Notebookcheck

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Smartphone Review

Patrick Afschar Kaboli, Daniel Schmidt (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 09/19/2016

The second one features better zooming. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus is showing off with two main cameras and a powerful processor. All of this is sitting inside a water and dust resistant case with two new colors. You also get stereo speakers, but the analog headphone jack has been removed.

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For the original German review, see here.

Most facts were already known ahead of the launch event for the new smartphones from Cupertino: The devices will be called iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and there are just minor visual changes – but there are still a lot of new features.

The Apple iPhone 7 Plus now has two cameras with different focal lengths, one wide angle lens and one telephoto lens. This means that pictures taken with the smaller angle can be taken without digital losses – at least with a 2x zoom. Apple has also implemented its latest chip generation, A10 Fusion, which is once again supposed to be much faster than the older generations. Furthermore, Apple says that there are improvements for the cameras as well as the display. Phil Schiller promised higher luminance and wider color gamut during the keynote presentation. We also get stereo speakers and a chassis with protection against water and dust. The Home button is no longer  a mechanical button, but a pressure and touch sensitive surface instead. There are also two new colors. Black as well as Jet Black with a glossy finish, which is also the color of our review unit. By the way: Apple has also dispensed with something. The analog headphone jack is gone and the sound output is now handled by the Lightning port.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus (iPhone Series)
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 401 PPI, capacitive, multi-touch, Retina HD, IPS, P3 color space, glossy: yes
Storage
128 GB NVMe, 128 GB 
, 128 GB, 115.53 GB free
Connections
Audio Connections: Lightning port, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, proximity, ambient light and 3-axis gyro, barometer, digital compass, Lightning port, NFC, GPS, Glonass, IBeacon, Lightning
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM/GPRS/Edge (850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900 1700/2100, 1900, and 2100 MHz), LTE Cat. 9 (Band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 30 (all FDD), 38, 39, 40 41 (all TDD)), LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.3 x 158.2 x 77.9 ( = 0.29 x 6.23 x 3.07 in)
Battery
11.02 Wh, 2915 mAh Lithium-Ion, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 21 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 384 h
Operating System
Apple iOS 10
Camera
Primary Camera: 12 MPix Camera with wide angle and telephoto lens, wide angle: f/1.8 aperture, telephoto lens: f/2.8 aperture, 2 x optical zoom, 4K video @ 30fps, 1080p video @ 60/30 fps, optical image stabilizer
Secondary Camera: 7 MPix f/2.2 arperture, 1080p video, Retina flash
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual, EarPods with Lightning connector, power adapter, Lightning to USB cable, SIM tool, Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter, Home, iMessage, Keynote, Maps, Numbers, News, 12 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
188 g ( = 6.63 oz / 0.41 pounds), Power Supply: 46 g ( = 1.62 oz / 0.1 pounds)
Price
1009 Euro

 

As with the iPhone 7, the case of the iPhone 7 Plus does not really look that different compared to the predecessor. You can still easily distinguish the iPhone 7 Plus from previous generations thanks to the dual-camera at the back.

The iPhone 7 Plus is available in Silver, Gold, Roségold and for the first time also in Black as well as Jet Black. The latter color is a glossy black, which is supposed to be just as durable as the other models. The iPhone 7 Plus like its smaller model is protected according to IP67, which means that you can submerge it in up to 1 meter (~3 ft) deep in fresh water for up to 30 minutes and is also protected against dust. Based on initial videos on the Internet, Apple uses fine mesh inlays behind the speakers and the microphone as well as special adhesives.

The videos also speak about the fact that neither the iPhone 7 Plus nor its smaller sibling bend in the pocket anymore, but the display becomes loose from the frame under a lot of pressure, so you should not sit on the smartphone. The camera lenses as well as the screen and the aluminum at the back are quite scratch-resistant, even a key cannot damage the rear as shown in the video. You should not have razor blades in your pocket though, but this is not really recommended anyway...

The overall chassis quality of the iPhone 7 plus is just as sophisticated as the predecessors, and there does not seem to be a "Bendgate" according to the initial videos on the Internet. The aluminum and glass materials are once again well-chosen and elegant, and the subtle colors work well in most environments.

The dimensions of the iPhone 7 Plus are identical to the predecessor, but it is 4 grams (~0.14 oz) lighter than before. At 188 grams (~6.6 oz), it is still one of the heaviest 5.5-inch smartphones.

From the left: Galaxy Note 7 (5.7"), iPhone 7 Plus (5.5"), OnePlus 3 (5.5")
From the left: Galaxy Note 7 (5.7"), iPhone 7 Plus (5.5"), OnePlus 3 (5.5")

Size Comparison

Connectivity

Apple ships the iPhone 7 Plus with 3 GB of RAM and therefore one GB more than the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 6s Plus. This should be an advantage for the multi-tasking performance of the smartphone and even demanding graphics should be possible.

The ports are similar on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Apple has also dispensed with the 3.5 mm headphone jack for the larger model, but includes an adapter for the conventional headphones at the Lightning port. The Lightning connector is also the only physical connector on the iPhone 7 Plus, but this also means that you will need a split-adapter or the Lightning Dock when you want to listen to music and charge the smartphone at the same time, but both will cost quite a bit.

Speaking of prices: The iPhone 7 Plus is available with different storage capacities, which also define the price. The 32 GB model retails for $769, the 128 GB model for $869 and the 256 GB model for $969. The price and capacity jumps are similar to the smaller iPhone 7.

The iPhone 7 Plus is similar to the smaller sibling in terms of sensors and wireless communication, so we refer to the corresponding review.

Top
Top
Left: Mute, volume rocker
Left: Mute, volume rocker
Bottom: Microphone, Lightning, speaker
Bottom: Microphone, Lightning, speaker
Right: SIM, power
Right: SIM, power

Software

Coinciding with the release of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has also launched iOS 10, the latest software version of the mobile operating system. The most noticeable changes for experienced iOS users start with the wake from standby: The screen of the iPhone 7 Plus will be activated when you lift the smartphone. It will therefore happen quite often at first that you accidentally put it back in standby, because you are just used to pressing the corresponding button.

The next step, unlocking the device, has also changed: "Slide to unlock" is gone; a swipe to the right launches the notification screen. You can now unlock the device via the Home button.

Otherwise, most changes are hardly visible for many users. Once again, Apple has closed some security gaps and Siri can now be used by third-party apps. The notification on the lock screen has also been expanded and can now show pictures and videos or you can instantly reply to messages. The other changes of the biggest iOS release (according to Apple) are only noticeable when you launch Apple's apps:

A lot of work has been put into iMessage. Apple probably realized that the competition from WhatsApp and SnapChat is getting bigger. The new features for the messenger are therefore very modern: You can write handwritten messages, which will appear gradually as you would just write them. Individual words can automatically be replaced by Emojis and there are fullscreen animations when you write "Happy Birthday" or the like.

It is also possible to surprise somebody by sending a hidden picture, which has to be uncovered by the recipient first. There are quick replies for fast answers, and messages can be decorated with pictures or stickers. Some features were copied from SnapChat, like equipping pictures and videos with animations and other elements. There are also apps for iMessage, where further functions can be used directly within the app.

Maps are supposed to be smarter and think about possible destinations depending on your current location. These suggestions are displayed directly. It is also possible to get a table in participating restaurants. The app can now show gas stations along the route, for example, when you use the navigation.

The new Home app can be used to control your smart home; pictures are now automatically sorted by items and people and therefore tagged. It is, for instance, possible to look for pictures on the beach, which will then be displayed.

Text inputs are now even more connected with user information. The iPhone will automatically suggest phone numbers when somebody wants to send a phone number or shows free spots in the calendar if you want to meet somebody.

Apple still promises to encrypt all transmitted user data and not use them to create user profiles.

More information about iOS 10 is available in the review of the iPhone 7.

Communication and GPS

The communication modules of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus are identical to those of the iPhone 7. Our colleagues from iFixit found out that the Qualcomm modem MDM9645M handles the communication. This is actually an LTE Cat. 12 module, but the released specifications suggest that it is only working according to the LTE Cat. 9 standard due to the maximum download speed of up to 450 MB/s. This is, however, only the case for the models in the U.S., Japan and China. European models are equipped with the modem Intel XMM7360, which is supposed to be a bit slower according to the colleagues from Cellular Insights. Apple does not make any compromises in terms of frequencies and supports 23 LTE bands, four of them TDD-LTE bands. The coverage for HSPA+ and GSM networks does not leave anything to be desired. Even frequent travelers should get a connection in all parts of the world.

While the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 was equipped with an additional eSIM, we would have expected this from the iPhone 7 Plus as well. But this is not the case as there is only the usual slot for a Nano-SIM card. This is rather unfortunate, because the worldwide usability would have been better for some travelers with an eSIM. The signal quality of the iPhone 7 Plus was inconspicuous in the metropolitan O2 and Vodafone networks. We always had a stable LTE connection, even indoors.

Nothing has changed compared to the iPhone 6s Plus in terms of the WLAN module. It still supports the common IEEE 802.11 standards a/b/g/n/ac in the 2.4 and 5 GHz networks. This is the first time that we can perform our networking test with our reference router Linksys EA8500 and the iPhone. The transfer rates are quite high compared to most Android rivals, only Lenovo is better. The data connection is very stable in practice at a distance of about 12 meters (~39 ft) from the router and through one wall, and the signal quality can still be called very good. Websites opened quickly in the browser.

iPhone 7 Plus (client, 5.0 GHz)
iPhone 7 Plus (client, 5.0 GHz)
iPhone 7 Plus (server, 5.0 GHz)
iPhone 7 Plus (server, 5.0 GHz)
Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Lenovo Moto Z
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
491 MBit/s ∼100% +15%
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
427 MBit/s ∼87%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
303 MBit/s ∼62% -29%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
286 MBit/s ∼58% -33%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
249 MBit/s ∼51% -42%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
A10 Fusion GPU, A10 Fusion, 128 GB NVMe
395 MBit/s ∼100%
Lenovo Moto Z
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 32 GB eMMC Flash
360 MBit/s ∼91% -9%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
290 MBit/s ∼73% -27%
OnePlus 3
Adreno 530, 820 MSM8996, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
256 MBit/s ∼65% -35%
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
205 MBit/s ∼52% -48%

So far, Apple smartphones have always been pretty convincing in terms of GPS signal quality and accuracy. This is also the case for the iPhone 7 Plus. The initial sat fix took only a couple of seconds, and the location works even indoors – at least in proximity to windows. However, like its smaller sibling, the GPS sensor of the big iPhone is a little too sensitive. The  problem is not that big on the iPhone 7 Plus, but the comparison with the navigation device from Garmin, which was specifically designed for cyclists, reveals some minor deviations and detours that we did not take. The course from the Garmin Edge 500 is much closer to reality. This also explains the small difference for the track length from the Apple flagship. Nevertheless, it works well in practice for outdoor navigation purposes, but the results are not quite as good as with the predecessor.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Overview
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Overview
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Forest
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Forest
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Bridge
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: Bridge
Garmin Edge 500: Overview
Garmin Edge 500: Overview
Garmin Edge 500: Forest
Garmin Edge 500: Forest
Garmin Edge 500: Bridge
Garmin Edge 500: Bridge

Telephone and Voice Quality

Some details of the Phone app have changed since iOS 9: One feature can create written text from calls on the mailbox, for example, so you do not have to listen to them. External providers can also display when an incoming call is an advertisement. Voice-over-IP apps such as Skype or WhatsApp can now use the full size of the lock screen thanks to a new API, so they are not limited to a notification when you get a call. The iPhone also remembers what apps you usually use to call a person and connects the "Call" button in the contacts app directly with this app.

The handling of the app itself has not changed since a couple of iPhone generations ago. However, this is basically not necessary because you can quickly access contacts as well as favorites and the handling is very structured.

The voice quality of the iPhone was not really a highlight of the iPhone 6s, especially when you consider the high price of the devices: The voice of our call partner was easy to understand, but the somewhat tinny sound always reminds us we are making a call. Other smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and particularly models from Sony's Xperia series offer a much clearer and direct voice quality, where you almost have the feeling that you are standing next to each other. The microphone of the iPhone 7 Plus also transmitted our voice a bit tinny and the noise suppression did not work perfectly, either.

Making calls via the integrated speaker works well as long as the environment is not too loud. The voice of our call partner is also pretty clear, but once again, the microphone causes problems and our voice sounds tinny.

Voice-over-LTE was not yet active for our initial test calls, but we will still test this feature.

Cameras

Apple's dual-camera concept differs from the competition.
Apple's dual-camera concept differs from the competition.

The cameras were completely reworked for the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. For the first time, a 7 MP sensor with fixed focus is installed in the front. Good light sensitivity is supposed to be ensured by the small aperture f/2.2 and the color range is also supposed to be better. Videos can be recorded in Full HD (1920x1080 pixels). You also get an automatic HDR function as well as body and facial recognition. As with the iPhone 6s Plus, the display can be used as the so-called Retina Flash. The quality of the pictures is comparatively good, but we think the pictures from the front camera of the Galaxy Note 7 (5 MP, f/1.7) are slightly better. The higher resolution is also hardly noticeable compared to the predecessor. Additional Beauty modes for selfie fans are not available.

The changes are much greater for the main camera at the back. Apple is using a dual-camera setup for the first time, but the concept is completely different compared to Huawei's P9 with its additional black-white sensor and also the LG G5. While the smaller sensor offers the wide angle in the case of the LG, Apple has implemented two very similar 12 MP sensors. The usual camera is now advertised as wide angle lens with a light-sensitive f/1.8 aperture. The second camera is advertised as Telephoto and does not capture that much light at f/2.8, but gets the object much closer (2x). The optical image stabilizer (OIS) is only available for the wide-angle. The different light sensitivity is particularly noticeable in low-light situations or dark environments, because we can see much more noise on the Telephoto. Otherwise, however, the quality of the two sensors is almost identical in daylight. If you want to get even closer, you can use the digital zoom, which was highlighted at Apple's keynote. The digital zoom of the iPhone 7 Plus is actually surprisingly clear. The manufacturer makes use of the Telephoto lens, which does not capture that much light and is also pretty shaky at the maximum zoom (10x), but the results are better compared to the Galaxy Note 7 (up to 8x digital zoom).

iPhone 7 Plus: Wide angle
iPhone 7 Plus: Telephoto
iPhone 7 Plus: 10x digital zoom
iPhone 7 Plus: Wide angle
iPhone 7 Plus: Telephoto
iPhone 7 Plus: 10x digital zoom
Galaxy Note 7: 8x digital zoom

The picture quality of the iPhone 7 is identical to that of the smaller sibling as long as you use the wide angle lens. The pictures have a comparatively high dynamic range and good sharpness. The Galaxy Note 7, which is equipped with the camera module from Samsung's S7 series, takes even slightly better pictures though, but this is criticism on a very high level. The apple picture (scene 1) shows that the camera of the Samsung phablet has a wider dynamic range. This is easy to see in the details of the leaves, but the iPhone 7 captures the sky in the background better, while the Note 7 shows overexposure in some places. The numerous details in scene 2 quickly show the higher sharpness of the Note 7, and we prefer the slightly warmer white balance, while the iPhone 7 is much cooler. The green colors also look rather pale. Huawei chooses a completely different approach for the P9, where the pictures are very warm and saturated and almost look a bit artistic, but also very vivid. The pictures of the P9 also look a bit sharper, but have a lower dynamic range.

The iPhone 7 Plus takes much better pictures than its predecessor in dark environments and now captures much more light and details. However, the performance of the test model is not sufficient to keep up with the Note 7. It just captures more light, so the pictures look clearer and you can see more details. Huawei falls behind here, because many details are just swallowed by the dark, and the red hue is too strong.

As with the smaller sibling, the trigger speed of the iPhone 7 Plus is good when the object is moving, but cannot quite keep up with the Note 7, which does not show any serious delay in this case. The P9 is noticeably slower. The autofocus of the iPhone 7 Plus is still pretty fast and adjusts quickly to new lighting conditions.

Nothing has changed in terms of video capabilities for the iPhone 7 Plus compared to the predecessor. 720p videos (1280x720 pixels) are captured at up to 240 frames per second, Full HD videos (1920x1080 pixels) either at 30, 60, or 120 frames per second and high-resolution Ultra-HD videos (4K, 3840x2160 pixels) at 30 fps. The visual quality of the recordings is really good and lighting changes are quickly compensated. Fast movements are no problem for the iPhone, either. The Telephoto lens is interesting for filming and works really well in good lighting conditions. There is, however, much more noise in low-light situations or at night and the pictures are also darker due to the lower light sensitivity of the Telephoto lens. The sound quality of the microphone was unfortunately not perfect and you can hear a murmur, especially in quieter environments.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
Main camera environment – Wide angle
Main camera environment – Telephoto
Main camera object – Telephoto
Main camera object – Wide angle
Main camera object – Telephoto
Main camera object – digital 10x zoom
Main camera environment – Wide angle
Main camera environment – Telephoto
Main camera scene – Wide angle
Main camera scene – Telephoto
ColorChecker Passport: the reference color is displayed in the lower half (wide angle)
ColorChecker Passport: the reference color is displayed in the lower half (wide angle)
ColorChecker Passport: the reference color is displayed in the lower half (Telephoto)
ColorChecker Passport: the reference color is displayed in the lower half (Telephoto)

We also had a closer look at the camera performance of the iPhone 7 Plus under controlled lighting conditions. The pictures are not edited afterwards and the white balance is not adjusted. We use the ColorChecker Passport for the color accuracy. Unlike the environment shot (scene 2), the white balance is warmer, and we can also notice differences between the wide angle and the Telephoto lens. The latter has a cooler white balance, which is very close to pure white without drifting towards blue. Some colors are very natural, like light blue and lavender. Colors with a high percentage of yellow are a bit too pale, earthy tones on the other hand are very rich. Green is a bit pale as well, which can be a result of the camera's P3 color space, which has a smaller green spectrum compared to AdobeRGB, but more shades of red in return. Blue colors are very saturated.

The process is similar with our test chart, which is photographed under identical conditions. Once again we immediately noticed the slightly too pale yellow areas. The iPhone 7 Plus leaves a good impression in terms of sharpness, and we can only criticize on a high level when we have a closer look. The individual rings in the circle structure within the central Eight are hard to recognize at all. They are much easier to see in the picture from the Note 7, while this is only the case for the black-white sensor of the P9, whereas the RGB sensor is not as sharp. The LG G5 and the OnePlus 3 are also sharper than the iPhone 7 Plus in the center. We can also see that details are blurrier with the Telephoto lens since camera shakes have a bigger impact and there is also no OIS for this part of the camera.

iPhone 7 Plus (wide angle)
iPhone 7 Plus (wide angle)
iPhone 7 Plus (Telephoto)
iPhone 7 Plus (Telephoto)
OnePlus 3
OnePlus 3
Huawei P9
Huawei P9
LG G5
LG G5
Galaxy Note 7
Galaxy Note 7
iPhone 7 Plus: Wide angle
iPhone 7 Plus: Telephoto

Accessories and Warranty

Traditionally, the accessory situation is very good for the iPhones. It does not matter if you want a zoom lens for the camera, a waterproof case, mount or cover – if it is not provided by Apple, it will be sold by one of the countless third-party companies.

Apple focused on the wireless AirPods during the keynote. They basically look like regular EarPods, but without the cable. Instead, they connect via Bluetooth. The AirPods will retail for $159 and will be available from late October.

For $45, you can get the familiar leather case in seven different colors. Longer battery runtimes are possible with the Smart Battery Case with an additional battery in two colors for $99. 

The Lightning Dock can be used to charge the iPhone, synchronize it with your Mac or PC and attach speakers via 3.5 mm cable. It retails for $49 and is available in five colors.

Apple offers a 12-month warranty for the iPhone 7 Plus. It is possible to extend this service to a two-year warranty via AppleCare+, which retails for $129 for the iPhone 7. It also covers two accidental damages, although in combination with a fee ($29 for screen damage, $99 for any other damage).

Apple AirPods
Apple AirPods
Apple Leather Case
Apple Leather Case
Apple Smart Battery Case
Apple Smart Battery Case
Apple Lightning Dock
Apple Lightning Dock

Input Devices and Handling

The central control element of the new iPhone 7 Plus is still the Home button, so Apple has remained true to itself. The functionality of the button, however, has changed completely, but more from a technological than an ergonomic perspective. The handling is basically identical; the only difference is that the Home button is no longer a mechanical button, but pressure-sensitive. The key component here is the Taptic Engine, which gives a tactile feedback when you press the Home button and therefore confirms inputs or indicates wrong Touch ID inputs. The fingerprint scanner is obviously still included and works just as reliably as before.

Except for the new Home button, the input devices have not changed, so we recommend the reviews of the smaller sibling and the predecessor for further information.

Display

As with its smaller sibling, Apple also promises an improved display for the iPhone 7 Plus. This primarily includes a higher luminance and wider color gamut. Apple targets the P3 color space, which is common for the American movie industry. It is supposed to ensure more vivid colors for pictures and videos. Nothing has changed in terms of size and resolution of the Retina HD display. We still get Full HD on 5.5 inches, and competitors such as the LG G5 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 are a step ahead in terms of resolution. Nevertheless, as long as you do not use a VR headset, the 1920x1080 pixels of the iPhone 7 Plus provide sharp pictures, and the GPU is not stressed as much.

We start with our measurement results. The average luminance is 553 cd/m² across nine measurement points with a maximum of 558 cd/m² in the lower center. The brightness is therefore on par with the Apple iPhone 6s Plus, but the brightness distribution is much better and excellent at 97%. The iPhone 7 Plus also beats the predecessor when the brightness sensor is active, where we can measure up to 620 cd/m². However, the brightness distribution suffers a bit in this case and the luminance also fluctuates slightly. The additional brightness is still welcome when you use the iPhone in the sun. If you prefer to use the smartphone in dark environments, you will be happy about the low minimum value of just 2.3 cd/m².

One aspect where the display of the iPhone 7 Plus is much better than before is the black value. At just 0.35 cd/m², the Apple flagship manages a great contrast ratio of 1591:1.

546
cd/m²
551
cd/m²
557
cd/m²
551
cd/m²
557
cd/m²
557
cd/m²
544
cd/m²
558
cd/m²
555
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 558 cd/m² Average: 552.9 cd/m² Minimum: 2.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 97 %
Center on Battery: 558 cd/m²
Contrast: 1591:1 (Black: 0.35 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.4 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 1.3 | - Ø
99.9% sRGB (Calman) 99.83% sRGB (Argyll) 63.1% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.21
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Super AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.5
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Dual Edge Super AMOLED, 2560x1440, 5.7
OnePlus 3
Optic-AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.5
Huawei P9
IPS-NEO, JDI, 1920x1080, 5.2
Screen
-53%
-7%
-10%
-57%
-60%
Brightness
553
560
1%
552
0%
523
-5%
431
-22%
563
2%
Brightness Distribution
97
91
-6%
96
-1%
84
-13%
84
-13%
91
-6%
Black Level *
0.35
0.46
-31%
0.38
-9%
Contrast
1591
1267
-20%
1532
-4%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.4
3.55
-154%
1.59
-14%
1.9
-36%
4.1
-193%
4.4
-214%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.3
3.88
-198%
2.01
-55%
1.8
-38%
3.3
-154%
4.8
-269%
Gamma
2.21 109%
2.2 109%
2.01 119%
2.12 113%
2.1 114%
2.2 109%
CCT
6667 97%
7280 89%
6321 103%
6449 101%
6550 99%
6175 105%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
63.1
59.05
-6%
82.12
30%
83.92
33%
89.38
42%
77.78
23%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.83
92.8
-7%
99.98
0%
100
0%
100
0%
99.44
0%

* ... smaller is better

Subjectively, the display of the iPhone 7 Plus leaves a very good impression. Colors are rich, but still natural. The rich blacks ensure a good presentation of dark contents, and the high contrast results in a good differentiation. The colorimeter supports this impression, but also shows: The display is pretty much perfectly tuned to the sRGB color space. The deviations of the advertised P3 color space are much bigger – but still completely okay. The AdobeRGB results on the other hand are not that accurate. The grayscale performance of the display is excellent and the color temperature is almost perfect.

Overall, the Apple iPhone certainly offers one of the best smartphone displays you can currently get. This is also confirmed by the comparison with the high-end rivals.

Grayscale (sRGB): hardly any deviations, almost perfect color temperature, small jump in the gamma curve – very good.
Grayscale (sRGB): hardly any deviations, almost perfect color temperature, small jump in the gamma curve – very good.
Colorspace (sRGB): almost perfect coverage at the 2D view
Colorspace (sRGB): almost perfect coverage at the 2D view
Saturation (sRGB): very good results
Saturation (sRGB): very good results
ColorChecker (sRGB): average DeltaE of 1.4 is very good, up to 3.1 is only visible for professionals.
ColorChecker (sRGB): average DeltaE of 1.4 is very good, up to 3.1 is only visible for professionals.
ColorChecker (AdobeRGB): The coverage for AdobeRGB is only average. Big deviations for the primary colors.
ColorChecker (AdobeRGB): The coverage for AdobeRGB is only average. Big deviations for the primary colors.
ColorChecker (P3-DCI): Perfect looks different. Still a good result in general.
ColorChecker (P3-DCI): Perfect looks different. Still a good result in general.
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

As with the iPhone 7, the display of the larger iPhone 7 Plus leaves a pretty good impression outdoors. The usability under direct sunlight is limited due to the glossy screen surface, but you can still see the display content in bright environments thanks to the high luminance. The pretty high contrast helps as well. The brightness sensor works accurately and quickly adjusts the brightness to the environment.

The viewing angles of the IPS display do not leave anything to be desired: You can still see the picture with its original colors even from very flat angles.

iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – high luminance
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – high luminance
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – medium luminance
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – medium luminance
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – minimum luminance
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – minimum luminance
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – brightness sensor
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – brightness sensor
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – brightness sensor cloudy
iPhone 7 Plus outdoor use – brightness sensor cloudy
iPhone 7 Plus – display reflections
iPhone 7 Plus – display reflections

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
24 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 9 ms rise
↘ 15 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 28 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
29 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 10 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 11 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6668 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

The technical specifications of the two iPhone 7 models are almost identical; the only difference being that Apple has equipped the Plus model with more memory. Instead of two GB that is installed in the sibling, the larger version has 3 GB. Both models share the new chip, A10 Fusion, the first quad-core from Apple consisting of two clusters. One of the clusters ensures maximum performance with high-performance cores, while the other saves power with light workloads. According to Apple, the performance cluster should be clocked at up to 2.34 GHz and is up to 40% faster than the A9 . The two energy efficient cores run at a much lower frequency – there are rumors about 1.08 GHz – and handle everyday tasks at just one fifth of the power consumption from the performance cluster according to Apple. Right now it looks as if only two cores are active at a time – following the original big-LITTLE principle from ARM. Apple obviously includes a faster GPU as well, but we have no detailed information as yet. It is probably provided by PowerVR and is supposed to be up to 50% faster than the GPU of the A9 at a 30% lower power consumption.

The full benchmark suite is done – and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus manages a more or less significant lead in almost every test. The advantage in the GPU demanding test in particular is impressive. However, the iPhone 7 Plus does not win in every discipline. But first things first: BaseMark OS II determines a 40% higher overall performance for the new iPhone compared to its immediate predecessorSamsung's Galaxy S7 Edge is clearly beaten by the top model from Apple as well. The brand-new Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which is currently being recalled due to exploding batteries, is much closer to the iPhone 7 Plus, but the deficit is still 18%. The OnePlus 3 is on a similar performance level. Geekbench 4 shows a similar picture – at least in the multi-core test. Apple's flagship device is now equipped with a quad-core processor as well, but it seems that only two are active at once, either the performance or the efficiency cluster. The iPhone 7 Plus can still manage a clear lead over all the quad-core and octa-core rivals. The Galaxy Note 7 is not far behind, and the Huawei P9 is also very powerful. However, no competitor stands a chance against the Apple chip A10 Fusion when you only stress one core. Even the predecessor still beats all the rivals. The Note 7 falls behind by almost 50%. The competition is closer in AnTuTu v6, where the Samsung Note 7 and the OnePlus 3 can take the lead. The result of the iPhone 7 Plus appears a bit too low, and we will recheck it. The initial GFXBench 3.0 tests show a very powerful GPU for the iPhone 7 Plus, which is supported by the very challenging Basemark ES 3.1. All comparison devices fall far behind the Apple flagship. The closest rivals are its own predecessor followed by the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (-38%).

BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1542 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1199 Points ∼78% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
994 Points ∼64% -36%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1101 Points ∼71% -29%
OnePlus 3
1112 Points ∼72% -28%
Huawei P9
1029 Points ∼67% -33%
Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6875 Points ∼80%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4299 Points ∼50% -37%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2203 Points ∼26% -68%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
4273 Points ∼50% -38%
OnePlus 3
4813 Points ∼56% -30%
Huawei P9
1583 Points ∼18% -77%
Memory (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1319 Points ∼30%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1124 Points ∼25% -15%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2072 Points ∼47% +57%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2532 Points ∼57% +92%
OnePlus 3
2052 Points ∼46% +56%
Huawei P9
2627 Points ∼59% +99%
System (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6582 Points ∼100%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
3925 Points ∼60% -40%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
4080 Points ∼62% -38%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3994 Points ∼61% -39%
OnePlus 3
3537 Points ∼54% -46%
Huawei P9
3930 Points ∼60% -40%
Overall (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3097 Points ∼82%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2206 Points ∼58% -29%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2074 Points ∼55% -33%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2626 Points ∼69% -15%
OnePlus 3
2496 Points ∼66% -19%
Huawei P9
2025 Points ∼53% -35%
Geekbench 4.0
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
5630 Points ∼20%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4286 Points ∼16% -24%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
5503 Points ∼20% -2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
5213 Points ∼19% -7%
OnePlus 3
4097 Points ∼15% -27%
Huawei P9
4904 Points ∼18% -13%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3476 Points ∼62%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2503 Points ∼45% -28%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
1840 Points ∼33% -47%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1865 Points ∼33% -46%
OnePlus 3
1754 Points ∼31% -50%
Huawei P9
1755 Points ∼31% -50%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
91.96 fps ∼7%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
78.9 fps ∼6% -14%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
81 fps ∼6% -12%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
80 fps ∼6% -13%
OnePlus 3
89 fps ∼7% -3%
Huawei P9
40 fps ∼3% -57%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
57.71 fps ∼13%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
59 fps ∼13% +2%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
51 fps ∼11% -12%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
52 fps ∼11% -10%
OnePlus 3
60 fps ∼13% +4%
Huawei P9
43 fps ∼9% -25%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
58.71 fps ∼11%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
38.4 fps ∼7% -35%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
38 fps ∼7% -35%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
38 fps ∼7% -35%
OnePlus 3
47 fps ∼9% -20%
Huawei P9
18 fps ∼3% -69%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
55.17 fps ∼15%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
38.4 fps ∼11% -30%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
27 fps ∼7% -51%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
25 fps ∼7% -55%
OnePlus 3
46 fps ∼13% -17%
Huawei P9
19 fps ∼5% -66%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1528 Points ∼49%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
1773 Points ∼57% +16%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1799 Points ∼58% +18%
OnePlus 3
1912 Points ∼62% +25%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
5141 Points ∼42%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3071 Points ∼25% -40%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3059 Points ∼25% -40%
OnePlus 3
4804 Points ∼39% -7%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3371 Points ∼51%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2641 Points ∼40% -22%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2647 Points ∼40% -21%
OnePlus 3
3595 Points ∼54% +7%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1522 Points ∼51%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1697 Points ∼56% +11%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2002 (min: 1539) Points ∼66% +32%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
1532 Points ∼51% +1%
OnePlus 3
1789 Points ∼59% +18%
Huawei P9
2510 Points ∼83% +65%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
4235 Points ∼55%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
4557 Points ∼59% +8%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3015 (min: 2895) Points ∼39% -29%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2670 Points ∼35% -37%
OnePlus 3
4633 Points ∼60% +9%
Huawei P9
1080 Points ∼14% -74%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
3034 Points ∼61%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
3316 Points ∼67% +9%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2710 (min: 2421) Points ∼54% -11%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2292 Points ∼46% -24%
OnePlus 3
3424 Points ∼69% +13%
Huawei P9
1237 Points ∼25% -59%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
15626 Points ∼22%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
12854 Points ∼18% -18%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
19610 Points ∼27% +25%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
19834 Points ∼28% +27%
OnePlus 3
21771 Points ∼30% +39%
Huawei P9
15517 Points ∼22% -1%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
63386 Points ∼14%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
41615 Points ∼9% -34%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
33031 Points ∼7% -48%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
23431 Points ∼5% -63%
OnePlus 3
34023 Points ∼7% -46%
Huawei P9
21577 Points ∼5% -66%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
37746 Points ∼19%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
27795 Points ∼14% -26%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
28671 Points ∼15% -24%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
22523 Points ∼11% -40%
OnePlus 3
30241 Points ∼15% -20%
Huawei P9
19854 Points ∼10% -47%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1177 Points ∼63%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
858 Points ∼46% -27%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
733 Points ∼39% -38%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
714 Points ∼38% -39%
OnePlus 3
631 Points ∼34% -46%
Huawei P9
328 Points ∼18% -72%
AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
165399 Points ∼73%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
133626 Points ∼59% -19%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
128749 Points ∼56% -22%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
133845 Points ∼59% -19%
OnePlus 3
142090 Points ∼62% -14%
Huawei P9
95743 Points ∼42% -42%

Legend

 
Apple iPhone 7 Plus Apple A10 Fusion, Apple A10 Fusion GPU / PowerVR, 128 GB NVMe
 
Apple iPhone 6S Plus Apple A9, Apple A9 / PowerVR GT7600, Apple AP0064K (iPhone NVMe)
 
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa, ARM Mali-T880 MP12, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa, ARM Mali-T880 MP12, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
OnePlus 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Huawei P9 HiSilicon Kirin 955, ARM Mali-T880 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash

None of the flagships smartphones can keep up with the Apple iPhone 7 Plus in the browser tests. This is not really surprising since the web performance was always a strength of all iPS devices. WebXPRT 2015 determines a result of 204 points. The iPhone 6S Plus trails at 190 points, while the best Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, already drops by 13%. The advantage of the new iPhone is even much bigger in all the other tests. One example: The iPhone 7 Plus is 133% ahead of the Samsung flagships Galaxy S7 Edge and Note 7 in Mozilla's Kraken 1.1.

WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
204 Points ∼27%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
190 Points ∼25% -7%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
163 Points ∼22% -20%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
177 Points ∼24% -13%
OnePlus 3
122 Points ∼16% -40%
Huawei P9
128 Points ∼17% -37%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1102.7 ms * ∼2%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1743 ms * ∼3% -58%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2564.1 ms * ∼4% -133%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2569.1 ms * ∼4% -133%
OnePlus 3
2920.7 ms * ∼5% -165%
Huawei P9
2922.6 ms * ∼5% -165%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
26053 Points ∼53%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
15967 Points ∼32% -39%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
13191 Points ∼27% -49%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
12579 Points ∼25% -52%
OnePlus 3
9155 Points ∼18% -65%
Huawei P9
11783 Points ∼24% -55%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
168.08 Points ∼50%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
118.7 Points ∼36% -29%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
75.12 Points ∼23% -55%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
61.3 Points ∼18% -64%
OnePlus 3
54.4 Points ∼16% -68%
Huawei P9
68.4 Points ∼20% -59%

* ... smaller is better

Many users will be happy about the fact that Apple has doubled the storage for all models of its new iPhone generation and dispensed with the 16 GB model. The entry-level model now has 32 GB of storage. The operating system shows a capacity of 27.85 GB, and you can use about 22.43 GB after the initial launch. Other storage options are 128 GB (115.53 GB available) as well as 256 GB (243.41 GB).

However, the differences are not only limited to the capacity, but the performance of the NVMe modules differ as well. We checked the transfer rates with PassMark Mobile. The smallest model is also the slowest, and the write performance in particular clearly falls behind the other two models. We can also see differences between them, but they are closer to each other. You cannot really notice these differences in practice, but only in a direct comparison when you install a bigger app, for example.

iPhone 7 Plus 32 GB 128 GB 256 GB
Read 699 MB/s 801 MB/s 868 MB/s
Write 42.5 MB/s 228 MB/s 328 MB/s
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - Disk Tests (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
48907 Points ∼36%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
96768 Points ∼71% +98%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
36364 Points ∼27% -26%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
47866 Points ∼35% -2%
OnePlus 3
91875 Points ∼67% +88%
Huawei P9
94244 Points ∼69% +93%
BaseMark OS II - Memory (sort by value)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
1319 Points ∼30%
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
1124 Points ∼25% -15%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
2072 Points ∼47% +57%
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
2532 Points ∼57% +92%
OnePlus 3
2052 Points ∼46% +56%
Huawei P9
2627 Points ∼59% +99%

Games

That the iPhone 7 does not have big problems with games is not surprising when you look at the benchmark results. Apple users also have the advantage that games in the App store are optimized for a handful of devices and have to be released by Apple. It is therefore almost a matter of course that the iPhone 7 Plus can handle all games you can get in the App store.

We tested the pretty GPU demanding racing title “Asphalt 8: Airborne” and experienced very smooth game play. The iOS app does not have any graphics settings like the Android counterpart, but the graphics are equivalent to Android's "Maximum" setting based on our experiences. Simpler 2D games like “Angry Birds 2” also runs smoothly with quick loading times.

The controls via touchscreen and position sensor were accurate and smooth, so there should not be anything that will affect the gaming experience of the iPhone 7 Plus.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Angry Birds 2
Angry Birds 2

Emissions

Temperature

GFXBench Battery Test
GFXBench Battery Test

Compared to the predecessor, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus gets slightly warmer. We can measure a maximum value of 43 °C (~109 °F) at the top and bottom in the upper left quadrant (looking from the front). This is not alarming, but clearly perceptible in the hand. The power adapter gets even hotter, and up to 48 °C (~118 °F) is no longer comfortable to the touch. The power adapter is just not powerful enough. Both the smartphone and the power adapter are only lukewarm while idling. Generally, the smaller sibling has slightly lower surface temperatures.

We use the GFXBench Battery test as a stress test and can rule out performance drops caused by high temperatures: The frame rates fluctuate slightly, but are still roughly on par even after thirty test iterations.

Max. Load
 42.1 °C42.6 °C38.1 °C 
 38.5 °C40.3 °C36.5 °C 
 36.7 °C35.8 °C35.6 °C 
Maximum: 42.6 °C
Average: 38.5 °C
36.3 °C41.1 °C42.8 °C
35.5 °C38.2 °C41.1 °C
35.3 °C38 °C38.6 °C
Maximum: 42.8 °C
Average: 38.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  48 °C | Room Temperature 21.3 °C | Voltcraft IR-260

Speakers

As with the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus is now equipped with stereo speakers. One speaker is, similar to the predecessors, still sitting right next to the Lightning Connector, and the other one is used as ear piece. 

Both modules together manage a decent volume of up to 81.45 dB(A). The two speakers offer good sound quality, but there is noticeably less bass compared to the predecessors. Deep tones are hardly noticeable at all now, and treble can sound inconveniently harsh at higher volumes in particular. At medium volume levels, you can actually use the iPhone 7 Plus for some music playback, but the lack of bass is particularly noticeable in movie scenes.

The 3.5 mm headphone jack of previous models is gone, and the sound is now transferred via Lightning Connector. Apple also ships the smartphone with a corresponding headset called EarPods. There is also an adapter from Lightning to 3.5 mm, but the sound quality is affected compared to the 3.5 mm jack of the iPhone 6s Plus according to Heise. The wireless EarPods, which were also announced at Apple's keynote, will be available in October.

Overall, the sound performance of the iPhone 7 Plus is very solid, but the new smartphones from Apple do not offer the best speakers you can currently get.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2026.428.426.4252826.7283125.828.725.84029.133.229.15026.12626.16323.925.523.98027.724.727.710033.426.933.412541.53741.516040.320.240.320043.720.243.725045.521.845.531547224740052.822.252.850060.121.860.163066.517.266.580069.217.869.2100071.619.871.6125069.919.169.916006815.468200069.515.669.525006614.966315071.514.771.5400071.214.271.2500072.21472.2630071.213.971.280006713.8671000058.913.958.91250052.413.952.41600054.713.754.7SPL81.529.581.5N49.91.349.9median 66Apple iPhone 7 Plusmedian 17.2median 66Delta10.93.810.931.638.525.433.325.329.432.928.733.634.531.626.928.429.42728.920.830.72236.321.345.420.85021.254.919.456.319.563.517.767.117.969.717.870.817.369.717.469.416.773.717.274.118.278.217.975.717.671.717.776.417.875.717.97018.17218.259.13085.71.362.7median 17.9Samsung Galaxy Note 7median 69.71.3931.735.531.730.929.530.930.428.230.431.731.531.73027.43029.225.729.227.829.427.831.931.331.941.632.141.641.820.441.847.120.847.148.920.248.953.719.753.755.622.355.656.220.156.256.218.956.26017.76058.616.758.659.61759.661.614.861.666.115.966.168.214.668.267.514.467.564.314.164.362.413.862.460.913.760.955.813.855.850.213.750.255.513.755.55413.65475.528.675.533.31.233.3median 56.2Apple iPhone 6Smedian 16.7median 56.25.63.45.6hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Apple iPhone 7 Plus audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81.45 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.3% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.1% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 12% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 78% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 46% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 46% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (85.71 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 28.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (8.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.5% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (6.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (20.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 10% of all tested devices in this class were better, 9% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 45% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 48% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Apple iPhone 6S audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (75.48 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 12.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.2% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (16.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 14%, average was 26%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 23% of all tested devices were better, 5% similar, 72% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power adapter is identical to that of the iPhone 7. The design of the iPhone chargers have not changed for many years. This might be convenient for Apple, because higher quantities in procurement result in better prices, but it is rather annoying for customers: The chargers are just not as stylish compared to the iPad or the MacBook Pro and they are not that powerful at 1 amp, either. Nevertheless, it only takes about 115 minutes before the battery of the iPhone 7 Plus is fully charged – a good result. The charging process is also linear. Apple does not use quick-charge technologies that we know from other manufacturers. Following rumors on the Internet, we also used a 2A-adapter to charge the iPhone 7 Plus, but the charging time was not that much shorter.

The overall power consumption is higher compared to the predecessor and the comparison devices. High workloads in particular will increase the consumption of the Apple iPhone quite a bit, while it is pretty efficient with low workloads. Let us see how this influences the battery runtimes.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.06 / 0.11 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.77 / 2.04 / 2.24 Watt
Load midlight 4.69 / 8.66 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
2915 mAh
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2750 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3600 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3500 mAh
OnePlus 3
3000 mAh
Huawei P9
3000 mAh
Power Consumption
20%
18%
16%
11%
10%
Idle Minimum *
0.77
0.5
35%
0.63
18%
0.72
6%
0.57
26%
0.77
-0%
Idle Average *
2.04
1.9
7%
1.1
46%
1.37
33%
1.24
39%
2.36
-16%
Idle Maximum *
2.24
2.2
2%
1.56
30%
1.44
36%
1.36
39%
2.37
-6%
Load Average *
4.69
3.2
32%
5.95
-27%
5.56
-19%
5.92
-26%
3.09
34%
Load Maximum *
8.66
6.4
26%
6.7
23%
6.78
22%
10.53
-22%
5.35
38%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The practical WLAN test shows that Apple has not promised too much. We determine a runtime of almost 10 hours for the iPhone 7 Plus, which is much better than before. It is still beaten by the Samsung flagship phones and the OnePlus 3 in particular. The situation is similar in the video test with a loop of an H.264 video. Once again, the iPhone 7 Plus manages a very good result of 13:33 hours, but it can still not compete with the OnePlus 3 and the Samsung flagships.

Our Reader test at the lowest brightness and activated power-saver mode determines a new record result for the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. It will only shut down after more than 30 hours – a great job by Apple. Only the Samsung flagships and the OnePlus 3 can beat that. Maximum load, which is simulated by the Relative Benchmark, shows another picture. The large iPhone lasts 3:45 hours – 30 minutes longer than the predecessor.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
30h 35min
WiFi Surfing v1.3 (Mobile Safari iOS 10)
9h 47min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
13h 33min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 45min
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
2915 mAh
Apple iPhone 6S Plus
2750 mAh
Apple iPhone 7
1960 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
3600 mAh
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
3500 mAh
OnePlus 3
3000 mAh
Huawei P9
3000 mAh
Battery Runtime
-12%
-18%
26%
15%
10%
-15%
Reader / Idle
1835
1655
-10%
1770
-4%
1663
-9%
1429
-22%
1338
-27%
1514
-17%
H.264
813
714
-12%
722
-11%
914
12%
960
18%
847
4%
568
-30%
WiFi v1.3
587
513
-13%
517
-12%
732
25%
607
3%
840
43%
569
-3%
Load
225
197
-12%
126
-44%
392
74%
361
60%
268
19%
206
-8%

Pros

+ very sophisticated chassis
+ protected against water and dust
+ comprehensive sensor equipment
+ many mobile frequencies
+ intuitive software with useful apps
+ high WLAN transfer rates
+ good GPS accuracy
+ very good cameras
+ very precise control elements
+ Retina display with great contrast
+ great viewing angle stability
+ very powerful
+ very long battery runtimes

Cons

- only 12 months warranty
- no 3.5 mm headphone jack
- NFC only for Apple Pay
- pretty expensive
- no microSD-slot
- voice quality not perfect
- noticeable warming
- speakers only average

Verdict

In review: Apple iPhone 7 Plus
In review: Apple iPhone 7 Plus

The 9th generation of the iPhone also leaves a good impression and remains one of the best premium smartphones you can get. Still, you notice that the iPhone 7 Plus is an evolutionary update. The revolution is expected for next year, which will be the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. The visuals have hardly changed compared to the iPhone 6S Plus. The case still has rounded edges, is sturdy, scratch-resistant and made of high-quality materials. According to drop-tests on the Internet, the display is also not as susceptible as older iPhone models. Another change for the case is the protection against water.

Probably the greatest new feature of the iPhone 7 Plus is the dual-camera, which can actually leave a very good impression: The front camera has a higher resolution and now records Full HD videos. Different lighting conditions are no problem for the main camera and pictures always look sharp and colorful. However, we have to say that other high-end smartphones are often even a bit better by now: Samsung Galaxy S7 and Note 7, for example, usually come out ahead.

But Apple always understood how to equip their smartphones with something special: The Taptic Engine delivers an impressively realistic feedback and the consistent, stylish, very sophisticated and functional software is often much better than the software additions from other smartphone manufacturers, which are often no more than marketing gags.

The Retina display still produces great pictures, even though the number of pixels is lower compared to many rivals. Contrast, black value, viewing angles and luminance can convince. And there is currently only one serious rival when we look at the performance: the iPhone 7. The battery runtimes are very good.

Moaning on a high level is obviously also possible for the iPhone 7 Plus: The removal of the 3.5 mm headphone jack requires adapters, or you will have to use Bluetooth headphones. The sound is not a highlight of the iPhone 7 Plus in general: The new stereo speakers lack bass, the voice quality is mediocre, the case can get warm under load, and the GPS was a bit too sensitive. You also get just 12-months warranty and the extension is not really cheap.

Apple's innovation driver is certainly not as strong as in the first years of the iPhone, but we still get great devices. There is no reason why you should not buy the iPhone 7 Plus, but Apple should put more effort into the sound quality.

The iPhone 7 Plus can be seen as an intermediary step, because the big bang with numerous innovations is expected for next year. You still get an excellent high-end smartphone with a lot of features not offered by the competition, but obviously not an inexpensive device.

Apple iPhone 7 Plus - 09/18/2016 v5.1
Patrick Afschar Kaboli, Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
92%
Keyboard
74 / 75 → 98%
Pointing Device
94%
Connectivity
42 / 60 → 70%
Weight
89%
Battery
93%
Display
93%
Games Performance
61 / 63 → 96%
Application Performance
70 / 70 → 100%
Temperature
87%
Noise
100%
Audio
64 / 91 → 70%
Camera
80%
Average
80%
89%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Apple iPhone 7 Plus Smartphone Review
Patrick Afschar Kaboli, Daniel Schmidt, 2016-09-19 (Update: 2016-10-28)