iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 7 Plus: Is the iPhone still best when you go big?

Another year, another iPhone. Since Apple has moved its smartphone’s major upgrade cycle to every three years, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus aren’t very different from the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Still, there are some impressive improvements — outlined in our iPhone 7 review and iPhone 7 Plus review — and while a major redesign may be coming later this year, you may be in dire need of an upgrade now. So, which should you pick? The iPhone 7 or its bigger brother, the apt-titled 7 Plus?

Below, we take a look at the hardware and software that define both headsets.

Specs

iPhone 7 iPhone 7 Plus
Size  138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 in) 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 in)
Weight 4.87 ounces (138 grams) 6.63 ounces (188 grams)
Screen 4.7-inch Retina HD LED-backlit widescreen 5.5-inch Retina HD LED-backlit widescreen
Resolution 1,334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi)
OS iOS 10 iOS 10
Storage 32, 128, 256GB 32, 128, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor A10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, M10 motion coprocessor A10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, M10 motion coprocessor
RAM 2GB 3GB
Connectivity 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera 12MP rear, 7MP front Dual 12MP rear, 7MP front
Video 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30 or 60fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.2 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Touch ID Touch ID
Other sensors Barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor Barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Water resistant Yes, IP67 rated Yes, IP67 rated
Battery Up to 12 hours of internet use on LTE Up to 13 hours of internet use on LTE
Charger Lightning Lightning
Marketplace Apple App Store Apple App Store
Color offerings Gold, rose gold, silver, black, jet black Gold, rose gold, silver, black, jet black
Availability AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile
Price $649 $729
DT review 3.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance

When you pit the specs of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus against each other, there are hardly any differences. Of course, the most visible one is the size. The iPhone 7 is smaller with a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 7 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen.

Both devices are powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, a 64-bit architecture the company says is 40 percent faster than the A9 in the iPhone 6S and the 6S Plus. Apple says it’s 120 times faster than the original iPhone.

Both have a quad-core processor — a first for iPhone. Two cores are for high-performance actions, and the two are designed for tasks where efficiency is more important. An Apple-designed performance controller determines which actions make use of either set of cores. Checking your email, for example, will most likely be powered by the high-efficiency cores, which saves battery life.

Graphics performance is up to 50 percent faster than the A9, according to Apple. Performance is a tie between the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and the same goes for internal storage options — both devices come with 32, 128, and 256GB options. The duo also have stereo speakers, making them equals in audio output as well.

The iPhone 7 has 2GB of RAM, but the Plus model has 3GB. That gives the Plus a slight edge over the regular 7.

Battery life is better on the iPhone 7 Plus because its larger size can accommodate a slightly larger battery. You get an additional hour of internet use on LTE on the Plus model.

Winner: iPhone 7 Plus

Display

The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 has a resolution of 1,334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi) — that’s the same as the iPhone 6S. The 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus gets a bump to Full HD with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi), also the same on the 6S Plus.

But the Retina HD LED screens are better than ever before — Apple says the displays on both devices are 25 percent brighter and display a wider color gamut. So the comparison here really comes down to size. If you want a larger screen, go for the iPhone 7 Plus. If you want a smaller screen, the iPhone 7 is the smartphone for you.

Winner: iPhone 7 Plus

Mobile

An iPhone survived 48 hours in the ocean and retained most of its battery

An iPhone 7 went for a dive, and lived a full 2 days to tell the tale. In what may be the most impressive story about a waterproof case ever, a scuba diver found a very rare form of marine memorabilia when she saw an odd light.
Mobile

Apple stops offering free repairs for iPhones with grayed speaker buttons

Getting a new iPhone should be a pleasurable experience, but if you run into an issue, it can quickly become frustrating. Luckily, we’ve gathered a few potential solutions for any iPhone 7 problems you may be facing.
Mobile

Big, bigger, biggest? See the 2018 iPhone screen range now

Apple's 2018 iPhone range is still a mystery. How many models will launch? What will they be called, and how big will the screens be? Here are all the rumors and everything we know so far.
Mobile

Avoid scratches and dents with the 20 best iPhone 8 Plus cases

So you've got a new iPhone? Congrats! But with an all-new glass design, and looks to die for, you'd best keep it safe. Not sure about the best case choice? Check out our guide to the best iPhone 8 Plus cases.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Mobile

Juice up your iPhone or Android phone with the best wireless chargers

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Mobile

Tech Armor says its new screen protector improves iPhone performance. We tested it

Tech Armor has a new screen protector for the iPhone, the Enhance, that can redirect harmful radiation, while improving cell signal and battery life. Skeptical? So were we, so we put it to the test.
Mobile

These might be the best photos shot with an iPhone in 2018

The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) announced its official winners of its 11th annual global competition. Each one was selected from thousands of entries spanning over 140 countries around the world.
Mobile

Want to know how to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think. Here, we walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice and identify several alternative apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Mobile

Samsung mocks iPhone X download speed in new ad for Galaxy S9

Samsung’s smartphone division loves to mock Apple and its devotees at every opportunity, with its latest ad highlighting a recent test that showed the Galaxy S9 to have faster downloads speeds than the iPhone X.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here’s how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.
Gaming

Monster Hunter’s Rathalos swoops into ‘Final Fantasy XIV’ on August 7

Rathalos, the massive fire-breathing beast from Monster Hunter: World, swoops into Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood on August 7. Players will have to be level 70 to take on the dragon, but the rewards for slaying the dragon are pretty awesome.
Mobile

Only Google should be mad about having to change Android

Google has been hit with a massive fine in a landmark antitrust case in Europe, and has been told to change the way it manages its Android operating system, or face a heavier financial hit.
Gaming

One game console is better than the rest, and we're not afraid to say it

We've seen a relatively large influx of new consoles in the last year, including the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One X, so we've updated our recommendations for the best dedicated game hardware.
Mobile

Sprint revamps its data plans, adds Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus

Sprint recently introduced two new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Mobile

Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 will help your phone survive up to 15 drops before it shatters

Corning has finally taken the wraps off of the long-awaited Gorilla Glass 6 -- a glass that will be used to protect the next generation of smartphones -- which allows your phone to survive up to 15 drops before it breaks.
Computing

Relive 1998 as live chat rooms roll out across Reddit in a limited beta

Reddit is slowly rolling out real-time chat rooms across a limited number of subreddits. Currently in beta, Reddit Chat went live in 2017 for a small group of around 7,000 users. Reddit is now expanding this service.
Mobile

These are the best video chat apps to help you stay in touch

Though still relatively new, video chat apps can help you connect with people from around the world. Here are our personal favorites to help you keep in touch regardless of smartphone OS.
Mobile

Apple's third iOS 12 beta may help you save a lot of data

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Home Theater

What is MHL, exactly, and how does it work with your TV?

There are more ways to mirror your smartphone or tablet to your TV than you might think. Check out our rundown of MHL for everything you need to know about the wired protocol and its myriad uses.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
1 of 2