The term ‘at sixes and sevens’ means being in a state of confusion. It was used a lot in our family household.
For the last few months I have been torn over wether or not I wanted to trade my iPhone Six in for a Seven.
On paper the Seven is little more than than the device that the 6s should have been. The camera is better, the processor is faster and the home button redesigned to no longer be a button. It looks like the 6 too. In fact the only way to tell them apart is the lack of a headphone socket on the newer one.
I had pretty much decided that I did not need to upgrade.
So the 7 is rubbish then ?
Well no. It’s really rather good. It is considerably faster than the 6. So much so that I am still quite amazed every time I use it. The camera a is not a hit just better, it is way better. Every photo is better. The software that takes advantage of the new camera module is smarter. Smart software and higher resolution. What is not to like ?
Well it seems that there is a lot to consider merely functional.
The new ‘not really a button’ home button is fast and cool, the old click is mimicked with a convincing vibration. The level of vibration can be adjusted too. I guess that this is an upgrade, but really it seems like a retrograde thing to me. I actually liked the old button with its actual click once you get over a movement threshold – now it is all pressure sensitive and less tactile.
On the flip side, the finger print scanner is so fast it is unnerving. Only when you try an unregistered finger you realise it must work well. But it is almost too fast. If you are used to the sensor on an iPhone 6, your brain tells you that there is no way that it can do its job as fas lot as it manages.
Again, this is good and bad – sometimes I find myself pressing the home button to see the time, or activate the lock screen so I can right-scroll to get to the camera, only to find that I unlocked it. Its not a deal breaker, it is more a question of re-training my brain.
Then there is the lack of a headphone socket.
I have too many sets of headphones for this to not bother me. It is a flaw, a badly thought out idea. The standard Apple lightning headphones are still it the phone box. I will literally never use them as they fall out of my ears. Luckily there is an adapter that allows regular headphones to plug into the lightning socket. Sound quality on my smaller travel headphones seems the same as it did on my old iPhone 6. However plug something in that needs some driving and it is a different story.
My beloved Sony Studio Monitors sound really mediocre, which they are anything but. I rarely use them with a phone, but even then, the loss is tangible.
Active headphones on Bluetooth are great though.
The big change for me though is battery life. The 7 seems to be much more frugal when it comes to power. Despite running ostensibly the same apps and having much the same usage pattern, battery life is excellent. It easily bests my work iPhone 6 over the course of a working day and although I have not had a chance to really test it, I’m sure it would get through a weekend without a charger.
Overall though I still think that this is exactly what the 6s should have been, baring arguments over the headphone socket omission. The 7 should have been a new deign, not a re-immagining of the current one.
I also wonder if this will be a single year design. I wonder if the 8 will appear in the autumn.
When the 8 does appear, I have a list of things I’d like to see
- Bigger screens in smaller chassis.
- Smaller bezels, especially the top and bottom ones.
- Wireless charging
- USB-C support.
I think it’s time to drop lightning and embrace USB-C. It’s also time to slim the top and bottom bezels down. Perhaps now that the home button it not a button it can take up less space and change shape.
All in all though, I like the iPhone 7 it’s fast, the camera is awesome and battery life is good. The piano black finish is just lustworthy. It is just a shame they dropped the headphone socket and did not release it as a 6S.