Four days of testing the iPhone 7 has revealed several solid reasons why professionals should consider making the switch if they're using an older model iPhone.
For the purpose of testing, I compared an iPhone 7 with an iPhone 6 Plus, which was released in 2014. Of course, there is an in-between upgrade - the 6s and 6s Plus were released in 2015. But let's face it, not everyone upgrades every time a new version comes out. For anyone who has waited for an upgrade, here's what you'll experience with a new iPhone 7 in hand.
The one feature not being taken into account is the display size difference. The 6 Plus is obviously the bigger phone, with a 5.5-inch display, and the 7 has a 4.7-inch display. The decision on whether to go big is a personal preference.
SEE: Photos: First look at the iPhone 7 (TechRepublic)
Here are the top eight reasons professionals should consider the iPhone 7.
1. More battery life
The battery on the iPhone 7 lasts two hours longer than the 6s, comparing phones of the same display size. This is significant, when you depend on your phone to have a charge left on the battery when you're in a meeting, or traveling cross-country. Sure, there are plenty of power pack and supplemental charging options available, but for those moments when it's down to you and your naked phone, the extra hour comes in handy.
2. Better camera
The 12MP rear camera in the iPhone 7 is significantly better than the 8MP rear camera in the 6 Plus. Since the rear camera is the workhorse for professionals (unless you work in an industry where front-facing selfies are the norm), that's the camera that matters most.
Comparison of photos of the same objects taken at the same time with the iPhone 6 Plus (left) and iPhone 7 (right).
The iPhone 7 simply takes better photos. The ƒ/1.8 aperture lets in more light, making it even better in low-light situations. The smart LEDs are brighter and give you sharper, more brightly lit photos. There's also optical image stabilization for action shots. And if you do opt to capture the occasional selfie, you'll appreciate the improved 7MP front camera, compared to the 1.2MP on the 6 Plus. The video captures high-resolution video up to 4K, even in low light.
SEE: Apple iPhone 7: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
3. Faster, four-core processor
The iPhone 7 has a new A10 Fusion 64-bit, four-core processor that integrates two high-efficient cores, so basic tasks like checking email use less battery power. It also has stronger graphics performance while using less power than previous iPhone models. This allows apps for professionals, such as Adobe, to use less battery life. The iPhone 7 runs up to two times faster than the iPhone 6.
4. Brighter LED screen
The new retina HD display is 25% brighter than previous generations. This brighter screen makes colors more vivid. It's ideal for displaying images or videos to clients in a casual setting.
5. Water and dust resistant
Everyone can appreciate a phone that's water resistant, and the dust resistance is an extra bonus. The iPhone 7 is rated IP67. The IP stands for the International Protection marking by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The 6 stands for the device's resistance to dust, and a 6 means that it is "dust tight" according to the IEC. The 7 is the certification for water resistance. It ensures, according to the IEC, "ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion)."
So, this means that your phone can survive an occasional dip into water of less than one meter deep without getting ruined. That's incredibly important to anyone who has suffered the loss of a phone in similar circumstances.
6. Stereo speakers
The sound is better on the iPhone 7. It features stereo speakers with twice the volume.
Be forewarned: The headphone jack is history. Apple EarPods connect via a lightning connector only, and if you're using traditional headphones, there's an adapter jack in the box.
7. Better LTE
The phone includes support for up to 25 LTE bands, which is excellent for business travelers who need worldwide roaming. LTE Advanced gives data rates of up to 450 Mbps, compared to just 150 Mbps for the iPhone 6 Plus.
8. Higher capacity storage
Apple has realized that 16 GB just doesn't cut it with the apps that pros use. Now you can get 256 GB of storage; other options are 32 GB and 128 GB. The jet black phone (that sold out immediately) only comes with the 128 GB and 256 GB storage choices. The higher storage capacity is perfect for anyone who uses a plethora of apps and doesn't always depend on cloud storage for backup.
The most overhyped feature
And the feature that has been overhyped and really not worth the bother? The haptic touch engine. It allows you to choose one of three touches for the home button. But it doesn't serve any real purpose, other than it sounds cool. It still looks like a home button, it still serves the same function as a home button.
The top three takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- There are eight features in the iPhone 7 that make it essential for professionals.
- One of the best new features in the new iPhone 7 is the improved 12MP rear camera.
- The faster processor makes it easier to use professional apps such as Adobe.
- Apple's Sept 7 event: Top 10 things the pros need to know (TechRepublic)
- Apple iPhone 7 review: Everything you need in a phone, except the headphone jack (CNET)
- iPhone 7 Plus, jet black iPhone 7: Apple has already sold out of initial stocks (ZDNet)
- iPhone 7: What business users need to know (TechRepublic)
- Apps every iOS 10 and iPhone 7/7+ user should check out today (TechRepublic)
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. With a background in fashion writing at People and W magazines and WWD, she ties together the style and substance of tech.