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A Notch above

With features such as water resistance, enhanced camera and double the storage, the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are worth upgrading to.
By Nidhi Singal   Delhi     Print Edition: October 9, 2016
A Notch above

The tech universe was abuzz as Apple unveiled its latest marvels - the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus - setting off a war of words between Apple fanatics and Android aficionados. The moot point was whether the new models were worth upgrading to. Here's an unbiased analysis on what's new, what's missing and what's to look forward to in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Apple continues with its 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively, offering a firm grip. It has brought in subtle cosmetic changes as well. For instance, the antenna bands from the back of the phone have been removed, awarding it a cleaner look, and the space-grey colour has been replaced with two new colours, black and jet black, which look stunning. The home button is now a touch sensitive pad that vibrates when pressed. The display resolution remains the same at 1,334x750 pixels at 326ppi, but the brightness has increased by 25 per cent. There is also support for a wider colour gamut and better colour management. Still, it does not match up to the 2k displays being added to flagship Android smartphones.

Apple has finally managed to seal the phone to make it dust and water resistant (IP 67 certified), which Samsung, Sony and Motorola have done in the past. Apple has bid adieu to the 3.5-mm audio to make more space for a more advanced camera technology, processor and better battery life. It has added a Lightning EarPod along with a lightning-to-3.5-mm-jack connector to the box. The sound output has been improved - the iPhone 7 comes with stereo speakers (one each at the top and bottom).

Apple has made some significant improvements in the innards as well. While iPhones always had good cameras, low-light imaging needed some improvement. Addressing this concern, Apple has added a larger f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilisation and a four-LED flash with cool and warm tones. Even the front-facing camera has been upgraded to 7 MP with f/2.2 aperture. The same wide-angle 12-MP lens has been combined with a 12-MP telephoto on the iPhone 7 Plus that makes higher-quality zoom possible. The depth of field effect, to be added sometime later this year, will help in capturing sharp portraits by blurring the backgrounds.

The new iPhones have also received a significant speed boost with the A10 fusion chip (quad core processor), which is not only faster but also offers better graphics speed and improved battery, up to two more hours on the iPhone 7 and one more hour on the iPhone 7 Plus compared to the previous generation. For the same price, you also get double the storage - 16 GB has been replaced with 32 GB; 64 GB has been upgraded to 128 GB and 128 GB to 256 GB.

Blending the fine looks and hardware is the operating system. iOS 10 brings some much-needed features including widgets, Raise to Wake, third-party apps for messages, and advanced search with the photo app. This iOS update will be available to a few previous generation iPhones, too.

To sum it up, what you lose out on the iPhone 7 are the headphone jack (if you charge and listen to music simultaneously, that is), and the lack of quick charging. But you gain far more in the form of waterproofing, optical image stabilisation, improved front-facing camera, stereo speakers, A10 fusion processor, among other features. The phones will go on sale in India from October 7. The starting price for an iPhone 7 is Rs 60,000 (32 GB), slightly lower than the launch price of iPhone 6s that hit the stores last year.

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