About Apple iPhone 7
In this guide
At the time of its release in September 2016 the Apple iPhone 7 was Apple’s lowest cost flagship smartphone. There are two versions available, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Both come with 32Gb, 128Gb and 256Gb memory options. Both The standout features at launch included the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, the iPhone 7 came bundled with in-ear headphones that used the same Lightning connector jack as the phone’s power supply.
Competitors for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus include Huawei’s P9, the Xiaomi Mi 5, and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were superseded in September 2017 by the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Production of both 7 models was discontinued in 2019. However, both still have plenty to offer in terms of value, performance and features, and are still widely available. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Overview of the iPhone 7
The Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were flagship Apple smartphones when they were released in September 2016. They were superseded in 2017 by the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and were discontinued from manufacture in 2019. Both phones were notable at launch for replacing the standard 3.5mm headphone jacks with a single proprietary Lighting socket. The other notable change from the iPhones that preceded them was the replacement of a physical home button. As older phones, both can now be bought at significantly lower prices than Apples’ current flagship iPhones.
Based on the same design as the iPhone 6, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were introduced with four colour schemes: Black, Jet Black, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold. Jet Black was a new addition to the iPhone range, and unlike plain black, it is glossy.
The iPhone 7 uses Apple’s iOS operating system and as of September 2020 is capable of running iOS 14 – the latest version of iOS.
The Apple iPhone 7 and Plus are both solid, if not innovative, phones. Both use the A10 Fusion processor that saw Apple’s own chip design adopted for the first time.
Critics did not take kindly to the iPhones 7s at launch (mainly down to the lack of a 3.5mm headphone socket). The general public, however, disagreed and the 7 and 7 Plus proved popular. This is why you’ll still find plenty of iPhone 7 and 7 Pluses on sale despite the fact that Apple ceased manufacture of them in 2019.
What Apple iPhone 7 models are available?
There are two different models of Apple iPhone 7, each aimed at particular budgets and size requirements. These are: The iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus. The main differences are in physical size and the fact that the 7 Plus comes with dual, 12 megapixel wide and telephoto lenses on its rear-facing camera. Whereas the standard 7 only has the wide-angle lens.
- Apple iPhone 7 (base model) – uses the 64-bit, quad-core, ARM-based Apple A10 Fusion processor (the first time this chip was used in an Apple phone). It has a a 4.7” Retina (LCD) display with a 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi. In terms of cameras, the iPhone 7 has a front-facing, FaceTime HD camera capable of 7 megapixels still images and 1080p HD video recording. Its front-facing camera has a single, 12 megapixels lens with 5x digital zoom, is HDR-capable and can shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second. At launch there were three memory options: 32Gb, 128Gb and 512Gb, of which 11 to 14Gb are taken up by system software
- Apple iPhone 7Plus – The most noticeable difference between the Apple iPhone 7 and the Plus is physical size. The Plus comes in at 158.2 height (versus 138.3mm), 779.mm width (versus 67.1mm), 7.3mm depth (versus 7.1mm) and weighs 188g versus the 7’s 138g. This translates into screen size too, with the plus providing 5.5 inches (139.7mm) at 920x1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi compared to the 7’s 4.7 inch (119.38mm) screen at 1334x750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi. The differences don’t stop there either. The Plus’s rear-facing camera has dual, 12 megapixel wide and telephoto lenses with 2x optical zoom, and optical zoom to 10x for still images
- Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7Plus 5G – Neither of these phones are 5G-ready
Apple iPhone 7 range – main features
There is little to differentiate the iPhone 7 from the 7 Plus aside from physical size and the Plus’s additional telephoto lens, therefore both phones share a number of common features:
- A fast, quad-core, Apple-designed A10 Fusion processor – No matter which version of the Apple iPhone 7 you go for you're going to get a quad-core Fusion A10 processor,. This is the first processor to be designed by Apple. It also features in later version Apple iPads including 7th generation (2019) units. The Fusion A10 is a trustworthy, stable and well-supported chip
- Front-facing camera – Both the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 plus share the same front-facing camera. Apple calls this its FaceTime camera to support its video-calling app of the same name. Both models are capable of taking 7 megapixel images, both have HDR capability, and both can record front-facing video at 1080p HD at 30 frames per second
- Water and dust resistant - Both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are water resistant to a maximum depth of 1 meter up to 30 minutes. For the first time in the iPhone range.
- 32Gb, 128GB, 256Mb memory – System memory determines how many apps you can have running in the background at once. According to Apple, both the Apple iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus use from 11Gb to 14GB of system memory. This is easily enough to run your apps. At the time of writing, the latest version of the operating system, iOS 14, also enables you to offload apps that you are not regularly using on both the 7 and the 7 Plus
- Secure Authentication – Having done away with a physical home button the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple was able to introduce s second-generation fingerprint sensor built-into the new capacitive, static home button
- Siri – Both the iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus come with Apple’s Siri voice assistant software. This allows you to activate hands-free with only your voice using the ‘Hey Siri’ command. Siri can also be used to send and receive emails and texts, set reminders, chose and play music and more
- Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7Plus Battery Life – Both models use rechargeable, but not user-replaceable lithium-ion batteries. In terms of battery life both phones have been reliably tested at around 12 hours life between charges. The Plus falling maybe an hour shorter than the smaller model. This is not spectacular battery life and tested badly against the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the HTC 10
- Nano-SIMs – Both the iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus use Nano-SIM cards and so are not compatible with micro-SIMs. So, be careful if you’re thinking of buying a SIM-free iPhone 7 or 7 Plus and swapping out your old SIM.
Which providers offer Apple iPhone 7 deals?
As an older phone (the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were both released in 2016 and discontinued from manufacture in 2019) both models are widely available at the budget end of the market. Here is a list of providers who offer Apple iPhone 7 contracts of all kinds, and that Cable.co.uk recommends.
Alternative phone brands
One of the big problems when comparing Apple to any other phone maker is that Apple phones are tied into the Apple product-chain. That is to say that unlike Samsung, Huawei, Google and even Sony all of which have adopted the Android base system, if you buy an iPhone you’re tied to iOS. The other main point to note is that the iPhone range tends to aim for the higher budget user. With those caveats in mind, let’s see which other brands compete.
- Samsung – Samsung has continued to use the standard 3.5mm headphone socket, and this seems to be a big plus for many users who aren’t signed up to the Apple product chain or haven’t yet adopted Bluetooth as their headphone connection of choice. Aside from this obvious difference, Samsung’s phone range operate with the widely supported Android operating system
- Sony – A top end, Sony Xperia phones will cost you similar money to Google Pixel phones. We're not all that enamoured with Sony phones here at Cable.co.uk, mainly because we feel there are better options for the money. However, those of you who are brand loyal may consider the name more important than other considerations
- Huawei – Is a Chinese manufacturer that produces a range of phones ranging in price and specifications from the very cheap and workaday to the highly specified, £1,000+ mark. Huawei phones are growing more and more popular in the UK as more and more suppliers decide it’s good business to retail them. The Huawei P30 Pro, for example, has reviewed extremely well since it hit the UK in 2019
Frequently asked questions
What is Apple iPhone 7?
The Apple iPhone 7 range consists of two phones: the base iPhone 7, and the slightly larger and heavier 7 Plus. Both were released in September 2016. At the time of writing both are still supported by the Apple iOS operating system (currently 14). Apple stopped making the iPhone 7s in 2019.
Are Apple iPhone 7 phones any good?
The Apple iPhone 7 and Apple iPhone 7 Plus are solid workhorse smartphones that provide decent video and still image photography, and are supported by a wide range of apps via the Apple AppStore. The lack of 3.5mm headphone socket is less of a problem if you’re used to Bluetooth headphones.
Battery life is not world beating at around 12 hours between charges on standard use. Another thing to look out for is the next Apple iOS full update to iOS 15, which may not work with what are quite an old phones now.
Can I connect Apple iPhone 7 phones to my TV?
Yes. You can mirror the screen on your phone to your television via the Apple TV box without any additional hardware or software. Or you can buy an adapter (Apple Lightning to HDMI) to connect the phone to any other type of television, provided it has an HDMI port. There are also apps that will enable you to connect to a TV via Chromecast, Fire TV and Roku interfaces.
Can I get Apple iPhone 7 phones SIM-free?
Yes. Most providers will sell you a Apple iPhone 7 handset without demanding you take out a contract. At the time of writing, you can now get refurbished Apple iPhone 7s from many providers, which can save you a lot of money off the asking price, and still come with a full warranty.
Can I buy refurbished Apple iPhone 7 phones?
Yes. In fact, we recommend seeking out an Apple iPhone 7 that has been refurbished if your budget is somewhat tight.
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