Apple is proud of the bold move of removing the audio jack. But in pretty much every other aspect they've seemingly taken the conservative route. On the outside, the new iPhone looks basically the same as the iPhone 6/6s.
Well, it's not as easy as that. The iPhone 7 is in many ways a better phone. We can see some of the issues we had with the last iPhone sorted and, no, we are not claiming credit for it - simply acknowledging the fact.Waterproofing, stereo speakers and, finally, reasonable storage options - and that's on top of the usual performance upgrades we've come to take for granted every year. Think this is the story of the iPhone 7? Apple's first water-resistant handset, first quad-core processor, first pair of stereo speakers on a phone.
Unboxing the Apple iPhone 7
The Apple iPhone 7 comes in a very familiar box, which packs an A/C adapter, a Lightning cable, and a pair of EarPods ending on a Lightning plug.
There is also a Lighting to 3.5mm adapter so you can continue using your headset of choice. You can get extra adaptors from Apple if you like to have a designated adapter for each of your headphones.
It does not come with the wireless airpods in the box,wireless airpods come at an extra cost.
At 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm, the iPhone7 is exactly the same size as the 6s. The new flagship managed to somehow lose 5g down to 138g.
Design and build quality
Next year is the iPhone's 10th anniversary and that perhaps explains why Apple settled for refining the iPhone 6 design instead of going for a complete overhaul. Or they might have wanted to avoid a double shocker where people end up hating the new look, blaming it for the missing audio jack and "fake" Home button.
The iPhone 7 feels different enough and still pretty relevant. A subtle change makes a good enough difference - the antenna strips have been pushed all the way to the top and bottom, following the phone's curvature. They are less intrusive this way and almost invisible on the black and jet black models.
There are two other visible changes to the iPhone 7's unibody design: the camera hump is bigger but also more discreet and, of course, there is no audio jack.
In recent times every new generation of iPhones has introduced a new color option, and the 7th is no exception. Apple has retired the Space Gray paint job in favor of two new Black options. Just Black is the new matte black flavor featuring the same grippy finish as its Space Gray predecessor, while the Jet Black is a true blast from the past.
The Jet Black iPhone 7's glossy finish looks amazing and evokes fond memories of the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It is only available for the 128 and 256 GB models, which suggests Apple considers it the premium color option.
Handling the iPhone 7 is a pure pleasure - it's very thin and lightweight, while the 4.7" screen makes it one of the most compact flagships out there. Even though the iPhone 7 is rounded in shape, the matte finish provides a secure enough grip, while the waterproofing will take your worries away even if you do drop it in water. Quite expectedly, opting for the Jet Black one will require some extra care, but we must admit it looks even better than its matte counterparts.
The earpiece now doubles as a speaker, part of the two speaker setup introduced with the iPhone 7. The second speaker is where it has always been - at the bottom under a nicely carved grille.
Below the screen is the second novelty - the Home button with a second-gen Touch ID fingerprint sensor. While the ID scanner is the same as on the iPhone 6s, the Home key is something we have a lot to talk about.
First, it's no longer a button. It's a flat round piece, which does not physically sink in when pressed. Instead, it's connected to Apple's updated Taptic Engine inside the phone. The iPhone 6s also had a Taptic engine but the module was much smaller.
Thanks to the taptic engine, the key is pressure sensitive and can differentiate between pressing and tapping.
The Taptic Engine works nice and creates a nice illusion of a real click. You can even configure the force of the feedback. It may take a few days to get used to the new clicks, but once you do, and trust us - you will, you'll hardly miss the old physical feedback.
It's the same situation with the 3.5mm audio jack. It's like Apple is hiding the real reasons for removing it. They didn't really need to get rid of it because they don't have an industry-wide standard to replace it with except... Bluetooth.
While the display may hide an improved panel, it still has the same specs in terms of size and resolution: a 4.7" unit with a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels (that's 326ppi). It's a LED-backlit IPS LCD screen with RGB matrix. It's also 3D Touch-enabled, a technology we first saw on the iPhone 6s.
The new Retina display is 25% brighter and conforms to an even wider color gamut (cinema-standard) though few users will notice a change. Those are the upgrades over the already excellent screen that the iPhone 6s had.
The iPhone 7 offers a maximum brightness of 560nits at the far end of its brightness slider, which is slightly better than the iPhone 6. If you leave it on Auto, however, the screen will readily go as high as 660 nits in bright light conditions, which is certainly nice.
The blacks offered by the new Retina screen are deep and combined with the high brightness, the screen scores an excellent contrast ratio of 1225:1.
Apple offers the so-called Night Shift mode which adjusts the colors in your device's display to make sure that your eyes aren't exposed to the bright blue light after sunset. You can choose the exact start and end hours and your screen will be yellow-ish during that time.
In bright sunlight the iPhone 7 screen faired exceptionally well and remained legible all the time.
The iPhone 7 is equipped with a non-removable Li-Po 1960mAh battery, which is about 15% beefier than the one of the iPhone 6s. There is also the new energy-efficient Apple A10 Fusion chip, which combined with the new battery and optimized iOS 10, should offer a longer battery life than before.
And in case you need your phone by the end of its charge, the Low-Power mode, which you can enable manually, should save your iPhone 7 from dying faster once the charge drops below 20%.
The iPhone 7 posted very balanced scores across the board - it can do about 11 and a half hours of 3G calls or web browsing on a single charge, while you can watch videos for about 9 hours. The standby endurance turned out average and thus the final rating of the average 61 hours. The rating means two days and thirteen hours is how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the iPhone 7 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. Such usage pattern may not apply to your own use case but we've established it so our battery results are comparable across devices.
The Apple iPhone 7 comes with a bunch of wireless connectivity features. It supports faster LTE Cat. 12 (up to 450Mpbs down, 150Mbps up) and has one of the widest LTE band coverage we've seen. Regular 2G and 3G connectivity is all safely covered as well with a multitude of supported network bands.
The iPhone 7 also supports the latest Voice over LTE (VoLTE), HD Voice and Wi-Fi calling protocols, but those are carrier dependent features so not everyone will get to enjoy them.
Naturally, the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards are dully covered. There is also support for NFC, but its functionality is only limited to Apple's region-restricted Apple Pay system.
The iPhone 7 uses a proprietary Lightning connector for wired data transfers, charging, and audio. There is limited USB Host support - you can attach some certified accessories or access your digital camera storage via proprietary adapters sold separately. You can pair a Bluetooth keyboard to the phone should you need this sort of peripheral.
Now that there is no 3.5mm audio jack on board the phone, you can use the provided Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter to continue using your favorite pair of wired headphones with the iPhone.
Or you can get Apple's new wireless AirPods. The most interesting thing about them from connectivity point of view is that they come with an extra chip Apple calls W1, which makes Bluetooth pairing much faster and easier.
It's a proprietary chip but we may see other certified MiFi Bluetooth headsets come with it down the road as well. We'll have to wait and see!
- LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen
- iOS 10.0.1, A10
- 32GB Storage, 2GB RAM
- 12MP Camera, 7MP FaceTime HD
- 3D Touch, Fingerprint sensor (Touch ID)
Order the Iphone 7 today and have it delivered to your doorstep within 1-3 working days or same-day within Nairobi. Payment on delivery.