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Phones

Every way the iPhone 7 is different from the iPhone 6S

Are you trying to decide if you should upgrade to the iPhone 7 from an iPhone 6S? Here's everything you need to know.

It's a classic dilemma: Buy the new iPhone, or save some money by going with an older model?

If the recently announced Apple iPhone 7 has spun you into this predicament, fret not dear CNET reader -- we got you.

We parsed through the slight differences between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6S so you don't have to. Below is a breakdown of how the iPhone 7's minor updates differentiate it from last year's model.

New home button, who dis?

James Martin/CNET

No headphone jack

  • Goodbye aux cable, hello Lightning connector. In order to listen to music, you must use Apple's EarPod headphones with a Lightning Connector or the Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter that comes with the phone, which allows you to use any regular pair of headphones. You can also shell out for Apple's new wireless AirPods headset to keep the jack free for charging.

Increase in storage

iPhone 7 iPhone 6S
Storage capacities 32GB, 128GB and 256GB 32GB and 128GB

Different colors (kind of)

iPhone 7 iPhone 6S
Colors Silver, gold, rose gold, black, jet black Silver, gold, rose gold, space gray
  • The jet black model is only available in 128GB and 256GB models.

Weighs less

iPhone 7 iPhone 6S
Weight 138g 143g
  • Not a big difference, but a difference nonetheless. Hey, the headline says every way it's different, not every big way.

Brighter screen

iPhone 7 iPhone 6S
Brightness levels 625 cd/m2 500 cd/m2
090716-apple-iphone-7-6871.jpg

Not smaller, but it is lighter than the iPhone 6S.

James Martin/CNET

Stereo speakers

  • The iPhone 7 is the first iPhone to pack two speakers. The iPhone 6S just has a single speaker grill on its bottom edge.

More durable

  • It's IP67 certified, meaning it's resistant to water and dust. You don't have to be afraid of spilling coffee on this iPhone and frying all the parts.

Faster performance

  • Apple claims that the A10 Fusion processor inside the iPhone 7 is 40 percent faster than the A9 processor inside of the iPhone 6S.

Better camera

iPhone 7 iPhone 6S
Rear camera 12-megapixels, 4K 12-megapixels, 4K
Aperture f/1.8 f/2.2
Optical image stabilization Yes No
Front-facing camera 7-megapixel, 1080p 5-megapixel, 720p
  • The iPhone 7's lower aperture means it lets in more light and captures brighter photos in dim places.
  • Optical image stabilization, previously only found on the iPhone 6S Plus, helps reduce blurriness when taking photos and video.

Revamped home button

  • You can't physically press the home button on the iPhone 7 like you can with the iPhone 6S. Instead, it's pressure sensitive and reacts with "taptic feedback," which is fancy talk for vibration.
  • We won't lie, it takes some getting used to.

Longer battery life

  • Apple estimates that the iPhone 7 lasts 12 hours of LTE browsing, but we won't know that for sure until we get our hands on one. The iPhone 6S lasted 10.5 hours in our CNET battery test, so expect modest gain. Check back for the full review of the iPhone 7 for the final battery test result.
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Apple's incremental changes won't win everyone over, and some experts even recommend waiting until next year for some bigger updates. If you signed up for Apple's iPhone Upgrade service, the choice is easy -- you automatically get the iPhone 7. Lucky you! If you're an iPhone 6S owner pondering the upgrade, sticking with your phone seems like a safe decision for now.

We won't know if the iPhone 7 is a worthy upgrade until we get a review unit in the CNET office. Until then, you can read our hands-on impressions.