Monday , 21 August 2017

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus: What’s the difference and which is best for me?

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The wait is over, the iPhone 7 is real. And so is the iPhone 7 Plus. Great, now we have to make a decision. Arghh.

Sure, line the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus up next to each other and size is the most obvious difference. But there’s more separating these two than just the added inches. There are also key features and must-have functions between them.

Are innovative improvements worth the increased footprint and supersized price tag, though? Well, that will depend largely on what you’re looking for. Yes, the iPhone 7 Plus might be the on-paper winner, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into real-life skills. We’ve pitted the two against each other to see not just which comes out on top in the battle of the iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus, but which, ultimately, is best suited to your needs.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus Design: The same, but different

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These two phones might look the same, but there are a few notable differences. Namely the size. The 4.7-inch iPhone is small by modern standards and dwarfed by its 5.5-inch big brother. Neither hold their size particularly well though, with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 7 offering larger screens at similar, if not slightly smaller footprints.

What the iPhones have going for them, however, is sleek lines and an effortlessly cool appearance. Yes, they look a lot like their predecessors, but there are enough design updates here to get excited about. Those ugly antenna lines have been stripped back to create a cleaner look and two new black models (a matt and a gloss option) have replaced the Space Grey colour scheme. These are joined by the now customary gold, silver and rose gold options whichever size you plump for.

Both now also boast impressive new water resistance. We’re not just talking about a bit of drizzle either: the IPX7 finish means the 7 and 7 Plus can stand up to spilled drinks and accidental toilet drops (you too?) without succumbing to a watery demise.

They also share the new range’s worst design feature – the lack of a headphone jack. Despite the traditional 3.5mm audio connection being on pretty much every pair of headphones going, Apple has left it out of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Looks like you’ll have to make do with a pair of Bluetooth cans.

So far, so similar. There is one big design difference between the two, however, and it’s around back. While the iPhone 7 features just a single, traditional camera, the 7 Plus mixes things up with a dual camera array. That means a larger camera protrusion. It looks pretty cool though, and we’ll delve into its benefits a little more later.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus Screen: Proving size DOES matter

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Y’know how you were told size doesn’t matter? It was all a lie. When it comes to smartphone screens the bigger the better, and that’s certainly Apple’s approach. As well as being bigger – we’re talking 5.5-inches of onscreen real estate compared with 4.7-inches – the iPhone 7 Plus’s panel is sharper and more detailed. Notably so.

While the iPhone 7’s 1334 x 750 pixel Retina HD panel is decent, it’s not ground-breaking. Not only does it lag significantly behind the likes of the HTC 10 and LG G5 on the raw detail front, its 326 pixels per inch image density is also significantly behind the 1920 x 1080p, 401ppi panel found on the 7 Plus.

Although the iPhone 7 Plus has the edge in image quality, the two new iPhones are matched on colour range and brightness. With a new, wider colour gamut helping both phones pop, a 25% increase in brightness ensures the screen is vibrant in all situations.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus Features & Performance: Much and much alike

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While their screens might be different, beneath the hood these two are identical. That’s anything but a bad thing though. Powered by the new A10 Fusion chipset, each handset offers more grunt than you’re ever likely to need. Three times more powerful than last year’s phones, this upgrade also brings with it graphics bumps, perfect for those with a slight mobile gaming addiction.

That’s not where the improvements end either. Both models have seen their storage options increased, with new 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB devices competing the line-up. Each of these will run the new Messages-enhancing, Siri-improving, Photos-revolutionising iOS 10 operating system. They each also play host to Apple’s new Touch ID home button that boasts haptic feedback to enhance its input options.

On to battery, and the Plus’s juice pack – which was bigger to begin with – has made slightly less progress. While the iPhone 7 offers two hours’ more battery life compared with last year’s iPhone 6S, the 7 Plus provides just an extra hour’s juice when lined up side-by-side with the 6S Plus. That means both will now comfortably take you into a second day before a trip to the mains is necessary.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus Camera: Where the differences lie

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OK, this is where the real differences come in because, in case the pictures hadn’t made it clear, the iPhone 7 Plus doubles down on its camera efforts, boasting not just one, but two 12-megapixel cameras on the rear. Why? Well, it’s all in the name of improved image quality. How? Well, that’s where things get a little bit more complicated.

First, the iPhone 7. Although retaining its 12-meg count, everything’s changed. The new, larger sensor not only lets in more light, but is 60% faster than past models to offer sharper snaps. Paired with a new six-element f/1.8 wide aperture lens and it’s capable of producing more detailed, brighter results, even when the lights come down.

Despite playing host to the same sensor, the iPhone 7 Plus pairs this f/1.8 wide-angle lens with a second telephoto offering. This means you can now get closer to your shooting subject without getting off your arse, and all without losing image quality. While you’ll be able to pick to shoot with these lenses individually, you’ll also be able to shoot with both simultaneously for better overall results.

By merging the two snaps, your photos will be filled with more detail and allow you to alter focus points. It also means that more light’s coming in, and that means brighter, more detailed, less noisy shots. Around front, both handsets toe the same line with a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera replacing last year’s 5-meg offering.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus Price: Very expensive or extortionately so

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The specs sheets might be quite similar, but the prices most certainly aren’t, and they’ve been given a serious post-Brexit hike (once again, thanks, British public). Starting off with the iPhone 7 and prices now start at £599 for the 32GB model (up on last year’s £539 asking price for the base level 16GB unit).

That’s just the lofty starting point too. From there, the 128GB and 256GB models will hit you for £699 and a wallet-busting £799 respectively. Things are much worse if you’ve got your eye on the iPhone 7 Plus too. Starting at £719, ouch, the trio of storage options move past £819 to a remortgage needing £919.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus: Which is best for me?

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On paper the iPhone 7 Plus is the superior handset, but it’s not going to be for everyone. That dual camera and slightly higher resolution display are definite boons, but fans of skinny jeans and smaller handbags will struggle with its size. As will those without a bottomless overdraft.

Whichever handset you plump for, however, you won’t be disappointed. The core feature set that’s carried across the two devices will appease any smartphone owner, even if the missing headphone port is sure to annoy.

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