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Apple iPhone 7 Long Term Review: Most of the goodness, for a fraction of the price

A year later, the iPhone 7 is still a device worth considering. Here's why.

  • Published: November 29, 2017 10:43 AM IST

Apple iPhone 7 4 5
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  • The iPhone 7 is a year old, but is still a capable device.

  • You can get an iPhone 7 today at around Rs 40,000 if you look around, making it a good value proposition.

  • iOS 11 may have slowed down the iPhone 7 initially, but a couple of incremental updates have fixed the issues.

There’s an impressive level of curiosity around the iPhone each year. And everyone who’s ever researched the iPhone before making a purchase decision goes through a mix of longing, desire, dejection or thought of ridicule. To quite an extent that’s based on prior experience with Android, and the steep price at which iPhones are priced. If the iPhone X, and this year’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus feel out of reach, but you’re still keen on an iPhone, my long-term experience with the iPhone 7 could very well help you arrive at an informed decision.

The initial experience of using an iPhone

There is quite a bit of difference between the way Android and iOS works. Or rather in the way Android smartphones and iPhones work. While the core of your Android universe is your Google account, your Apple ID is the key to your Apple world. That’s just obvious. Both platforms have cloud storage services, but the kind of space that’s available in both platforms differ. A Google account will get you started with 15GB of space which you can use to store photos and videos as well. However, Apple offers you 5GB for free on iCloud, its cloud storage service. You have the option to opt for paid tiers on both platforms. I’ve personally not opted for a paid tier just yet, because there are services such as Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Mega and so many more that take care of that pressing need to migrate to the cloud. Besides, depending on the internal storage you have, you simply might not need to anyway.

Do you miss out on anything?

That’s the most important question. With three newer iPhone models out there in the market, the obvious question for everyone considering the iPhone 7 is ‘what am I missing out on’? The latest iPhones run on the A11 Bionic chip. The iPhone 7, on the other hand, run on the A10 processor. According to Apple what you’re missing out is 70 percent performance. But before you feel dejected, you need to ponder over the scale of things. A good example to figure that out is the top speed of supercars. You may lust over a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Some fortunate folks end up buying them as well. But not everyone gets to rev them up ever so often.

The Indian road conditions don’t count here, because when it comes to a smartphone, speed is speed. There’s no ifs and buts there. One limiting factor is the speed of internet. Your processor could calculate things faster, and do stuff quickly. But if you have a shaky internet connection, your Facebook video is still going to buffer. Talk about internet connections being data highways.

The practical reality is, you only need to bother about the processing speed difference if you’re a bleeding edge mobile video content producer. That’s the only area where there’d be a difference in performance for you. But then, if that were the case, you’re probably already using the iPhone 8 Plus or the iPhone X. The difference in price that you will pay today between an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 8 buys you in addition to a couple of other features, the possibility of clicking photos a few microseconds faster. If you capture a lot of action scenes, that could make a huge difference. But most of us could work with that. The drastic price cut is giving us much more.

Long term performance

I’ve used the iPhone 7 as my primary device for a year. It’s been through thick and thin. It’s been treated with some care, although it has been dropped a few times. Believe me, your heart skips a beat when you drop an iPhone. I recommend a cover, or a skin, some protective way to prevent scratches. The first time I dropped it in a cab, it had a leather case on it. Nothing happened. The second time I dropped it was again in a cab. But it bounced off the edge and onto gravel. The leather case bore the brunt of it. Scratches I didn’t imagine. I was glad it had some kind of protective cover.

Your heart skips a beat when you drop an iPhone

Soon the scratched cover got to me, and six months into the device, I got rid of the cover. There was new found admiration, because now the device seemed lighter, slimmer and newer. But that’s all thanks to the protective case. What I didn’t realise was that the device was a lot more slippery without its case. I managed to drop it once again. I buried my face in my palm. I believe the phone has a magical ability to land display down. Always. But the device survived every single time, much to my relief.

The onslaught of iOS 11

When iOS 11 was available, I promptly updated my iPhone 7. There were a few weeks of sluggishness and lethargy it showed me. As per my use case before the update, I would charge my device every night. Post the update, I found myself charging it once at noon and once at night. A couple of updates later, it was back to its earlier performance levels.

Also, random instances of the device heating up isn’t common. A few instance may require you to restart the phone. It’s all normal and could occur for different reasons, but most commonly occurs due to some app not optimally working with the OS version. The solution that worked for me was to use only the apps I really need. Typically apps such as Facebook end up sucking away quite a bit of the device’s juice. And staying on the latest update always ensures your device works in the healthy zone.

Final thoughts

Thankfully, iPhones have a longer lifecycle compared to standard Android devices. Frequency of OS updates are way faster on iPhones than on most Android phones. Most iPhone users typically migrate to the latest OS version right away or in a matter of a few weeks. And you’re pretty much fine with an iPhone for about 3 to 4 years before it begins to act up.

Considering that pricing of the Apple iPhone 7 has drastically fallen, it’s emerging as a value premium product. In fact, operators such as Airtel are offering the iPhone at a down payment of Rs 7,777, and easy monthly installments that reduce the initial heartburn significantly. All the above factors put together, you’re placed in a safe spot with the iPhone 7, giving you a couple of years of good performance to get you going.

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  • Published Date: November 29, 2017 10:43 AM IST

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