Price drop: Following Apple’s autumn keynote on 12 September, the iPhone 7 Plus 32GB is now available for £569 from Apple’s official website, with the 128GB version going for £669.
Should you buy the iPhone 7 Plus in 2018?
Short answer: Possibly. It’s definitely a tricky question to wrap your head around, and the iPhone 7 Plus is a much more tantalising purchase now that its price has plummeted since release. As it stands, you can pick up a new iPhone 7 Plus for just £599 – a massive drop from the initial £719 asking price.
It’s much cheaper then, but that certainly doesn’t mean it would be a wise purchase. There’s a pretty wide gap between the performance of both the iPhone 7 Plus and its eight-generation alternative. In benchmarking tests like Geekbench 4 and GFXBench, the scores are almost doubled, so you’re guaranteed a bit of future-proofing in that department.
Elsewhere, however, they’re essentially the same phone. The design is practically identical, both still manage to take excellent-quality pictures, and the screen hasn’t changed one bit (not like the iPhone X, that is).
So maybe you should buy the iPhone 7 Plus? Well, there’s one more thing getting in the way: cheaper and in many ways, better, Android alternatives. The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is now £598 with its all-display front, and the OnePlus 5T is a fantastic flagship alternative at just £450. That said, if you don’t want to venture to Android, the iPhone 7 Plus is a worthy purchase in 2018.
My original iPhone 7 Plus review continues below.
Why would you buy an iPhone 7 Plus over the iPhone 7? Especially since it’s considerably more expensive than the iPhone 7 and, in many respects, is a very similar phone.
It’s a question that’s pretty easy to answer: it’s the more accomplished of the two devices. And that isn’t simply down to the new twin-camera setup, which is the most obvious difference between the two handsets of course. There’s a whole lot more to the iPhone 7 Plus than initially meets the eye.
It’s considerably larger, with a 5.5in 1,080 x 1,920 resolution display, and it has a more sizeable battery as well. And all that comes in addition to the improvements made to the iPhone 7: the new Home button, the improved battery life and faster performance, new colours and more generous baseline storage.
And you won’t be surprised at all to find that the results from it look precisely the same as the results of the iPhone 7. It’s a much better camera than in the iPhone 6s for action shots in good light, and it produces brighter, more colour-rich photographs in low light – the result of slower shutter speeds and lower ISO sensitivity levels. But it isn’t entirely free of issues: notably, slightly blotchy processing in low-light shots, which is particularly noticeable in shadows.
It still can’t compete with the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which produces more natural, colourful and cleaner images in low light. You can see the difference in the image below, where the iPhone 7 Plus is on the left, while the S7 Edge is on the right.
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (32 GB) – Black
iPhone 7 Plus review: Design
The rest of the design remains identical, aside from the extra “speaker” grille on the bottom edge (note, this isn’t where the phone’s second speaker resides; that’s under the earpiece on the front), where the 3.5mm headphone jack has been removed. Of course, there are now two new colours to choose from – the glossy Jet Black and plain Black – while Space Grey has quietly been dropped. However, the iPhone 7 Plus remains as unwieldy in the hand as the 6s Plus and iPhone 6s was before it. Simply put, compared with rival 5.5in and larger smartphones, the iPhone 7 Plus feels bulky and oversized.
Unfortunately, the new Home button doesn’t work with gloves – even smartphone friendly gloves. Previously, iPhone owners could use the physical Home Button and a pin code to unlock and access their phones. However, the new Home Button doesn’t respond to contact made from anything but skin, making the phone impossible to unlock with gloves on as iOS 10 requires a click on the Home Button to bring up pin unlock.
This may not be the biggest news while the weather’s still warm outside, but in a couple of months time it’s going to look like a real backwards step for the iPhone. Hopefully, Apple will have issued a software update by then. I’m confident it will.
iPhone 7 Plus review: Display
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (32 GB) – Black
iPhone 7 Plus review: Prices and verdict
I said it at the beginning of this review, and I’ll say it once more: of the two new iPhones, the Plus is the better handset. It has that dual-camera, better battery life and a bigger screen. If you have no aversion to its pocket-stretching dimensions and you absolutely must have an iPhone then the iPhone 7 Plus is the handset to go for.
That, in my opinion, is a price rise too much. With the superior Samsung Galaxy S8 costing around £520 SIM-free, and many other top-quality Android alternatives (such as the OnePlus 5T) going for even less, the iPhone 7 Plus is looking a tough, tough sell – no matter how good a phone it is.
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