Since the iPhone 6, Apple has released a larger phablet to accompany its flagship smartphone. This year, the iPhone 7 Plus feels more like a completely separate device than just a bigger iPhone 7. Its camera, improved battery performance, and faster hardware, provides an upper hand to the iPhone 7, but as an increased price tag.

Related: iPhone 7 Review: Jacked Off, But Great

iPhone 7 Tech Specs

Display 5.5-inches (1920×1080)
Battery 2900mAh
Storage 32GB/128GB/256GB
Waterproof ip67 – Water, splash and dust resistant
CPU A10 Fusion Chip
RAM 3GB
OS iOS 10
Camera Dual 12MP Rear Camera, Quad LED Flash, 7MP Front
Network LTE
Colours Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Black and Jet Black
Price Starting at R15 499

Design

The iPhone 7 Plus has the same look and feel as the iPhone 7, but it is bigger. The iPhone 7 Plus is 1.2 inches larger than the iPhone 7, which means it weighs 50 grams more than the smaller model, at 188 grams. The Jet Black model which we have, is shiny, to almost completely reflective. The antennas are faded into the phone as they are darker compared to the matte black and other colour offerings, making the iPhone 7 Plus look like a unibody shell. Its design is reminicent to the classic iPhone 3G look with its shiny black body and silver Apple logo.

iPhone 7 Plus Review

The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus jut out at the back of the phone, which must be looked after when placing the phone on its back. The Jet Black model feels smoother in our hands than the metal finish. The glossy design has a better grip than the metal one. The Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t get so hot compared to the matte finish, as the shell is made to reflect heat rather than absorb it.

The home button is simply now a bevel in the screen with no actual button underneath it. It rather detects pressure thanks to the 3D Touch chip, and responds with a haptic vibration when you press the button. It is a beautiful feeling in our hands as we press the screen, and the vibration makes us believe that we actually pressed a button. It is something we have never experienced before.

Probably the most controversial feature is the lack of the audio jack. We, however, see this as a step into the future. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, both come with an adapter in the box. The device now has a stereo speaker system, which has one speaker at the bottom of the phone, and the other at the top by the microphone. This makes gaming and video streaming sound much better.

The iPhone 7 range is ip67 rated, which means that it is water and dust resistant. Be careful not to mix this up with waterproof, as it is not. You can drop it in a bucket of water, and take it out and shake off the droplets, but any prolonged water contact might be damaging to the (expensive to replace) iPhone 7 Plus.

Performance

Anything we threw at the iPhone 7 Plus was done without any speed issue, or jamming. We only had one issue where the iPhone 7 Plus crashed back to the lock screen, but we think that this was a beta issue as we were running the iOS 10.1 beta. The new hardware in the iPhone 7 Plus also complements all the features in iOS 10. 3D touch can be used to quickly open Facebook to a status update, and all the ringtones now have a specific haptic feel to them.

The iPhone 7 Plus would be nothing without iOS 10, and it goes hand in hand to create a flawless experience.

Hardware speaking, the 3GB of RAM, and the Quad-Core 2.23GHz CPU, powers the iPhone 7 Plus, and you can feel it. The screen renders at a great full HD, even though there are better resolution devices out there, the 1920×1080 display on the iPhone 7 Plus looks great. The backlit display has also been tweaked and is now brighter than ever, for all those days in the sun. Other improvements can also be felt across the device. One of the biggest ones for us, was the improved fingerprint scanner, that was so darn fast that we thought it might have deleted our profiles.

The iPhone Plus range has always been on top of battery performance, and the iPhone 7 Plus beats the previous models with its great battery life. We really abused our device on a daily basis with full brightness, camera use, and some intense gaming on OZ: Broken Kingdom. We still had around 10-20% at night. Then we have the low power mode which will further expand the battery life by running the device on a lower frequency. With this enabled we could see ourselves get at least a full day of battery on the device. In short, the 2900mAh battery is fantastic.

CameraiPhone 7 Plus Review

The dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus allows the cameras to work together to take beautiful photos. The first lens is a wide-angle 12MP lens, and the second one is a telephoto lens. These two lenses, together, can provide a 2x optical zoom. This means that you will be able to zoom in and focus on an object, without losing image quality. Only after you start zooming in from 2.1x upwards, do you start to notice any image reduction.

low-light

The dual lens camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is by far the best camera we have ever used on a smartphone. Its great capture chip inside the device, produces sharp images, with fantastic color and detail. The 2x zoom comes in handy when taking shots, and it not only provides a better picture, but it also let us take pictures of things that we never were able to do on a smartphone before. Even low-light photos have been the best on iPhone to date, and although we are still not able to capture the same quality as say DSLR camera, the low-light imagery was better than ever.

iPhone 7 Plus

Verdict

The iPhone 7 Plus feels like a massive leap forward in the iPhone range. It might have the best camera to date on a phone. The great battery life, stunning display, fast performance, and overall hardware integration into iOS 10, makes the iPhone 7 Plus more than just an expensive camera.

RELATED: The iPhone 7 Bokeh Effect In Action

iPhone 7 Plus Review: So much more than an iPhone
Apple hit the mark this year with the iPhone 7 Plus. It is definitely the must-have phone of the year with its great camera, battery life, and hardware performance.
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