A week with the iPhone 7 and the wireless AirPods

  • 14/09/2016
iPhone 7 and the wireless AirPods (Reuters)
iPhone 7 and the wireless AirPods (Reuters)

Buying a new phone is a tricky business. There are so many things to consider. When it comes down to it though, most of us only truly care about a smartphone's camera and colour.

Before you scoff, that's not me telling you that. That was international research on the most-searched iPhone 7 terms before last week's launch.

Apple has addressed both Cs with its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, along with quite a bit else.  

For the past week I've been lucky enough to live with the two new devices to give them an average person's going over. I've also been able to properly try out the new wireless AirPods.  Here are my average user's thoughts.

Black, it appears, is the new black. The iPhone 7 comes in a glossy jet black colour. Gorgeous to look at, until you touch it. It's smudges terribly. If you're concerned about cleanliness, it may not be the colour for you. The matte black on the iPhone 7 Plus is very cool.

I'm not going to pretend I know too much about photography. In fact, my photography skills are terrible and camera shake for me is a problem. The iPhone 7 comes with optical image stabilization which helps. It's also got an f/1.8 aperture, so it lets in more light and produces better photos. Great for a photography dunce like me.

For those who care about raw image support, The iPhone 7 has it. Photo data comes straight from the sensor, so users have more control and depth to edit their own pictures.

If you are a big photography fan, the iPhone 7 Plus and its dual lens set-up is pretty impressive.

It has one 12-megapixel camera with a 28mm f1.8 lens and another 12 megapixel camera with a 56mm f2.8 lens. One can switch between lenses with a tap for different magnification. With just the tap of a button labeled '2X', I was able to detailed shots at true 2x optical zoom. However, the telephoto lens that enables optical zoom doesn't have optical image stabilisation. Recording video while zooming at 2X is a bit shaky, with zoomed photos having a little more blur than normal ones.

For those who mainly like taking pictures of themselves, selfie camera is now seven megapixels with a f.2.2 aperture that has auto image stabilisation and is capable of full HD video recording.

For those who use their phones in the bath like I do, this is great news. The new phones have a IP67 rating. In theory, it means it can be submerged in up to a metre of water for up to half an hour.

I dropped it in a sink of water and had showers with it. It survived and so have I, although I am no way recommending you do this yourself. I am not brave enough. Nor am I brave enough to put the phone into a vacuum cleaner dust bag to test how dusty I can get it. Imagine!

The battery is better. It gives us another two hours or so for the 7 and another hour for the 7 Plus. Great for people like me who forget to charge overnight.

While removing the headphone jack has upset many people, the phones do come with EarPods that plug into the Lightning charging port. There's also an adaptor in the box for other headphones, although it's titchy about the size of my little finger. Easy to use but also easy to lose.

Contrary to many people's views, I like these even if I feel a little silly with them dangling out of my ears. They use optical sensors and a motion accelerometer to detect when they're in your ears.  Pull them out and the audio stops. Stick them back in and the audio starts.

Volume can be lowered and raised using Siri, simply by tapping to activate.

It's also easy to do things like make calls. Five hours of listening time can be achieved on a single charge - a quick boost in the charging case for 15 minutes gives even more. The only thing that worries me is losing them. I tried them while star-jumping around the office and they stayed put, but I've got long hair - so what happens when I go to flick it back and send one flying? Or worse, what happens if I mislay the case? Yes, I can be that disorganised.

The AirPods aren't cheap - $269 dollars - but I still think they're worth it. They go on sale in October.


The new iPhones go on sale in New Zealand this Friday, with a starting price of $1119 for the iPhone 7 and $1429 for the iPhone 7 Plus.

For those who don't want to upgrade yet, make sure to download iOS 10 anyway. The whole host of new features is totally worth it, especially the messaging experience.

I have spent the last few days sending my loved one fireballs, heartbeats and other silly things. The revamped Photos App with facial recognition is also really good and I love the memories feature which lets you create slideshows and videos set to music.