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iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: Our take on Apple’s latest and greatest

Jet black version of the iPhone 7, 7 Plus may be available in select cities

Go big or go home: Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, with its amazing dual cameras, is the one to buy.

At long last, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus are here, and yes, everything you’ve heard is true. There’s no headphone jack, you can dunk the new iPhones in water, and the camera on the iPhone 7 Plus can perform all sorts of magic tricks. Otherwise, the changes are quite subtle, so the phone should feel familiar to longtime users.

We’ve been using the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus since they came out in September. We gave both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus stellar reviews, which you can read in full below. Here’s everything you need to know, including specs, features, pricing, and availability.

Read our iPhone 7 review

Read our iPhone 7 Plus review

Small design changes on a waterproof body

The iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus don’t look all that different from last year’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus — you’ll have to wait for next year’s iPhone 7S/8 for major changes, and of course, rumors are already plentiful.

The biggest cosmetic difference (besides the removal of the headphone jack — hello, elephant in the room!) is that both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are (finally!) water- and dust-resistant, with an IP67 rating. That means you’ll be able to take either of them under up to 1 meter of water for about 30 minutes. The water-resistance level isn’t as high on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus as it is on the Galaxy S7 and most other water-resistant phones, all of which support IP68 water and dust resistance. The difference is that you can submerge the Galaxy S7 in 5 meters of water versus 1 meter with the iPhone 7. Unless you literally swim with your phones, it’s really not a huge deal, but it’s a shame that Apple’s water-resistance rating is lower.

We dunked both new iPhones in a beer stein full of water to see if they’d pass the test, and they did — with flying colors. Both phones were fully operational after several submersion tests. We even played music on the iPhone 7 Plus while it was underwater in the glass, and it pumped out sound like normal. If anything, the speakers sounded better with the amplification of the glass and water.

Speaking of speakers, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus now have two speaker grills on the bottom edge of the phone because the 3.5mm headphone jack is gone. That’s right, folks. You only have the lightning port now for headphones, or you have to go wireless or use the provided adapter, which comes in the box — more on that later.

Apparently, the headphone jack took up a ton of space, and now that it’s gone, Apple added a taptic engine in its place, which provides haptic feedback when you press the Home button. The haptic feedback is key because now the home button isn’t a physical button — it’s a flat, solid surface. You “press” it to unlock your phone, double-press it to trigger Apple Pay when the screen is off, and double-press it when the screen is on to trigger multitasking mode. When you press it, it provides the same haptic feedback you feel when you use 3D Touch on an app icon. You feel a small vibration, and that’s it. Some people will miss the physical button, but we don’t miss it at all.

The jet Black model is as fingerprint-prone as any glass-backed Galaxy S7, and that’s a real shame.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have the same aluminum body and the only difference is the placement of the antenna lines. Now, they curve around the corners instead of slashing across the back. The new iPhones even share the same respective screen sizes as last year’s iPhones: a 4.7-inch display on the 7, and a 5.5-inch screen for the 7 Plus. The Plus sports a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and its smaller brother packs 1,334 x 750 pixels. Both screens are 25 percent brighter than the 6S and display a wide color gamut.

But the differences btween the old and new models are still noticeable, and they’re particularly obvious on the new color options: Black and jet black. Jet black features a “pristine, mirror-like surface” and a high-gloss finish.

“The high-gloss finish of the jet black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process,” according to Apple. “Its surface is equally as hard as other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use. If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone.”

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Yes, Apple just recommended you get a case for the jet black iPhone 7 because it’s prone to scratches. It also picks up fingerprints like nobody’s business. The jet black model is as fingerprint-prone as any glass-backed Galaxy S7, and that’s a real shame. It looks so pretty until you touch it, and then it’s covered in oily smears. Personally, I hate fingerprint-covered phones and I much prefer the matte Black finish. Apple still offers silver, gold, and rose gold for traditionalists who don’t want the new black models.

The camera on the rear still sticks out, but the most noticeable difference is on the iPhone 7 Plus. It features dual-cameras on the rear, similar to smartphones like the LG G5. It’s the first iPhone to ever have such a feature, which is easily identifiable on the back of the device. We’ll go into more detail on the cameras later in this article.

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