Apple iPhone 7 full, in-depth review: Value depends on your relationship with Apple

Innovative smartphone but with issues

Apple iPhone 7
  • Apple iPhone 7
  • Apple iPhone 7
  • Apple iPhone 7
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Jet Black version is epic
  • Solidly-built
  • Compatible with Apple ecosystem and accessories
  • Taptic feedback is nice touch

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No headphone jack
  • Few stand-out features
  • Larger 7 Plus is better value
  • No VR strategy

Bottom Line

It's a decent phone that's very well made but represents poor value in the phone market on its own. However, buyer's relationships with Apple and its ecosystem will dramatically affect value.

Would you buy this?

Other features

The iPhone 7 is IP67 certified which means it’s both dust proof and water resistant (not waterproof) which is always good for a beach-based Aussie lifestyle. Beyond this, most interesting features comes from iOS itself (like the updated iMessage - software that is enhanced by the number of friends you have that also use it) or the compatibility with other Apple devices like the AirPod earbuds and Apple Watch.

NFC is included but it only works with Apple Pay which, in Australia, is further limited to cards issued by ANZ or directly by American Express. To some extent this is still more useful than most NFC tools.

Price

The phone comes in three variants with three different capacities: 32GB ($1,079), 128GB ($1,229) and 256GB ($1,379).

We’ve also searched for all the best plans on all Aussie carriers and you can find that information here. Unusually, you can get the phone cheaper with a contract instead of buying outright, but when you factor in the cost of a contract, the prices over two years are comparable.

In terms of the market, it’s a huge amount for a small phone with Samsung’s Galaxy S7 being the most comparable. That can now be had for around $700 though and offers a better screen and similar-if-not better camera. There’s also the Huawei P9 which isn’t nearly so well built, but offers the best camera on the market and a better screen and costs around $700.

In terms of Apple rivals you’re mainly looking at the iPhone 6s or the new 7 Plus. The latter is bigger but not much more expensive and has better battery and camera and starts at $1,269. The 6S still costs $929 and is noticeably slower with weaker camera and battery and, as such, isn’t worth buying anymore.

Overall

The iPhone 7 feels incredibly well built and there’s some impressive attention to detail. The Jet Black version oozes sophistication and is easily our pick of the bunch and it boosts a struggling value score.

However, it's worth remembering that the larger iPhone 7 Plus gives you substantially more phone for a relatively-small price increase.

If we compare the 7 to a market that includes Android phones then we wouldn’t recommend it: it’s too expensive and only really offers Taptic feedback as a unique feature. There’s better value and performance to be had from Samsung’s S7, Huawei’s Mate 8 and P9, Alcatel’s Idol 4S, the Moto G4 Plus and super-tough X Force.

[Update] Since publishing this both Google's Pixel XL Android flagship and its Daydream View VR system have launched. The VR system is revolutionary and pushes the Pixel into a different league compared to all other phones. Even the most ardent, Apple fanboy should check them out before investing in a new iPhone]

But that’s not what Apple’s about. You’re paying a premium for, among other reasons, to be part of the Apple ecosystem which includes great accessories like the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods plus the iOS operating system and Store.

Ultimately, it’s a decent phone whose greatness depends entirely on what the Apple environment means to you in terms of value.

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Read more on these topics: smartphones, Apple, phone, ios, mobile phones, smartphone, iPhone, Phones, iPhone 7
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