Now that Apple’s new iPhones have been officially launched, it is understandable for many consumers to wonder which handset they would go for this year. The iPhone 7 is smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus, but size isn’t really the deciding factor these days, especially when there are specs and features and other aspects that can give prospective buyers more bang for their buck. To help consumers discern which iPhone best matches their needs, we bring you the four-one-one on the two handsets that are expected to hit the market on Sept. 16.
Performance would never be an issue on either device, since the Cupertino tech giant has equipped both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus with TSMC’s newest and most powerful chip, the A10 Fusion. Designed to be the fastest smartphone chip, the ARM processor is a 64-bit, four-core processor comprising two high-performance and two high-efficiency cores that work together to bring seamless performance on the two iPhones. During Apple’s Special Event, Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller revealed that the A10 Fusion is 40 percent faster than the A9 chip of the previous generation iPhones, the 6s and the 6s Plus. Comparing it with the first chip used in the very first iPhone, Schiller noted that the A10 Fusion is 120 times faster.
Aside from the CPU chip, the six-core GPU also adds value to the handsets’ overall performance. The new GPU chip’s presence is felt in the rendering of graphics either for simple smartphone use or for heavy-duty gaming. MacWorld reports that the six-core GPU in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is 50 percent faster than the one found in last year’s iPhones. Schiller even promised that what users would get is “console-level” performance when running games like Codemasters’ “F1 2016.”
While we have yet to see official benchmarks for the A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 and in the iPhone 7 Plus, recent reports are claiming to have spotted the two devices’ ratings in the popular diagnostic tool Geekbench. According to CNET, the iPhone 7 got a single-core score of 3379 and a multi-core score of 5495 in the leaked benchmark results. Based on these figures, the iPhone 7 is said to do better than the iPad Pro, which scored 3009 and 4878 in the two tests, respectively. They also appear to confirm how much faster the new iPhone is than the iPhone 6s which scored 2475 and 4176 in the single-core and multi-core tests.
The Geekbench ratings for the iPhone 7 Plus have also been leaked recently, with MacRumors reporting early Thursday that Apple’s new phablet got 3233 for the single-core test and 5363 for the multi-core test. Comparing the results with the ratings the iPhone 7 got, the standard handset has slightly better performance, perhaps due to its smaller form factor. Nevertheless, compared with the iPhone 6s Plus’ 2407 single-core and 4046 multi-core scores as well as the iPad Pro’s previously mentioned benchmark ratings, it’s not hard to see why the A10 Fusion chip is a great addition to the iPhone 7 Plus.
Both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus sport LED-backlit IPS LCD screens that are protected with Ion-strengthened glass, oleophobic coating. Both also have support for 3D Touch and Digital Zoom. But that’s just about it for their similarities. The iPhone 7, being the smaller version out of the two, houses a 4.7-inch touchscreen with 750x1334 screen resolution and 326 pixels density per inch. For a flagship device, many would expect for it to sport a 1080p display, especially when its rivals like the Galaxy S7 and the LG V20 are rocking 2K displays or 1440x2560 screen resolution.
As expected, however, what the iPhone 7 lacks, the iPhone 7 Plus makes up for. The larger iPhone comes with a 5.5-inch touchscreen with 1080x1920 screen resolution and 401 pixel density per inch. The 1080p resolution may not be as big as 2K display, but Apple has since been a firm believer that the former should be the standard of display quality among smartphone devices. Also, it is worth noting that the tech giant proudly shared that the display panels for the new iPhones are 25 percent brighter than those found on the 6s and the 6s Plus.
This department is definitely the key determiner on how the two new iPhones differ from each other, and it would most likely be the dealmaker that would help users decide which handset to buy this fall or this holiday season. As presented during the Special Event, the new iPhones were touted to be major advancements in smartphone photography. Up front, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus boast of the same 7-megapixel selfie camera with face detection, HDR and panoramic viewing. The front snapper is also equipped with f/22 aperture and is capable of recording 720p at 240fps and 1080p at 30fps videos.
Meanwhile, the back cameras for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus tell a different story. The smaller variant comes with a single-lens camera with 12-megapixel high-speed sensors, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, phase detection autofocus and quad-LED (dual tone flash). The camera features touch focus, HDR, geo-tagging and simultaneous 4K video and 8MP image recording. Having said all these, the iPhone 7’s camera is already very impressive as it is. Apple even stated that this camera technology is the best there is in capturing moments with very rich colors even in low-light conditions.
However, what Apple didn’t really talk about during its Special Event is how different the iPhone 7’s camera is going to be in comparison with the iPhone 7 Plus’ snapper. The company may have acknowledged that the distinction between the Plus and the standard iPhone is the “plus 1 camera” or the additional lens to the camera module of the larger iPhone, but the tech giant did not overtly say why consumers should purchase the 7 Plus over the iPhone 7 if they want the real deal. The iPhone 7 Plus houses a dual-lens camera system that is composed of two 12-megapixel lenses — a wide-angle and a telephoto camera lens.
The addition of a secondary lens is crucial for what Apple has worked hard for to deliver with its new premium iPhone: the Bokeh effect or the aesthetic effect in photography that blurs the out-of-focus object/s in a picture. Apple says this effect is possible all thanks to the depth of field feature the dual-lens camera system has. For prospective buyers who want to use their iPhones in professional photography or just use them in a regular fashion but with the intent of producing high-quality images, then it’s quite obvious that the iPhone 7 Plus should be your handset of choice.
Aside from the different screen sizes and camera systems, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus come with many similar features, like NFC for Apple Pay, HTML5 Safari Browser, 3D Touch Home button and IPX7 certification for dust-proofing and water-proofing. The iOS 10-running devices also come in the same five color options: Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, Black and Jet Black, which is only available on the 128GB and 256GB models. Each comes bundled with Lightning EarPods, a Lightning-to-headphone jack dongle in the absence of the 3.5mm headphone jack and a v2.0 Lighting reversible connector. The two iPhones are surely arriving with different battery capacities, but Apple has yet to reveal the sizes of the non-removable Li-Ion batteries. What is known so far is that the battery of the iPhone 7 can run two hours longer than that of the iPhone 6s, while the battery of the iPhone 7 Plus comes with an extra hour compared with the iPhone 6s Plus’ battery.
Additionally, both iPhones come in the same memory options, which have been doubled by the Cupertino giant in time for the handsets’ launch. The base model now has 32GB, the mid-tier has 128GB and the top-tier comes with the generous 256GB. Despite the boost in onboard storage, the tech company confirmed that pricing for the memory variants remain the same, so users can expect the base models to come with a $649 price tag when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus become available in Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Resellers and select carriers.
Which iPhone are you thinking of buying this year? Sound off in the comments section below.