iPhone 7: How does it stack up against the competition?

We compare Apple's new flagship against the rest of the smartphone market

The dust has settled on Apple’s recent Keynote event, which brought about the announcement and release of the much-anticipated iPhone 7. There were plenty of improvements on show, with Apple quick to show us the flashy side of their new handset which CEO Tim Cook called ‘the best iPhone ever’.

So, just how does the new iPhone compare to the competition? Quidco Discover investigated…

Luxury Design

Apple has always valued luxury design above high spec production and – on paper – many of the top tier Android phones can been spun as technically superior to the new iPhone 7 in one way or another. However, as any long-term fan of the iPhone product line will tell you: the devil is in the detail.

RAM speeds have often been shrouded in mystery during Apple’s announcements, and this time is no exception – we will have to wait for the phone to come to market to find out. Based on the pattern established by previous releases, it’s likely there will be at least 3GB inside the iPhone 7 – a notch below the universal standard of 4GB across the market. High-end competitors, such as the OnePlus 3, can pack as much as 6GB RAM.

Processing and Camera Capabilities

The most impressive revelation to come from the keynote was Apple’s new A10 Fusion processor. We were treated to an array of amazing graphics that were said to outperform even the Xbox One’s graphic processing power. This is scarily fast, and could make the iPhone 7 the handset of choice for the gamers among us. Running Adobe’s Lightroom on the iPhone 7 was another highlight, with Apple demonstrating that it’s now able to match 90% of the editing power of the software’s desktop equivalent.

The dual cameras of the iPhone 7 Plus promise to give the competition a run for its money. The first is a 28mm wide angle lens with an f1.8 aperture while the second handles any zooming requirements. It’s a 65mm telephoto lens with optical movement, which means all pictures will look just as sharp zoomed in as they do at the widest setting. Combine this with its optical image stabilization technology and you have an extremely powerful camera, which is the first true optical camera to hit the Western market (the Asus Zenfone 3 was technically released before the iPhone 7 Plus, but is currently only available in India and Singapore). All-in-all, this is exciting news for budding mobile photographers.

So, naturally, Instagram is getting involved by implementing a new type of software for iPhone users to take advantage of, although bear in mind that the dual lens feature is only available on the iPhone 7 Plus. Most phones on the market float around the 12 megapixel mark, with exceptions like the LG G5 and OnePlus 3 hitting 16MP. LG also has two cameras arranged similarly to those on the iPhone 7 Plus – one wide, one telephoto.  

However, as any digital photography aficionado can tell you, a large number of megapixels doesn’t always equate to better images. The sensor is of more importance, and Apple has given their snappers a huge overhaul. There’s new technology for the iPhone 7 Plus coming later on in the year which will take advantage of both cameras to create a composite image. This has the potential to create much sharper pictures with more vibrant colours than is possible with currently available Android devices.

Continues below…

Earn cashback on the new iPhone 7

Screen Technology

On the face of it, Apple has been conservative with the screen size. While Samsung’s S7 Edge, HTC’s 10 and LG’s G5 opt for a QHD 4K screen at 1440 x 2560 display, Apple is happy to stick with the 750 x 1334 resolution used on their 6 and 6 Plus models. Although this is below the standard for full HD, Apple’s innovative and always impressive retina display more than makes up for it. As ever, it is almost impossible to pick out individual pixels on an iPhone screen.

Apple has vast amounts of experience with IPS display technology screens, and is able to harness them to portray amazing colours with their wide ‘cinema standard’ colour gamut. The use of IPS technology also saves battery life compared to the Super AMOLED tech found in flagship Android handsets. Apple has further announced a 25% brighter screen than their previous 6S model making images bright and colourful and text even sharper.

Build Quality

The iPhone 7 is the first Apple handset to be fully water and dustproof. The new flagship phone has been given a rating of IP67, and although slightly worse than the Samsung S7’s IP68 rating, the iPhone 7 is still resistant in one metre of water for 30 minutes. Being dustproof means this phone really is a powerhouse, but if you plan on using your handset in extreme conditions you’ll want to make sure it has a case to protect its much-vaunted 3D-polished exterior.

Verdict

Year on year Apple has set out to impress audiences with their innovative tech and attention to detail, always finding a way to tweak their formula and still stand apart from the Android competition. While a like-for-like comparison gives the impression that the new iPhones’ technical specifications fall behind the likes of Samsung LG or newcomers OnePlus in some respects, Apple’s attention to developing successful pre-existing features like the retina display – while taking bigger steps forward with dual cameras on the 7 Plus and the outstanding A10 Fusion processor – guarantee that the new iPhones will be incredibly desirable handsets upon release.

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