iPhone 7 review

Launching a phone that looks exactly like the last two is perhaps not the best way to get buyers excited, but Apple has made a few significant upgrades to the iPhone 7 which should appeal. But is it enough? Let's find out. If you're unsure of the differences, see our iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus comparison.

Also see: Best Black Friday Phone Deals

iPhone 7: (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition

On 21 March, Apple announced a new model of the iPhone 7 to tickle your interest. The (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition is, as you can see below, a red colour option for the phone. Everything in terms of size and specs remain the same with pre-orders starting on 24 March and on sale next week.

The iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition price is £699 for the 128GB model. It's not available in 32GB but there is a 256GB storage capacity for £799. Buy it from the Apple store.

"This gives customers an unprecedented way to contribute to the Global Fund and bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free generation," said Apple.

iPhone 7 (Product)RED Special Edition

iPhone 7 review: Price

If things got off to a bad start with design - or the lack of change in design, rather - then it doesn't get any better if you look at the iPhone 7's price.

It starts at £599, which is the base 32GB model, then there's a big jump to 128GB (£699) and the capacious 256MB version which is another £100, making £799 - all from Apple's online shop. These are higher than the iPhone 6S prices were, but don't forget that storage is doubled in each model.

It's great that the 16GB base model has finally been ditched, and 32GB is a very usable amount for most people. But don't forget that it's not easy to add to this. Unlike most Android phones, the iPhone offers no microSD card slot.

Clearly this is a flagship phone, so no-one should be shocked by the prices and few people will buy it outright anyway. Apple offers its upgrade program which lets you get a new phone every year, but even the 32GB model costs £33.45 per month and that doesn't include a SIM plan. Plus, it's basically a rental agreement: you hand back the phone when you get your upgrade in a year's time.

Buy it on contract and you'll pay over £40 per month, usually with a small upfront fee. Again, that's the base 32GB model. (See also: iPhone 7 Plus price and specs.)

iPhone 7 review: Design

iPhone 7 review

With the iPhone 6 and 6S before it, little is left to say about the iPhone 7's design. Its rounded edges feel great - the glass screen curves to meet the aluminium body perfectly - and it's thin yet solid in the hand. If you really know your iPhones, you'll also notice the lack of antenna lines running across the back. They haven't gone completely - they now just run around the top and bottom edges and on our silver test phone, they're hardly noticeable at all.

Dimensions and weight are the same, or as near as makes no difference. Most iPhone 6/6s cases will fit the iPhone 7. The camera bump is different (it's now part of the chassis itself) and there are now four LEDs crammed into the circle next to the lens.

The news this year is that there's no headphone jack. Well, not in the traditional sense. Now you plug your EarPods into the Lightning port instead, or you can use the Lightning-to-3.5mm minijack if you prefer to use normal headphones.

iPhone 7 review

Is it a problem? Not really, until you want to use headphones and charge the phone at the same time. You can either buy another adaptor which costs £35 and gives you two Lightning ports. 

There are two new colours to choose, both of which replace Space Grey. Black (shown below) is the most similar - it's just black instead of grey. Jet Black is the eye-catching one, the aluminium chassis is polished until it's perfectly glossy and doesn't even feel like metal any more. It's the high-maintenance choice, though. Touch it and the finish is immediately marred by your fingerprints; move it across a table and it will inevitably pick up tiny scratches.

iPhone 7 review

It's slightly pointless using a case which will hide or at least mask the reflective finish, and bear in mind that there's no 32GB Jet Black model, so £699 is the cheapest option here.

Home button

One other subtle design change is the solid home button. It doesn't move, but is instead more like a touchpad, recognising a tap or a touch. To make it feel like you're pressing it, there's new haptic feedback - the strength of which you can customise - and it's amazingly convincing. In fact, the bigger 'Taptic Engine' is put to good use with haptics throughout iOS 10.

iPhone 7 review

When you swipe to delete an email you feel the slightest 'click' and when you roll the number dials to set a time or date, it really feels like you're manipulating a click wheel.

The new home button makes one less place for water to ingress, but it does present a drawback: it doesn't work if you're wearing gloves or if you push it with a fingernail. Minor issues, granted.

Waterproofing

The iPhone 7 is rated to IP67, which means you can take it 1m underwater for 30 minutes. That's a first for an Apple product, and it isn't simply for the accident-prone. While it will undoubtedly survive being dropped in the bath (which gives you peace of mind around water), it opens up new uses such as underwater photos and video. No need to buy a GoPro, then.

It's interesting that, while you could say that the iPhone 7 is late to the pool party, Sony's latest Xperia range isn't water-resistant. That really is a step backwards.

See also: 20 best phones to buy


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