usually the app developer’s fault rather than system instability. In addition, switching between apps is fast on iPhone 7 Plus, even if there are games open in the background.
In gaming is where the iPhone 7 Plus really shines. The model features PowerVR GPU (exact model not revealed by Apple) able to run any game without any gagging. Most titles run locked at 60 frames per second (fps), which delivers the best possible fluidity to the user.
As said earlier, one of the biggest differences of the iPhone 7 against its smaller brother is in the double camera on the back of the device. Here we have two sensors with a maximum capacity of 12 megapixels. The main features f / 1.8 aperture and higher color range, while the secondary features 2x optical zoom with f / 2.8 aperture.
The front camera features 7-megapixel resolution with f / 2.2 aperture. Both cameras can capture good-looking photos even indoors. The flash of the iPhone 7 Plus has four LEDs, being highly powerful. It is best to avoid looking at the flash when taking a picture because your vision will be impaired for several minutes.
However, the great highlight of the iPhone 7 Plus is in the new ‘Portrait’ mode which uses the secondary camera at the rear to blur the background of the photo to generate a professional level effect. The novelty is still in beta stage (at the time this review was written), but works in a satisfactory way in most cases as long as the subject is far from the camera.
The iPhone 7 Plus has a 2,900 mAh battery, which is a reasonable value for a top-of-the-line model. In our test simulating actual use, when you take the device out of the wall socket at 7am in the morning, you will probably come home at the end of the day with your cell phone begging for a power outlet.
It’s possible to use the iPhone 7 Plus for about 8 hours with half-regulated brightness and running common apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, as well as some games and videos on YouTube, but nothing too exaggerated. If you enjoy watching videos on your cell phone, then the iPhone 7 Plus battery will die in the middle of the afternoon.
The most critical part for some may be in the time of recharging the battery. With the 5W charger that comes with the device it takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to completely fill the battery. It is possible to use the iPad’s most powerful charger to speed up this time, but this causes the phone to become hotter and shorten the battery life in the long run.
The iPhone 7 Plus comes bundled with iOS 10, which brings some new features with respect to iOS 9. The first change is in the new lock screen that misses the classic “slide to unlock” and gains a left side screen for your widgets and a Shortcut to the camera on the right side.
The widget screen is also accessible after entering the system by sliding to the left on the iOS home screen. At the bottom we have the system shortcuts drawer with quick access to the flashlight, which can be connected in three levels of brightness, timer, calculator and camera. The music control is now on a separate screen on the right side.
When you pick up the phone from the desk, the screen automatically turns on to display the hours and notifications – feature already seen in some Androids. To unlock the screen it is necessary to press the iPhone home button. And because it is capacitive in this generation, the device software allows you to choose three different levels of vibration.
IOS has gained new emojis, keyboard enhancements, new features for drawing in messages, ability to change font size in text messages, ease of deleting all notifications by holding harder on the “X”, and responding Messages directly from the notifications screen are some of the new features of iOS 10 that are also available for other Apple devices.
- Double camera takes good pictures in bright environments
- Screen with well calibrated colors
- Powerful stereo sound
- Outstanding gaming performance
- Rapid system updates
- Design already tired and with exaggerated edges
- Reasonable battery life and takes time to recharge
- Metal housing heats easily in heavy tasks
- No headphone jack
- You have to pay dearly if you want to have good storage space