The iPhone 7 Plus is the best iPhone money can buy, hands down. Like the iPhone 7, it’s not an essential upgrade if you have an iPhone 6s Plus that you’re happy with, or you want to hold out for the 2017 iPhone, which will be the 10th anniversary and, rumor has it, the big switch to OLED. But thanks to the iPhone 7 Plus’s beautiful screen, long battery life, and impressive dual-lens camera, it’s hard to find fault with it today.
Hard, but not impossible: The 7 Plus has the exact same issues that I complained about in my iPhone 7 review (to review: the new Home button and the missing headphone jack), so I won’t repeat myself here. Except, I will say that a couple weeks later, I’m still not used to the fused Home button, with its odd-feeling ka-thunk sensation when I tap it, instead of a crisper click of the old Home buttons.
But the iPhone 7 Plus just has more going for it—the battery lasts longer, and that dual-lens camera delivers impressive photos, with the still-in-beta Portrait mode acting as icing on the cake.
So big and so fast
The screen is terrific, nice and bright, much easier to see in bright daylight than before. The speakers get suitably loud, making this a totally worthy mini-phablet for watching videos. I didn’t like how the speakers sounded when I cranked music from Spotify, but they were fine for listening to podcasts while puttering around the kitchen.
I haven’t used a 5.5-inch iPhone on a regular basis before this one, and before the iPhone 7 launch I was very happy with the 4-inch iPhone SE. But now I’m slightly regretting going with the iPhone 7 over the iPhone 7 Plus. I like the smaller size when I’m carrying my iPhone, but when I’m actually using it, the iPhone 7 Plus is just too sweet. After stretching out with a 5.5-inch screen, I was afraid the iPhone 7 and iPhone SE would seem like kids’ toys, but while the SE felt a little cramped by comparison, the iPhone 7 didn’t feel tiny compared to the 7 Plus.
Since they both have the A10 Fusion chip, both the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 clocked similar scores in Geekbench 4’s CPU tests, with a slight edge for the 7 Plus. According to Geekbench 4, the 2.34GHz A10 Fusion in the new iPhones can even outperform my 2013 MacBook Air in the single-core test. Everything is fast on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, from running powerful image editors like Adobe Lightroom, to beautifully shaded games like CSR Racing 2, to just installing a slew of updates from the App Store.
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