Review: Apple iPhone 7

Yes, it looks just like an iPhone 6s. But Apple’s iPhone 7 is full of useful upgrades that look like they’ll improve photo, video, and gaming performance—as long as you’re willing to attach a dongle to your favourite pair of headphones. We received the review unit a day after the official launch in UAE and we spent a couple of days with the new phone.

The iPhone 7 looks almost exactly like last year’s iPhone, unless you get it in the new, glossy “jet black” finish. I’m not sure I’d recommend that, as the glossy body will attract fingerprints pretty quickly and even Apple has suggested it might scratch. I’d stick with matte black, silver, or rose gold. Matte black, especially, looks terrific. We however, received the silver version for review.

The screen is brighter and better this time around as the phone uses a 4.7-inch Retina HD display. The camera bump on the back is bigger and that shows the improved 12-megapixel camera, which is now brighter at f/1.8, has a 50 percent brighter flash, and can create better photos thanks to a more powerful image processor.

The front camera has been bumped from 5MP to 7MP. But if you want the new, zooming dual-camera feature, you’ll have to go with the bigger iPhone 7 Plus.

Look at the bottom, and there’s no headphone jack. What you get now is a little tail-like white dongle to convert your headphones to Lightning—and no, you can’t charge your phone and listen to Lightning headphones at the same time. Additional dongles cost $9 each, and a dock that lets you charge your phone and listen to wired headphones at the same time costs around $40-$50.


It’s clear that Apple is trying to push us toward wireless headphones, such as its new AirPods, which will be launched later this year. Other physical changes are invisible. Take the dual speakers. One appears to be at the bottom of the phone, while the other one is in the earpiece. Together, they’re much louder than the speaker on my iPhone 6s. Audio quality is also quite good.

The iPhone 7 is also water resistant, although Apple is careful to say it isn’t waterproof—this is more about protection from the occasional dunk. When you touch the home button, you’ll notice purchase zithromax another difference. Rather than actually pressing down, now it’s “taptic,” Apple’s word for a touch button with haptic feedback.

It takes a minute to get used to, but quickly feels right, and Apple says that various apps will be able to vibrate the home button for different effects. Under the hood, the iPhone 7 has a new A10 Fusion processor. The new quad core chip has two high-performance cores and two hig-efficiency cores.

In our Geekbench benchmarks, we found the Apple iPhone 7 secured the top spot in terms of performance. As with previous processors, we’ll see the advantages kick in as new third-party apps come out or when your phone is trying to do a lot of heavy lifting, such as in new games. During our tests, we played Oz Kingdom and we were amazed at the sheer performance of the new iPhone 7. Graphics were smooth, special effects just popped out everywhere and the audio quality was excellent.

Having said all of that, however, most of these features aren’t industry firsts, but they’re firsts with iOS software, so this may be the time they take off. HTC (among others) has had dual cameras and front-facing speakers for years. Motorola just got rid of its headphone jack. Japanese firms have been making waterproof phones for a decade. None of those features seem to win sales, though. The top Android phone on the market, the Galaxy S7, doesn’t have dual cameras, front-facing speakers, or a new headphone experience.

People who want iPhones don’t want them because of the spec sheets. They want them because of iOS, third-party iOS apps, Apple’s service and support network, and the community effects of Apple-only systems like iMessage. The real question is whether it’s worth upgrading from an older iPhone and whether it’s worth picking the big model over the smaller one.

We have not received the iPhone 7 Plus for review, so we won’t be able to comment on the viability of an upgrade to that model. However, the iPhone 7 is a pure performance powerhouse and a significant upgrade over the iPhone 6S. If you want a better screen, a better camera, a better battery life, water-resistance features and boatloads of new features, the new Apple iPhone 7 could be a very good upgrade.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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