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

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