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Apple iPhone 7 Review

Apple iPhone 7

Posted: , posted by Stephen S.


Apple iPhone 7 Review


Apple's latest smartphones are easily among the most-anticipated launches of the year, with billions of fans eagerly looking forward to what the company comes up with next. Rarely arriving without controversy, a new iPhone will inevitably inspire some of the most impassioned reactions the industry gets to see. Who's Apple taking inspiration from? Are the new features reactionary or forward-thinking – and dare we say, “courageous?”

Apple iPhone 7 Review
Once again, Apple's coming through with a pair of models, this year's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. As a number-upgrade year (rather than one that brings us some new -s phones), we'd sure expect some major changes. With its dual rear cameras, the iPhone 7 Plus feels like it fits that bill, but what about the smaller iPhone 7? Is this a real improvement over the 6s, or is Apple just fiddling around a bit, tweaking design here and there while swapping in a few new parts?

We've spent the better part of the past week carrying the iPhone 7 around, really getting to know this phone and all its features. And one-by-one, we're breaking down just what you can expect from every corner of Apple's latest iPhone experience.

In the box:

  • Apple iPhone 7
  • EarPods with Lightning plug
  • Lightning to 3.5mm analog headphone adapter
  • AC adapter
  • USB to Lightning cable
  • Introductory card
  • Safety notice
  • Stickers!


Subtle refinements put the cherry on top skilfully executed evolution

Apple iPhone 7 Review
Apple iPhone 7 Review
Apple iPhone 7 Review
Apple iPhone 7 Review

Approaching the design for the next generation of an industry-leading flagship phone seems wrought with the possibility for disaster. Do you take the safe approach and give users more of what they flocked to last year – while risking the characterization of being lazy and failing to innovate? Or do you try something bold, eye-catching, and new – though bringing with it the possibility that a fresh look may not resonate with shoppers?

For the iPhone 7, Apple's executing a delicate balancing act that crosses the boundary into both camps, expanding on a very familiar look in some smart, attractive ways, while also not being afraid to steer the handset in some risky new directions.

iPhone 6s (left) vs iPhone 7 (right) - Apple iPhone 7 Review

iPhone 6s (left) vs iPhone 7 (right)

At arm's length, the iPhone 7 could pass for an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6, but it doesn't take much of a closer look for the changes to start popping out. One of the easiest to spot is a new camera bump, rising from the phone's back as a smoothly curving lip formed out of the back panel itself.

But it's in the area surrounding that camera bump where one of the more significant changes to the iPhone's design reveals itself, as the familiar antenna lines criss-crossing the last couple generations of iPhones seem nowhere to be found. At least, they no longer stretch conspicuously across the phone's back, instead tucked away in a pair of slithering curves hugging the handset's top and bottom edges. Between the new out-of-the-way shape and improved color-matching, they might as well not be there at all.

Apple iPhone 7 Review
Apple iPhone 7 Review
We've got another upgrade around front, as the familiar clicky physical home button is replaced by a new solid-state component. It looks nearly identical, feels much the same as your finger glides over it, and still houses Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Except now it doesn't move when you press it.

Instead, Apple relies on a combination of the button's force-measuring sensors and the phone's upgraded Taptic Engine vibration motor to respond to firm presses with an emulated “click,” keeping the general feel of the old physical button while moving to some more advanced technology. Even with adjustable haptic feedback levels, it never comes across quite the same as the original, but it's not long before the new response feels just like home (no pun intended).

Button layout remains the same as last year (and the year before), but port placement gets a big change, as Apple drops the phone's analog headphone jack – a change we'll discuss in some depth later.

In terms of exterior dimensions, the iPhone 7 measures in at precisely the same size as the iPhone 6s – anomalies like the new camera-bump shape notwithstanding – though the new phone weighs ever so slightly less, dropping from 143 to 138 grams.

Over the years, Apple's slowly warmed to the idea that not all iPhone users want a phone that looks exactly alike, and the company's been getting better at giving us a variety of options. This year we see new colors take the focus, as the familiar gold, silver, and rose gold are joined by two new black shades: a low-key matte black and a glossy jet black. For this review we're looking at the black iPhone 7, as jet black handsets have proved harder to come across than iOS-powered unicorns. There's a consequence to the arrival of these new colors, though, as the old space gray (aka darker silver) option vanishes.

The iPhone 7 in Jet black color - Apple iPhone 7 Review
The iPhone 7 in Jet black color - Apple iPhone 7 Review
The iPhone 7 in Jet black color - Apple iPhone 7 Review

The iPhone 7 in Jet black color

Finally, Apple's formally christened this year's iPhones as its first water-resistant models, with an IP67 rating for water and dust protection. There's no cumbersome port covers or anything to deal with – Apple pulls off the feat without compromising the iPhone 7's design. But before you go jump in a pool with the iPhone 7 in your pocket, be advised: this may be Apple's first officially water-resistant iPhone, but the company both warns that the protection may decrease over time (as seals degrade and components wear) and absolves itself of any duty to perform warranty service related to water damage.

Apple iPhone 7
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 6s
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

Samsung Galaxy S7
5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

HTC 10
5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches
145.9 x 71.9. x 9 mm
5.68 oz (161 g)

HTC 10

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Instead of fancy curved screens or crazy resolution, Apple focuses on performance: brightness and color

Apple iPhone 7 Review

Apple's not a company to make big changes to the displays on its phones without some serious deliberation, so it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that we're back with another 4.7-inch LCD panel in a 750 x 1334 resolution.

But even with those physical details going unchanged, Apple's still able to deliver some tangible improvements with the screen on the new iPhone 7, giving the display a wider color gamut and brighter output.

Officially, Apple quotes a maximum brightness for the iPhone 7's screen of 625 nits, and our testing of the handset confirmed that not only is the iPhone 7 hitting that target, but it's actually doing a little better, coming in slightly over 630. That's great for outdoor visibility, but keep in mind this 600+ nit level is only reachable with the brigthness set to auto, and the phone exposed to really bright lighting conditions. Manually sliding the brightness to 'max' only hits in the 530 range, which is still plenty bright, of course.

Colors look great on the iPhone 7 and our tests suggest that Apple's gamut improvements have indeed blessed the handset with pretty accurate color reproduction. It's the sort of change you're not going to appreciate unless you're doing a side-by-side comparison, and even then the upgrades exist only on the very edges of our perception, but it's a welcome enhancement, all the same.

Had Apple just given us basically the same screen we had last year on the iPhone 6s, we would have been happy enough, and while this year's improvements don't change our use of the phone in anything like the way the introduction of 3D Touch did (which, of course, is back on the 7), they're still solid upgrades.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 7 632
Apple iPhone 6s 554
Samsung Galaxy S7 484
HTC 10 432
View all

  • Options

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 04:51 71

1. schinnak (Posts: 104; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

"Beautiful design skilfully hides antenna lines" - wth did I just read??

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 05:00 62

12. Finalflash (Posts: 3578; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

These are the points given to the phone:

Incredible battery life (BS because PA test has been rigged to iPhone ever since they changed the script)

Beautiful design skilfully hides antenna lines (WTF?)

Bright, bold, colorful display (Same as last year and far below industry standard)

Stereo sound is a welcome addition (Even though it's unbalanced unlike competition)

Lightning EarPods sound as good as ever (WHAT? They suck, universally agreed to by everyone and how is this better than last time?)

Fantastic showcase for iOS 10's new features (What would that be? Widgets?)

A10 Fusion delivers on performance (Yes)

Camera with great low-light performance and OIS (The camera is the same as last year with overexposed night shots still not on par with a 6P even)

Same design as last year
No headphone jack

How this thing scored above an S7 is beyond me.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 05:20 32

24. xdza1979 (Posts: 296; Member since: 08 Aug 2015)

"Instead of fancy curved screens or crazy resolution, Apple focuses on performance: brightness and color"

It's amazing how +they change negative outdated specs into something positive and manage to label other creative far better specs as negatives and gimmicks...!

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 14:21 2

184. jphillips63 (Posts: 246; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Those outdated hardware still blows all the so called breaking edge hardware out of the water in benchmark tests. So please go cry to your favorite supplier as to why can't they beat a phone with so called outdated specs.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 19:40 1

209. iushnt (Posts: 2351; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)

It's a fact that the real usage has already reached its threshold. Now Apple fans started caring about benchmarks?

posted on 23 Sep 2016, 11:00

225. marorun (Posts: 5029; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

jphillips63 did you read is reply?

*A10 Fusion delivers on performance (Yes)*

So he agreed and we all do thats the A10 fusion deliver performance wise.

He was speaking about other points.
So troll harder okay?

posted on 28 Sep 2016, 10:37

255. sgodsell (Posts: 5057; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

If the iPhone 7 is so crazy fast, then why is the iPhone 7 still using such a low resolution display? I can buy a $100 Android phone that has a full HD display. So what's Apples excuse? Is it so Apple can boast and brag about some crazy benchmarks with one of the lowest resolution displays in today's market. All while Apple can still charge their crazy overpriced rates for low end specs. Apple really has deep pockets and can make others lie for them.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 06:22

45. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4376; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

Spare time and head over to the first user review given.
Seems iPhone 7 is the brightest phone ever!

posted on 23 Sep 2016, 11:03

226. marorun (Posts: 5029; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

yeah 630 vs 800+ other phone do brightest ever...

Sure its will have amazing sun visibility but the numbers clearly show its in the top but not the most bright ever tested sorry.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 06:35 8

53. NonFanBoy (Posts: 179; Member since: 28 May 2015)

The iPhone 7's performance is insane, better than any other phone but falls short in every other department. But no device deserves a 9.3 for excelling in a single parameter.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 07:47 6

78. trojan_horse (Posts: 5337; Member since: 06 May 2016)

I too can acknowledge that the iPhone 7 is excellent when it comes to raw power and responsive speed. But other than that, it's a meh and no where near deserve that score.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 16:35 1

201. karan1402d (Posts: 68; Member since: 28 May 2015)

Even the performance is good in all departments other CPU and Internal storage. The GPU in iPhone 7 is lackluster and is equal to one year old model iPhone 6s, anyway it will be thrashed by the Snapdragon 820. Seems Apple gave too much die space to CPU and cutting on the GPU which is a bad precedent. Camera is groundbreaking but similar what other flagships provide now. iPhone 7/7 Plus is dismal at best

posted on 23 Sep 2016, 11:04

227. marorun (Posts: 5029; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

Agreed need to give apple what its due the soc they made is a monster as usual. its just sad everything else is not thats impressive.

Its like having a 2000 hp engine in a Honda civic..

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 10:49 1

143. xondk (Posts: 1904; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)

Yeah the whole 'stereo' sound seems to be something many seem to be interested in...apparently?
Yet how on so small devices, will it really make a difference? and wouldn't simply using headset be better?

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 10:51 6

145. TechieXP1969 (banned) (Posts: 14967; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

"How this thing scored above an S7 is beyond me."

We do know. It's iPhonearena. But nothign to question or debate.
Someone posted last week I beleiev that they expected PA would give the iPhone 7 a 9.x rating and they would make sure it was above the S7/Note7.

I knew he was right.

Even though the iPhone has 1/2 the hardware prowness of the Galaxy S which is its direct rival, it is hard to judge battery life and here is why.

Suppose we could swap the firmware on the phone. Now that the iPhone has a quad chip, how would it do running the S7's firmware and how would the Galaxy fair running iOS 10?
I am not talking having the identical hardware featues. Just saying havign the iPhoen 7 run the S7's firmware with all its capabilities whether they work or not.

On a 1900Mah battery, how long would an iPhone last. Since iOS is slimmer vs android, on a Galaxy S7, I would expect that the S7 would last nearly a week on a single charge based on its battery size.

And since an iphone barely last an 8 hour work day, if it had the S7's firmware, it would probably last 1/2 that long.

According to this guys video. He played a video at 720p which is the max allowed by the iPhone 7. The phone lasted only 4 hours


At the end, his list shows the S7 Edge lasted 8 hours. I expected it to be double, because the battery is nearly double the size.

Think I'm pretty burned out on PA's bias.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 12:36 2

168. mrochester (Posts: 679; Member since: 17 Aug 2014)

But the iPhone has twice the S7's software prowess. It's not just all about hardware specs, it's the software too and the overall user experience. That's why the iPhone has consistently scored so highly.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 19:43 3

210. iushnt (Posts: 2351; Member since: 06 Feb 2013)

Could you explain your first line "the iPhone has twice the S7's software prowess."?

I guess people who like android is mainly due to the software that can do so much more than iOS.

posted on 23 Sep 2016, 11:09

229. marorun (Posts: 5029; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

mrochester iPhone software is a joke its super unstable and every update bring load of issue to be fixed and broken again with 20 others upgrade.

Back before ios 7 ios was super stable but now its a mess i am sorry but its reality.

Its becoming closer and closer to android ( and at some level android getting closer to ios too ) just those new way of using lockscreen is proof.

Sorry but only valid reason iPhone scoore so highly is called bias nothing more.

Still if tomorow they made an iPhone like the 7 with a 3000 mah or more battery and android i would buy it.
like the design and its has a hell of a good soc.

posted on 23 Sep 2016, 11:07

228. marorun (Posts: 5029; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

Yeah looped video is a great test.

on my lg g5 i can do 5-6 hours looped 720p video.

but on my older moto x play i could easily do 10 hours or more.

when you look at the review is battery usage is mostly safari lol thats dont take as much battery as gaming or video ect.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 06:20 2

44. Jimrod (Posts: 1464; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

Well can you easily see the antenna lines on the black iPhone 7? No? Then they're well hidden.

It's a simple enough concept to grasp but as usual just waffle anything anti-Apple for the green thumb brigade...

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 06:39 3

54. nebula (Posts: 1002; Member since: 20 Feb 2015)

I dont know what is more mysterious and fascinating the fact its hidden or the fact its simply not there. One thing i dont get how can that be praised in any way beyond blue moon Beyong any rational comprehension and common sense. That ia simply fanatical.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 06:46

59. Jimrod (Posts: 1464; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

Oh I'm not arguing about the design, just that people seem to think the antenna bands aren't well hidden (at least on the black models). The design is old and stale, but then looking at all the other phones coming out it seems most are sadly.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 07:53 11

79. trojan_horse (Posts: 5337; Member since: 06 May 2016)

My wonder is this: how can the "well-hidden" antenna lines be considered a "pro" in rating?

Has antenna lines ever been considered a "con" when the iPhone 6 and 6s were reviewed? Was it unskillful? As it's apparently now a skillful design work on the iPhone 7!

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 08:38 1

97. Jimrod (Posts: 1464; Member since: 22 Sep 2014)

No idea, I think the 6 rear was terrible and the 7 only better in the black versions, the camera bump is still hideous.

posted on 23 Sep 2016, 11:11

230. marorun (Posts: 5029; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

the new antenna line tend to accumulate grim and other crap and are hard to clean but otherwise its a nice improvement for the look of the phone.

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 11:18 4

150. TechieXP1969 (banned) (Posts: 14967; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

No one is being anti-Apple. We want PA to grade the phone on s'**t that matters and has substance and not BS garbage that doesn't even matter.

Here is why that antenna line BS is just that. First off, the phone comes in more colors than black. The lines aren't hidden on the other models, so the fact is it isn't hidden at all. There are 3 light color options vs 2 darker color options. So the lighter colors outweigh the 2 darker ones.

So antenna lines have sunstance?

Ok so tjhe fact several phones, not just the Galaxy have he smallest antenna lines in the industry, why didn't those phones get an extra point for it? In fact, when you look at any phone with smaller antenna lines, the lines weren't even mentioned in the review.

What is suppose to matter is simple.

PA should have a list that is consistent with ALL phones, and not be garded for things that are unique to one phone and not available on another.

For example, I would not give the Note 7 any poinst becaus eit has an iris Scanner, because theer isn't a fair amount of devices on the market to make a reasonable and fair comparison.

I wouldn't give the iPhoen points for Force Touch, because gain theer ian't a fair amoutn of phones on the market using the tech.

It makes the gading unfair.

The phoen should be reviews based on the most consistent options that are more synonymist with more phones.

So CPU, GPU, RAM, Display, brightness, design and similar are things that are a least common denominator for all phones.

When you put in in that perspective, the iPhone 7 is nearly 100% identical to the previous model. So how is it scoring so high, when other phones have been given lower score when they do the same thing and barely make any changes?

No one dislike the iPhone. We did like the BS and lies being told and how the reviews show to much bias. They aren't giving the readers useful or even truthful information.

We have seen PA outright cheat on camera tests. we have seen them outright cheat and lie on battery tests.

The only way the iPhone for example, can beat a Galaxy S in a battery test is if Samsung didn't optimize the device with all its features. However with the exception of PA, the battery tests on an S have always been significantly better since the S5 above the iPhone. The only place where the testing has said otherwise is on PA.

Example, the iPhone 6S Plus in PA's rundown test was 100% identical to the Note 5. Yet this was not the case on any other website.

if you can't be fair, when why even waste time with a review?

when cars are reviewed, advanced capabilities and features are mentioned, but they are never graded because it would be 100% unfair to compare and grade if the said feature is not an industry standard.

Antenna lines are not industry standard. They only on phones made of metal. Seeing as the Galaxy lines take you facing the phone and looking at top or bottom, if this is to be graded then why wants it for them? BIAS!

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 06:44 2

57. xfire99 (Posts: 957; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)

Hmm...wonder what those at top and bottom white lines that can clearly see on gold and pink models are?

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 08:13 5

84. androidwindows (Posts: 212; Member since: 04 Oct 2014)

I'll just write my comment here...Nobody wants to comment on the poor camera performance????

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 08:35 3

94. tontolou (Posts: 16; Member since: 29 Mar 2014)

and not mentioning antenna lines copied from meizu ? :p

posted on 22 Sep 2016, 09:20 2

112. zeeBomb (Posts: 2304; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)

LMAO I said 9.2...oh well only 0.1 off

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display4.7 inches, 750 x 1334 pixels (326 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera12 megapixels
Apple A10 Fusion, Quad-core, 2340 MHz
Size5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
(138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm)
4.87 oz  (138 g)

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