Apple iPhone 7 Review
Improved cameras, water and dust resistance and 3D Touch make the Apple iPhone 7 an attractive option, but is it enough? Read this hands-on review to find out more.

apple iphone 7 review

After many years of a love-hate relationship, I finally decided to let go of my dear iPhone 5s.

Nothing was wrong with it. Just that I was clumsy and a careless user. When the phone finally reached its point that I could not use anymore, it was time to move on. My main requirement was a great in-built camera, battery life, storage, durability and ‘more’ durability. Luckily for me, the Apple iPhone 7 was released around the same time. After contemplating for a few weeks, I bought it. I am not a big fan of iPhone Plus versions as they seem gigantic whereas the regular iPhone version always fit perfect in hand.

Here are my thoughts on the Apple iPhone 7 after meddling with it for a few months:

Design, Display and Screen

I was literally counting days until September 1, 2016 to see what the new iPhone looks like. I was hugely disappointed because it did not look that different from its predecessors, iPhone 6 and 6s. However, the two new black editions, Jet Black and Black, were an interesting change of colours. The antenna lines blend into the colour and the design looks refined and flawless. My personal choice was the Black version which is made of scratch-proof anodised aluminum, unlike the scratchable glossy anodised aluminum body of Jet Black. Nevertheless, if you put a protective cover around the phone, it wouldn’t look much different from the good old iPhone 6.

The most-talked-about feature of the iPhone 7 is the removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack, and replacing it with a lightning port for both EarPods and battery charging. The realisation finally hit me only after a few days after its release, which got me thinking ‘How am I going to listen to music and charge my phone at the same time?’. I even considered purchasing the Google Pixel solely because of this one factor, as it was released only a few weeks later in its full glory with many new interesting features to offer. But I am a faithful iPhone lover and I also dreaded the risk of buying the first ever mobile phone of Google, without having a predecessor to compare with.

Even after months of use, I often still find myself uncomfortable because of this can’t-charge-while-listening-to-music situation. Apple should have provided a solution; at least an inhouse manufactured adapter to plug in two lightning ports at the same time. Like myself, I’m sure a lot of people found this new feature very inconvenient. According to Apple, headphone jack was removed to promote a ‘wireless future’ and introduces only AirPods as the solution. But added to the existing disappointment, it is not included in the iPhone 7 box. It is sold separately for USD 159 (Approximately AED 580). The good news is that there are third-party solutions available, wireless headphones being an obvious alternative. Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock (Approximately AED 180) is a charging dock with a 3.5 mm headphone port and a lightning port. Even though this is an alternative, the device is not travel-friendly. Third-party manufacturers are taking advantage of this situation where popular consumer electronics manufacturers like Belkin is already selling an adapter cable with two lightning ports. Personally, I make sure to charge the phone regularly or use my wireless Powerbeats.

iPhone 7 is the first splash, water and dust resistant smartphone created by Apple. But it is not yet completely waterproof. According to the rating of IP67, it can only survive one meter underwater for 30 minutes without any damage. I personally did not want to test this, but it definitely has saved me from mini heart attacks at the washroom and by the pool-side. This is a much-needed great improvement for iPhones that shall immensely increase their durability.

apple iphone 7 underwater

In-built fingerprint sensors in the new home button are similar to iPhone 6 and 6s. Instead of having to enter the passcode every time, you can add multiple fingerprints to unlock the device. But its new Taptic Engine of the home button is quite something. It startled me at first, but then I got used to it, and now I find it rather fascinating. With this technology, the home button makes a slight vibration when you press it, so it feels like an actual press of a button. Not only the home button, but also many actions like drop down menus, notifications, games and apps in the iPhone 7 use this technology.

apple iphone 7 specifications

The display is Retina HD and the screen is LED with a 1334-by-750-pixel resolution. It looks clearer, sharper and very vibrant. As Apple claims, it’s ‘the brightest, most colourful iPhone display yet.’ But there are much more advanced QUAD HD (2K) displays already available on some Android phones such as Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Google Nexus 6P and Motorola Moto Turbo. It is high time for Apple to enhance the display resolution quality for its future iPhones, as it is rumoured that Apple-competitor Samsung is already planning to unveil a series of smartphones with Ultra HD (4K) display resolution.

3D Touch plays an interesting role in the design of the iPhone 7. By keep pressing icons on the screen, you can view more internal options while feeling a slight jolt on your fingertips. For example, if you want to take a selfie, keep pressing the camera icon with a slight force, to find the 3D Touch exclusive action menu pop-up. Select ‘Take Selfie’ option to quickly open the front camera. This whole process will only take less than 2 seconds.

Performance, Battery and Specs

The new Apple iPhone 7 comes with a four-core design. It’s A10 Fusion chip’s CPU consists of two high‑performance cores and two high‑efficiency cores. The high‑performance cores are the reason why the Apple iPhone 7 is twice as fast as its predecessor. The high-efficiency cores use only one-fifth the power of the high‑performance cores. This mechanism uses the least amount of power to provide the best performance and efficiency to its user.

apple iphone 7 features

The iPhone 7 is faster than the iPhone 6 and 6s, but not noticeably faster. However, when you play HD games and apps, you will surely notice its efficiency. There wasn’t a single time when the phone froze, twitched or crashed in use. It’s a perfect phone to multitask. You can work with everyday apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email and messaging apps smoothly.

The battery life is definitely better than an iPhone 6 and 6s, but as Apple too says, it only lasts two more hours than the previous iPhone predecessor. It doesn’t make you go ‘Wow’, but more is always better.

Specifications:

  • Size: 5.44 inches (138.3 mm) x 2.64 inches (67.1 mm) x 0.28 inch (7.1 mm)

  • Weight: 4.87 ounces (138 grams)

  • Screen: 4.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit widescreen

  • Display: Retina HD Multi-Touch display with IPS technology

  • Resolution: 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi

  • Camera: 12MP camera, ƒ/1.8 aperture (primary), 7MP camera, ƒ/2.2 aperture (secondary)

  • Battery: Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery

  • Talk time (wireless): Up to 14 hours on 3G

  • OS: iOS 10

Camera & Audio

apple iphone 7 camera

I loved the cameras of the previous iPhones I used. It is one of the significant features and personally a main reason for me to always buy an iPhone. iPhone 7’s camera is the same 12MP as its predecessor, but with much advanced features such as optical image stabilisation, Quad-LED True Tone flash with a faster f/1.8 lens that can capture a wider range of colour than any other iPhone. This is a significant advancement compared to any other iPhone cameras.

What I love the most about the camera is, even pictures taken in the dark turn out great. Even selfies! I found it rather handy as a night person who takes a lot of pictures.

The introductory Portrait Mode creates a depth-of-field effect when capturing faces or close-up objects. This focuses more on the face while giving the background a slightly blurred effect. This is one of my favourite features. Portrait-mode pictures look really great as if taken with a DSLR camera. It’s safe to say that amateuer photographers and selfie-lovers could ditch those bulky DSLR cameras for iPhone 7 photography.

picture of hirikatuoya taken with iphone 7

Captured by the author via an iPhone 7

Video recording also hasn’t changed much with the Apple iPhone 7. However, the 12MP camera captures great high-resolution 4K videos. You can create slow-motion and time-lapse videos even in darker surroundings.

An iPhone with stereo speakers! It’s comparatively louder than its predecessor, but only slightly in my ears, even though Apple claims it to be two times louder than the iPhone 6s. However, you really can enjoy music much louder and clearer with the iPhone 7.

Price:

  • iPhone 7:

    • 32GB (Approx. AED 2,400)

    • 128GB (Approx. AED 2,750)

    • 256GB (Approx. AED 3,100)

  • iPhone 7 Plus:

    • 32GB (Approx. AED 2,750)

    • 128GB (Approx. AED 3,100)

    • 256GB (Approx. AED 3,480)

Verdict

I’ve always loved my iExperience for its great camera, beautiful design, user-friendly interface and multi-tasking abilities. But except for the new ‘not-so-exciting’ features such as water resistance, 3D Touch, stereo speakers, the improved camera and longer battery life, the iPhone 7 fails to ‘wow’ the Apple fans like it usually does with its new product releases. (Let’s not even begin to mention the missing headphone jack!) After intensive research, some may even wonder if it is worth paying many hundred dollars for it. I understand you, but I thought it was worth it, and I don’t regret it. But to be honest, I think that Apple could have given us more.