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iPhone 7 Plus review: The dual-lens camera makes it a winner

Susie Ochs | Oct. 4, 2016
Previously, a Plus-sized iPhone meant a bigger screen and that was about it. With the iPhone 7 Plus, the dual-lens camera is a major selling point.

The iPhone 7 Plus’s Camera app also has a button above the shutter that toggles between a 1x and 2x view, or can be adjusted to any zoom level from 1x to 10x. You might assume that shooting at 1x uses the wide-angle lens, while switching to 2x will use the telephoto lens, and going above 2x will use digital zoom. Well, that’s not exactly true. It turns out that the Camera app will use the wide-angle lens and apply 2x digital zoom in some situations, if that would produce a better result (less noisy or shaky, or lit better) than using the telephoto lens. Glenn dove deep into this phenomenon, but I’m happy to let the Camera app make those decisions since all I want is a good photo. Third-party camera apps like Obscura Camera and Manual let advanced shooters have more control, and can even export images in RAW.

Battery life

I have a terrible time getting an iPhone to last all day, especially considering my usage is heaviest in the afternoon and evening. But the iPhone 7 Plus has a huge battery, 2900mAh (11.1 watt-hours) according to iFixit’s teardown, and with savings in iOS 10, it can go a very long time.

I charged the iPhone 7 Plus up to 100 percent, set it to 50 percent brightness and 50 percent volume, and played movies I’d previously downloaded from the iTunes Store to the Videos app until the iPhone reached 50 percent. That took a whopping 7 hours, 55 minutes on the iPhone 7 Plus, but the iPhone 7 only lagged behind it by a bit, clocking 7 hours, 26 minutes.

iphone7plus review adam 3

The larger battery in the iPhone 7 Plus provides more runtime than the iPhone 7, but maybe not as much more as you’d expect.

Geekbench 3 also has a battery benchmark mode, and I used it to drain each iPhone from 100 to 80 percent. For the iPhone 7, that took 1 hour, 55 minutes, 8 seconds, for a Geekbench score of 1150. Running the same test on the iPhone 7 took 1 hour, 42 min, 11 seconds, for a Geekbench score of 1021. That makes sense since the iPhone 7 Plus’s battery is larger than the 1960mAh (7.45 watt-hours) battery in the iPhone 7.

So if you need more battery life, the iPhone 7 Plus is the longest-lasting iPhone, but I was still surprised that the iPhone 7 did so well matched up against it. Either way, you’ll probably have to charge your new iPhone on more or less the same schedule that you charged your old one.


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