iPhone 7 — No headphone jack, no problem!

We’re looking at the iPhone 7 today. I have to admit, I’m not much of an Apple user, so I reached out for help with this one. Thanks to those who submitted their feedback.

Following the popular move with the iPhone 6, we have the 7 at 4.7″ and the 7 Plus at 5.5″. As many of you and your users are aware, when first announced everyone wanted the Plus model — then held it in comparison to the long standing 4″ model and said it’s too big and went with the regular 6. Fast forward 2 years, now that you’re used to the 4.7″, jumping to the 5.5″ isn’t as big as a leap. I think we’ve moved from 90/10 split on sales to 60/40 at this point just about a month in. Additionally, Apple finally got with the program and ditched the worthless 16 GB model and now we have a base at 32 GB which jumps to 128 then 256 GB. Don’t worry, though, the basic pricing structure stayed the same at +$100 per memory upgrade although the starting price on the Plus model is now $20 higher than the standard model. They changed the color scheme a bit too. While Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold stayed around, Space Gray was jettisoned in favor of Black (commonly referred to as “flat” Black) and the fancy new Jet Black — a high-gloss finish made in a 9 step anodizing and policing process that leaves the surface bright and shiny, but Apple warns it is prone to show micro-abrasions more than other surfaces. And you have to up your memory to 128 or 256 to get Jet Black — and be prepared to wait as those are still kind of scarce right now!

What’s under the hood? They kept the camera at 12 MP from the 6s (up from 8 MP in the 6), but with it’s 1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization it still takes some fantastic pics that rival better MP cameras in other smartphone manufacturers. And with the Plus model, you get dual cameras — a wide angle as well as telephoto. They added in a HD Retina display, stereo speakers, and it comes pre-loaded with iOS 10, although don’t be surprised if you’re doing an OS update right out of the box as they’ve tweaked some bugs. And finally they added a new A10 chip set to run the shiny new iOS.

So how does it fare in the real world? The battery improvements are the most noticeable feature out of the box. Although Apple says it is 2 hours on the 7 and 1 hour on the Plus over the 6s versions, out in the real world our users are getting all day out of the new 7 Plus vs. dead by lunchtime on the iPhone 6 – granted, that is a 2 year old device vs. a new device, but since most of us only upgrade every 2 years, we all are dealing with sub-par battery performance on our 2 year old phones. But going from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and coming home with 25% charge is still pretty nice to have in today’s world. And although it doesn’t support rapid charging per se, users are telling us that it is pretty zippy, charging to full in less time than older models.

And of course, the dual camera in the 7 Plus is making people smile providing a better quality of pictures, whether they are taken farther away or taken at night, where the lighting is minimal. Not only is the resolution and quality better but no more blurry pictures when you zoom in! Low light pictures are way better quality and the flash is brighter but doesn’t blind you.

For Apple, it’s always been about the music. The stereo speakers are noticeably louder and while you might not think so at first we compared it to an Android running through a Bluetooth speaker and the music came across clearer and louder. Fair comparison using 2 different hardware manufactures? When we tell someone to turn on their phone as we turn off our Bluetooth speaker, we think that speaks volumes.

Other noticeable improvements come from the A10 chip and iOS 10 which allows for faster internet loading, quicker responses to text messages through 3D Touch, and all around an easier time using the phone.

You might be concerned with the decision to leave out a traditional headset jack and although you get new Apple headsets with the lightning plug as well as an adapter to use your old headphones, the concern will be that you can’t charge and listen to music at the same time. As one of our reviewers quoted “most people charge their phone in their room so … just play your music out loud” and as for keeping track of the adapter “just keep it plugged into your headphones. So overall the no headphone jack life is all okay and I promise you, you will survive.” Especially since the improved battery means you’re not as tied to recharging as before.

Overall we give it an 85/100 score. What’s the verdict? If you’re an Apple fan, let’s face it you’re going to upgrade anyway, no matter what we say. If you’re coming from a 5s or just love your Beats headsets, we say save $100+ and go with the 6s, which dropped in price with the 7 launch as well as coming now with 32 GB as the base. But if you need battery, want the better camera, and better speakers, take the 7, but you should go with the Plus since the 6s and 7 have the same basic camera.


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