Long-term Field Test: 16.12.2016–28.09.2017
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
- Tech Specs
- Power Adapter
- Battery Performance
- Call Filter
- App Store
- Assistant Siri
- Data Synchronisation
- Backup with iTunes
- Music Player
- iOS (Apple's Firmware)
- Hardware – Details and some Photos
- Nappa Leather Sleeve by fitBAG
- Text auf Deutsch
Photo: Box with Apple iPhone 7 Plus (256GB), colour Jet Black
Those who know me will be surprised to find already the second test of an iPhone here (I have recommended BlackBerry so far).
I had posted my detailed reasons elsewhere online (Which Operating System + exchangeable battery).
In short: BlackBerry has disappointed me badly – the only other acceptable ecosystem is Apple, so I'll keep testing that.
That's why there is now also a test report about the diamond-black Apple iPhone 7 Plus with 3 GB RAM and 256 GB storage.
I hope you enjoy reading it!
With my first smartphone from Apple (iPhone 6s Plus), I was satisfied, but I take a lot of pictures and have a great music collection, so I would not have the 128 GB memory in the long run. The new iPhone 7 Plus has twice as much memory, a more powerful processor and a better camera with two lenses, so I bought this and sold the 6s plus at wirkaufens.de.
iPhone Purchase in Conjunction with Contract Renewal
02.09.2016: At a press conference at IFA Berlin, Deutsche Telekom presents its optimized tariff line and, for the first time in Germany, a flat rate without throttling: MagentaMobil XL Premium is the tariff with unlimited maximum speed data volume. I am thinking about upgrading my tariff MagentaMobil L Plus, which would already be possible in the form of a contract extension.
04.10.2016: After researching the new tariff with unlimited maximum speed data volume MagentaMobil XL Premium I login late in the evening online in the Telekom customer center and order the Apple iPhone 7 Plus with 256 GB memory in the color diamond black as a contract extension for around 437 EUR incl. shipping and handling charges.
Contract Upgrade within 7 Minutes, but Hardware Delivery within 72 Days
16.12.2016: After the delivery date has been moved back several times, it is now finally time – the iPhone 7 Plus is here!
The iPhone order including contract renewal with conversion into MagentaMobil XL Premium lasted, including order confirmation by mail and SMS only seven minutes! Apple was unfortunately not so fast. They have not expected such a large demand and therefore far too few devices pre-produced.
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 10
- Apple EarPods with Remote and Mic
- Lightning to USB Cable
- Lightning to Headphone jack
- USB Power Adapter
Photo: opened original box with Apple iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black with view on the accessories
Model: A1784 (model for Europe)
Colour: Jet Black (also available in Black, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold)
Memory Capacity: 256 GB (until 21.09.2017, now only available with 32 and 128 GB)
Weight and Dimensions: Height 158.2 mm x Weidth 77.9 mm x Depth 7.3 mm, Weight 188 grams
Retina HD Display with 3D Touch, LED-backlit widescreen with 5. inch (13.94 cm) diagonal,
Pixel-Resolution 1920-by-1080; 401 pixel per inch
Contrast ratio: 1300:1 (typical), max brightness: 500 cd/m² (typical)
Full sRGB standard, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating on front, Display Zoom
A10 Chip with 64-Bit Architecture, embedded M10 Motion Coprozessor
12 Megapixel Wide-angle and Telephoto Cameras
Autofocus, optical image stabilization, Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
Auto HDR for photos, Burst mode, Timer mode
Wide-angle: F/1.8 aperture
Telephoto: F/2.2 aperture
Optical zoom, digital zoom up to 10x, Portrait mode
Hybrid IR Filter, Sapphire crystal lens cover, Auto image stabilization, Face detection, Photo geotagging
4K video recording (3840 by 2160) at 30 fps
1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps, 720p HD video recording at 30 fps
Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 720p at 240 fps
Time-lapse video with stabilization, Cinematic video stabilization (1080p and 720p)
Continuous autofocus video, Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
Playback zoom, 3x Zoom, Face detection, video geotagging
7 Megapixel FaceTime HD-Kamera
720p HD video recording, Retina Flash
F/2.2 aperture, Auto HDR for photos and videos, Burst mode, Timer mode, Face detection
Fingerprint sensor built into the Home button
LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29)
TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41)
TD-SCDMA 1900 MHz (F), 2000 MHz (A)
CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+/DC‑HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN with MIMO
Assisted GPS and GLONASS, Digital Compass, Wi-Fi, Mobile Radio, iBeacon microlocation
Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
FaceTime video calling over Wi-Fi or Mobile Radio
Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 kbit/s), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE‑AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 kbit/s), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX und AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV
TV and Video
AirPlay Mirroring, photos, audio, and video out to Apple TV (2nd generation or later)
Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p through Lightning Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter (adapters sold separately)
Video formats supported: H.264 video up to 4K, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
Send messages with your own voice, set reminders, and more.
Get proactive suggestions, use hands-free, Listen and identify songs.
As specified by Apple
Photo: supplied power supply unit with USB socket and cable from USB-A to Lightning
Talk time: up to 21 h with UMTS (3G)
Internet use: up to 13 h with 3G or LTE, up to 15 h with WLAN
Wireless video playback: up to 14 h
Wreless audio playback: up to 60 h
Standby time: up to 16 days
Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery with 2900 mAh
Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter
Tip: If you're taking too long to recharge with the included 5W PSU (see photo), use Apple's PSU power adapter for iPad instead.
Do you already have an iPad or MacBook at home?
Otherwise buy the power supply separately.
Slower charging, however, spares the battery …
- Battery Performance
- Call Filter
- App Store
- Assistant Siri
- Data Synchronisation
- Backup with iTunes
- Music Player
Measured Value Acquisition
The basis for this series of measurements are screenshots and calendar records, because Apple does not offer a device monitor.
So I can prove all values. Relevant activities (rel. Energy consumption of Apps percentage, battery status shortly before the start of charging, when charging starts, after charge) were recorded with a screenshot. So a serious reasonably accurate indication of the battery power is possible.
Little use: 2.5 days (Assistant Siri, some e-mails, possibly some iMessages, little calendar use, possibly notes, 3h listening to music, minimal web use).
Much use: 1 day (assistant Siri, many e-mails, some iMessages, calendar frequent use, some notes, phone calls, 5 hours listening to music, 3 h web).
Gentle Battery Treatment
In order to save themselves not replaceable battery, I let it never go to the limits, because that will wear it unnecessarily quickly.
At the latest at 28% residual charge I charge the battery again, but only up to max. 85%.
When the battery is nearly empty and then charged to 100% (eg. overnight) it stresses the battery and uses a full charge cycle.
Modern Lithium Ion batteries provide about 300–500 charge cycles. In practice, these are about 5 years depending on the treatment.
Fast charging is bad for the life of a battery, so I miss no corresponding power supply.
Therefore, the relatively slow charging the notebook does not disturb me, on the contrary. So the battery is also not hot during charging.
Expectable Charging Time
This list is intended to give you an impression of expected loading times.
Charging time on USB jack: about 4 h (at 30% residual charge to about 80%)(Notebook Sony VAIO Z12X9E/X)
Charging time with 5W power supply: 1:00 h (at 24% residual charge to exactly 60%)(Apple 5W USB Power Adapter)
Charging time with 36W power supply: 1:00 h (at 30% residual charge to exactly 83%)(Anker 36 W 5 V/7,2 A 4-Port-USB-Ladegerät)
Charging time with 5W power supply: 1:30 h (at 29% residual charge to exactly 83%)(Apple 5W USB Power Adapter)
Charging time with 5W power supply: 1:37 h (at 30% residual charge to about 90%)(Apple 5W USB Power Adapter)
Charging time with battery pack: about 3 h (at 30% residual charge to about 80%)(just mobile Gum Pro PP-08)
Charging time with battery pack: about 1 h (at 25% residual charge to about 80%)(Anker PowerCore Edge 20.000 mAh)
Charging time with battery pack: 1:30 h (at 25% residual charge to 94%) (Anker PowerCore Edge 20.000 mAh)
Allow Calls / finely adjustable Positive List
Apple calls it “Do Not Disturb” – check the setup menu DND / Allow calls:
- Every (unfiltered, all callers)
- No (calls completely blocked)
- Favourites (finely adjustable positive list / only friends / acquaintances)
Favourites = Anonymous callers and disturbers get busy or mailbox
Callers with suppressed call number immediately get a busy signal or be thrown to the mailbox when activated “DND”.
Timeframe for strong conservative people and hardliners, which you still love
Sture acquaintances and relatives that the free caller ID from the network operators do not want to switch to, you can still achieve at certain times when you “do not disturb” not running off all day, but for example, only 20:00–18:00. So between 18 and 20 o'clock would pass through each, even if the caller can not be found in the address book of your iPhone because of CLIR.
The outgoing message to your mailbox you could formulate accordingly (“landed on the mailbox only because of CLIR”, … “please next time call with activated caller ID”).
Alternatively, enable a rough positive list
If anonymous callers, stalker, automatic dialing and dialing the wrong number fax machines are to be blocked, but everyone else should call contact saved in the iPhone address book, you can find the ideal solution later in the settings menu DND / Allow calls:
- all contacts
This option allows the selection of contacts / groups
- all (Contacts added by mail accounts, each email account separately selectable)
- collected addresses
As soon as an automatic dialing call (“Dialer”) calls at short intervals and suppresses its own number or displays a constantly changing fake phone number, DND must remain active, otherwise you are no longer available for serious callers!
Apple tests new Apps on Harmlessness, not on Functioning
That is my personal impression and experience …
Since 06.03.2008 Apple App Store exists. So already over eight years!
I don't notice anything about that in the Apple Store.
Years of experience with many smartphones (first Nokia, later on Android and last BlackBerry 10) allows me a comparative objective judgment …
The offer is huge and although Apple reviews all apps before introducing them into the store thoroughly harmless, but not functioning.
Call filters otherwise would not be available! I first read all the reviews before I buy an app, so I bought none of these faked apps.
The User Guidance is somewhat confusing
Example: I wanted to show my app purchases and then delete a bad buy, so I no longer need to see this crap app.
It was almost impossible to find the menu with the purchases. It hides on the bottom right as "updates" (hard to find!).
But by tapping one sees only once the last (eventually) updated app and a somewhat unusual arrow with “purchases”.
Only after tapping “Purchases” you get displayed the list of the purchased or free downloaded apps.
But it is not possible to delete purchased apps from the list. Google Play and even BlackBerry World can do it better.
But I do not want complain only. I could buy a few useful apps.
According to statistics portal statista Apple had offered 1.4 million apps at its App Store in May 2015.
Technically enthusiastic (and) science fiction fans would like to control their computer by voice, as in the Star Trek sci-fi series …
In 2007, the company Siri Inc. started developing a digital assistant, in April 2010 Apple bought the company with all rights to the products and the iPhone 4s became the first smartphone with the digital assistant named Siri. Since then you can control the iPhone by voice.
Unfortunately, Steve Jobs had decided to let the very powerful software work very slimmed down online.
The original software could run completely without an online connection to the data center on the iPhone and would not be as restricted as we know it.
I see the main purpose of a digital assistant in the operation of the smartphone, without taking it into the hand. Anyone who uses a Bluetooth headset is particularly pleased about this possibility, because this way the iPhone can remain protected in the pocket. On most headsets, the voice control is started with a long press on the call answering button. If you use a headset on an Apple iPhone from version 4s upwards, the assistant Siri is addressed and instead of ”Hey, Siri!“ To say is called his desire. Siri answers questions about the weather, can send dictated messages, read the messages received, remind them of appointments, wake up in the morning, play their own music, call the performers of a running music track, and the events of sporting events and much more.
A few examples …
- Share price of [name of share]
- What is the DAX?
Phone and Contacts
- Call [Name]
- Call [phone number]
- Start FaceTime with [Name]
- Where is [Name]?
- Who is near me?
- Send a message to [Name]
- Send an iMessage [Name]
- Write an email to [Name] with the content: [content].
- When is my next appointment?
- Create an appointment tomorrow at [time]
- Move the current date from [Time] to [Time]
- Remind me on [date] at [time]: [content].
- Remind me of [content] as soon as I get home.
- Note: [...] shopping
Time and Alarm
- What time is it?
- What date do we have?
- Set alarm to [Time]
- Switch [Function] on / off.
- Is WLAN on?
Maps and Navigation
- Where am I?
- Start navigation from here
- When are we there?
- Finish navigation
- Play Blue Monday by New Order
- Play My Playlist [Name]
- Play something from Yello
- Do I need an umbrella?
- How cold is it now?
- How warm is it now?
- How will the weather be tonight?
- How will the weather tomorrow morning? (Up to 24 hours forecast)
- Give me the current football results
So you call the wizard and immediately hang up the question or the desire for it, if you have the iPhone in your hand or on the table.
Siri understands freely formulated questions / instructions and answers some questions with a comment …
Example: To the question ”How cold is it now?“ Siri answered, ”It's 7 now, but I do not think it's cold, Michael.“
By the way: Siri says, 4 ° C. and less are bitterly cold. The question ”How cold is it now?“ Siri comments at higher temperatures with ”… I do not feel cold“.
Since foreign languages do not have the same priority at Apple, Siri is still not as humorous as in their native language.
There is a separate database for each language.
Keep Media Content in sync
To keep media content (books, photos, music, videos) on the iPhone in sync with a local computer, Apple's desktop software iTunes is required.
For privacy reasons, German business people must avoid Apple's iCloud.
Instead, iTunes is used with a USB cable (but without backup to the iCloud). Security-conscious private users should handle this in the same way!
After establishing the USB connection with a Windows computer, Windows asks the user whether the pictures and videos found on the iPhone should be displayed in the Explorer window or copied to the hard drive (see the figure below).
Screenshot: Importing images and videos
Without iTunes this is the only way to get at least pictures and videos from the iPhone to the Windows computer.
For the iCloud Apple uses mostly foreign data centers!
Screenshot: best settings for your Backup
During the evening charging of the battery at the USB port of the notebook, I automatically create an encrypted backup to SSD and copy it to an external hard drive (see figure).
I also use iTunes to sync music from an external hard drive to the iPhone.
Excellent Music Player in Aluminium Housing
16.12.2016: Listening to my favourite album The Best Of The Art Of Noise (1992), second title: Yebo (Mbaqanga Mix). It is ideal for testing the low bass reproduction! Further tip: 7th title: Legacy.
This is synthesizer sound that is not objectively suitable for testing the sound quality of a music player – electronic music sounds good on any device. But I know this album inside out and have listened to it very often on various MP3 players (encoding with constant quality; dynamic data rate up to max. 320 kbit/s).
For an objective test of the sound quality I used music titles with acoustic instruments and very often heard musician's voices.
Also the Listening Test CD of the German HiFi magazine Audio was very helpful for the objective test of the acoustics.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus can thus really show that it has a frequency response down to the low bass range like with a ruler. Otherwise, the bass would not be as deep, undistorted and clear (unfortunately I cannot measure it – no test magazine has published measurements).
Only gsmarena.com always tests and publishes the frequency response diagram!
My hearing is confirmed – the linear smooth frequency response from 20 to 20.000 Hertz is better than most other smartphones.
The signal-to-noise ratio is also excellent. Because the latency is extremely low, the iPhone is used by musicians and DJs.
Bottom line: the best high-end music player – but not with the included Apple Earpods!
These have a too weak bass response, but otherwise offer quite linear playback (the press writes).
Since I don't think much of such gimmicks, I didn't even unpack the Earpods.
My audio test equipment: As headphones I use the Sony MDR-EX90LP on the Bluetooth audio transmitter Samsung Level Link.
These in-ear headphones in studio monitor quality offer a quite unaltered reproduction.
iMessage offers Privacy by End-to-End Encryption
But as soon as you use iCloud for backups, end-to-end encryption no longer protects you because Apple adds the key for iMessage to every iCloud backup! Apple has the key for all iCloud accounts and has to hand it over to American authorities on demand (Cloud Act, GAG order etc.).
Those who observe the EU-DSGVO and respect the privacy of family, friends, colleagues, customers etc. avoid the iCloud!
iMessage targeted for Years
Time and again one can read in the IT news that iPhones of journalists and other vulnerable persons have been spied on. Often the spy software got onto the iPhone unnoticed through a security hole in iMessage.
Apple had always closed the security holes relatively quickly, but as long as the code of iMessage is not significantly improved, there will always be successful attacks.
Threema is much more secure. It also works without personal data such as telephone number or email address. The Threema ID is sufficient.
With Threema you can chat end-to-end encrypted and make tap-proof phone calls. Please also read my article about instant messaging …
Phone Calls are a Pleasure thanks to best Acoustics
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus offers excellent sound quality and supports HD Voice – even with Voice over LTE (VoLTE).
If your caller also calls via UMTS or VoLTE with HD voice, you experience a better sound quality than with ISDN in the fixed network!
You recognize the caller (and his state of mind) directly on the voice and the discussions remain relaxed, since no annoying noise is heard.
Reception Performance is not outstanding
Most smartphones offer only a relatively poor reception quality, especially when using UMTS and LTE.
At most the GSM frequencies are receivable in satisfactory quality. Anyone who lives and works in the city and rarely stays in more rural areas, will hardly notice. Many smartphone users make less and less phone calls and instead use instant messaging services.
The Apple iPhone 7 Plus offers quite good reception quality like most iPhone models. But there are smartphones with even better reception!
Globetrotters profit from the larger frequency band selection compared to competing models.
iOS Versions and Updates documented
- 16.12.2016: iOS 10.1.1 ex factory
- 17.12.2016: big update from iOS 10.1.1 to 10.2
- 23.01.2017: security update from iOS 10.2 to 10.2.1
- 27.03.2017: bigger update from iOS 10.2.1 to 10.3
- 03.04.2017: security update from iOS 10.3 to 10.3.1
- 15.04.2017: security update from iOS 10.3.1 to 10.3.2
- 19.07.2017: security update from iOS 10.3.2 to 10.3.3
- 19.09.2017: big update from iOS 10.3.3 to 11.0
- 26.09.2017: small update from iOS 11.0 to 11.0.1
Integrated Apps (non-erasable)
Camera, Photos, Health, Messages, Phone, FaceTime, Mail, Music, Wallet, Safari, Maps, Calendar, iTunes Store, App Store, Notes, Contacts, iBooks, Game Center, Weather, Memories, Clock, Videos, Share, Calculator, Voice Memos, Compass, Podcasts, Watch, Advice, iCloud Drive, Search my iPhone, Find Friends
Apps by Apple for free
Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, GarageBand and iTunes U are preinstalled on all iPhone models with a memory capacity of 64GB and more.
Recommendable Apps in Apple App Store
- CalenGoo by Dominique Andre Gunia
- Date & Time Calculator by Thomas Tsopanakis
- DB Navigator by Deutsche Bahn
- System Status by Techet
All Mobile Apps tested by myself you can find at Mobile Apps/Apple iOS.
- App for automatic location-dependent volume control and if not possible, then at least time-controlled volume control!
Practical main application: as soon as I reach the workplace, my iPhone should switch to Silent and after work back
Photo: right side with opened SIM card tray
The acoustics are excellent! The frequency range is straight as a ruler from 18 Hz almost to 20 kHz – and the headphone output is hardly different!
Thanks to high signal-to-noise ratio, good channel separation and low distortion, the fidelity is outstanding!
Photo: SIM card tray opened
Glass, Aluminium Alloy and Stainless Steel
Glass Enclosure with 7000 Aluminium Alloy Frame and Stainless Steel Chassis. The excellently processed case feels very good and is a pleasure to hold in your hands.
High-resolution 5.5-inch Display
The high-resolution 5.5-inch display shows photos and text sharply and in natural colours.
The size of the screen is sufficient to be able to work on this website on the go. I even watch some episodes of TV series on this small display.
A10 Fusion Processor
The A10 Fusion Processor is one of the fastest Smartphone Processors on the World Market. I had read about it before I bought the iPhone, but now I notice every day that it's true.
Normal “daily business” leaves it completely cold, everything runs smoothly and the case is never very warm.
It's a pity that Apple no longer provides an interface to evaluate the temperature of the processor or the battery.
Careful Colour Selection in Daylight
If you have the opportunity to visit an Apple Store, you should take the chance, also because the iPhone looks completely different in press photos and on the Internet at Apple (all artificial light photos) than in bright daylight! Like myself, you may choose a different colour variant in the daylight-flooded Apple Store, when you can take the iPhones in your hands and compare them undisturbed in peace and quiet. In the daylight-flooded Apple Store, the colours do not look as intense as in the flash photos in Apple's online shop.
In metal cases and frames, I usually prefer the unpainted version in the “original colour”, so to speak. But here I make an exception, because “diamond black” looks great. But that is a matter of taste. You might like a different colour variant. The main thing is that you are happy with your iPhone, because it will be your daily companion!
By the way: Apple achieves the desired colours by anodising and adding to the alloy, thus avoiding problems with ordinary paintwork.
Localisation via GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and QZSS
Thanks to the use of four satellite systems, localisation is always possible with a clear view to the sky.
Fig. #1: 0.5m Lightning to USB cable for 25.00 EUR. – Is it made of gold? No, it's standard quality from Apple.
Fig. #2: Lightning to USB cable (0.5 m) for 25.00 EUR (no joke, but Apple's price for standard quality!)
When I buy a new smartphone, I order such a sleeve for it from fitBAG (made in Germany).
Photo: one side of the fitBAG Nappa leather sleeve
Photo: other side of the fitBAG Nappa leather sleeve
Aluminium cases are susceptible to scratches.
So I buy at fitBAG a black leather sleeve with dimensions as desired.
If you like bare Aluminium Housing
Despite custom-made bags from fitBAG are not expensive! If you want to feel bare aluminium on your skin, you can save the 59 EUR for a leather case from Apple and order a fitBAG sleeve for 17.90 EUR plus shipping for the naked iPhone instead. Either standard dimensions (specify iPhone model) or if you don't want it to sit too tight, specify 161 x 80 x 8 mm as case dimensions when ordering. The case still widens a bit after several weeks of use, but until then the external buttons would be strained as well, this is too risky for me personally (I'm very fussy, handle devices very carefully).
From many years of experience with fitBAG nappa leather bags I can assure you that the bag does not widen too much, so the iPhone will not lie too loose in the bag after months of use and will slip out if you don't let it be too wide.
- excellent reception quality on all frequencies – also with 3G and LTE!
- brilliant acoustics (at telephone calls and music playback – even via Bluetooth)
- HD-Voice ready (if your provider offers it and your dialogue partner uses same capabilities, then your voice calls have high fidelity)
- very high-resolution display
- excellent build quality
- 3 GB RAM
- 256 GB internal memory
- very efficient set
- long battery life
- reliable hardware
- no bloatware installed
- no location-based sound profile (no such API activated by Apple)
- models with a future-proof memory size are too expensive (256 GB is a must because of nonexisting expandability!)
- battery not removeable
Some Apple peculiarities make a blanket recommendation impossible.
If you are willing to compromise and accept the disadvantages (maybe even because of the advantages), you will get a very nice and solid smartphone!