I have always been an Android phone user. Sure, I have tried out an iPhone occasionally but never for an extended period. In effect, I am part of the crowd that has always wondered -- What's all the iPhone hype about?
After iPhone 7 was launched, I was keen to try it out. Sure, there were plenty of 'No headphone jack' jokes on the Internet but, overall, it looked like an exciting device.
Here are some initial impressions of the matte black iPhone 7 Plus that I have used for a day.
If you're not a fan of big phones don't even go near this one. It is bigger than the 5.5-inch and 5.7-inch phones such as Nexus 6P and OnePlus 3. Having said that, the design, which greatly resembles the iPhone 6S Plus, feels nice and the matte black body gives the device a rich look.
Apple has made migrating information from an Android to an iPhone quite simple. All you have to do is download an app called 'move to iOS' from the Play Store and follow the instructions to migrate contacts, messages, pictures, Google accounts and bookmarks. Sadly, iPhone doesn't let you set up if you don't have a SIM.
The first thing you notice when setting up the iPhone 7 Plus is the new static home button settings. This happens when the phone asks about the kind of haptic feedback you want to set. Now, technically there is no home button. It has been replaced by a static home button that gives the user the feel of the button through what Apple calls the Taptic Engine.
While there has been plenty of talk about the design and the camera of the new iPhone 7, the haptic feedback throughout the phone is among the best subtle implementation of features that I have seen. From playing the piano on the app called Noise or setting up the alarm with a rotating dial -- the user experiences actual physical sensation akin to performing these activities on a regular non-digital device.
Apple phone screens look great since the introduction of high pixel density Retina Display, and the iPhone 7 Plus screen features a higher colour gamut (the range of colours) that feels warmer to the eye, with better detail and brightness. It would be instructive to compare it with Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge screens.
Before we move on, lets address the elephant in the room (or the phone) -- the much talked about and ridiculed headphone jack. While the supplied ear-pods are not top-notch, they work well. So, if you're not an audiophile they should be fine for you. But then you can't borrow someone else's headphones when you forget your pair at home unless they too are the proud owners of an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.
Sure, Apple does supply a small dongle that helps you connect your old headphones or earphones but then you'd need to carry it with you.
Apple spoke a lot about the new camera in iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus during the keynote address and the results are showing. While it is not quite a revolution in the smartphone camera world, the new iPhone camera is surely a solid step forward.
The camera functions are super fast, and you can click multiple images in seconds. The results are great and show quite well in the screen's new enhanced colour range. Live photos are fun to capture.
The dual camera works in a way that allows the image processor to decide which lens to use. (I will soon be testing the Bokeh effect and all else that Apple is going to roll out soon with the beta version.)
Overall performance-vise, Apple's fusion chip (two performance cores and two power efficiency cores) seems effective as the multitasking is quite smooth. There are also a great many handy additions to iOS 10.
So, on balance, the iPhone 7 Plus is pretty promising and a notch above all the 'flagship killers' from the Android stable. While we wait for the Pixel phones, few if any smartphones will be able to contend with the iPhone7 now that Samsung's Galaxy Note7 is done and dusted with.
(We will be writing more about the iPhone soon. Until then, send us your questions.)