iPhone 7 Reviews: 'Terrific Phones' That Offer a 'Foundation' for the Future, But Not an Essential Upgrade

The official launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is still three days away on September 16, but the first reviews of the new smartphones have started showing up online this morning. Some of the sites have been quietly testing out the new handsets for around a week, and general impressions have been positive, despite the lack of a radical design overhaul compared to last year's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

The Verge offered perhaps the most balanced perspective on the iPhone 7 series, which it called "terrific phones" but also "incomplete", given that the wider color gamut, and the real potential of the Taptic Engine and the iPhone 7 Plus's dual-lens camera – which rely on software updates – won't be realized at launch.


The Verge said non-adopters "won't actually be missing out on much" if they don't get an iPhone 7, which it described as a "transitional step to a vision of the future" and a "foundation" for how the next generation of iPhones will integrate into our lives.

The entire time I was using the iPhone 7, I felt like I had a prototype of next year’s rumored drastic iPhone redesign disguised as an iPhone 6. All those bold bets on the future are legitimately exciting, but here in the present using the iPhone 7 in a case feels a lot like using a iPhone 6S with a weirder home button and more adapters.

Meanwhile, Mashable offered a more enthusiastic line of thinking for early adopters, calling both devices "worthwhile upgrades" that "inch us ever-closer to the completely sealed, moving-parts-free ideal of a smartphone slab". The review notes that both phones are "fast" and the stereo speakers "really shine" when it comes to gaming, while battery life was impressive, with the larger handset closing in on two days with moderate use.

It also put the phones through some underwater ordeals, the result of which was "pretty awesome" and offered peace of mind for those prone to dropping their phones in the toilet, but it didn't recommend going for a swim with the devices.

I had a good time placing the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus under running water and dropping them into water-filled containers and sinks. Not only did they hold up, but both phones continued to function in the drink.

Each time I tried this, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were unharmed. I fished them out of the water and dried them with a cloth and then continue using them. One thing you cannot do right after submerging your phone, though, is charge it. Apple recommends letting the Lightning port dry out for five hours before attempting to charge either device again.

apple-iphone7
TechCrunch
got hold of a glossy black iPhone 7 and remarked that it definitely showed scratches and abrasions after a weeks' use. It also mentioned that the home button's Taptic Engine feedback makes it feel as if the whole bottom half of the phone is clicking, yet it called the implementation a "flawless transition" from the physical home button that prepares users for when the button disappears entirely. It said Apple's new flagship devices are "fast, capable, and functional" and "probably the best portable cameras ever made".

This is quite simply the most sophisticated camera and image processor pairing ever seen in a smartphone or any camera period. There have been a couple of other applications of dual camera setups in phones, but the execution is crude by comparison.

The optical zoom works great, and the 56mm lens naturally adds that nice compression of facial features and slight blurring of background that a standard lens gives, especially up close.

It won't be long before Apple customers begin to receive the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus handsets themselves, as the September 16 launch date approaches. Images have emerged online of iPhone 7 shipment batches ready to leave factories in Zhengzhou, China, while some customers have already received shipping confirmation.

Other reviews: Business Insider, BuzzFeed, The Wall Street Journal, Daring Fireball, Wired, Ars Technica, The Loop, CNET.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

1041958 Avatar
83 months ago
Why do people always say they're not "essential upgrades"? Do they think everyone upgrades yearly?

This is a fantastic upgrade for anyone NOT on a 6S.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
83 months ago
I hate to be "that guy" but Steve Jobs would've never released a phone with software that was "incomplete"
You joined MR in 2006. You should really know better than that.

The early iterations of iPhone OS were terribly buggy. Plus you mention "incomplete" software, yet the first iPhone didn't even have an App Store. Or video recording. Or even copy/paste, for crumb's sake.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
83 months ago
I hate to be "that guy" but Steve Jobs would've never released a phone with software that was "incomplete".
He shipped the original iPhone. It was missing lots of stuff.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
muadibe Avatar
83 months ago
If the people using phrases like 'if Steve Jobs were alive......', 'this would never happen under Steve Jobs...', realised how juvenile they sound, they would stop.

Steve Jobs is dead - accept it. He's never coming back. No one EVER will be like Steve Jobs. What he WOULD have done is totally irrelevant at this point. Please move on to something actually pertinent to discussions here.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
83 months ago
jet black is awful TBH
Well, it looks great. Just a shame it'll immediately scratch if it's within the same zip code as some house keys.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shk718 Avatar
83 months ago
When discussing whether they recommend upgrading the phone why do reviewers always compare it to the most recent iteration when most people are looking to upgrade two (or more) generations back? The 7 is a huge upgrade from the 6 or 5s. And in my opinion it's still a substantial upgrade from the 6s.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
maxresdefault

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
MKBHD HomePod 2 White Ring Stain

New HomePod Can Still Stain Some Wooden Surfaces

Tuesday January 31, 2023 8:29 am PST by
When the original HomePod launched in 2018, it was discovered that the speaker can leave white rings on some wooden surfaces. Now, well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee has confirmed that the issue persists to a lesser extent with the new HomePod. In a side-by-side test, he showed that the white second-generation HomePod left a white ring on the wooden surface that he placed the speaker on,...
tim cook data privacy day

Apple Violated U.S. Labor Laws With Anti-Leak Email

Monday January 30, 2023 3:43 pm PST by
Apple violated United States labor laws when it sent out an email warning employees about leaking confidential information about the company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said today in a ruling shared by Bloomberg. Rules that Apple has established around leaks "tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees" from the exercise of their rights under the National Labor...