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Deep-dive review: The iPhone 7 Plus is the best iPhone yet

Michael deAgonia | Oct. 10, 2016
Even without an audio jack, the iPhone 7 Plus is packed with welcome updates.

Screen experts at DisplayMate evaluated the iPhone 7 and had this to say: "The display on the iPhone 7 is a truly impressive top performing display and a major upgrade to the display on the iPhone 6. It is by far the best performing mobile LCD display that we have ever tested, and it breaks many display performance records."

They went on to say: "[The] iPhone 7 excels due to its record absolute color accuracy, which is visually indistinguishable from perfect, and is very likely considerably better than any mobile display, monitor, TV or UHD TV that you have."

Ultimately, what that means in the real world is that the iPhone is easier to see outside, and colors have a more natural range with improved accuracy.

Speaking of good looks, let's talk about jet black, the super shiny new color Apple rolled out with this launch. This model offers the biggest visual differentiation from previous versions, and, to me, looks more like a science fiction prop than a functioning device. Its aluminum backing is polished to a high-gloss finish using a nine-step anodization and polishing process. The result is lovely - but fleeting. The finish is prone to tiny scratches that affect the way the light bounces off the housing -- Apple even warns that this will happen, and recommends a case. On top of that, the glossy jet black housing collects fingerprints like it's a passionate hobby, so be prepared for that.

For the first time ever, I bought a case for my phone because of the concerns about scratches and smudges. I'm hoping to keep it as pristine as possible for as long as possible.

Final thoughts

As I've used my new iPhone, several standout features have really impressed me. These include:

  • The speaker system. It's strange to hear stereo sound from an iPhone, and even stranger to hear audio clearly without having to cup your hand.
  • The haptic feedback. Used throughout iOS 10, it really is a useful addition and adds a new element of interactivity that works well in daily use.
  • The extended battery life. While the iPhone doesn't last as long as some competing phones, the extra few hours the new models provide is enough to meet my constant use throughout the day.
  • The impressive options offered by the camera system. The optical zoom means I no longer have to be in someone's face to get some of the shots I like to take. And, the camera system will only get better for iPhone 7 Plus users with the upcoming iOS 10.1 update.

To sum up: The iPhone 7 doesn't break dramatic new ground in the looks department - aside from the arrival of jet black - but delivers real improvements under the hood in the areas users can most appreciate - especially with the new camera setup in the iPhone 7 Plus.


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