iPhone 7: Why I'm finally going big with this year's model

Despite a strong dislike of the overall size of the iPhone 7 Plus, it's time I go big.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer

When Apple announced the iPhone 6 Plus, I drooled over the gigantic screen. After using countless Android devices over the years, I had dreamed of the day Apple would release a phone with a screen bigger than five inches.

Even with my admiration, I wasn't completely sold on the jump in size. So, I ordered an iPhone 6, and Apple sent me a review unit of the 6 Plus. After a few days of using the 6 Plus, I learned to adjust to its size, and it became clear it was the device for me. The standard 6 sat in a box, unused, until I had to return the 6 Plus to Apple.

Upon returning to the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, I gained an appreciation for how easy it was to manage. I no longer had to consciously think about what pocket (let alone cup holder in my car) I was putting my phone in. I was once again scanning my inbox or composing an iMessage with one hand, and despite taking a hit on battery life, I fell in love with the size of the smaller iPhone.

When the iPhone 6S Plus launched, I tried it out for a few days only to get annoyed at its large footprint; an iPhone 6S worked better for me.

Now, as it comes time to preorder the iPhone 7, I have made the decision to go big. The iPhone 7 Plus will be my next iPhone, and I'm just going to have to learn to deal with it.

My reasoning doesn't boil down to just the added camera features, although it definitely helps. There's more to it than that.

Start with the obvious: Screen size

Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

I'm fortunate enough to have access to nearly every flagship Android device on the market. Each one boasts a screen size over the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, with most of them pushing 5.5 inches as the standard size. I've come to enjoy and appreciate the added screen real estate for working in Google Docs, watching YouTube videos, editing photos, and, well, just about everything else I do on a smartphone.

The difference is Android devices are often smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus despite having the same exact screen size. They're easier to hold and manage.

For example, Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge (5.5-inch display) measures 2.85 inches x 5.94 inches x 0.30 inches. The iPhone 7 Plus measures 3.07 inches x 6.23 inches x 0.29 inches. Samsung's Note 7 and its 5.7-inch display is still smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus at 2.91 inches x 6.04 inches x 0.31 inches.

Why such a drastic difference in size? The bezels surrounding the iPhone's display. I'm desperately holding on to any hope that next year's 10th anniversary iPhone will feature a complete redesign, perhaps shrinking down the home button now that it's no longer a real button, and thus the bezel with it.

Until that day comes, I'll learn to deal with the arguably unnecessary bulk.

Bigger battery, longer life

In order to get through a full day of use with my iPhone 6S, I have to carry around Apple's Smart Battery Case. It's the sad reality of just how much I use my phone -- and just how bad the battery life has become on the iPhone 6S.

Apple claims the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will see battery gains of two hours and one hour, respectively. So, in effect, going from an iPhone 6S to an iPhone 7 Plus, I should gain three hours of battery life every day if Apple's numbers are accurate.

I'll take it.

And, yes, the camera

Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The "Plus" iPhone has always had an edge over the standard iPhone in terms of camera performance, but up until the iPhone 7 line, it was limited to optical image stabilization. In testing, there was a slight difference in photo quality, but it wasn't enough to overcome my distaste of the Plus' design.

However, adding a second lens to the iPhone 7 Plus for a 2x optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, and the forthcoming depth-of-field feature is a very convincing argument.

I'm at the point where I no longer like carrying around my bigger, more expensive camera to capture family events. It's easier carrying around a phone with a quality camera, and with the new tricks Apple is packing in the iPhone 7 Plus, it appears to fit that mold.

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