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Phone Review: Apple iPhone 7

September 22, 2016

 

Apple's annual iPhone upgrade manages to include some features — water resistance, better cameras, improved battery life — that are worth considering even if you're coming from a newer iPhone. Together with iOS 10, the iPhone 7 is no doubt a powerful addition to the iPhone family.

 

Is It Your Type?

 

Apple's iPhone 7 is here. It's not much different from the 2015 iPhone 6s and 2014 iPhone 6, at least outwardly. Everything on the inside has been overhauled, and, as the saying goes, true beauty lies within. If you don't mind Apple's two-year-old design and get turned on by ramped-up specs — or if you simply need a new iPhone — then the iPhone 7 is probably for you. If you already have an iPhone 6s, then you may want to stick with it until next year's 10-year-anniversary iPhone.

 

Body

 

Apple introduced minimal design changes for the iPhone this year, but those changes are just enough to ensure that the new device isn't compatible with many existing iPhone 6/6s accessories. The company has broken from its traditional tick-tock design cycle, wherein in introduces a brand new form factor one year followed by a spec bump the next year, with a tick-tock-tock design that is largely identical to the previoustwo phones.

 

Last year, I complained that Apple's recycled designs are lazy and I feel no differently this year. In fact, I'm even more aggravated that Apple isn't offering its customers something entirely new in 2016. Apple, once the design leader, has allowed its rivals to catch up and in some cases even surpass the iPhone in terms of design. You may love the design of the iPhone 6 and 6s. If you do, then you'll be happy with the iPhone 7.

 

(If you're wondering why Apple hasn't given the iPhone a fresh design since 2014, many believe the company has a radically new phone on deck for 2017, the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone. Of course, that's pure conjecture for now.)

 

The primary physical differences between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 6/6s are the larger camera module, the dropped 3.5mm headphone jack, the waterproof casing, and the altered colors. Otherwise, the phones share nearly identical footprints, shapes, and appearance. In fact, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6s have the exact same measurements (length, width, depth), but the 7 does weigh a bit less. Even so, those fancy cases for your iPhone 6/6s won't fit the new iPhones — they'll cover the flash, which is a bit more to the right. You'll have to buy new cases.

Again.

 

The phone is made from aluminum and glass. The metal shell forms the entire rear panel and wraps around to form the side edges. The glass front surface has a slight curve along the edges to help smooth out the joint between two materials. Apple was able to eliminate the two antenna lines that ran across the back of the older 6 and 6s, so the back surface of the 7 is uninterrupted metal. The rounded corners and smoothed-over shape give the phone a somewhat generic look The iPhone 5/5s and 4/4s had more personality as far as I am concerned. There's no doubt the iPhone 7 is a finely-crafted phone, but the appearance is no longer fresh and new.

 

The iPhone 7 is the smaller of the two iPhones and is a great one-handed device. The 4.7-inch screen makes the iPhone 7 a smaller flagship than most others. I had no trouble reaching the entire screen with my thumb, and found the device incredibly comfortable to hold and use. The curved side edges are smooth against your skin and it's easy to wrap your hand all the way around the 7 and grip it tightly. Even with a case on, this phone will fit into most pockets with no problem.

 

The materials and build quality are top notch, and I expected nothing less. I was pleased with the feel of the metal and glass, which are fitted together perfectly. These phones come across as expensive (and they are!) But Apple now has plenty of company when it comes to quality. Samsung and HTC are easily on par with Apple, and others, such as Huawei, OnePlus, and ZTE, are breathing down Apple's neck.

 

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