iPhone 7 Review on Three

 

It’s been three months now since the launch of the iPhone 7, and it still remains a deeply divisive phone. Full of breaks from smartphone convention and yet wrapped in an almost identical body to their predecessors, they feel like Apple trying to break loose from the two-year cycle that they’ve been in for the better part of a decade.

However, that makes the iPhone 7 sound like a confusing experiment, when in reality, it’s just a phone – albeit one which tips its hat towards what Apple thinks the future of smartphones should look like.

So, should you buy the iPhone 7 on Three? Join us as we take a look at Apple’s latest device.

Hardware

If you’ve seen the iPhone 6 or 6S, then you’ll have a strong sense of deja vu when it comes to the iPhone 7. Why? Because it looks almost exactly the same.

That means the same wrap-around metal body, same camera hump at the top left of the phones rear and the same button placements around the side. Apple have mercifully made the iPhone 7 water resistant so it can survive trial by water (up to 1 meter for less than 30 minutes), but the biggest hardware change is, without doubt, the removal of the headphone jack.

Yes – that 3.5mm connector which every phone, laptop, tablet and more has had for decades has been removed from the iPhone 7. Apple called the move ‘courageous’ when they announced the iPhone 7, but it’s hard to see it as anything other than strictly anti-consumer.

Apple are no strangers to removing standards from their devices after killing the rectangular USB port, the DVD drive, flash and even their own old 30-pin proprietary connector, but the 3.5mm headphone jack is a particular slap in the face. It means that out of the box, you have no way to connect your current headphones to the iPhone 7.

Apple suggest that you either plug in an adaptor to your current headphones or go out and buy a new set of headphones with a lightning connector at the end. It also means that you can’t plug your new iPhone in to charge and listen to music at the same time, which is likely to be a problem for some.

The other change to note is that Apple have got rid of the old mechanical home button. No longer can you physically depress the button, as it’s now been replaced with a pressure sensitive version which vibrates to indicate it’s been pressed. Some customers have been unhappy with the performance of the new home button, but in general, the change is minimal.

Camera

Our smartphone cameras have become essential considerations when it comes to our phone purchasing decisions. Indeed, with the likes of the OnePlus 3, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Google Pixel phones all putting in amazing showings, how does the iPhone 7 stack up?

Very well, it turns out. Apple have made a lot of noise about the improved camera in the iPhone 7, but in the non-Plus variant of the phone it’s not a million miles ahead of the 6S in any regard. Regardless, it’s right up there with the best smartphone cameras and remains a quick, reliable and fun way to take photographs on the go.

It’s a f/1.8 28mm wide-angle lens with 12MP, capable of recording 4K video at 30fps and 1080p at up to 120fps. It’s backed up by Apple’s true-tone flash which analyses the scene before firing a flash at a colour temperature it thinks will get the best out of the scene.

On the front of the phone, you’ll find a 7MP front facing camera with a wide angle lens, which should help when your friends are crowding in for a shot.

Software & Performance

If you’ve ever used an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or basically any other mobile Apple product, you’ll know what to expect here: iOS remains very much iOS. There are some nice new tweaks in iOS 10 like new versions of iMessage, Siri, better integration with smart home devices, a widget screen only a swipe away from the lock screen and, well, quite a lot more. Really, iOS 10 is an incremental update to the iPhones software, but it’s also the best yet.

As for power; the iPhone has it in spades. It uses Apple’s A10 processor which is borderline desktop-class and it means that there’s basically no stutters, hold ups or anything else which might impede your iPhone pleasure. 3D touch is effortless and multitasking works just great.

The better news though is that the iPhone 7’s processor is efficient as well as fast, so you should see slightly better battery life than the iPhone 6s, with tests suggesting around 10 hours of heavy use.

Should you buy it?

The iPhone 7 is an iPhone, which means that lots of people will buy it anyway. But should you? Well, that depends if you’re ready to accept some compromises like the loss of the headphone jack or the divisive home button. The iPhone is still a great phone, and on Three’s mobile broadband contracts’ it’s not a crushingly expensive one either, but is it the one for you? That’s a question only you can answer.