7 Minute Miles

Three weeks with the iPhone 7 Plus

Posted Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 05:32 pm GMT -5 in Technology

For the first time ever, I actually stayed up until 2am to pre-order the iPhone 7, only to be locked out by server overload and limited stock. As a member of the iPhone Upgrade Program, this was a bit of a bummer. A few days later, though, Apple sent me an email saying they had allocated more phones to upgrade customers to reserve. A few clicks later, and I had a 10am reservation at the Uptown Apple Store to pick up a black 256GB iPhone 7 Plus.

Picking a model this time took more time than usual, as I had convinced myself that the 6 Plus was too big for my hand and that I would drop back a size next time. Then people started publishing pictures taken with the two-lens 7 Plus and I returned to the larger model. The extra $100 to go from 128GB to 256GB was a no-brainer. Picked black instead of jet black because I don’t use a case and know exactly how it would look after a few months in my pocket. While it’s nice to have more RAM and faster chips, it doesn’t feel all that different to me from my previous Plus (performance-wise).

A few other random observations:

  • While I wait for Camera+ to formally support the new camera hardware, I’m forced to use the standard Camera app, which has been extremely buggy. Many times the lens won’t wake up, leaving just a frosted screen upon launch. When it does display an image, I’m often not able to press the screen-based shutter release to actually take a picture. When this happens, I have to shift my hands around so I can use the hardware volume buttons to take the shot. It shifts between modes seemingly at random, causing me to lose regular shots when it starts in pano or video mode instead. Most troubling: it seems to randomly reboot the whole phone for no apparent reason (usually when I’m trying to get a fleeting shot).
  • Not really a fan of the new button or taptic engine physical feedback.
  • The lift-to-turn-the-screen-on feature is annoying and probably degrades battery performance.
  • Speaking of battery, I really hope they make software improvements in the OS soon, because this brand new battery performs markedly worse than the 6 Plus.
  • Really miss the swipe to unlock motion (more an iOS 10 thing, but still).
  • The new second speaker is an improvement, but not by much.
  • Both Plus models I’ve used get overly confused by their orientation – I shouldn’t have to correct it as much as I do on a daily basis.
  • Low-light concert photos are not as improved as I had hoped (but I also need to test this more).
  • Transfer from my laptop-based iTunes backup worked great overall, just needed to relink music and photos from my old laptop to the new one.
  • The larger camera bump is still annoying when you sit it on a desk.
  • Could care less about the headphone jack (so far).

So in a nutshell, need to get comfortable with iOS 10 while I wait for updates to all the camera software. B-minus upgrade for me…

Originally published by DK on October 4, 2016 at 5:32 pm

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