Following on from the iPhone 6 was a tall order, which the iPhone 6S struggled to live up to, with fewer sales and less consumer enthusiasm. Two years on, the question is whether those iPhone 6 buyers will bite and upgrade to the most expensive iPhone yet, its price in the UK inflated thanks to the Brexit referendum result.
The same but now waterproof
On the outside the iPhone 7 is so similar to the iPhone 6 and 6S you might think nothing has changed other than a new paint job: it’s now available in black and a shiny jet black, as well as rose gold, gold and silver from last year, but no space grey.
The antenna lines – the plastic inlays into the metal body – are slightly less visible on the back having been shunted to the top, the glass front is the same, with the most obvious change being the lack of a 3.5mm headphone socket in the bottom.
It’s a tried and trusted, but ageing design. While other manufacturers have shrunk the bezels around their screens and generally made the display more of the front of the phone, the iPhone has stayed static. That doesn’t mean the build quality or fit and finish is anything other than excellent, but others including Samsung have similar manufacturing prowess.
The 4.7in iPhone 7 is 7.1mm thick and 138g (5g lighter than the iPhone 6S), while rival the 5.1in Samsung Galaxy S7 is 7.9mm thick and weighs 152g and Huawei’s 5in P9 is 7mm thick and weighs 144g.
The iPhone 7 is now waterproof to IP67 standards, which means up to 1m deep in fresh water for up to 30 minutes. In comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is rated to IP68 standards, which are at least 1.5m deep for at least 30 minutes. It means that while going swimming with the iPhone 7 isn’t recommended, it will survive a drop into the washing up bowl or down the toilet. And you can wash it.
The screen’s colour and brightness is excellent for an LCD. It isn’t quite as vibrant with deep inky blacks as some high-end OLED screens fitted to Samsung devices, neither is it as pixel dense as all Apple’s rivals or even the iPhone 7 Plus, meaning it isn’t as pin-sharp and you can see the individual pixels. It is better than last year’s model and feels as good as LCD can get.
The 4.7in screen is also quite small for today’s smartphones and makes some things a bit fiddly on poorly optimised websites. Not anywhere near as fiddly as the 4in iPhone SE of course. The small size also means that it’s relatively easy to keep hold of compared to the big-screen phablets with displays over 5.5in.
New for this year is a pair of stereo speakers, one of which is the front-facing earpiece loudspeaker, the other the bottom-firing speaker from previous models. Together they are louder, but lack any sort of stereo separation and couldn’t be described as room-filling.
- Screen: 4.7in 1334x750 (326ppi)
- Processor: Apple A10 Fusion
- RAM: 2GB of RAM
- Storage: 32/128/256GB
- Operating system: iOS 10
- Camera: 12MP rear camera, 7MP front-facing camera
- Connectivity: LTE, Wi-Fiac, NFC, IR, Bluetooth 4.2, Lightning and GPS
- Dimensions: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm
- Weight: 138g