It may not be the upgrade we were hoping for, but the iPhone 7 Plus is still an excellent phone with improved cameras, super slick performance and a handy waterproof, yet familiar design.
Apple's iPhone 7 Plus is more than just a bigger iPhone 7 – it's a markedly better version of Apple's newest flagship smartphone.
iPhone 7 Plus specs
Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm
OS: iOS 10
Screen size: 5.5-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 1920
CPU: Apple A10 Fusion
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 7MP
Why if the iPhone 7 Plus better? Two reasons other than the bigger screen size: improved battery life and an innovative camera.
Battery is always going to be better on a bigger phone, given the larger capacity, but the camera was a suprise. Apple added a dual-camera lens, a conscious effort to make the iPhone 7 Plus a distinctly different choice.
There are also new color configurations, more space to throw in your media and apps, and changes to the internals – we lose the headphone jack, but gain a new kind of vibrating motor.
All this added fun comes at a cost though: the 7 Plus is the most expensive iPhone ever. So is it a price worth paying, or are you going to feel out of pocket?
As we said in our iPhone 7 review, there are many, many similarities between 2016's iPhones and the 6S duo – and while the iPhone 7 Plus may be the better of the two new iPhones, it hasn't exactly moved on in leaps and bounds from the iPhone 6S Plus.
iPhone 7 Plus price
- Launched on September 16 2016
- Starts at $769 (£719, AU$1,229) for 32GB model
The iPhone 7 Plus went on sale on September 16… sort of. That was the official release date given by Apple during its iPhone launch event, but as release day dawned it transpired that the 7 Plus had been so popular during the pre-order period there wasn't any stock left at Apple Stores.
At the time the Apple website said the typical wait for iPhone 7 Plus delivery is 2-3 weeks - but several months since launch and the handset is much easier to get your hands on.
The iPhone 7 Plus price starts at $769 (£719, AU$1,229) for the entry-level 32GB model. Apple has finally (and thankfully) done away with the 16GB storage option, so you're getting double the storage over the entry-level iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus – but you'll be paying an extra $20 (£100, AU$40) more for the privilege.
That's not all that much extra – although for those in the UK that price hike has been amplified by the vote to leave the EU and the subsequent fall in the value of the pound, hitting iPhone-loving Brits squarely in the pocket. Find the cheapest contract for you with our guide to the best iPhone 7 Plus deals.
Apple has also ditched the 64GB model and brought in a new 256GB option at the top of the range, with 128GB dropping down to become the middle storage option.
The 128GB iPhone 7 Plus price is $869 (£819, AU$1,419), while power users will need to shell out a whopping $969 (£919, AU$1,569) if they want to get their hands on the 256GB version.
While rival handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and LG G5 have witnessed healthy price drops since their arrivals, there's no such luck for those eyeing up the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple deals are always hard to find. Expect an iPhone 7 price drop whenever the iPhone 8 is announced.
Apple's smartphones always hold their value much better than their competitors and only see a significant price reduction once their replacements arrive.
- Water resistance is genuinely useful
- Lack of a headphone jack is initially frustrating
- More of the same design, with the same look as predecessors
It's easy to tell the iPhone 7 Plus apart from its predecessors, as it's the only iPhone to sport two cameras on its rear.
Aside from the bulkier camera block, lack of a headphone port (more on that in a minute) and a couple of new colors though, Apple's stuck with exactly the same design that's served it well for its previous two iPhone iterations.
If you've owned, or are familiar with, the iPhone 6 Plus or 6S Plus then you'll know exactly what the iPhone 7 Plus looks like.
The rounded corners, aluminum frame and minimalist styling means the iPhone 7 Plus retains its premium status, and with the introduction of new black and 'jet black' colors, fans have two new ways to show their dark side.
More recently, Apple introduced a special edition red version of the iPhone 7 Plus (and iPhone 7) in partnership with the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS programs and help deliver an AIDS-free generation.
We've used the red version of the iPhone 7 Plus now and found most people who have seen it like the look of the phone, but no-one we've spoken to has been thrilled enough to jump out of their seats to buy the phone in red immediately.
If you're curious about the shiny jet black finish, check out our iPhone 7 review, but if you're interested in the standard black color then stay right here.
We're fans of this matte black finish, as it gives the iPhone 7 Plus an understated yet elegant look – basically the polar opposite to the gaudy rose gold that's also an option here.
Moving on to the lack of a headphone jack, it's a decision Apple has described as "courageous", but while it's a positive step forward for the mobile industry, the short-term effects are the ones that are making the most noise for now.
Apple does include an adapter in the iPhone 7 Plus box, allowing you to plug in your standard 3.5mm headphone connection – but it's not a particularly appealing compromise. It also includes a set of lightning-connected EarPods, so you can avoid the adapter if you don't mind Apple's creations – but immediately there's a problem.
If you're someone who tends to find themselves charging their iPhone while also listening to music via a pair of wired headphones, that's a no-go with the iPhone 7 Plus. It's one or the other – unless you use an adaptor that's rather unattractive, and which you'll have to purchase separately.
The easy way around this is to invest in a set of wireless headphones – Apple's own AirPods will be available later this year for $159 (£159, AU$229) – but any Bluetooth set will work with the handset if you want to spend less.
It's far from a crisis at Apple, but the inconvenience is real – and it's one we experienced during our review – although it's one that can be easily overcome if you're willing to compromise a little.
A new feature that's much less controversial is the IP67 rating for the iPhone 7 Plus, meaning it's both dust-proof and water-resistant.
It'll be able to survive an accidental slip into the bath, or a quick email bashed out in the shower, with the official test showing it's good for a half-hour dip at a depth of up to one meter in freshwater.
It's worth noting that it's fully waterproof though, and frequent exposure to water may well spell trouble – but the iPhone is now more capable than ever of surviving life's little accidents.
Measuring 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm, the 7 Plus is exactly the same size as the 6S Plus it's replacing, although it has dropped slightly in weight, from 192g to 188g. For users looking to upgrade from the now two-year-old 6 Plus, the 7 Plus is slightly thicker, and still a little heavier than your current device.
You're unlikely to notice the difference in the hand though, as it'll still stretch your one-handed dexterity to the max, especially when it comes to hitting the back button in the top-left corner.
Apple's 'reachability' feature, while sees the top of the screen jump down to halfway with a double-tap of the home key, is still in play here, which helps alleviate the sheer height of the handset dictated by the Cupertino firm's now-iconic chunky bezels.
Bringing all this together, Apple has another well-styled iPhone on its hands, and while it hasn't broken any new ground in terms of looks, this is the most robust and refined handset we've seen from the firm to date.
However, with the recent arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S8, which has a larger 5.8-inch display in a smaller form factor, the iPhone 7 Plus feels even more bezel-heavy than before.
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