It might be elitist and beyond the reach of most of us, but no phone generates as much consumer interest as an Apple iPhone. While it is a good indicator of the fact that the iPhone, almost a decade after its launch, is still something people aspire to, it also shows that Apple phones continue to set the benchmark. So, with every new version of the phone there is a lot of adulation and criticism, which is natural when expectations are so high.
The Apple iPhone 7 didn’t have a lot of surprises when it was launched earlier this month. Over the years, information leaks about new iPhones have been on the rise, a cumulation of which gives you an accurate image of what the new phone will be like. This time we all knew there would be no antenna bands on the back, no 3.5 mm headphone jack while it was understood that features such as processor, camera and battery life would be improved.
What is good?
I have to start by talking about the overall performance of this phone. Running iOS 10 and powered by the new Apple A10 Fusion processor, this phone is among the smoothest you will use. It is also pretty fast—faster in loading apps, faster in multitasking and faster in processing videos. Graphics performance on the phone will leave most gamers happy, while you can easily do some serious video editing using it. If you take benchmarks seriously, then this is right there at the top.
The review unit we had was the new Black, which is actually one of the most stylish smartphones around. There is nothing unique or revolutionary here, just a plain composite black slab that you would love holding any time. And the black version has just enough matte finish to give you a good grip on the phone. Simple design has its wins.
The iPhone 7 has one of the best cameras in a smartphone. It is way brighter than the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plus thanks to the f1.8 aperture, but I missed some of the subtlety those cameras brought into low-light photography. In contrast, all low-light photos come out bright and clear with this camera. And with regular light, don’t be surprised if you end up with some real stunners.
One of the new features in the phone is the taptic feedback on the home button. This is an interesting feature, but we will need to wait and see if this actually ends up offering more to the user than just the response. The iPhone 7 has taken the speakers to a new level. This is one good thing that has emerged from the removal of the 3.5 mm jack, which I don’t think is a big deal. The audio is sharp and loud, though you will feel a bit of the vibes on the rear panel.
What is not that good?
I felt the phone was getting warm at times, especially when it was being charged. It also showed some heating when we put it through the benchmark tests and did multi-tab browsing. The battery life, Apple claims, has improved. But it is still not really enough to keep a user tension-free and his portable power bank at home. On a good day you might get up to 12 hours, but that is not good enough for most of us.
The iPhone 7 is a good upgrade for those on the iPhone 6 or something older. If you have an iPhone 6s, the upgrade might seem more incremental. That said, there is no doubt that this is among the top phones for the next few months. I just suggest that it is better to buy the 128 GB as the price difference from the 32 GB version is R10,000 for a 3x storage jump. There is, of course, competition in the Samsung Galaxy S7, but this phone is going to give it a tough fight.
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