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

Apple outfits its iPhone 7 Plus with two rear cameras (including a telephoto lens), a new home button and a water resistant design.

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Lynn La Scott Stein
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Lynn La

Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones

Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.

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Scott Stein

Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

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3 min read

Shop for Apple iPhone 7 Plus (128GB, black)

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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.

iPhone 7 Plus in photos: Your first look at Apple's new flagship

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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:

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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

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

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