What is the iPhone 7?
The new iPhone 7 is very much like the 6. The iPhone 7 is a device that at first glance, seems to be inspired by nostalgia. From the water-proof, the little added conveniences, and now the assassination of the dependable headphone jack, none of it is actually all that new. However Apple couldn’t give less about novelty, than about repackaging old ideas that just look new and interesting. Get passed the boring, and you’ll see the iPhone 7 lives up to its Apple legacy. This is the Hands-On iPhone 7 review from GeniusTechTips.com.
Let me just get something out there, in the past few months I’ve criticised a great many Android manufacturers for derivative, industrial design, and by no means does Apple get a pass.
How does the iPhone 7 feel in the hand?
In the hand the iPhone 7 feels nearly identical to the 2 generations of iPhone that arrived before it. Unless you get the incredibly scratch prone jet black version instead of the matt black finish on this review device. Yes the minimised antenna inlays are welcome, and the new casting around the camera lens is impressive, but these are details that only the discerning eye can appreciate.
Upfront you have a display with a resolution that hasn’t changed since 2014. Stuff like this is the reason phone nerds get up and arms about people spending so much money on iPhones.
On the surface Apple seems to be selling yesterday’s leftovers to a gullible populous, but that’s not true. Truth is you don’t need crazy, high resolution on a display this small, and what it lacks in pixel density, it makes up for in color balance. While the iPhone 7 is just as thin as, and slightly lighter than last years iPhone 6, it is water and dust resistant. Something I’ve confirmed with several fountains and several stupid shower selfies.
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New sound and the controversial headphone jack design
The standard single speaker has been split into 2, now placed above and below the iPhone 7 display for more immersive sound than any iPhone to date.
Speaking of sound, let’s talk about that headphone jack for a second. Yes it’s gone and no, I don’t really miss it. Bluetooth headphones have become a big part of my life since using the Moto Z earlier this year, which also didn’t offer a headphone jack.
If you’re an audio file who needs the kind of fidelity only an analog, wired connection can deliver, or if your car doesn’t have Bluetooth, obviously this isn’t the phone for you. Everyone else will either learn to live with the Lightning EarPods in the box, or use their existing headphones with Apples included adapter, or you could just use Bluetooth! The point is, you’ve got options.
New Taptastic Engine!
The space Apple saved by axing the headphone jack, Apple then filled back up again with an improved Taptic Engine, the linear motor that gives the iPhone its good vibrations. Taptic response is everywhere on the iPhone 7, from the little bump when the notification shade bounces off the bottom of the screen , to subtle clicks that tick off certain bearing marks in the compass app, to the slots on quick wheels, and to the artificial buzz of 3D Touch.
The iPhone 7 feels more alive in the hand than ever before. Taptic response is more important than ever to help sell the illusion of the new home button, which is actually a capacitive touch pad, whose click is produced entirely by the Taptic Engine. The new home button feels so futuristic, that the spring loaded buttons on older iPhones, already feel clunky and dated to me. If your hands are wet or gloved the button won’t work, but Apple borrowed a page from Motorola and Nokia here with “raise to wake”.
What is raise to wake?
The iPhone 7 uses “Raise To Wake”, a feature that will automatically activate the phone screen when you pull it from a pocket, or pluck it from a table top, and it works pretty well in practice. From there it’s just a firm push on the fingerprint scanner to jump into iOS 10.
The New iOS 10
Personally, I still hate being locked into Apples idea of a home screen. This static grid of icons that I only have the barest amount of control over. Some of the presidents iOS established with the first iPhone are now woefully out of date. Like putting the back button in the least accessible corner of the screen.
All that said, I do like the new coat of paint on iOS 10. The control centre keeps a lot of handy toggles within a thumbs reach. Widgets and frequently used apps have been broken out into a separate panel off to the left. Swiping down still let’s you search for pretty much anything right from the home screen, and when you just don’t want to be bothered, the palm inspired mute switch is still the simplest way to silence a phone. In other words, iOS 10 on the iPhone 7 is a really nice mix of old and new.
Phone Call Quality
Phone calls on the iPhone 7 are outstanding. I tested it on T-Mobile and whenever I was talking to another T-Mobile customer with HD Voice, or doing a Voib call over wifi, the sound quality was tremendous.
Apple uses active noise cancellation in the ear piece, which makes me feel strange but also good? What I mean is, it’s a little disorienting in a loud room, because it’s actively removing noise from only one side of your head, but it does a phenomenal job of isolating the callers voice so you can hear him or her.
Iphone 7 Software And Graphics Performance
Back on software, day to day responsiveness is Apples typical “slick and quick”, though I found a few more minor hiccups than I expected in gaming. I also had one instance where the phone refused to unlock, despite recognising my thumbprint. I figure these are teething issues with either the new A10 processor or iOS 10, but I mention these hiccups mainly to remind folks that yes, even the iPhone is susceptible to the occasional bug.
The iPhone 7 camera and picture quality.
Finally there’s the camera, which has seen almost every major component upgraded this year. By far the most notable of these upgrades is optical stabilisation, which smooths video in walking shots, and allows for clearer long exposures in low light.
Thanks to this, and probably thanks to the new larger aperture as well, the new iPhone 7 delivered well in dim conditions. Photos taken everywhere else were fine, I say fine because in a vacuum they’re excellent, but when you put them up against the closest competition from Samsung, the Galaxy s7, I actually tend to prefer s7 pictures. Part of this is because I like Samsungs’ slightly larger than life saturation, but the s7 photos also look crisper and sharper in most conditions. The iPhone however has a tendency to go soft.
Saying this the iPhone 7 does still offer one of the most fastest, most forgiving cameras out there.
iPhone 7 Battery Life Endurance.
You’ll probably get through a day of moderate use with the iPhone 7, but step it up to heavy with even a little streaming, radio or tethering? You should expect a low battery warning before dinner time.
Should You Buy The iPhone 7?
The nerdy side of me wants to lash out at the iPhone 7. To whine about the familiar design, and to draw in the chorus of voices that say “this phone is too expensive!” However the people buying iPhones don’t need me to tell them that Apple is an expensive company, you should know that by now. More importantly, Apple doesn’t deserve to be beaten down just for making an excellent product, that’s only marginally more excellent than last years.
Make no mistake, the iPhone 7 is an excellent smartphone, one of the best you can buy in 2016! Even if it’s not the head-turner it once was.
Don’t forget the iPhones bigger sibling folks!
We will be reviewing the iPhone 7 Plus shortly and the Apple Watch series 2! We hope to see you there!