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Apple iPhone 7 Review

Apple iPhone 7

Posted: , posted by Stephen S.

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Call Quality

Even with all these other big upgrades, calls sound as clean as ever

Apple iPhone 7 Review

With all the high-end hardware and advanced functionality Apple's throwing at us, we'd hate to be let down by less-than-stellar call quality with the iPhone 7. And for the most part, we weren't.

Generally speaking, calls sounded clean and loud, leaving us with little trouble hearing the party on the other end. Once in a while, a bad connection seemed to sneak through, but as is so often the case, we're inclined to chalk that up to issues with carrier networks rather than a flaw in the phone itself.

Speakerphone performance is also quite satisfying, as we'd only expect after our experience with multimedia testing.

Of course, great-sounding calls aren't much use when you don't want to be getting those calls in the first place, but new iOS 10 call-blocking features allows apps to empower you to control just who's able to reach your phone.

Battery Life


Apple iPhone 7 Review

Apple's a bit of a magician when it comes to extracting some seriously impressive battery life out of a battery that, were we over in Android-land, would look positively miniscule.

The iPhone 7 lands with a 1,960 mAh battery, which is a little under 15 percent larger than the 1,715 mAh battery in the iPhone 6s. Apparently, dropping the headphone jack really does free up some space inside.

Between that larger battery and improvements to phone components, like the A10 Fusion chip's low-power cores, we'd definitely hope to see some real battery-life gains with the iPhone 7. However, our custom battery life test suggested the opposite.

Last year, the iPhone 6s managed to pull a little over eight hours of screen-on time while in constant operation. However, the iPhone 7's battery was depleted in 7 hours and 46 minutes – a respectable, though far from impressive result. Depending on how hard you push your phone, that may not be quite all-day endurance, although it's pretty much granted that with moderate usage, you won't have any trouble getting through a day, or a day and a half even.

UPDATE (Sep 28, 2016): Our original review text suggested an incorrect value for the iPhone 7's battery life test result. After further inspection and testing, we've adjusted the phone's battery life score to 7 hours 46 min. The review text now reflects this new result.


Conclusion


Apple's honed its smartphone-making game to the point where it's easy to see the launch of a new year's model and quickly get cynical about how everything's just business as usual, or how the company's afraid to take big risks with its phones.

Apple iPhone 7 Review

But with the iPhone 7, we see an Apple that's managing to turn that characterization on its head. The iPhone 7 isn't a big, big new step for Apple smartphones – and if you're happy with your iPhone 6s (or even iPhone 6), there's little in the way of must-have new features here twisting your arm to upgrade.

Instead, we see all these really focused improvements that on their own might not seem so hot, but add up to giving us an iPhone that's superior to its predecessors in nearly every way. From the screen, to the speakers, the camera, and even in terms of durability with its dust and water resistance, the iPhone 7 is the best iPhone of its size Apple's ever brought us.

Probably the easiest target to hang on the iPhone 7 is the phone's missing headphone jack, but even that's not the disaster it could be. While we don't quite agree with the way Apple's framing itself as courageous for dropping the port, it's still a big move that – as we mentioned – is going to have far-reaching consequences. Do benefits like the phone's larger battery outweigh the inconvenience of needing that adapter for older headphones? Or the need to buy all-new Lightning-equipped headphones?

Apple iPhone 7 Review

Well, it will probably be some time before we see how users respond, especially as more and more Lightning-supporting headphones come to market, but that's not even the most important point here. What we have is evidence of an Apple that's not afraid to take risks, to keep pushing its users towards its vision of the perfect personal communication/entertainment/fitness – heck, just the perfect device for everything. And while nobody – not even Apple – is there quite yet, handsets like the iPhone 7 remind us that there's always room for smartphones to grow, to improve, and to expand our perceptions of what a phone can do for us.

Software version of the review unit: iOS 10.0 (14A346)



Pros

  • Beautiful design skilfully hides antenna lines
  • Bright, bold, colorful display
  • A10 Fusion delivers on performance
  • Stereo sound is a welcome addition
  • Lightning EarPods sound as good as ever
  • Fantastic showcase for iOS 10's new features
  • Camera with great low-light performance and OIS

Cons

  • Loyal headphone jack, you will be missed
  • Stereo sound balance needs EQ work
  • Lack of clicky home button will take (some) getting used to
  • Can't charge while using wired headphones
  • Jet black finish limited to more expensive storage options
PhoneArena rating:
9.3Excellent
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PhoneArena rating:
9.3Excellent
Display4.7 inches, 750 x 1334 pixels (326 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera12 megapixels
Hardware
Apple A10 Fusion, Quad-core, 2340 MHz
2 GB RAM
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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