iPhone 7 quick review: an Android user’s perspective

The Apple iPhone 7 has gone through my demanding tests. Here’s what an Android user found out.

I’ve been trying to get used to my new iPhone for a few weeks now, and the experience has been quite mixed. First there is the price. Because of the outrageous price, I had to get the smaller non-Plus model with tiny 4,7” LCD. The display is bright and accurate but lacks the deep blacks of AMOLED and crispness of the modern high-resolution displays. Also, the battery life is very mediocre as the battery capacity is only 1960mAh or 7.45Wh.

Besides the display, the thing the users touch the most is the new solid-state home button. It doesn’t move but feels like it does. Navigating the iOS is difficult for Android users. That’s because of the lack of a back button. Apple generously offers us the option to double tap the home button to bring down the app to reach the inconveniently placed top-left back key of most apps.

One positive thing at this point, the Taptic Engine is amazing. It should be implemented to every new device for now on. It delicately taps my hand when I’m for example updating a feed or pulling down the notification shade. I’ve started changing my alarm time every night just to feel the perfectly executed ticking while scrolling through the minutes. Most Android phones have a vibrate engine that’s loud but lacks the actual vibrate. The Taptic Engine on the iPhone 7 is just the opposite. You certainly can feel the phone vibrating but can’t hear anything.

For existing iPhone users, the iPhone 7 design is easy to get used to. It’s exactly the same as iPhone 6 and 6S with stealthier antenna lines and different accent around the protruding camera. Even most of the iPhone 6 and 6S cases fit on the 7. One thing experienced iPhone users might miss is charging and listening to music at the same time. Fortunately, the charger is still the same 5 watts 1 amp one that barely gets the battery percentage going up, so the loss isn’t too big. Maybe 2017 is the year of charging for Apple as the upcoming Anniversary Edition and 7S/Plus are rumored to get wireless charging, maybe even fast charging.

Oh, did I go through all the negative stuff first? Maybe, but let’s talk about some good stuff. Updates. Whereas Google thinks that two years is enough updates for a flagship phone, Apple seems to update their phones for 4 to 5 years. The iPhone 5S from 2013 will get the iOS 11 update this fall. That’s impossible in the Android universe.

At the same time, the support works brilliantly. As a Nexus owner, I have had to make a call request for the support for a couple of times. Now, I just sent an email to Apple and the next day they answered. It was a problem with my bank and the credit card I tried to add to my Apple ID. The bank told me to contact Apple and I was genuinely surprised as they solved the problem with just a few emails. Superb customer service by Apple in that case.

The camera. The iPhone 7 is brilliant at cameraing. Slo-mo, OIS, live photos, Apple just doesn’t add features to the camera app. They also make the features much better than others. Slo-mo is brilliant. Android users can say what they want about the bitrate and other stuff but the fact is that slo-mo from an iPhone looks better than from an Android phone. The same can’t be said about still photos. After Google made changes to their camera app, the Pixel and the Nexus 6P have been unbeatable on the still side. My Nexus 6P still beats the iPhone 7 in a blind test I organized for my friends.

I am a full time Google user. Pretty much all the things I do are connected to Google somehow. For the basics, I use Maps, YouTube and Gmail. I also have all my notes at Google Keep. I use Google Photos as my photo and video cloud and I even use Allo sometimes. Trying to do all these things with an iPhone was surprisingly easy. Some problems I faced were some weird backup issues with Google Photos and the lack of features in the GBoard. However, I was really surprised by the overall compatibility.

Let’s jump to the conclusionish part of the quick review then. What’s it like to live in the iOS world? The start was difficult. Everything has to be changed from the settings, like camera settings and WiFi. Later, when everything is set up, one can appreciate the decision as all the unnecessary buttons are hidden in the settings app. The back button is completely unacceptable, and I’m playing the Steve-card for three things here. First, the back button with the larger displays. It’s unreachable and stupid. Just move it down or use the Touch ID swipe instead. Second, the protruding camera lens. “That doesn’t look like Apple.” Third, the lack of a headphone jack. Apple revolutionized the music industry, smartphone industry, app industry and now they are revolutionizing the cashing in industry by using only one proprietary port that provides royalty fees to the company. Steve would not have done this yet.

After the Steve-cards, let’s play some jokers. I’m using the iOS 11 beta. The new control center is much better than the old one. Simpler, yet more useful. The notification shade is weird. Sometimes it can be swiped up, sometimes only the home button works. The worst thing though is the network connection. It’s just bad. I’ve tried several WiFis and two different wireless carriers but the iPhone just can’t keep me connected. I really hope it’s a beta feature, not a hardware issue.

Overall, I can see why people love their iPhones. *Switching the SIM back to the Nexus 6P*