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Apple iPhone 7 review: Best one yet?

Iphone 7, some tweaks here and there, nothing major to spin with joy.

Tim Cook proclaimed “It is the best iPhone yet” when launching iPhone 7 early September. He may be right, the iPhone 7 is, but is it what many of us have hoped? iPhone 7 is more the refinement and Apple is playing it safe and perhaps safe is a great place to be.

SIMILAR DESIGN WITH SOME TWEAKS

The new iPhone comes in a similarly designed as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S models, with the same 4.7-inch screen, it looks slightly different due to subdued antenna lines. And of course, there are two new finishes – fingerprint-magnet glossy “Jet Black” that harkens back to the iPhone 3G era and matte “Black” – which will join the gold, rose gold (pink) and silver colours options also available.

New finishes aren’t the only design changes. The headphones socket has been dumped (yep, get ready to shell out to Apple) replaced with a speaker grille and the physical Home button has also been changed from a solid state one to one that doesn’t move.

NEW HOME BUTTON

The iPhone Home button is the part on the phone you probably interact with the most, with the new iPhone 7, you will no longer get the refreshing “click” sound.

Tapping the Home button, and the Taptic Engine inside the phone makes it vibrate gently, giving you the sensation that the button is moving when in reality it isn’t. Removing the physical element means there are fewer parts and fewer things to “stick”.

The Home button has three sensitivity settings to make it as responsive as you prefer. It still allows you to use it for double-tapping or Touch ID fingerprint recognition flawlessly.

WATER-RESISTANCE

The iPhone 7 water-resistant with a rating of IP67, meaning it can be immersed in a meter of water for around 30-minutes without causing any significant damage.

Keep in mind; this doesn’t mean you can take pictures underwater in a pool or at the beach; because the screen won’t necessarily operate properly, but it should be able to protect you from any accidental dunks.

TAPTIC ENGINE

The Taptic Engine which convinced you the Home button is physical; is also used to a great effect across the iOS 10 user interface.

Playing Codemaster’s F1 2016 game, for example, adds some gimmicky vibration nuances when one is crashing into the barriers or going over some bumps. Likewise, the rather dull Zombie Gunship showcases the technology too.

STEREO SOUND

The headphone socket was in previous iPhones’ is now replaced with a speaker in the iPhone 7, meaning the new phone offers sort of stereo sound from the two speakers at the bottom. There’s also an extra speaker at the top; iPhone 7 produces a sound that is better than iPhone 6S. It’s not as good enough to be loud and fill the room with music, but it’s sort of alright for watching a YouTube video or Facebook Live stream around the house when it’s nice and quiet.

UPGRADED CAMERAS

There is a camera update on both the front and back. But, it does miss out on the dual-camera offering and the wide-angle lens of iPhone 7 Plus.

Instead, the iPhone 7 offers 12-megapixel sensor and an improved lens, plus an improved 7-megapixel front-facing camera for FaceTime and selfies.

The camera does protrude out the back of the iPhone 7, just as it has before, but with a novel accentuated circular design which means your old cases are unlikely to fit. Get ready to open your wallet yet again. Yes! The protrusion is visible.

Yes, you don’t get the dual lens technology, the iPhone 7’s camera isn’t to be sniffed at. It’s still an iPhone camera and better than the already very good camera on the iPhone 6S.

SPEED AND PERFORMANCE

As always new iPhone does mean an upgraded speed. The iPhone 7 gets the new Apple A10 Fusion processor that should increase the power and performance over previous models.

It means your phone should load things faster, process things faster and generally not be sluggish.

The screen, even though is the same 4.7-inch size and 1334 x 750 resolution as the iPhone 6S. It’s not Tru Display technology found on the iPad Pro 9.7, so no ultra-high resolution to be found here still, perhaps that ought to help battery life.

BATTERY LIFE

Apple made big claims over how the battery life had improved for the iPhone 7 following efficiencies in processor and software performance and what not. Such could not be replicated in any of the independent tests. So it will be wise to take that claim with a pinch of marketing salt.

The iPhone 7’s battery tries to last a whole day, but can’t, especially if you use social networking or chat apps. A full day when using GPS, camera, Slack, Twitter, Facebook, and Mail meant that 13-hours in, by 4 pm, 20 percent battery left. That’s not an improvement over iPhone 6S experience.

Keep in mind the way you use your phone will reflect on how long battery lasts for you. Play Pokemon Go or Modern Combat 5 and you probably won’t make it past breakfast, let alone dinner.

IOS 10

The new iPhone 7 comes, iOS 10, out of the box. Like the hardware refinements, this new software experience is a mild change over what users will have seen in iOS 9.

iOS 10 does come with few new features, like a dedicated Home app to allow you to control and manage your HomeKit accessories. A much more advanced Messages app brings things such as apps and stickers, widgets to the lock screen so you can grab information snippets from your favorite apps (if they are supported).

The idea that iOS a simple operating system is now a distant memory, as it is quite complicated. However, if you’re not a phone geek, it’s still a breeze to use.

VERDICT

Do you honestly need one? If so, yes it’s a good phone. Yes, it’s better than previous ones by a fair bit, but should you rush out to get one, in case you do not need one? Ask your wallet.

 

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