iPhone 7 and 7 Plus review: Apple (mostly) plays it safe
Apple broke with its tradition by keeping the 6/6s design for another year, opting instead to improve fundamental parts of the user experience. The iPhone 7 has a better battery than before, a more color-rich screen, a vastly improved camera and plenty of horsepower thanks to its new A10 Fusion chipset. If you're looking for newfangled features (or a headphone jack, for that matter), you'll have to search elsewhere. While it's not thrilling enough to warrant an immediate upgrade from last year's 6s, the iPhone 7 is nonetheless an excellent smartphone.
- Top-tier performance
- Great 12-megapixel camera
- Improved battery
- It's water-resistant!
- No headphone jack
- Same design, three years running
- New home button takes getting used to
Tick-tock. Tick-tock. That clockwork rhythm has more or less defined Apple's iPhone road map since the days of the 3GS. One year we'd get a new iPhone with a new look and loads of features to agonize over and opine about. Then, the following year, we'd get the same general design with a faster chipset and a few new tricks. The rhythm was almost comforting in its regularity, which made Apple's unveiling of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus such an anomaly. It's easy to look at these devices as another year's worth of modest updates crammed into a familiar body, but trust me: It's a little more complicated than that. What Apple ultimately did was create two world-class smartphones that skew more toward "safe" than "state of the art". The big question here is whether a bunch of relatively unexciting changes add up to greatness.