Review roundup: iPhone 7 is the greatest iPhone yet, but lack of the headphone jack is annoying

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
A bevy of iPhone 7 reviews have been published in advance of the phone's actual release, with nearly all of them singing the praises of the device, amidst one big omission -- the headphone jack.




The Wall Street Journal



Long-time tech reviewer Geoffrey Fowler at The Wall Street Journal claims that the new iPhone 7 brings fixes to much of what has ailed the iPhone over the years. Calling it the "anti-anxiety iPhone" Fowler calls the extended battery life and water resistance the key points to Apple's renovation of the line.

Fowler is less excited about the camera in the iPhone 7 Plus than most, calling it only on par with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Note 7. While he praises Apple's move to 32GB at a minimum, he also criticizes Apple's continued lack of microSD card expansion.

"Get over the missing headphone jack," says Fowler. "The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are worth the upgrade for longer battery life, better low-light photos and water-resistance."

Wired



Wired calls the A10 Fusion "outrageously fast," and trumpets the battery life in the family, even with periodic game playing and video streaming. However, reviewer David Pierce says that the home button is overall positive for the phone, but may be a negative for some as they adapt to the haptic feedback over a physical push-button.

Pierce heralds the camera in the iPhone 7 as great, but the iPhone 7 Plus has given him more detail and richness than any other phone camera he's ever used.

"The iPhone 7 might not be a revolution," wrote Pierce. "But it might be the catalyst for lots of them."

Engadget



Repeating others' criticisms about the new iPhone, Engadget's Chris Velazco also takes marks off for the lack of a headphone jack, external design, ease of case damage on the Jet Black finish, and the new home button's adjustment period.

However, Velazco praises the DCI-P3 Wide Color implementation on the new iPhone, and is very happy with the iPhone 7 family of phone. Both low-light and daylight shots were considered better or on par with the camera on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

"If you can get over the all-too-familiar design and the no-headphone-jack thing," wrote Velasco, "then the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are serious contenders for best smartphones, period."

TechCrunch



Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch talks more about Apple's philosophical shift to future technologies than the day-to-day performance of the iPhone 7 itself. He hits the normal positives of the camera and performance, and considers the removal of the headphone jack an overall positive one for the industry.

"The school of thought that says Apple removing the headphone jack is almost entirely a business decision...?is ridiculous and myopic," writes Panzarino. "The near-term gains of making more money on headphone sales is far outweighed by the issues Apple would bring upon itself in the long-term by making decisions that were bankrupt of real design justification."

From a design standpoint, Panzarino notes that the nearly invisible antenna bands on the black-finished phones are welcome, but the new finishes are easily scratched. He notes that the camera bulge on the back protrudes out of the back "like a muscle" rather than the "timid and apologetic" considerations made in the iPhone 6 family.

Daring Fireball



Apple pragmatist John Gruber has made a great deal of examination on the finishes on the iPhone 7. While he likes the look of black, he prefers the feel of the jet black phone. He also expects that the "micro abrasion" issue that Apple pointed out will turn into "scuffgate."

"I wouldn't be surprised if the news stories and pundit hot takes about jet black iPhone scratches and scuffs outnumber those about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 literally exploding and hurting people," writes Gruber. "If you want your phone to look mint or near mint, get black, not jet black."

Gruber praises the camera, and so far dislikes the new taptic engine-driven home button. As a result, Gruber points to the AssistiveTouch feature with a virtual, mobile home button on the user screen as an option, and notes its wide-spread use in Asia well before the new solid state home button was implemented.

New York Times



While Brian Chen from the New York Times does address the performance of the new iPhone and compliments the improved camera on both models, he spends most of his review analyzing Apple's decision to omit the headphone jack, and the potential consumer reaction to it.

"After testing the new iPhone 7 and its larger sibling, the 7 Plus, for five days, I have hopped on the 7 train, " proclaims Chen. "The new iPhones deliver on Apple's promises."

Ars Technica



As expected, the Ars Technica review delves deeply into the minutiae of the phone, and applies it to the more technically savvy smartphone user. Reviewer Andrew Cunningham calls this the first iPhone that isn't additive, pointing to the lack of a headphone jack as the future, with Apple forcing the issue of wireless audio.

Other than the removal of the headphone jack, Cunningham sees few down-sides to the new model, other than the industry-standard complaints of priciness, a relatively un-changed design, and a very slight difference in quality between the telephoto camera and the main camera.

"If you understand things best when they're phrased as tired idioms," writes Cunningham, "the missing headphone jack is a fly in the iPhone 7's ointment."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 98
    Going to be a great phone but I am too attached to the headphone jack to upgrade this generation. I'll let things play out for a year and upgrade my iPhone 6+. 

    The camera is the only thing that really tempts me to upgrade. Sure, it is faster the iP6+ is still good enough. Cheaper anyway.
  • Reply 2 of 98

    "If you can get over the all-too-familiar design 
    If you can get over it?!? Good grief, these people have serious problems.

    Daniel Eran Dilger absolutely pinned these people. They have massive ego issues, and think they have (or should have) the power to inform Apple on how to proceed, and when they fail to do so, they become irate.
    lkruppmwhiteandrewj5790schlackpscooter63SpamSandwichiqatedopatchythepiratenolamacguyericthehalfbee
  • Reply 3 of 98
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,217member
    Since I always been using the headphones that comes with the phone,  I dont see whats the fuss about the headphone jack...
    lkruppTurboPGTmwhitedavenschlackalbegarcwilliamlondonpatchythepiratenolamacguyericthehalfbee
  • Reply 4 of 98
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,808member
    Why we keep pounding "lack of headphone(goes over head) jack" point when we hardly see people walking around with bulky wired headphones. Mostly people uses light weight earphones or earpods. Now, for those earpods, The only thing change is how you insert into iphone 7, elongated lightening hole vs round hole you used to put in.
    edited September 2016 lkruppalbegarcwilliamlondonbill42nolamacguyanantksundaramjony0
  • Reply 5 of 98
    I simply don't understand the complaint about the missing headphone jack. I suspect a vast majority of people listen while taking mass transit, walking, exercising, biking - all instances where you don't need to be charging and listening at the same time.

    Further, how LONG can people listen to music? All day while working? I've not seen a work environment where you're not talking to people, answering the phone, or getting up for meetings throughout the day. In most cases, no one has their headphones in at all, or perhaps for a short time during a break or lunch. So again, there is no issue charging during the yawning gaps of downtime.

    And I hope you don't drive while wearing earbuds.

    The adapter complaint is a non-issue. I've had a Belkin adapter on my Sennheiser earphones for several months, since the Senns 3.5mm pin cannot reach the iPhone through the charging case. I put it on once, and have never taken it off. No issues of forgetting it or losing it. My Senns essentially are three inches longer, thats it.

    So for the few percent of people that listen to 10 hours of music straight a day, or will be switching their ear buds among several devices constantly, I suppose there is some legitimate agitation. Just like there were a few percent of people who lamented the loss of floppy and CD media. But this is no reason to delay progress.

    edited September 2016 lkruppTurboPGTmwhitetordenskjoldalbegarcwilliamlondonbill42nolamacguywaverboyanantksundaram
  • Reply 6 of 98
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,706member
    I really think the “annoying” comments are just sour grapes over Apple not doing what it was told not to by the pundits and critics. I just don’t get the included adapter being a problem. The reasons seem forced and concocted like people are trying to justify their annoyance by inventing them. The “charge and listen” crowd is a hoot as there are so few of them, and the fact that third party solutions will be numerous, varied, and cheap. But after all of this it’s beginning to look like the iPhone 7 will be a major hit in spite of the harping by the vociferous opposition. So the “annoying” comment is academic at this point.
    edited September 2016 TurboPGTmwhitetordenskjoldalbegarcpscooter63williamlondonpatchythepiratenolamacguyanantksundaramgilly017
  • Reply 7 of 98
    Good morning commenters and AI. I am really confused about the fuss over the head phone jack. I have also seen comments about having to use an adapter. I don't understand the fuss regarding that either. Can someone give me an un emotional fact based explanation why this is a big deal other than someone move their cheese?
    williamlondonwatto_cobradewmejony0
  • Reply 8 of 98
    Shame they only got 5 days with the phone. A lot of these reviews feel rushed almost like they were reviewed because they had to be and they have more of a let's get this over with feel. It's so easy to tell which reviewers are plain sick of doing this and which ones still enjoy it.

    I'm sure Apple is really bummed that they weren't able to ship all the camera features for the Plus model on day 1. Gruber called the Plus camera update meh. That's not what Schiller wants to hear.
    edited September 2016
  • Reply 9 of 98
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,706member
    The biggest problem with the missing headphone jack is how it’s being presented in the media. The impression given in most of the articles is that users will no longer be able to use their current headphones and that they will be forced into buying expensive wireless headphones. The included adapter is never mentioned. The included Lightening earbuds are never mentioned despite the fact that the vast majority of users listen with the included earbuds and why we see those white cords hanging down all over the place. It almost seems like a misleading crusade to punish Apple.
    TurboPGTmwhitetordenskjoldmike1williamlondonpatchythepiratenolamacguyminicoffeegilly017equality72521
  • Reply 10 of 98
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,107member
    lkrupp said:
    I really think the “annoying” comments are just sour grapes over Apple not doing what it was told not to by the pundits and critics. I just don’t get the included adapter being a problem. The reasons seem forced and concocted like people are trying to justify their annoyance by inventing them. The “charge and listen” crowd is a hoot as there are so few of them, and the fact that third party solutions will be numerous, varied, and cheap. But after all of this it’s beginning to look like the iPhone 7 will be a major hit in spite of the harping by the vociferous opposition. So the “annoying” comment is academic at this point.
    Excellent post, and 100% true. The bitching about the headphone jack by reviewers and others, even though we've pretty much known for a year it wasn't going to be included, screams "I need to have a reason to claim that I'm not impressed by Apple!". The loss of the jack might be SLIGHTLY annoying to some (ie. those who have wired headphones, and want to continue using them, so now need the adapter), and highly annoying to a very, very small niche of people (ie. I NEED TO CHARGE AND LISTEN AT THE SAME TIME FOR THE ENTIRE DAY). These two groups still make up a minority of the population. Most will use the included earpods, and spend all of half a second realizing that they plug in another way then moving on. Either way, Apple isn't taking away anything from anyone, they're not grabbing your current iPhone and removing the jack. This is a NEW product, which anyone has the option to buy or not to buy, if somehow their needs for the heaphone jack outweighs everything else.
    mwhitefotoformattordenskjoldpscooter63williamlondonpatchythepiratenolamacguyjkichlineequality72521ration al
  • Reply 11 of 98
    lkrupp said:
    The biggest problem with the missing headphone jack is how it’s being presented in the media. The impression given in most of the articles is that users will no longer be able to use their current headphones and that they will be forced into buying expensive wireless headphones. The included adapter is never mentioned. The included Lightening earbuds are never mentioned despite the fact that the vast majority of users listen with the included earbuds and why we see those white cords hanging down all over the place. It almost seems like a misleading crusade to punish Apple.
    Not almost. A fair and balanced perspective is not what we're reading from lamestream tech blogs.
    mwhitepatchythepirateration alwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 98
    So much complain about the audio jack... 

    Do people know about bluetooth headphones???
    williamlondonequality72521watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 98
    One question I have is with the Jet black model if you're on the upgrade program will fine micro abrasions or small scratches be tolerated when you turn in your phone to Apple. Or is Apple going to penalize you for not using a case?  Because it's not a question of if you get scratches.....you will. Guaranteed.
    edited September 2016 mwhiteration al
  • Reply 14 of 98
    I don't "get" the headphone jack complaint, apple ships a bloody adapter WITH the phone. and I'm sure I've already seen a 3rd party headphone+lightning port adapter to let people listen and charge at the same time if they so wish (i.e. in the car).
  • Reply 15 of 98
    I'm still not convinced that Apple should have removed the 3.5 mm jack this year, though I agree it makes sense to removed it eventually. 

    Imagine if Apple had released the AirPods last year with the 6s. If the AirPods became a hit, then they could have moved forward with removing the 3.5 mm jack this year. Then the iPhone 7 reviews might have gone something like "Had Apple removed the audio jack last year on the 6s, *before* the AirPods became such a hit, people might have balked. But the experience we've had with AirPods over the last year makes it clear that it's time for the 3.5 mm jack to go."

    But anyway... I guess I'm getting over it. I ordered a 7+ 128GB from Verizon over the weekend. The thing that got me was the amazing deals being offered by carriers in the US. Verizon offered $650 for my iPhone 6+. The only catch is that I have to stick with Verizon for two years (it's not officially a contract, but it's contract-ish). I would have stuck with them anyway, so this is an amazingly great deal. According to the Verizon sales lady, the deal is being subsidized by Apple. So at least Apple is being smart to provide significant incentives to get people on board with the 7 -- it worked on me. 
    scartartwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 98
    So many people talk about this being an incremental iPhone update. I really don't see it that way. Between the massive performance gains, the wide-color stuff, water resistance, improved battery life, better speakers, new finishes, it feels like a full update for me. Must a phone be completely redesigned every two years in order for it to be considered a real update???
    waverboyration alwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 98
    I've been using wireless beats 2 for over a year if I need headphones and find wired EarPods extremely annoying now if I have to use them. I also connect wirelessly to home amplifiers, speakers and my car. The reviewers are trying to sound objective but they really just sound dumb, like they need to complain about something. In time wired headphones will only be used by some purist and audiophiles but they really are a thing of the past. Besides you can still use a wired headphone if you want via lightning. Just seems ironic that tech writers don't like change for the better.
    williamlondonnolamacguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 98
    You're so stuck in the past. Who cares about the audio jack? Get yourself a bluetooth headset or use the adapter. I am with Apple on this one.
    williamlondonbill42watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 98
    lmaclmac Posts: 173member
    The headphone jack is a minor issue. The price is a big one.
  • Reply 20 of 98
    I have never (NEVER) once used headphone or ear buds on an iPhone since the first iPhone hit the market. I love music but prefer a room setting than zero bumper space. I hold the phone up to my head when calling, it's quicker and there is no fuss with wires or plugging something into my ears. I know I am in the minority here but I could careless about the removal of the headphone jack. Besides Apple is supplying an adapter which once attached to you ear bud jack solves this "problem". Apparently even smart people are creatures of habit and slow to evolve. 
    trydwatto_cobra
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