iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 7 Plus: Which should you preorder?

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iPhone-7-7-Plus
It's time to choose between iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus!
Photos: Apple

Apple will start taking preorders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Friday, September 9. That’s tonight, people (if you’re living in the United States)!

You’re going to want to get your order in as soon as possible if you want launch-day delivery, but which model should you go for? Find out which iPhone 7 model is right for you right here!

iPhone 7 preorders: Size matters

The first thing you’re going to need to consider is size. Apple’s Plus-size iPhones are beastly — especially if you’re not used to a larger phone. If that’s not something you’re into, that quickly eliminates the iPhone 7 Plus and makes your buying decision simple.

iPhone 7 Plus is 19.9mm taller, 10.8mm wider and .2mm thicker than the iPhone 7. It’s also a full 1.76 ounces heavier. Those figures increase when you add a protective case. The larger iPhone can become pretty unwieldy in smaller hands.

iPhone 7 sizes
iPhone 7 Plus is a BIG phone.
Photo: Apple

With its 4.7-inch display, the iPhone 7 is ideal for most. It’s not too big to use one-handed, but the increase in screen size over a 4-inch device like the iPhone SE makes playing games, browsing the web, watching movies and just about everything else a more enjoyable experience.

Having said that, if you don’t mind big smartphones, or you’re already used to carrying a Plus-size iPhone, the iPhone 7 Plus is going to be well worth the extra cash for a number of reasons.

iPhone 7 display vs. iPhone 7 Plus display

iPhone 7 matte black finish
Both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have beautiful screens, but subtle differences exist.
Image: Apple

Perhaps the biggest of those reasons is the iPhone 7 Plus display.

Not only do you get a larger display, but you also get more pixels for sharper text and crisper images. With its full 1080p resolution, the iPhone 7 Plus packs 401 pixels per inch, while iPhone 7 has a 1,334-by-750-pixel resolution with just 326 pixels per inch.

However, the Retina HD displays on both of Apple’s latest smartphones have been improved. They now boast a wide color gamut to deliver cinema-standard colors, and “the best color management in the smartphone industry,” according to Apple.

One advantage the iPhone 7 has is a slightly higher contrast ratio of 1400:1 versus the iPhone 7 Plus’ 1300:1.

iPhone 7 vs. 7 Plus
How iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus displays differ.
Photo: Apple

iPhone 7 battery life

A bigger phone means a bigger battery, and that leads to better battery life in most cases. It’s certainly true when it comes to iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

You’ll get up to 14 hours of talk time out of the iPhone 7 over 3G, while the 7 Plus delivers a whopping 21 hours. The latter also provides up to an hour of extra use when browsing the web on 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi, and when playing video.

Here are the figures Apple provides:

iPhone 7 battery life
Battery life compared.
Table: Cult of Mac

iPhone 7 colors: Black is beautiful

iPhone 7 Plus jet black
The shiny new jet black iPhone 7 models look like real head-turners.
Photo: Apple

When it comes to color options, both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus offer the same choices. You can go with traditional iPhone colors like silver, gold or rose gold.

Or you can go black, either with a matte finish or a high-gloss jet black finish. Both colors are new to iPhone and, if past is prelude, will be in high demand when preorders open overnight.

While there’s no difference between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus when it comes to color options, it’s important to note that the shiny jet black model — which may or may not be a scuff scandal waiting to happen — is available in only the two larger storage options (128GB and 256GB; more on that and other iPhone 7 specs later).

iPhone 7 cameras

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus cameras
The iPhone 7 Plus packs a dual-camera system that the iPhone 7 lacks.
Photo: Apple

The other big difference between iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus is their cameras. While the only thing to be gained by choosing a Plus-size iPhone in previous years was optical image stabilization, 7 Plus buyers get treated to a second camera module.

Alongside the wide-angle 12-megapixel iSight camera also found in the iPhone 7, which is greatly improved over the iSight camera in iPhone 6s, the 7 Plus boasts a second telephoto lens. This allows for 2x optical zoom and improved digital zoom, plus incredible depth-of-field effects.

If great photos are one of the main reasons why you choose an iPhone, you’re going to want to get the iPhone 7 Plus if you can afford it (and handle the size). That second lens is going to deliver much greater photos — performance you just won’t get out of the iPhone 7 (or any other smartphone).

iPhone 7 specs

If you ignore the differences we’ve already listed, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are identical internally. They both boast Apple’s new A10 Fusion processor with M10 motion coprocessor, a 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera, a touch-sensitive Home button and stereo speakers.

iPhone 7 specs
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus specs in a nutshell.

Both devices also come in the same storage options: 32GB (good riddance, 16GB iPhones!), 128GB and 256GB. About the only thing left to consider, then, is price.

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus pricing

Here’s where the iPhone 7 looks like a much more attractive option.

Prices start at $649 for an iPhone 7 with 32GB of storage when you buy off-contract, and they increase to $749 for a 128GB model and $849 for a 256GB model. iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769 for a 32GB device, while the bigger storage options cost $869 and $969 respectively.

Here’s how much you’ll pay for each model if you’re buying through the iPhone Upgrade Program:

iPhone 7 upgrade pricing
iPhone Upgrade Program pricing for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
Table: Cult of Mac

iPhone 7 vs. iPhone 7 Plus: The bottom line

jet black iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
If you want to be an iPhone 7 early adopter, it’s time to make up your mind.
Photo: Apple

If you can handle its larger size and money is no problem, go for the iPhone 7 Plus. Its bigger screen, better battery life, and exceptional camera will make your next 12 to 24 months with an iPhone much more enjoyable.

But the fact of the matter is, the iPhone 7 is still a spectacular smartphone. So, if you can’t afford the 7 Plus, or you just can’t cope with its 5.5-inch display, preorder an iPhone 7 and you’ll still end up with one of the best smartphones money can buy today.

Which model will you be preordering?

  • JFairweather

    I’ve had a 6 Plus since it came out. While the superior features are nice, the main reason I bought the Plus was because of the size. I would not make enough use of an iPad to justify the purchase so I opted for a larger iPhone.
    After having had the Plus for close to two years now, my position is the same as it was shortly after buying it – it is too large for one-handed use. You have to learn how to perch it in your hand with the little finger along the bottom. If no cable is attached for your little finger to lean against, it slips around. If you are driving and want to change a song or something, the size makes it a huge pain.
    Honestly, unless someone has some sort of a testosterone-propelled jones for an oversized phone or simply must have the enhanced features or they will regret it for the rest of their life, go with the normal-sized iPhone 7. The larger one is just too impractical for routine tasks and, when driving, it can be downright dangerous.

  • Biff tannen

    Dum review. When driving? You will regret it the rest of your life? It’s personal preference.

    • Tiff Bannen

      Dumb review ^

  • Houstonian

    Thanks for an honest review JFairweather. I’ve had the 6plus as well. I can’t count how many times I’ve dropped it. replaced screen twice, bought new cases from dropping as well. Never had these problems before PLUS came available. I too will be going back to the iPhone 7.

  • Dave Morris

    Thanks to JF and Houst, you have made my mind up for me . . . it’s the iPhone 7 then!

  • nwcs

    Neither for me. I want the 4″ iPhone 7 SE. I’ve had the iPhablet for over 2 years and I really prefer the smaller size.

  • EricH

    I have the 6Plus (since it came out) and I will be sticking with the larger size. Although my hands are not gargantuan I have no problem using it one handed (thanks reachability, on those rare occasions when I can’t make a reach). With the camera upgrade and the extra battery size I am ready to upgrade to the 7Plus. Pre-ordered it this morning.