Apple iPhone 7 review: More evolution than revolution
iPhone 7 china mobile price, China iphone 7 features and specifications
One of the best things about forking out for a shiny new smartphone is showing it off to your friends, and catching people giving it sidelong glances on the bus.
So it’s a bit of a buzz-kill when no one notices you’ve got one.
The iPhone 7 is a joy to use. Apple’s hardware and software work in harmony, meaning switching between apps is a breeze – and it doesn’t feel “glitchy” in the way some Android phones can.
It also has several nice enhancements like water-resistance , a faster processor, a more powerful “Taptic” engine, and a better camera.
But when it comes down to it, does the iPhone 7 give Apple fans enough of an incentive to upgrade?
Here’s my verdict on the new iPhone 7.
From a design point of view, it really is hard to tell the difference between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 6s, which launched in 2015.
They are almost identical in size and shape – the iPhone 7 is actually 5 grams lighter than the 6s, but it’s not enough to make a noticeable difference in your hand.
The plastic antenna lines on the back of the phone have been redesigned, so there is only a single line along the top and bottom of the rear case, rather than a double line.
On the black and jet black models, these are almost invisible against the aluminium case, but the white lines still stand out on the silver, gold and rose gold models.
The rear camera lens is slightly enlarged, and the aluminium slopes up slightly to meet the glass.
This is a change from the shiny rim around the iPhone 6s camera – but you would probably have to have the two handsets side-by-side to notice it.
Finally, the headphone port has been removed from the bottom of the phone and replaced with an extra speaker grill.
Given that most iPhone owners keep their devices in a case to prevent them from getting scratched, the likelihood of anyone noticing you have an iPhone 7 rather than a 6s – or even a 6 – is pretty low.
Having said that, the slim frame and curved edges are still as attractive as ever, and many would argue that if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
No headphone socket
Yes, it’s true. The 3.5mm headphone socket is gone – meaning you either have to use wireless headphones to listen to music and podcasts, or plug your wired headphones into the iPhone 7’s charging port.
This is undoubtedly Apple’s most controversial update – the headphone socket that has been around since the days of the Sony Walkman. However, it’s not actually as terrible as it sounds.
However, Apple does include a pair of headphones in the box, with a Lightning connector that plugs straight into the charging port.
There is also a headphone-jack-to-Lightning-port adaptor, so you can still use your old headphones with the iPhone 7 if you’re particularly attached to them.
Many have pointed out that the adaptor is small and easy to lose, which is true. But I found that, by leaving the adaptor attached to my headphone cable, you can avoid losing it.
There is no noticeable degradation in quality from using the adaptor, so if you’ve forked out for expensive audio equipment, you shouldn’t notice a difference.
While the loss of the headphone jack isn’t as awful as it first appears, you’ve got to ask what has been gained.
While Apple claims that it has freed up extra space inside the device, the iPhone 7 isn’t any smaller or thinner as a result, and there is still only one speaker along the bottom of the device.
The Taptic engine, which provides haptic feedback, is slightly bigger in the iPhone 7 according to Apple, but I’m not convinced it’s worthwhile exchange.
One thing that does take a bit of getting used to on the iPhone 7 is the new Home button.
Unlike previous models, which have clickable buttons, the iPhone 7 has what Apple calls a “solid state” Home button, which means it doesn’t actually move when you press it.
However, it is pressure sensitive, and the Taptic engine inside the phone provides haptic feedback when you press it, so it feels almost like a real button.
Part of the reason for this change is to improve the water-resistance of the phone. Sealing off the tiny gap between the button and the front panel of the phone prevents water getting inside and frying the electrical components.
However, it’s worth noting that the new button is capacitive, like the touchscreen, so it requires skin contact to work. That means, if you try to press it with a nail, or when you are wearing gloves, it simply won’t respond .
Apple has also added haptic feedback to a number of its applications, so if you want to set an alarm, for example, it will create a clicking sensation as you scroll through numbers and minutes.
There’s been a lot of debate about whether the iPhone 7 is waterproof or water-resistant. Technically, the device is only water-resistant, but it can withstand a lot more water than most people seem to think.
The iPhone 7 has a classification known as IP67, which means it can be submerged in water to a depth of roughly 1 metre for up to 30 minutes.
So it will survive a dip in the sink or down the loo, and it won’t break if you pour a drink over it, but you probably don’t want to take it swimming.
In my tests, the iPhone 7 was completely unfazed by having tea spilt on it, being run under the tap, and even being submerged in a jug of water.
Of course, smartphone rivals like Samsung have been making waterproof phones for years, but for Apple fans – especially those prone to clumsiness – this could be one of the biggest selling points of the iPhone 7.
Apple has made a lot of noise about the dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus, which offers optical zoom and will eventually let you create a bokah effect, where the foreground is in focus and the background is blurry.
Sadly the smaller iPhone 7 only has the one camera on the rear – and it’s got a 12 megapixel lens, just like the iPhone 6s’ camera.
However, there are some background enhancements that allow the iPhone 7 to capture slightly better photos – particularly in low light conditions.
These include optical image stabilisation, which was previously only a feature of the plus-size iPhone 6s, a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture, which lets 50% more light onto the sensor, a six-element lens and a quad-LED flash.
These should theoretically result in brighter, more detailed photos and videos, and a wide colour capture for more vibrant colours in photos with more detail.
In my tests, there was a noticeable difference between photos taken with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7. While the colours in the 6s actually appeared to be more vibrant, the iPhone 7 captured a lot more detail in the darker areas of the picture:
In low light conditions, the the iPhone 7 undoubtedly performed better, with colours and details appearing much more clearly:
The differences may seem small, but if you take most of your pictures on nights out or in the evenings, you will appreciate the iPhone 7’s ability to capture more detail.
Of course, the iPhone 7 also has a 7 megapixel selfie camera – an upgrade from 5 megapixels on the iPhone 6s – with auto image stabilisation, wide colour capture and Full HD video recording.
That means your Snapchats will be sharper and more colourful than ever.
Display and speakers
Another thing that hasn’t changed is the screen size and resolution. Just like the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch display with a 1,334 x 750 resolution.
The iPhone 7’s a display supposedly has a 25% brighter display, and a wider colour gamut for greater colour saturation. However, you’d be hard pushed to notice much difference. If anything, the iPhone 6s screen appeared slightly brighter to me.
Suffice to say, you won’t be disappointed by the display on the iPhone 7. It’s bright and clear and just what you’d expect from a high-end smartphone.
The speaker system is slightly more impressive. The iPhone 7 features stereo speakers – one at the top of the device and one at the bottom.
This means it is twice as loud as the iPhone 6s, and also offers an increased “dynamic range” of sound – in other words the two speakers can play slightly different things to give a more rounded effect.
The uses of this are fairly limited. Most people will use headphones or connect their phone to speakers if they want to listen to music. But if blasting music out in the park or at the back of the bus is your thing, then the iPhone 7 will certainly do the trick.
Power and battery life
Apple claims its A10 Fusion chip is the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone, and it certainly is zippy.
Opening and closing apps is almost instantaneous, and the iPhone 7 has no problem at all rendering graphics-intensive mobile games.
It’s efficient too, according to Apple. The chip has twice the number of cores as the A9 chip in the iPhone 6s – two “high-performance” cores and two “high-efficiency” cores.
That means that all the little tasks that run in the background, such as music playback, message updates and file synchronisation, can run on the “high-efficiency” cores without compromising peak performance.
This has a knock-on effect on battery life, which Apple claims last up to two hours longer than iPhone 6s. I didn’t attempt to test this scientifically, but the iPhone 7 has no problem getting through a 16-hour day of steady use.
Other reviewers have claimed that the iPhone 7’s battery lasts about an hour and a half longer than the iPhone 6s.
If you’ve used iPhones before, iOS 10 won’t come as too much of a shock. It’s laid out in pretty much the same way as previous versions of iOS, with just a few minor changes. However, there are a couple of new features worth mentioning.
The biggest visual change is the new notifications and quick reply features. These mean you no longer have to open an app to view videos, photos and reply – all you have to do is tap on a notification or “force press” it to bring up a preview.
The lockscreen has been made more useful, allowing you to view your latest notifications by swiping down, or Siri suggestions by swiping right, without unlocking the phone.
The new “raise to wake” feature means your iPhone 7 will light up when you pick it up, making accessing notifications easier without accidentally unlocking your phone with a home button press.
There are some fun new features in the Messages app – such as invisible ink, emoji predictions and handwritten notes, which may just entice you away from WhatsApp – although they only work in messages to other iPhone users.
Photos and Maps have also been given a revamp, and 3D touch has been built into more apps, allowing you to force press on an app icon to bring up shortcut options.
The iPhone 7 is undoubtedly an evolution rather than a revolution. It represents two years of refinements and tweaks, building on the design first unveiled by Apple in 2014.
If you already have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, it could be hard to justify the upgrade. You could download iOS 10 onto one of these phones and have an almost identical user experience.
Having said that, the addition of water-resistance is a very attractive feature, and for those who want to be able to capture the best possible photos with a smartphone, this is certainly a top contender.
The loss of the headphone jack will undoubtedly take some getting used to, but with the headphone industry increasingly embracing wireless technologies, this may not be as much of an adjustment as you’d expect.
The big question is whether you want to fork out £599 or more for the iPhone 7, or hold out for next year’s model, thought to be called the iPhone 8, which by all accounts will see a major redesign of Apple’s iconic smartphone.
The iPhone 7 it is available to buy now from China. – Click to view the price and specifications of iPhone 7 in China