The iPhone 7 (and iPhone 7 Plus) is finally here. Apple have launched their brand new models and — spoiler — they'll make you want to upgrade your phone right this minute.
Though you might think it doesn't look all that different, everything is new. The basic size and shape of both phones remains the same as last year’s models, but there's actually been some serious improvements to the iPhone 7 design.
iPhone 7 review: what's new? The iPhone 7 features and specs, explained...
1. Those grey antenna bands (that didn't even bother us much before) are now more seamlessly part of the phone — particularly in the brand new glossy black colour, though unfortunately it’ll also scratch more easily according to Apple’s smallprint.
2. The iPhone 7 is water-resistant. This is a big deal if, understandably, you've killed a few phones with drink spillages or bath drops while you're scrolling through Instagram. It can withstand water for up to half an hour, as long as it’s not too deep.
3. There's a third camera on the iPhone 7 Plus, which has a nifty trick that lets you zoom in without reducing the quality of your shots. (Hello, likes.)
4. Both the selfie and rear cameras are faster, more detailed and work much better in lower light — perfect for those tricky restaurant food shots.
The software is getting some major upgrades. The iOS 10, which will be released with the iPhone 7 but will become available on recent iPhones too, looks a lot nicer and is easier to use. Oh, and you know all those rubbish apps, like Stocks, that clutter up your homescreen but you can’t delete? Well, now you can.
1. The messages app has had a total overhaul.
2. You can now send cool animated drawings, loads more emojis and stickers and share what you’re listening too on Apple Music, which has also been improved. It’s now much easier to use, better at finding music and simples to download songs to listen to offline.
And remember cheats and codes and stuff? They’re back. We haven’t really required codes since the days of top-up phones, Sims cheats (Rosebud, anyone?) and polyphonic ringtones, but the clever people at Apple have written some into the iPhone 7. Here are the useful ones you need to know…
To find out…
How much signal you’ve got: *3001#12345*#
Your phone’s IMEI number: *#06#
Turn on call waiting: #43#
Make your number private: *#31#
Direct a call to voicemail: *#21#
So, is the iPhone 7 all it’s cracked up to be? We tested Apple’s latest offering for a week thanks to Three Mobile, and the results were pretty great.
First of all, let’s talk design. The iPhone 7 is a touch slimmer than the iPhone 6, but roughly the same size. For my small hands, I definitely prefer the dimensions of my iPhone 5S (yeah I’m still rocking that). You will definitely need a case to stop the phone from slipping out of your hand if you’re clumsy (like me), as Apple have said that this model might scratch more easily.
The loss of the headphone jack to slim the phone down is another major change for the iPhone 7, but to be honest, it didn’t make that much difference. It was definitely annoying to keep aiming for a non-existent headphone jack out of habit, but Apple helpfully provide you with a tiny adaptor to keep you going until you switch to wireless headphones.
It is mildly irritating to have to pull this adaptor on and off to switch between different devices, but it only takes a second. I would recommend keeping the adaptor attached to your headphones as much as you can, as the size means it could easily be lost.
This adaptor does mean, however, that you can’t charge your phone and listen to anything through headphones at the same time, something I do regularly on my commute home with a portable charger – and that is a bit of a problem.
The picture quality on the iPhone 7 is very impressive. As well as the addition of live photos thanks to iOS10, zooming in doesn’t make photos as grainy as it used to, and the camera is much more skilled at taking pictures in low-light, from both the front and back cameras. I would seriously recommend this phone for the camera alone. The speakers on the iPhone 7 are also much louder than their predecessor, which is an all-round plus.
On the downside, the battery on the iPhone 7 was awful. Still using my iPhone 5 for the majority of messaging on Whatsapp, calling and texting, the battery percentage on the 7 dropped much quicker than I expected it to. I had to use my portable charger regularly, meaning listening to music was out. That was definitely frustrating.
As for water resistance, I didn’t want to risk testing that out when I had to send the phone back after my week’s trial…
In summary, the iPhone is slick, quick and boasts excellent camera and speaker qualities. The loss of the headphone jack isn’t an immediate problem, but Apple really are forcing you to go wireless with the iPhone 7’s poor battery life. Worth it? For Apple lovers, definitely.
At the iPhone 7 launch, we also saw the next version of the Apple Watch — the Apple Watch Series 2.
It looks just like the current Apple Watch, except it also comes in a cool, ceramic design which is four times tougher than the steel version. It's also a lot faster, the screen is a lot brighter and you can even go swimming with it. There’s GPS tracking too which is good for running.