Testing the iPhone 7 Plus: small changes, big consequences

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A few weeks after his arrival at the editorial office, it is time to give you our verdict on the iPhone 7 Plus. A phablette that oscillates between the status quo, some good surprises and a big blow of mouth.

Apple advances in small steps in 2016 for its range of iPhone. There was first in March an excellent iPhone SE, mix of the iPhone 5S for the design and the iPhone 6S for some components then the range iPhone 7 in September with the smartphone and the phablette. It is the latter which occupies us in this article.

Why in small steps? Because we have the feeling that the Cupertino firm keeps underfoot for 2017. A year that will mark the ten years of the telephone and that could well be synonymous with breakage at several levels. Especially for design.

This iPhone 7 Plus adopts the S version codes of Apple phones. No or almost no change for the design and notable improvements for the components. But is the phablette capable of meeting the expectations of users? This is what we will try to see in this test.

What does not change

The care of

To say that the 3rd phablette of the brand repeats exactly the same design that the generations 2014 and 2016 would be lying. Two changes are particularly noteworthy: the addition of the dual photo sensor on the back and the absence of a jack have a far greater impact on the uses than on the features of the phone or its grip. The latter remains identical as are its dimensions. Uses are therefore at least the same. This iPhone 7 Plus is designed for multimedia, games and also, to a certain extent, productivity.

The screen

Apple has chosen to extend the same screen diagonal (5.5 inches) and the same resolution (Retina HD equivalent to Full HD on Android). But the firm remains faithful to itself by trying to improve the components. Here it is the brightness that increases. This is not particularly noticeable in the interior, however in full sunlight, we noted an improvement in visibility. Another small change to the screen: the extension of 3D Touch technology – which creates a right click on applications – to use applications. This is especially the case on games where the return proposed by the screen gives the impression that we touch joystick buttons type PS4 and Xbox One. In our opinion, this is a great way to popularize a very practical technology but whose adoption is slowed down by our education of the touch screen for a decade. Education that consists of brushing the screen and not pressing frankly on it. It will still have to wait for the games to level and add this support through updating.

The most powerful phone of the year 2016

This year again the iPhone should win the most powerful smartphone title against an Android competition that is not miserly in specification with 4 or 6 GB of RAM. Apple has the advantage of developing hardware and software in the same way and therefore optimize its components. The 7 Plus only offers 2 GB of RAM but will win the most phone title of the year. The figures obtained on the benchmarks are impressive but what strikes most is the reactivity in hand. This is obvious when you switch from an iPhone 5 or 6 to this generation 2016. This is a little less true if you make the switch between the 6S range and the 7. This power is also noticeable on the games through the Graphic rendering. The A10 Fusion processor puts the experience even further. The only regret that this leaves us is that the firm has not yet decided to turn its phone into a real workstation for professionals as does Windows 10 with the Lumia 950 from Microsoft but also other brands like Acer.

An almost identical autonomy

The promise on the autonomy of 7 Plus is that we gain one hour in standard use. This gain is hardly quantifiable to be quite honest. The measures we have carried out show some progress but nothing frankly transcendent. And then, we repeat it regularly, autonomy is above all dependent on the usages of each other and proves to be very variable. Including from one day to the next. We still pushed the experience to a little more than two full days by making some efforts here and there but with the Apple Watch connected almost permanently. A result almost identical to what we had achieved with the 6S Plus in 2015.

What changes

The dual photo sensor

We were expecting a lot from the dual photo sensor 12 + 12 MP of the phablette. And we are not disappointed. Our favorite is to put on the account of the digital zoom x2 which allows to make beautiful pictures. It will be especially useful for making portraits. The indoor and outdoor dive is excellent. The limit appears in the middle of the night with the appearance of electronic noise on the image while the capture of the light is rather good. The 7 Plus does not compete with the Galaxy S7 Edge on this terrain anyway.

The absence of the jack is sorely lacking

Apple has decided to remove the jack from its phone to push the user on the lightning jack. Why not. However, this suppression is at the expense of usages. We find ourselves in an ubesque situation where we can not use the phone to watch a video or listen to music when we recharge the phone. Unless you use bluetooth products! It is all the more frustrating that the firm had probably the technical means to offer wireless charging to offer another solution to its customers.

The Home button with haptic feedback

This is a somewhat disturbing change at the beginning of using the phone. The Home button is no longer physical but tactile. The impression to the touch is thus very different and a little embarrassing during the first 10 minutes. After that, it’s like we’ve always used it. IOS 10 even allows us to configure it as we wish with three different pressure levels. Coupled with Touch ID (always as fast and efficient), we mainly expect to know what Apple will be able to offer us in the future because this change is necessarily synonymous with novelties in a while. To be continued.

So this iPhone 7 Plus?

It would be severe to say that this iPhone 7 Plus disappoints. That would be totally false. But Apple plays the security card with a phone that we feel it keeps underfoot. The design remains very good (we will not criticize what we have been celebrating for two years), as well as the grip. The power we have in our hands allows us to do many things just as the quality of the screen that adapts to all multimedia uses. The dual photo sensor with its digital zoom x2 is clearly a very nice surprise. On the other hand, the absence of the plug that forces the user to turn to bluetooth solutions that are perfectible does not convince us for lack of recharge wirelessly.

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