iPhone 7 Plus is the most paradoxical smartphone I've ever held in my hands. It looks almost the same as it was three years ago - but almost all the changes in it are so radical and significant that they can affect not only the iPhone line, but also what all modern smartphones will be like in the future.
The first iPhone with two cameras. The first iPhone without the usual mechanical Home button. The first waterproof iPhone. The first iPhone without the classic headphone jack. And the first iPhone, the design of which has not radically changed for three years in a row.
It is also a "transitional" iPhone - it sets the stage for the iPhone 8, with which, according to rumors, Apple will reinvent the phone again. The main thing remains unchanged: the iPhone 7 Plus is still a damn good smartphone.
You can hardly tell the difference between the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 6 Plus from the front. Or from 6S Plus. The same rounded edges, the same 2.5D glass that completely covers the front panel, which makes it seem that the image on the display "hovers" above the body. The giant bezels have not gone anywhere - my personal main gripe with iPhone design. In 2016, after the Galaxy Note 7 and S7 Edge of the giant one-handed smartphones and the bezel-less Nubia Z11, the iPhone looks even more like a smaller tablet.
The main visual changes are on the back of the smartphone, and they all came in handy. The antenna strips are placed on the edge of the device and look much neater. The camera still sticks out of the body, but now its module smoothly and gracefully wraps around aluminum.
And the main thing - two new black colors, matte and glossy "Black Onyx". Both look amazing: the latter sparkles in the sun like glass and feels the same to the touch, but it is easily soiled and scratches quickly. Matte black is much more practical: it is also beautiful, but it splashes more slowly and is not scary to put in your pocket without a cover. Plus, the aluminum surface in this version is rubberized - soft and tactilely pleasant. The antenna stripes in both versions are almost invisible, which makes the design of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feel very fresh. Remember the paradoxes: the same - but different.
The same can be said for the Home button. Now this is not a button at all, but a touch surface that is sensitive to pressure. Turn off your smartphone and try to push it - nothing happens. The Taptic Engine is responsible for the tactile sensation of the key. Every time you press firmly on the surface, it vibrates briefly, creating a click sensation. The same technology is used in the latest MacBooks, and there the Taptic Engine tricks your senses so skillfully that it is almost impossible to distinguish a "touch" touchpad from a traditional one. The same cannot be said about the iPhone 7: the vibration response is not like pressing a button - it is not the surface under your finger that vibrates, but the entire lower part of the iPhone. It is difficult to describe the sensations, but I will try: Imagine that you are pushing the surface of an empty plastic bottle until the plastic bows.At first, this is terribly unusual, but you quickly get used to it, and pressing the iPhone 7 sensor becomes even more pleasant than the usual Home of previous iPhones. Plus, to break the button, now you have to try.
The Taptic Engine in iPhone 7 Plus and iOS 10 is generally used to its fullest. Vibration accompanies you all the time: a small jolt when the notification curtain falls from above and "beats" against the lower edge of the display, perceptible when you use 3D Touch or update the feed on a social network … This is not just a fun little thing: Taptic Engine gives a physical sensation from interacting with virtual objects.
Well, under the Home button, you will find the reason for the hottest technological controversy in recent years. Instead of a round 3.5mm headphone jack, you'll only see a microphone grill. You can connect non-Lightning headphones to the iPhone 7 either via Bluetooth or using an adapter. If we divide the satisfied and the dissatisfied into two camps, then personally I am somewhere on the border, with one foot, however, on the side of those who took this venture with hostility.
I like the idea that Apple is promoting: unification of ports, the ability to save space in the device, and take the sound in smartphones to the next level. But when you buy an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, you're giving up the 3.5mm port and getting nothing in return. Apple often chops from the hip, sending everything that seems outdated and unnecessary to the dustbin of history and almost always everyone benefits from it. But these changes have always been justified and prepared. We will remove the CD drive, but we will make the laptop case surprisingly thin and light. We will not let you load files into the smartphone's memory yourself, but we will ensure the safety of the device and monstrous optimization.
Here … Applebelieves in a future without wires, but puts EarPods with a Lighnting connector and an adapter in the box, in the latter case doubling the number of wires needed to connect headphones. And in October, AirPods will be released - the Bluetooth version of EarPods, which automatically means far from the best sound and fit in the ears. Once all this was supposed to happen, but at the end of 2016, such a decision is trivially fraught with pain. In English there is such an expression - "early adopters". This is the name given to people who are the first to try all the latest inventions, actually test them for future generations of buyers, often sacrificing their comfort. IPhone 7 buyers are these early adopters, whether they like it or not. The adapter is "a must have that is easy to lose" and I already know the owner of the iPhone 7.forced to buy a new one - to replace the lost one. You will not be able to connect headphones and a charger to your smartphone using standard means: and if you, like me, like to watch a couple of episodes of a TV series at night, temper your nerves right now.
And how many "pleasant" minutes the realization that you took the headphones with you, but forgot the adapter gives you! On the one hand, it's his own fault, on the other, it's hard not to hate Apple's decision at such moments. The iPhone 7 is the first iPhone with the ability to create real fury.
The lack of a headphone jack is not an excuse to skip buying an iPhone 7. It's like walking around the city with your laces untied: you can live, but annoying. And most importantly, why?
Now about the most important thing - the camera. In the iPhone 7 Plus, it is double: two 12-megapixel modules, one traditional but updated, the other telephoto. The sevens' camera has gotten better at everything and given that the iPhone 6S had a very good camera, it is now one of the best on the market.
Accurate color rendition, excellent white balance, no noise and "sharping" - ladders at the boundaries of objects. The photographs in the dark have seriously won: the aperture has increased, so now there are much more details and objects in focus in the photographs. They look especially good on the updated iPhone 7 display - it has become brighter and capable of displaying more colors. This is the best IPS-matrix on the market and it seems that the technology of such screens has reached its maximum. It will probably give way to OLED next year.
© Dmitry Petrenko
What does the additional module give? First, the optical zoom capability. By clicking on a button in the application, you can double the size of an image with virtually no loss of quality. If this is not enough, you can continue to "zoom" further, already with the help of software processing. The thing is very useful and, using the iPhone 7 Plus, you understand how much it is lacking in other smartphones.
© Dmitry Petrenko
Secondly, create a very high level of bokeh (blurring the background behind the subject) in photographs. This feature will ship with the October iOS update, but a developer beta is already available. Of course, I could not resist and put it - not in vain. Even now, in an incomplete form, the function can cause delight.
How it works: A new mode appears in the camera application - portrait. When you turn it on, a status bar appears at the bottom of the screen telling you what to do: move your smartphone closer or further, find a light source, and so on. The smartphone uses machine learning to determine the contours of the object and keep it in focus. The camera will then “blur” the background behind it in real time, so you can roughly imagine what the bokeh will look like in the shot without pressing the shutter yet.
Do not believe much that is written on the net: the defocus function "at will" was indeed in many smartphones up to the 7 Plus, but there it was done rather clumsily and you almost never used it. Seven times out of 10, you got a bad shot with blurred edges and soapy blur. In the beta version of iOS 10.1, if this happens, it is extremely rare.
By the way, the lack of a portrait mode at the start is another fair reason to clap your tongue with annoyance. Why is the main feature of 7 Plus not available at the start of sales? This is not at all in the spirit of Apple.
When iOS 10 works as it should, it's great. The smartphone wakes up as soon as you pick it up, and you can deal with notifications right on the locked screen using 3D Touch. The new menu with widgets and the most popular applications is terribly useful: I no longer remember when I launched the Vkontakte icon from the desktop. The notification shade has become more functional, animations - more beautiful, 3D Touch - more useful. The most expansive ecosystem of apps, streamlined, polished, is still the main selling point for the iPhone. Even if Apple did not change anything in the iPhone 7 at all, just tightening up the technical specifications, it would still be a wonderful smartphone. What "obsolete hardware" Apple haters talk about, absolutely incomprehensible. The iPhone 7 scores more points in synthetic tests than the 2013 MacBook Pro. Top laptop.
Only annoying bugs spoil the impression a little. Applications sometimes do not close and open instantly, as if stumbling. The animation of the center of the widgets slows down. Notifications can "fall out" after you have read them. All this, of course, will be corrected with updates, but now, "by eye", the iPhone 7 Plus loses in the speed of the tiny iPhone SE.
iPhones are always getting the most attention from journalists. It's simple: they are interesting to observe. The ecosystem that Apple has built affects the entire industry, and everything you see now in the 7 Plus will be seen in all flagship smartphones in the coming years.
The iPhone 7 Plus is an early access to the future of mobile phones. Phones where buttons have been replaced by touch panels built into the screen itself. Phones with one universal port for everything and two cameras. Telephones that connect virtual elements to our senses by physical means.
The new iPhones are preparing us for something more, requiring patience and understanding from us in return - and you don't have to pay that price. But if you can - this is a chance to look into the "beautiful far away", at least with one eye.
After all, it's still a pretty damn good smartphone.>