iPhone 7 vs iPhone 6s: Ultimate Comparison

The long-awaited iPhone 7 is finally here, much to the fanfare of Apple enthusiasts and Android diehards alike. Amidst the heat of the Note 7 battery fiasco (pun maybe intended), Apple’s latest handset finds itself on an opportune stage to steal away some of the disappointed Samsung user base that have since turned their attention toward the iPhone’s transition into water-resistance and quad-core processing. Apple’s smartphones have been criticized for emphasizing form over function in the past, but all that looks set to change this year.

iPhone7 vs iPhone 6s

While the pre-peek rumors were overblown for sure (and let’s face it — they usually are), the iPhone 7 is a worthy contender on the mobile computing platform and a solid step up from its predecessor. Here, we’ll review the key differences that you may want to upgrade early for.

Round 1: Construction

1. Color Spectrum

The iPhone 6s brought only four colors to the table: silver, gray, gold and rose gold. However, the iPhone 7 comes in black, silver, gold and rose gold, with a fifth glossy-finish jet black option for those who lean away from the frosted metal aesthetic. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 6s didn’t offer the ever-popular classic black option, so this is a step up for users who long for the look of the iPhone 4 and 4s.

2. Weight and Thickness

Weighing in at 4.87 oz, the newer device has managed to drop an impressive 0.17 oz from last year’s model despite the extra implementations on board. Thickness hasn’t changed one bit, sticking to the exact same 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28-inch dimensions that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 donned.

3. Build Quality

Finally, it happened: The iPhone 7 brings IP67 water- and dust-resistance that was shown to outstrip the Galaxy S7’s IP68 certification. On the good-looking side of things, the most notable change is the aluminum accents along the edges of the iPhone 6s, which have taken a matching theme with the front and back sides now using a glassy build instead. Altogether, handling one of these is pretty much what you’d expect, offering the same solid and lightweight feel inside a paper-thin profile.

4. Functional Differences

A point of contention among many, the newfound removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack created waves of protest ahead of the iPhone 7’s reveal. The device relies on Bluetooth and its Lightning port to connect with accessories that otherwise used the jack on the iPhone 6s. The home button has also seen a functional redesign that traded the press-to-click for a more durable solid-state construction that responds to touch inputs instead. This redesign also utilizes the iPhone 7’s Taptic Engine for surgical tactile responsiveness.

5. Extra Touches

One of the first changes you’ll notice is the placement of the antenna bands, which only follow the outer edge of the phone’s backside now, rather than running edge-to-edge across the backplate. The Apple logo resides in its usual spot, but has had the mirror effect toned down to more of a glossy finish instead. On the front of the device, you’ll observe the same design language as before, but if you’re checking out the front, your eyes are probably on the screen anyway.

Round 2: Display

1. Display Type, Resolution and Brightness

Unfortunately for some, the rumored change over to AMOLED turned out bunk. If you’re more in the camp of LCD’s realistic color reproduction, then the good ol’ IPS display has made its triumphant return with the same resolution of 750 x 1334. Donning a functional 326 pixels per inch (PPI), images and text render crisp and clear on the same pocket-friendly 4.7-inch screen. Of honorable mention is the upgrade to screen brightness, jumping from an already-swell 500 nits to a whopping 625 — a 25% boost to brightness when you’re out in the sun.

2. Bezels and Screen-to-Body Ratio

Bezel-free buffs will be disappointed to know that the screen-to-body ratio hasn’t changed, keeping with the same unimpressive 65.71% figure we saw before. It’s not by any means a drawback, but year after year of speculation that Apple would ditch the bezels have tired out expectations of a change on that front.

Round 3: Battery

While the capacity of the lithium-ion juicer has seen a substantial bump from 1,715 mAh to 1,960 mAh (a 14% improvement), not all of the tests performed by PhoneArena have necessarily indicated that you’ll be away from the outlet much longer. Put simply: If you struggled to stay on top of battery life with iPhone 6s, prepare to see more of that with the iPhone 7. Let’s take a look at those test results.

iPhone 6s Test Results

  • Capacity: 1,715 mAh
  • Standby: 240 hours (the average among phones today is around 476 hours)
  • 3G talk time: 14 hours (the average among phones today is around 16 hours)
  • Internet: 10 hours on 3G and 4G LTE, and 11 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Music: 50 hours
  • Video: 11 hours
  • User-replaceable: No
  • Battery type: lithium-ion

iPhone 7 Test Results

  • Capacity: 1,960 mAh
  • Standby: 240 hours
  • 3G talk time: 14 hours
  • Internet: 12 hours on 3G and 4G LTE, and 14 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Music: 40 hours
  • Video: 13 hours
  • User-replaceable: No
  • Battery type: lithium-ion

Round 4: Processing and Storage

Who needs octa-core CPUs and six gigabytes of RAM when you can perform faster at a fraction of those specs? This is what Apple’s integration does best.

1. Processor and RAM

For those that are a little more technically inclined, they’ll be happy to see that Apple has finally included long-awaited quad-core processing to their brainchild with the 64-bit Apple A10 Fusion system-on-a-chip (SoC). Clocked at 1,800 MHz, the iPhone 7 joins its Google-powered competition on the multitasking front, although Antutu still reports epic single-threaded performance. With an overall score of a jaw-dropping 178,397, competition from Samsung, LG, HTC, Google, Huawei and others have been blown away.

iPhone 7 Geekbench Scores

 

Where does the iPhone 6s stand in all this? With a 64-bit dual-core 1,840 MHz Apple A9 reaching an Antutu score of around 133,000, the gains in processing power come out at around 33%. In addition, both phones come packed with a solid two gigabytes of RAM. But that’s not all — let’s check out the graphics department.

2. Graphics Processing

The iPhone 6s was topping out on 3DMark at 27,646, which at the time was groundbreaking and about halfway to the likes of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 — a full-feature, high-end tablet that was designed to do what smartphones couldn’t. You can imagine the graphics processing unit (GPU) in the iPhone 7 just took that a step further. There aren’t many scores to reference at the moment, but Apple advertises it as being “50% faster”.

3. Storage

Last-year’s model featured storage capacities starting at 16 GB and going up to 128 GB. As 4K video capture gained popularity, Apple was forced to kick that up to an entry-level figure of 32 GB, topping out at 256 GB on the high end in lieu of no microSD slot on the iPhone 7. With that much storage in your pocket, you’re bound to have no troubles with media capture on the impressive new camera.

Round 5: Camera

iPhones have always been renown for their cameras. Despite their simple design, the images and videos they yield have been complex and beautiful enough to have an ad motto named after them: Shot on iPhone.

Most of the attention toward the iPhone 7’s camera situation is centered on its bigger brother, the iPhone 7 Plus. However, our attention is centered strictly on the smaller and more pocket-friendly model in this article. That said, the iPhone 7 has brought improvements both subtle and obvious to the table. Let’s have a back-to-back look at the camera and camcorder specs between the iPhone 6s and its newer variant:

iPhone 6s Camera Specs

  • Rear camera shoots in 12 megapixels; front camera shoots in five megapixels
  • Dual LED
  • F2.2 aperture
  • 29mm focal length
  • 1/3″ sensor size
  • 1.22 μm pixel size
  • Support for RAW image capture (lossless file format)
  • Shoots video in 1280×720 (720p qHD at up to 240 fps), 1920×1080 (1080p FHD at up to 120 FPS), 3840×2160 (4K at 30 FPS only)
  • Rear camera hardware features: autofocus, sapphire crystal lens, back-illuminated sensor (BSI)
  • Rear camera software features: face detection, touch-to-focus, geo tagging, self-timer, high dynamic range filtering (HDR), burst mode, exposure compensation setting, and panorama shots of up to 63 megapixels
  • Rear camcorder software features: features digital image stabilization, continuous autofocus, time-lapse video capture and video calling
  • Front camera software features: high dynamic range filtering (HDR), plus FaceTime for two-way video calling

iPhone 7 Camera Specs

  • Rear camera shoots in 12 megapixels; front camera shoots in seven megapixels
  • Quad LED
  • F1.8 aperture
  • 28mm focal length
  • 1/2.6″ sensor size
  • 1.22 µm pixel size
  • Support for RAW image capture (lossless file format)
  • Shoots video in 1280×720 (720p qHD at up to 240 fps), 1920×1080 (1080p FHD at up to 120 FPS), 3840×2160 (4K at 30 FPS only)
  • Rear camera hardware features: autofocus, optical image stabilization (OIS), sapphire crystal lens, back-illuminated sensor (BSI)
  • Rear camera software features: digital zoom, face detection, touch-to-focus, geo tagging, self-timer, high dynamic range filtering (HDR), burst mode, exposure compensation setting, and panorama shots of up to 63 megapixels
  • Rear camcorder software features: optical image stabilization (OIS), digital image stabilization, continuous autofocus, time-lapse video capture and video calling
  • Front camera software features: high dynamic range filtering (HDR), plus FaceTime for two-way video calling

If all these numbers mean little to you, it’s okay — the long and short of it is, little has changed with the iPhone 7’s camera aside from a much larger sensor that captures crazy amounts of light in darker settings, plus the addition of optical image stabilization (OIS) to make blurry photography and videography a relic of the past. Don’t like the camera flash? Don’t worry about it — this is the right phone to forgo it with.

You can check out some of the low-light footage reported by WIRED by clicking here, or get comparisons between shots in all scenarios taken on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 at this link.

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