Review Index:
Feedback

Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Review: More and Less

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple

Battery Life and Conclusion

Battery Life

Battery capacity is up with both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, with a 1960 mAh battery in the iPhone 7 (up from 1715 mAh with the 6s) and a 2900 mAh battery in the iPhone 7 Plus (up from 2750 mAh with the 6s Plus). This extra capacity, coupled with the iPhone's new capability of switching to lower-power cores when possible to conserve energy, should translate into better battery life. Subjectively, my battery life with the iPhone 7 was excellent, with a single charge lasting more than a full day, as it took a few hours into the next day before needing to be charged. I have never charged a smartphone so little, and the larger battery capacity and new A10 Fusion SoC (along with the 4.7-inch iPhone's low screen resolution) work to provide outstanding real-world results. But the test bench told a different story.

Using our own Wi-Fi browsing test, which calls for a high 180 lux brightness on the tested device (just over the 50% mark on both phones), the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus finished within a few minutes of one another - but the total time was only about 7.5 hours (iPhone 7 Plus: 7 hours, 23 minutes; iPhone 7: 7 hours, 38 minutes). This is a very good effort, considering it involves constant use with a bright screen, but previous tests under the same conditions (though an older version of iOS) yielded 9.6 hours with the iPhone 6 when we tested it in March of last year during Ryan's Samsung Galaxy Note 4 review. It is likely that the new A10 Fusion consumes more power with its two performance cores (which would have been in use throughout the test), as they are clocked much higher than previously, and built on the same 16nm process as before. There is also the wide-gamut backlight system, which Apple claims to be 25% brighter than previously, which could have drained the battery faster at this higher brightness setting. Still, nothing in my actual use accounted for this poor showing in the Wi-Fi test.

Conclusion

View Full Size

While the iPhone 7 is a solid product, with improvements to overall speed, display quality, and the all-important camera (among other things), it is the definition of an incremental update. It is rather telling that the lack of a headphone jack seems to be garnering the most mainstream attention, as there aren't really any other obvious changes (at least to the 4.7-inch device). A closer inspection reveals the real differences, but with the same sizes, screen resolutions, and physical design, it isn't as compelling an upgrade to recent iPhone buyers. This doesn't mean the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus aren't significantly better; they are.

Performance was outstanding with the iPhone 6s, and it's even better with the iPhone 7. Both phones have a more RAM and double the storage capacity (finally!) for the same price, and nothing touches the experience of A10 Fusion SoC and iOS for general tasks. Yes, the headphone support has changed (notice I don't say it has been removed) from a dedicated jack on the bottom of the phone to a pack-in dongle, but all existing 3.5mm headphones still work just fine. Only having one Lightning port does mean charging and listening simultaneously now requires a 3rd-party adapter, so if this is something you often need, I think last year’s 6s models would be a better choice at their new lower prices.

And speaking of pricing, the $649 starting price for the iPhone 7 is starting to feel just a bit high. Aside from the design of the iPhone remaining largely unchanged, these are phones with the same low screen resolutions we’ve seen since 2014. 1344x750 looks fine, but so does HD until you see native 4K on a big TV. The added clarity from the 7 Plus makes the 7 look a little blurry in comparison, and I’ve been waiting for that 1920x1080 resolution to migrate down to the 4.7-inch device, and the 5.5-inch device to move to industry standard 2560x1440. I will have to keep waiting.

Strengths

  • Double the storage and memory compared to the 6s, for the same price
  • Unparalled performance from new A10 Fusion SoC
  • Some of the best cameras on any phone
  • Excellent display quality with new DCI-P3 support
  • Stereo speakers a nice addition

Weaknesses

  • Removal of headphone jack inconvenient
  • Screen resolutions low compared to competition

View Full Size

Bottom line, if you are platform agnostic the choice to move up to a phone that is just a little better than last year isn’t very compelling, while the new Android phones just keep coming, including the new Google Pixel. If you are an Apple and iOS fan and have no interest in the Android side, the new iPhones bring enough to the table to make them attractive, but iPhone 6s owners could safely skip this update and wait for the 10th anniversary next summer.

Video News


October 11, 2016 | 03:46 PM - Posted by pdjbIum (not verified)

still rocking a sony xperia z2, great phone and will only replace it once it breaks.

October 11, 2016 | 03:58 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Is the A10 still using the 128 bit memory bus, and can the A10's lower power cores still issue 6 micro-ops? Here is the proper amount of information on the A7 Cyclone mciro-arch(1)! But very little of such proper CPU core info is available for the Apple A8/A8X, A9/A9X. It looks like Linus Torvalds was right about the ARM devices/core designs and Linux. Why is it that both AMD and Intel are so forthcoming about providing the proper amount of CPU core specifications about their respective x86 core features and Apple and the custom ARM makers can not even be bothered to list the proper specifications on their custom ARM core specifications.

What do the custom ARM licensees have to hide, the x86 core designs are listed in great detail by their makers. It’s no wonder the ARM ISA based designs are such a pain to develop for.

(1)
CPU Codename----------------Cyclone,
ARM ISA---------------------ARMv8-A(32/64),
Issue Width-----------------6 micro-ops,
Reorder Buffer Size---------192 micro-ops,
Branch Mispredict Penalty---16 cycles (14 – 19),
Integer ALUs----------------4,
Load/Store Units------------2,
Load Latency----------------4 Cycles,
Branch Units----------------2,
Indirect Branch Units-------1,
FP/NEON ALUs----------------3,
L1 Cache-–------------------64KB I$ + 64KB D$,
L2 Cache--------------------1MB,
L3 Cache--------------------4MB,

*Information provided Via Anand Lal Shimpi's proper review of the Apple A7(cyclone) CPU!

What's up with the reviews of the A8/A8X, the A9/A9X and now the A10. There has to be more folks with Anand Lal Shimpi's skill set to properly use software methods to get at the proper amount of information on any new custom ARMv8A ISA running designs. I'm waiting for AMD to finish with Zen, and start to provide more information on their K12 custom ARMv8A ISA running K12 cores, AMD will provide the proper amount of details.

October 11, 2016 | 04:02 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

It's not a "skill set" that Anand really had - it was connections inside Apple. Where he now works. lol

October 11, 2016 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No! It was the compiler optimization manuals for the CPU and the willingness to go the mile to provide quality technology reporting! Anand crafted his own software to test the Apple Core designs! And all the rest of the online press just laid on Anand's legs and let him do the work. All the online press should refuse to report on Apple's or any other custom ARM core makers products until they are forthcoming with the proper CPU speciftcations! AMD and Intel/IBM and others have no problems reporting on their CPU core specifications. Tell Apple/Others that no proper CPU/SOC specifications, no reporting or reviews of your products!

October 11, 2016 | 04:42 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

It's really just not feasible in my mind to NOT cover the dominant player in the mobile market even if they withhold specs and information. 

October 12, 2016 | 09:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Apple is not the dominant player in the mobile market the android based market is larger. It's fine to cover Apple’s laptops and computers but Apple's phones are not worth the price charged, ditto for the flagship mobile Android phones. Android and iOS are not even real productive OS ecosystems. "Smart" Phones really are not of much value compared to what you can get from a laptop or PC at the very same price point. Apple as well as the other custom ARM chip makers are not very good at properly describing their CPU core hardware and features and the technology press needs to call out the custom ARM chip makers and ask them what are they hiding when companies like AMD, Intel, IBM/Others are very willing to list in finer detail their CPU core specifications. Apple appears to not be very appreciative of their P.A. semiconductor CPU chip engineers, the same for Qualcomm/other makers of custom ARM CPUs. Let's hope that AMD will give their K12 custom ARM cores the same proper technical treatment that AMD gave the Zen cores when AMD introduced Zen to the Technical press.

The custom ARM core designers and market players better get their ducks in order or they will never make it into the real computing(Server/HPC) markets, or the PC/laptop markets. Apple better get itself a real Pro Tablet before M$ takes that market. Apple’s A series ARMv8A ISA running CPU products are very capable custom CPU cores that can very well run OSX! but Apple like M$(even worse than Apple) needs to stop trying to push that Totally closed "APPs" ecosystem or their sales will continue to decline. Some people need a real OS, and iOS and Android are not really there when in comes to a real OS's features.

Linus Torvalds was correct in his comparison between the x86 based market’s better standards and the ARM hardware ecosystem markets non standard ways that are making things really hard for the Custom ARM market to become larger than simply phones and tablets. ARM holdings is the exception for wanting a better standards based methods for the ARM chips and how they are able to interface with any OS/hardware in a more standardized way. Torvolds is correct that developing for the many non standardized ARM platforms is a pain.

I’m not saying that the technical websites need to stop covering phones completely, they can continue to offer the phone makers ad space and let the phone makers do their own describing. But really the technical press needs to ask the custom ARM core makers to do a better job of providing the proper amount of technical CPU core details at the same level that the x86 market players provide and also IBM, IBM provides the proper Power CPU core details. And even ARM holdings provides for ARM Holdings’ Reference designed cores the proper amount of technical CPU core details. What gives with these custom ARM core makers and their need for secrecy! Maybe AMD will change things up for the custom ARM market when K12 is released, if it’s released at all.

October 11, 2016 | 04:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

P.S. Apple hired Anand to shut him up! But there are plenty of complier developers/driver developers that have way more than Anand's skill set! The custom ARM core market needs its own publication for sure as the custom ARM cores are nothing like that the ARM holdings reference design cores, and Apple's cores are some of the widest order superscalar custom ARM cores on the market! AMD's K12 may even surpass Apple's designs but we will have to wait for 2017 to find out!

October 12, 2016 | 10:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Who the fuck would want to work for Apple? A faggot ass bitch that's who.

October 15, 2016 | 01:27 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Those numbers are mostly irrelevant to most people. A lot of computer enthusiast probably don't know what they really mean. What is important is how the device, as sold, performs. Even with wide issue, there can be many different things that bottleneck performance. With AMD's excavator CPUs, it was probably cache architecture holding it back, not anything to do with the shared core components. I do know someone who bought an AMD chip several years back because it was 8 cores rather than 4 like Intel. I also know someone who bought a Pentium 4 with SDRAM when they first came out. It was much higher clock than a Pentium 3, but little did they know that it was probably a performance downgrade from a top of the line Pentium 3. The Pentium 4 needed high bandwidth memory; it was very slow with SDRAM instead of Rambus or DDR memory. While it is interesting to see what these chips can do with the hardware they have from an efficiency perspective, the actual performance delivered is what is important, not specifications.
,

October 11, 2016 | 06:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

more apple garbage,yay!

October 11, 2016 | 07:52 PM - Posted by razor512

Not enough RAM, for that price, it should have at least 8GB RAM, and 512GB Storage, especially considering what other companies offer for less money.

This applies to high priced Android devices also.

October 11, 2016 | 11:25 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I'm with you on storage, but more RAM = less battery life.

October 12, 2016 | 05:38 AM - Posted by Stefanofromitaly (not verified)

But you can have both: have a look inside the iPhone and look how much space the feedback portion take.

Without mentioning the fact that they could make a thicker phone and make it last one day .

Sorry for my English

October 15, 2016 | 01:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Apple wants people to use the "cloud" and things like their radio service and such, so it is not in their best interest to provide huge amounts of storage. More ram will take quite a bit more power. Also, higher screen resolution takes more power for the same level of brightness. We probably will not get higher resolution until they switch to IGZO TFT, OLED, quantum dot enhanced backlights, or what ever comes next.

I thought it was ridiculous that Apple made a 64-bit phone with only one GB. As long as they keep the amount of memory low, application developers will need to design for it, so it will work. It is very annoying to have web pages constantly reload when switching tabs due to the limited memory. I have written a partial post on a forum before, switched tabs the look something up, and lost my message when switching back because the page reloaded. Perhaps we will get a device with some Optane swap area or something like that eventually.

October 12, 2016 | 08:16 AM - Posted by Adeste Fideles

"More and Less"

I like what you did with the title.

October 12, 2016 | 10:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

WHO THE FUCK USES IPHONES? ***inaccurate and incoherent rant ***.

However, this was a great article. I actually care not a single fucking iota about these shitty fucking devices, yet I read the entire article. Great writing. Still, iPhones are GAY AF.

October 13, 2016 | 06:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey you dumb fucks it was 100% accurate you niggers. #MAGA

October 12, 2016 | 11:06 AM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Nice review of the iPhone 7 even though it's a bit late to hit the initial surge of readers after release.

You really need to have some form of moderation on your comment sections. I know others have asked for it. Some of the posts here are enough to make me not read any comments on PC Perspective even though I otherwise really like your site.

October 12, 2016 | 11:51 AM - Posted by Sergio Jacas (not verified)

I am commenting because I am tired of seeing negatively sometimes nasty comments of your reviews and articles. Critical comments are fine, and needed, but it seems that every article has very negative, somewhat hateful non constructive comments. I think the review here of the iPhone 7 and all of your reviews are the of the highest level. Equal to anything from Tom's, Anand's, TR, or any of the other top tech information and review sites. Your site has honest, well written articles, and it comes through that you all work hard, and have a passion for this topic. I enjoy that all of your writers have unique personalities, and more importantly, that it comes through in the articles, it makes it more relatable. Keep up the great work, and don't let all the negativity drive you crazy, your site is very appreciated, by me and I am sure many others

October 12, 2016 | 02:53 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Thanks, we appreciate positive comments from sane people.

 

October 13, 2016 | 06:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

 #MANGA #MANGA #MANGA

October 13, 2016 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I cant stop laughing at this guy.

October 12, 2016 | 11:53 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

So while on other side of things, Crapple has been busy crippling their devices purposefully:
http://www.gsmarena.com/the_32gb_iphone_7_plus_uses_a_substantially_slow...

October 12, 2016 | 01:01 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

As time goes on it becomes more apparent that there is less and less to differentiate between mobile phones. At what point does it become a commodity market, even for flagship phones? I try to think of what could possibly be the 'next big thing' and there's not anything that comes to mind. Perhaps we'll never again see the explosive growth of smart phones. Or at least not until we start getting our cybernetic enhancements where constant upgrade cycles will make us stronger, faster, smarter. healthier.

October 15, 2016 | 10:18 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Apple held off on making larger phones, so when they finally came out with larger phones, a lot of people probably upgraded because of that. An iPhone 5/5s is tiny. They have a way to obsolete the iPhone 5, since it is a 32-bit processor. Apple is still holding off on going to larger memory sizes and is still using relatively low resolution compared to the competition. I think Apple holds such features back partially to provide an upgrade path. They are often behind the curve with many features. Staying at lower resolution and lower memory capacity also saves on battery power though. I suspect that their will be some wide IO tech (somewhat like low power HBM) that will increase performance, especially graphics performance, significantly. Hopefully this will allow for wire-free head mounted displays, among other things. Such technology could change what can be done with a mobile device. There is still quite a bit that can be done, but there are diminishing returns in some cases. If you are running an iPhone 5, then a. iPhone 7 is a big upgrade. Going from the iPhone 6 is a bit dubious though. I am wondering if Apple will also make a push into gaming and/or head mounted displays. Most companies are doing things with head mounted displays, but we haven't seen anything from Apple. I suspect they are working on things in secret. It is smart marketing to hold some features back to supply a reason to upgrade to future revisions. The head mounted display and other wearable computing is a new market though, so there could be a lot of opportunities for growth, even if the phone market is a bit stagnant. There will always be a lot of new phones being sold due to breakage and such.

October 15, 2016 | 03:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Anyone know how the A10 compares to something like a Core M processor? Are there any benchmarks that can be run on both? I am wondering if Apple will be able to make higher performance machines with their own processors soon. I suspect it will be a while yet though.

October 15, 2016 | 03:41 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Hmm not that I have seen, but I would not be suprised if someone has run some benchmarks. Probably mostly browser based tests though...

October 25, 2016 | 02:30 AM - Posted by Helmar

The teardown show that iphone 7 have a 1960mAh battery, the capacity is small than iphone 6s, I think the talk time may not be too long.
Here's the teardown: http://www.laptopmain.com/apple-iphone-7-teardown/

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.