Initial Impressions of the iPhone 7 Plus

I just got my iPhone 7 Plus delivered last night so I’m a week late to the party, but I felt I had to share some thoughts on the first 12 hours with the phone.

The first thing that jumped out to me was how nice the display looks. Colors are richer than ever before, so much so that when you put it side by side with an iPhone 6s, the 6s looks downright washed out. The resolution is still 1080×1920, but Apple is finding other ways to improve the screen.

I use my iPhone speakers all the time and it never gets quite as loud as I wish (especially when listening in the kitchen), so the new stereo speaker setup had me very interested when Apple announced it 2 weeks ago. I’m happy to say that not only are the speakers quite a bit louder, but the sound is fuller as well. The iPhone 6s sounds good, but there is a perceptibly tinny sound, especially when playing at higher volumes. The iPhone 7 Plus’s speakers don’t complete replace the need for a Bluetooth speaker, but I could see them getting the job done in a lot more scenarios than before.

The new home button (or should I say “home touch pad”?) is a point of contention for many people, but I liked it immediately. No, the haptic feedback doesn’t fool you into thinking it’s a real button, but I find the feedback to be very satisfying. I’m using the lowest setting for feedback and that has been good for me so far. I’m hearing people who miss the physical button seem to prefer the highest setting, but I’m leaning into this button-less future we’re careening towards.

Performance is definitely better this year, but I wouldn’t say my 6s Plus was slow by any measure. Hell, the 6s recently held onto the crown as the fastest smartphone on the market just a couple weeks ago! That said, apps do launch slightly faster, and some animations play out a little smoother than on the 6s. Additionally, it doesn’t feel that much faster on it’s own, and it’s more when you do things side by side with the 6s that you notice the changes are more pronounced.

The haptic feedback Apple has added with this year’s more robust “Taptic Engine” is something I like more than expected. You now get slight bumps from the phone when the notification shade bounces off the bottom of the screen, when scrolling through a date picker, and a bunch other interactions (notably not while typing, which is good). Android phones have done things like this before and I hated them. Apple has found a tasteful way to do these so they don’t feel weird, they simply feel natural.

Finally, I’m very happy with the color I chose. The matte black finish looks great and hides the antenna lines very well.

I’ll have more to say about things like the camera and water resistance soon as I get to play with this a little more. Stay tuned.