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The iPhone 7 Plus

Thoughts and observations on a new phone.

I got an iPhone 7 Plus about a week ago. It’s as wonderful as you’d expect it to be, with some weird shortcomings.

The iPhone Upgrade Program

I signed up for this last year and got a 6S. It is one of the best deal’s you can get on a new iPhone. No carrier ties, AppleCare included, and if you want to just ride out the bills, the phone is yours after 24 months without any strings leftover.

I’ve seen some blog posts about people having bad experiences getting a new phone through the IUP. I didn’t have any of these issues, probably because I didn’t try to preorder. I waited until I got an email from Apple with a survey asking me to pick what size, color, etc. that I wanted and a week later my phone was ready to pick up. The pickup process was quick and painless.

I think if you really want to get the newest phone as fast as possible, the IUP isn’t for you. If you have a little bit of patience, the program is pretty great.

Plus Size

Obviously the biggest change for me, going from a 6S to a 7 Plus, is the change in screen size. I went Plus for a few reasons: more memory, bigger battery, nicer camera. So far, I can say the first two have paid off (I haven’t had a chance to really test the camera yet).

Getting new benefits, though, came with a downside: this thing is massive. I’m basically in the process of re-learning how to hold and use an iPhone. The Plus isn’t something that can easily be used one-handed, so I need to break that habit. It’s annoying, but I like some of the extra features that the bigger screen gets. Sure, the split-layout stuff in landscape isn’t super useful, but at least it doesn’t feel like landscape mode is incredibly useless anymore.

Battery

Oh, this is the best part. The battery life is massively better than the 6S. Apple claims around 3 hours more (they say going from the 6S to the 7 gives you 2 hours and going from the 7 to the 7 Plus gives you 1 hour). That seems about right. With the 6S, I would need the little bit of extra charge that it would get as I was driving home. Now I can probably skip charging it some nights. This is wonderful.

Stray Observations

  • I still hate the camera bump. Now it’s even bigger. Which means I still need a case. The Apple Leather case is actually better for the 7 series since the buttons are now actual plastic buttons rather than raised bumps in the leather.
  • The home “button” is… weird. It works fine when you are holding the phone, but a lot of the feedback is lost when the phone is sitting on a table or desk. I don’t think most people will notice or even care about the change.
  • The camera seems great at first glance, though again I haven’t really tested it out yet. I’m intrigued by the upcoming portrait mode.
  • The speakers are loud and sound better. They’re still phone speakers, but a nice improvement.
  • I love the little haptic touches throughout the UI. Overall, the new taptic engine is a really good improvement.
  • Going from 64GB to 128GB isn’t that big of a change. It does basically remove all worries about limited storage, though.
  • I went for the matte black finish. Jet black just didn’t interest me since I’m just going to keep a case on it.