What's the internet saying about Apple's latest handset?
By the time you get your hands on the shiny new iPhone 7, you can rest assured that countless handsets have been weighed, drained, measured, sat on and dropped in jugs of water for the benefit of tech reviews around the world. To save you all the googling, we’ve rounded up the best quotes on Apple's newest flagship phones.
"The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are deeply unusual devices" The Verge begins. "They are full of aggressive breaks from convention while wrapped in cases that look almost exactly like their two direct predecessors. Inside that case, everything is a decisive statement about the future. The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus promise to usher in a new era in mobile photography. The iconic iPhone home button is no longer a physical button, but instead a sophisticated ballet of pressure sensors and haptic vibration motors that simulate the feel of a button. The new A10 Fusion processor blends two high-power cores that rival laptop performance with two low-power cores that combine with a much larger battery to extend run time by up to two hours."
With some critics slightly less enthusiastic about some of the changes, the general consensus seems to be that Apple's latest smartphones are quietly revolutionary – making small, subtle, but game-changing steps to keep the iPhone at the front of the pack.
On the surface
Coming in two different models, the standard sized iPhone 7 and the larger iPhone 7 Plus, it's the bigger handset that's been getting the most attention.
"Sure, the 7 Plus' bezels (top and bottom, left and right) are still laughably big compared to other 2016 flagships, but the black hides it well at first glance. There's a hefty (in a good way), solid feel to the device that feels really great in the hand," says Forbes, who also suggest that Apple might be saving the really big changes for next year's rumoured 10th anniversary iPhone.
For many, news of the new water-resistant feature was a good opportunity to try and traumatise their handsets:
"I took the iPhone 7 into the shower," admits CNET. "I dropped it in a fish tank a few times. I put it in a sink and turned on the tap and filled the sink with the iPhone in it. But it's survived every test easily. But FYI, capacitive displays go nutty in water. You won't be able to use it when submerged – nor should you."
Others were more interested in the new "taptic" home button, seen by some as a stepping stone towards a button-less future and by others as a useful way of getting responsive feedback from your thumb.
"It's much more different than you might think," explains The Verge. "The button no longer moves at all — it's totally solid, just like newer MacBook trackpads. A linear vibration unit that Apple calls the Taptic Engine jolts when you apply pressure to the button, tricking your brain into feeling a click. It's nothing like the clumsy haptic feedback on other phones, which I've always disliked — it really does feel like a click. The Taptic Engine also adds all sorts of other fun feedback to iOS 10 — when you drop the notification shade down, the phone does a little bump, for example. It makes it feel like the software on the screen has real weight and inertia, and I love it."
But it's the iPhone camera that gets the most page space from the first reviews – with side-by-side photography comparisons showing off the twin lenses of the Plus. Performing better than its predecessor in low-light, motion and colour reproduction, the optical zoom also allows for a range of different pro-photography effects like shallow depth of field and blurry bokeh backgrounds.
"It's a real shame that Apple didn't decide to include the dual-camera array [in the smaller iPhone 7] though" admits TechRadar, "it would have been a killer feature, and just the kind of upgrade many are looking for to help convince themselves the new iPhone is the one to go for."
Under the hood
With critics finally able to road-test the iPhone's new engine – as well as subject it to a number of processor-busting tech trials – the response has been even better than expected.
"The iPhone 7 comes with the new A10 Fusion chip, once AGAIN the biggest, whizziest and shiniest chip Apple has ever put in a phone," says Forbes. "There's very little you can throw at this phone that it can't handle, be it quick photo adjustment in Adobe Photoshop, or more heavy video processing on the go. Predictably, the iPhone 6S is about 20% slower than the new model – but how does this translate to real-world performance? Well, the aforementioned speed of opening and closing apps is impressive, but that's not the whole story.
Where the iPhone 7 really comes to the fore is when you're just ripping through different apps, opening up music before browsing the web and then playing a game."
Launching with Apple's most recent iOS operating system pre-installed (now available to download on every iPhone from the 5 up), the iPhone's new software has been getting almost as much attention as its hardware.
"The display lights up when you pick it up from a table, or pull from a pocket, so you can glimpse at missed calls or Facebook messages without pressing a button," enthuses Forbes. "Swipe right on the lockscreen and you get to a page of widgets — news, reminders, calendar, whatever. Swipe left, and you go to the camera, which launches really, really fast (probably the fastest launching camera of any phone)."
And there's even better news for battery life – with all sites reporting longer-lasting handsets (two hours more than the 6S, according to Gizmodo) and faster charging times across the board.
That missing headphone jack
Not that it's all good news. If one feature dominates the release of the iPhone 7, it's the "missing" audio jack. Designed to steer customers towards using wireless headphones, it's an omission that seems to have divided opinion.
"Removing the headphone jack is an act of pure confidence from Apple," suggests The Verge. "If you squint, it's possible to see a future iPhone that has no wires at all – an iPhone that does everything wirelessly, including charging. But the iPhone 7 is not that iPhone. In fact, right now you need more wires, dongles, and adapters to make it work with the rest of your life than ever before."
"The change doesn’t really seem to bring many benefits," adds Stuff, "and while Apple has at least included an adapter in the box so you can keep using that decent pair of in-ears or cans, it's both pug-ugly and another thing to carry around (and lose) while you’re on the move. On the other hand... so what? Wireless has been the future of audio for some time now and, in ditching the port, Apple has simply brought that reality forward by half a decade or so."
Pointing out the extra benefits of a second speaker grille ("Netflix in the bath just got a whole lot more immersive"), Stuff is more philosophical than most about the internet's reaction to the audio jack.
"That missing hole is a big deal, sure, but so are the improvements to the camera, the blistering speed of the new A10 processor, and the changes to the home button. In fact, to let any one feature dominate a review – whether good or bad – would be entirely out of keeping with the phone itself, which is the archetypal sum of its parts. Some of the additions may seem quite minor, but added together, they equal a surprisingly different beast from last year's iPhone 6s."
Bigger and better without looking like it; missing holes but filling them with extras; a stepping-stone phone that already feels like a classic – the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are proving just as divisive, and just as essential, as the six models that came before it.
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