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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Review: iPhone 7 Plus

Review: iPhone 7 Plus

October 28, 2016 10:00 IST

With a starting price of Rs 72,000 for the base 32 GB storage model, will the iPhone 7 Plus be able to wow the audience? Himanshu Juneja reviews the iconic iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7 Plus

October 7 saw Apple releasing its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. While Apple was late to the phablet party, they certainly are not lagging behind. This maybe attributed to its strong user base, as well as the exclusivity factor of the iPhones.

The good thing is that Apple is not really trying to rest on its laurels and take things easy. They have been on the move to get their product refined as always. Apple finally has water and dust resistance feature added to their marquee handsets.

Top this with a dual camera set up and they are definitely not waiting for others to steal a march.

With a starting price of Rs 72,000 for the base 32 GB storage model, will the iPhone 7 Plus be able to wow the audience?

Will Apple be able to further consolidate after Samsung's Note 7 fiasco, or will Google Pixel XL take away some sheen with some outstanding photography amongst other threatening features?

We try to take a closer look.

Design

Apart from very few and subtle changes, the iPhone 7 Plus carries over the well known chassis. Made with airplane grade aluminium, its antenna line has gone inconspicuous, and of course there is no 3.5 mm jack anymore. The power button may look like its good old self, but it is not a push button anymore.

It is now carrying the taptic feedback system, and hence is capable of being configured for varying degrees of pressure applied.

Apart from this, there are no surprises here. The unibody handset measures 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm, but is a shade lighter at 188g. The curved edges are familiar too, but earpiece doubles up as speaker to give this unit a dual speaker set up.

The power/standby key is present on its original location, which would be on the right edge. The left edge carries the mute and volume keys.

Bottom edge sports the speaker and main microphone grille. It has for company the lightning port and another grille, which houses the barometer and a secondary mic.

Turn the phone over, and the new camera module is noticeable immediately with the dual cameras. The back panel remains slippery as before, and the new jet black colour is a sure shot smudge magnet.

And before we forget, Apple finally has implemented the water/dust proof abilities, lending a huge boost of credibility to this year's iPhones.

Overall, it is quite a good looking device. One only gets the feeling that the bezels could have been reduced somewhat, and a more grippy texture on the back would have been more apt.

Display

iPhone 7 Plus

Keeping things usual, the display real estate is again 5.5-inch. The 1080 x 1920p resolution brings a rich haul of 401ppi, ensuring a crisp display. The contrast is excellent, well aided by really good brightness levels.

The deep blacks help with bringing out the colour accuracy on the rest of the screen which Apple has kept as a priority.

The 3D touch technology is again onboard. Apple also has included the Night shift mode, which acts as a filter against harmful blue light post sunset. All this with a screen carrying oleophobic coating.

With ion strengthened glass to protect it against bumps and smudges, the screen is a pretty solid affair.

Overall, the IPS LCD display is a befitting component for Apple's flagship device.

Specs

The new Apple A10 Fusion chipset promises to handle things adeptly. It will channel the low intensity tasks via lower powered cores, while the more taxing jobs will be taken care of by the more beefed up set of cores.

For the record, the Quad core CPU runs on 2.23 Ghz frequency. It has a hexacore GPU handling the graphics, while 3 GB of RAM is quite befitting taking into account the current trend.

It is heartening to see that Apple has finally bumped up the base storage capacity to 32GB. No memory card slot definitely warrants a decent onboard memory storage chip.

Connectivity

The handset supports dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth (ver 4.2), AGPS and GLONASS.

There is support for NFC, but only for Apple Pay, which is yet to make its debut in India. This is a blow to the Indian customers, as the handset is not coming at a cheap price. Apple could have included FM radio option, but that too is sadly missing.

Operating system

As expected, the iPhone 7 Plus is powered by latest iOS 10. There are a bunch of improvements and some good new features. One of the most awaited feature is to hide the Apple pre-loaded apps, allowing to declutter the menus.

The phone gets the pick up to wake feature, and lockscreen has the shortcuts. If one desires to straightaway go past the lockscreen, there is the option to get there by placing the finger on the home button.

One swipes left to get quick access to the camera app, somewhat negating the lack of double tap the home button to activate the camera app. One swipes right to get the Today widget page, from where the users get access, apart from many widgets, to Spotlight option rather quickly.

Homescreen is filled with the apps as usually, with the folder option available as usual. The control centre maybe an important dwelling page for many. One accesses it promptly by swiping upwards, and the shortcuts as well as toggle options are at hand to tinker around.

For an extensive dekko, there is the settings menu of course, allowing for tweaking of everything imaginable according to Apple's vision.

There is the notification centre, which is called into service by sliding downwards. The most convenient feature has to be the bubble notifications, which allow 3D touch to open up ways to quickly interact/reply and be done with the whole thing in minutes.

iMessages can be now dealt with swiftly and lesser hassles. Mails or even Viber messages can be handled similarly.

Siri has gone richer. Third party developers now get the advantage of implementing Siri enabled searches. Locating the favourite restaurant or Dial a cab services with their own apps can now avail Siri advantage.

Camera

iPhone 7 Plus

This is where things get really interesting for the iPhone 7 Plus. It also happens to be the only iPhone to boast of a dual camera set up. At the back, there is a 12 MP regular camera with f/1.8 lens, and an accompanying 12 MP telephoto lens which has f/2.8 aperture.

There is Optical Image Stabilisation and LED flash system for the main snappers.

The dual camera set up allows the user to switch over to 2x optical zoom without losing details via the telephoto lens, or go ahead with 10x digital zoom using the main camera.

A dual camera set up also allows for some fabulous Bokeh effect laden pictures which many users would prefer. Thanks to the latest update, the users now have the portrait mode unlocked to accomplish this.

The app launches quickly, and photos are captured swiftly as well, with pictures clicked in good light conditions coming out to be rich and vibrant in colours and with really good details to boot. The colours don't pop out as well as they do in pictures captured by a Samsung cameraphone. Default dynamic range is impressive in itself.

The HDR mode further betters the dynamic range, bringing more details to otherwise darker areas. The brighter areas pic in general are a bit too bright as well. Panorama is slick, and kudos to Apple for being the only handset with HDR panorama feature.

Apart from live photos, there are other modes as well, like slo-mo, time-lapse, square etc, but again no signs of a Pro mode. A quick launch option for the app is absent too. ]

The low light photography is good as well, and this is where the main camera will be summoned in owing to its larger aperture to get some decent results, but again not class leading.

As for the videography, there is some really quality stuff with the 1080p HD videos. Not only the colours, but the details too look great. 4k videos are good too, but we have seen better ones with Android flagships.

The front facing 7 MP camera is definitely one of the better ones out there, capturing very good details while also keeping an impressive colour concentration.

Performance

Staying true to its image, the Apple iPhone will not disappoint users. Everything is smooth, but for slight heating at the side panels, which is quite manageable.

The fingerprint scanner was fast and accurate and rarely faltered with its job.

The apps launch and execute smoothly. Switching between the apps, indulging in HD content too comes through in a stellar fashion. There were instances of heating near the edges, but was quite manageable.

The addition of the taptic engine while gaming can prove to be a big hit among the gamers, as the vibrations bring a more immersive experience, a la gaming console controllers. The speakers are loud and clear, but could have been more richer with the output.

Attaching external speakers brought out the sublime experience which was expected.

Maybe next year's iPhones will see front dual speaker for a more immersive experience. This was definitely a missed opportunity.

Battery

iPhone 7 Plus comes with a Li-Po 2,900 mAh battery, and is non-removable. While the less than 3000 count for a 5.5-inch screen may raise a few eyebrows, Apple has done enough to cull the doubts.

The A10 fusion chip combined with a solid OS results in a brilliant battery life here. Users can expect the handset to last for a full day on moderate to heavy usage pattern. There is also the low power mode, which can be made to kick in once the battery level falls below 20 per cent.

The only downer here is the lack of quick charging technology support. It is high time that Apple brings this feature into their fold.

Verdict

iPhone 7 Plus

The iPhone 7 Plus brings with it the signature performance ways, superb battery and a crisp display. The dual camera will entice many, and at the heart of all this lies the well optimised iOS 10.

The handset has been priced at Rs 72,000/82,000/92,000 for the 32/64 and the 128 GB model respectively. The base model maybe 32 GB, but the prices are steep.

As for recommending the handset, it is still quite the similar story though. Those who are looking for an upgrade from iPhone 6 or below, they surely should consider it, otherwise for the iPhone 6s and the likes, the price of Rs 72,000 looks pretty steep for a relatively smaller upgrade.

Himanshu Juneja