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iPhone 7 Plus ups photo ante with 2 rear cameras (hands-on)

/ Updated: September 7, 2016 1:35 PM PDT
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Editor's note: CNET has fully reviewed the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. What follows below is our initial hands-on impressions of the iPhone 7 Plus.

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Click here for our full iPhone 7 Plus review.

CNET

The new pair of Apple flagships have finally been announced. But if you want dual cameras, you'll only get them in the Plus.

During a San Francisco event today held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the tech giant unveiled the iPhone 7, the 7 Plus and the company's second wearable, the Apple Watch Series 2. The device will start at $769 for 32GB, but 128GB and 256GB variants will be available. Pre-orders begin September 9 and units will ship out September 16.

The 7 Plus shares many attributes as its 7 counterpart, including its new dust- and water-resistant design, stereo speakers and a lack of a headphone jack. But as Apple's slightly more premium handset, the device is equipped with a bigger display and three cameras total (including a 12-megapixel telephoto lens).

It's a funny thing about the Plus: it used to be about having a bigger screen and more battery life, but the claimed battery gains between the 7 Plus and smaller iPhone 7 aren't all that great. The 7 Plus, this time, is mostly about having a dual rear camera.

The Plus looks just like the older iPhone 6S Plus, which isn't much of a surprise. However, the dual lenses do steal the show and are the most compelling feature about the phone. They show notable improvements in the speed of snapping photos during our brief time with the handset.

Snapping between both lenses was easy, and the single-touch zoom wheel in the camera app made software zoom a piece of cake. But I didn't get to try depth of field effects, which won't be available until an update later this year.

The rest of the Plus is really about its internal specs, including performance and battery life. As such, these upgrades are invisible, and any improvements we anticipate will have to be tested and included in our review at a later date. For now, what we can see immediately (other than the two cameras) is that the headphone jack really is gone, which evokes a lot of pretty sad feelings. And the new home button takes getting used to: the click is gone, and it's now replaced with a haptic buzz. It could be a lot better than the traditional home button (and more durable), but we kinda miss that physical click.

Apple seems intent on making the Plus the ultimate camera phone, more so than previous years. For that alone, it's probably worth the step up for anyone who's taking photos all the time professionally.

Other features include:

iPhone 7 Plus' two rear cameras.

James Martin/CNET

Design


  • A 5.5-inch Retina HD display with 1,080-pixel resolution and 401 pixels per inch
  • 5 color variations pink, gold, silver, black and the new jet black
  • Satisfies IP67 standards for splash, water and dust resistance
  • Single Lightning port (includes headphone dongle)
  • Pressure sensitive home button

Camera

  • Two 12-megapixel cameras: a wide-angle 28mm lens and a 56mm telephoto lens
  • 4K video recording
  • Optical image stabilization
  • A 7-megapixel FaceTime HD front-facing camera

Hardware and software

  • 64-bit, quad-core A10 Fusion processor
  • Increased battery capacity (up to one hour longer than the 6S Plus)
  • Running iOS 10 at launch

Pricing

Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus pricing

Model Size US UK AU
Apple iPhone 7 32GB $649 £599 AU$1,079
false 128GB $749 £699 AU$1,229
false 256GB $849 £799 AU$1,379
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 32GB $769 £719 AU$1,269
false 128GB $869 £819 AU$1,419
false 256GB $969 £919 AU$1,569

*Jet black only comes in the 128GB and 256GB sizes.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Service Provider AT&T
    Verizon
    T-Mobile
    Sprint
    MetroPCS
    Cricket Wireless
  • Diagonal Size 5.5 in
  • Weight 6.63 oz
  • Sensors Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, three-axis gyro sensor, digital compass, barometer
  • Technology CDMA2000 1X / GSM / WCDMA (UMTS) / TD-SCDMA
    WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Additional Features AirDrop function
    AirPlay wireless streaming
    AirPrint wireless printing
    Apple TV support (2nd, 3rd)
    CarPlay function
    FaceTime
    Family Sharing feature
    Handoff
    HomeKit
    M10 motion coprocessor
    MIMO technology
    Night Shift
    Notification Center
    QuickType keyboard
    Spotlight Search
    Wi-Fi Calling
    iBeacon microlocation
    iCloud Keychain
    iCloud Photo Sharing
    multitasking