The iPhone 7 Plus retail box contains the standard accessories - a wall plug, a Lightning cable, and Apple's EarPods ending on a Lighting connector. The supplied charger is 5V/1A which is a pity as the phone is capable of charging twice as fast with a third-party 5V/2A charger.
For the first time in an iPhone there is a fourth thingy in the box - a Lighting-to-3.5mm analog adapter. Using one is not as convenient, it was a mandatory addition so the users can use headphones of their choice.
Hopefully, you didn't expect Apple to pack the new wireless AirPods. Those are sold separately for $159.
On the outside, little has changed since the first Plus model - the iPhone 6 Plus. The 6 Plus, 6s Plus, and 7 Plus all share a similar footprint at 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm though they weigh differently. The 6 Plus is the lightest at 172g, the new aluminum alloy, and 3D Touch tech added 20g up to 192g to the 6s Plus, while the new iPhone 7 Plus has shed some weight down to 188g.
We didn't get the best deal with the new generation iPhones, that's for sure. While the antenna bands have been refined for better looks, the design is pretty much the same for the third year in a row. The iPhone 7 Plus looks almost identical to the iPhone 6 and 6s Plus, and if it weren't for the new dual camera on the back, it's hardly distinguishable from the other Pluses.
Of course, refurbished looks don't translate into a mediocre vibe. On the contrary, Apple's iPhone 7 Plus is possibly one of the most beautiful and best-built devices on the market. Its unibody is made of sturdy airplane-grade aluminum, the front 2.5D ion-strengthened glass is scratch-resistant and covered with oleophobic layer for smudge protection, while the camera is shielded with a sapphire piece.
The iPhone 7 Plus is big for a 5.5-incher mostly because of its beefy bezels and huge Home key below the screen. Keeping the old design meant inheriting some old unpleasantries, but Apple made sure to make up for those in technology.
The most notable changes in the design are the lack of the analog audio jack and the new dual camera. There are also two new paint jobs - Matte Black and Jet Black, replacing the previous Space Gray. Unfortunately, the Jet Black is very prone to scratches, acknowledged even by Apple, and as intended more like a limited eye-candy edition, rather than a mainstream purchase.
Most users will also appreciate the refined antenna bands - those have been moved to flow with the design's curves around the top and bottom, something that Meizu came up with first on their Pro 6.
The most notable design upgrade is lurking underneath - the iPhone 7 Plus is fully waterproof. Taking out the audio jack and the hardware Home key from the equation surely helped Apple achieve water-tight body easier than others.
Note that the Lightning port doesn't have charging protection and if you try to charge your iPhone 7 Plus while wet, you may short-circuit and destroy your phone. The warranty won't cover this case, of course.
Handling the iPhone 7 Plus is a premium experience, though, not the most comfortable. And while you can't stretch your fingers all the way up, you can type and browse quite comfortably. The curved edges, combined with the big footprint and aluminum finish, could become very slippery and compromise the grip, so we'd recommend to grab a case or handle it with care.
The front of the iPhone 7 Plus is a copy-paste from the iPhone 6 and 6s Plus. It has the earpiece on top of the 5.5" screen, surrounded by the almost invisible FaceTime cam and a couple of sensors. The Home key is centered below the Retina display.
Looks may be deceiving those, as there is lots of new stuff here.
First, the earpiece is now bigger as it also happens to double as a speaker - one of the two stereo speakers available on the iPhone 7 Plus.
Then there is the new front-facing camera which now employs a 7MP sensor.
Finally, the new Home key. It has the same Touch ID v2.0 fingerprint scanner as the iPhone 6s Plus has. But instead of the old clickable button, Apple opted for a touch-sensitive one backed by a physically larger Taptic engine to reproduce real-life feedback.
The good news is that the Taptic engine works as advertised and is capable of mimicking the feedback perfectly. You can even configure its click strength. The bad news is the feedback is almost non-existent when you lay the phone down on a flat surface. And what's worse is the whole button doesn't work if you are wearing gloves.
We guess Apple probably had several good reasons to go for a touch button instead of a physical one. For one, it could be a matter of reliability - hardware keys can and will fail with time. Also, perhaps waterproofing the phone was easier this way.
Unfortunately, the introduction of the touch key has brought along some limitations. The team at the office was divided over the way that the artificial Taptic Engine feedback feels upon pressing the key. Then there is the huge Taptic engine module itself, which had to be fitted somewhere. It makes you wonder whether the resulting need for more space wasn't the real reason behind the removal of the physical audio jack.
Moving on, the iPhone 7 Plus is business as usual on its longer sides. On the left are the mute switch and the two volume keys. The right side has the power/lock key and the SIM slot.
There is nothing on top of the iPhone 7 Plus, while the bottom is less crowded than before because of the missing audio jack. There are two grilles flanking the Lightning port - one for the main speaker and main microphone, and another one, which hides a cavity used by the second mic and the barometer sensor, which needs to have access to the atmosphere to measure pressure.
Bold move or not, the audio jack is still as relevant as the old-school SIM slot. Its omission in the iPhone 7 Plus also made it easier for Apple to make a water-tight body and in the meantime to sell its wireless reinvention called AirPods. We'll leave the AirPods design, quality, and pricing for you to judge, but the good news is there is a proper Lightning to analog adapter in the retail box, so everyone can use whatever headphones they want.
The highlight of the iPhone 7 Plus is on the back - the dual 12MP camera with optical image stabilization. Unlike Huawei and its P9 or Honor 8, Apple chose to opt for a regular wide-angle snapper (12MP, f/1.8) and a telephoto cam (12MP, f/2.8). There is also a new brighter quad-LED true-tone flash to complement the new setup.
There is another mic right next to the camera hump, but video recording is still stuck with mono audio capturing.