Three Week Review - A worthy upgrade for iPhone 6 Plus and older phones, not 6S Plus
Sachin (Oct 27, 2016)
Alright, I got my case and screen guard delivered well in time, and it's been three weeks with the phone. So here is my detailed review.This is for the iPhone 7 Plus 256GB Matte Black.My "personal" preference was for the matte black finish over the jet black one, for metallic feel and smudge and scratch resistance.From the front, both the blacks are exactly the same.Although to be honest, my iPhone 6 Plus in gold still looks much better than this one.But, hey, since we have two new colors for the 7 and 7 Plus, why not go for those for a change! These may not be available even next year with newer iPhones.Anyways, color is your personal choice.The 7 Plus has no great reason for an iPhone 6S Plus user to upgrade.So, for those already having a 6S Plus, who are still contemplating, please skip the review and enjoy your 6S Plus till next year's anniversary edition. (Get some good wide angle and telescopic mobile lenses to complement your already great camera).For everyone else, yes, the 7 Plus strikes all the right notes to be worthy of your stash, even before the 2017 iPhone.Thumbs up 'IP67 rating' Being from a city where rains are so unpredictable, I have had those moments where I really had to rely on my phone's ability to withstand water when it's needed the most. Also, I have an OCD to keep my gadgets clean. I have dust plugs on my 6 Plus for the headphone and lightning ports to keep dust and debris away. With the iPhone 7 Plus, there is so much less to worry about.Thumbs Down 'No 3.5m headphone jack' Tim should have shown "Courage" to include liquid damage in warranty, as against showing "Courage" in removing the headphone jack.The main reason for the removal is the new haptic chip, which is taking much space at the bottom of the device for providing haptic feedback to the home button (which is not a physical clickable button now). Although I do have Bluetooth headphones, they do not provide the same audio quality, and I find them mostly discharged, whenever I have a couple of minutes to listen to music in peace.I did not find any difference in audio quality with standard or lightning earpods.Thumbs up 'Stereo Speakers' A decade ago, I was so excited to have bought the Nokia N73, which had stereo speakers and those flashy 3D effect ringtones (Ah, good ol' days). The speakers were simply awesome, even in comparison to today's phones. iPhones, till now, only had mono speakers. The 7 series bring stereo experience which was way long pending. And mind you, this did not come with the removal of the headphone jack, as the other speaker is embedded in the earpiece on top. All in all, the speakers sound great, and there is no looking back now.Thumbs up 'The Cameras? One of the best cameras on a phone till date. Turn on in an instant, great wide color capture, reproduction and clarity. The 2X optical zoom is again a very welcome feature. The camera still lags behind in low light reproduction in comparison with the latest Samsung flagships, but, in all other circumstances, the iPhone beats the competition hands down (Not that the low light performance is bad, it's just not at par with the S7 or Note 7). The flash is now quad flash, and it's twice as bright as the 6S (also brighter than the Samsung flagships).The much anticipated Portrait mode with the bokeh effect just launched yesterday (26 Oct 2016), and is still in beta (Seems much like alpha, as the photos come out horrendous!). I'll wait for a usable release, for now it's a shameless gimmick (Ya, thumbs down for just this one; we expected so much more with the dual camera setup ' 3D photography and what not).(Oct 2017 update: Finally portrait mode is usable only after iOS11 update in Oct 2017. All it needed was enabling flash in portrait mode, which is now available).The already great secondary FaceTime camera is upgraded to 7 MP, which is a huge upgrade from older iPhones. Not just megapixels, the sensor is much better in all aspects from dynamic range to wide color capture. It also gets Retina Flash (Simply the screen flashes when you take snaps, like some 3rd party apps :-| ).Tip: Try taking a snap of your computer screen with the 7 Plus and older iPhones, you sure will be amazed! (See pics attached)Thumbs up 'Always on Siri' Call out 'Hey Siri' even when your phone is not charging, no matter where your phone is in the room (Since iPhones from 2015). With the integration of Siri in third party apps, yes, Siri finally becomes useful than just setting up a reminder or 'trying' to call your friend having a desi name in a fake accent.Thumbs up 'Under the hood upgrades? The 7 series is a leap forward in terms of performance, multitasking capabilities and battery optimization. And double the storage this time, which was long pending, and a dire necessity with all the live photos and slo'mo's we're going to take.The RAM upgrade is also a necessity now, with some apps such as NDTV and PayTM crashing because of low RAM on older iPhones. Surely, the fingers point towards the implementation of the apps, but, the device needs to leave some leg room, too).Some more notes - The box this time contains an Indian pin charger, and not those weak and wobbly European thin pin plugs (I hate those thin pin chargers - do not fit in properly anywhere, not even in spike guards)The earpods come cheaply wrapped in paper, without the plastic case it used to come in till now; seems all the plastic is now being used for the $150 Airpods!In either argument, the Phone of the Year award 2016 unanimously goes to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus - There is no better phone around alive as on this date.Another small observation - For some reason, even though the 7 Plus promises to be 50% brighter than previous iPhones, my screen looks darker/duller than my 6 Plus. I need to confirm if it's just me, my full body glass screen guard, or some software issue, or something else.Not adding standard product photos as there are plenty online. Posting something different that might be useful to some, if not all.Adding just one comparison pic between black 7 Plus and gold 6 Plus, but, photos of phones really do not do justice to them; you need to see and hold them in person to know if they meet your needs, wants and expectations.All the best and hope this helps!-Sachin
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