Update: The iPhone 7 Plus is getting on a bit and has a lot more competition than it once did. We've added comparisons to some of the main alternatives.
The iPhone 7 Plus is no longer Apple's flagship smartphone, or even just one rung down. It actually sits at the bottom of the firm's currently available handset range, having been superseded by the likes of the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XS Max, but it remains a popular choice as it can now be called a 'cheap iPhone'.
It runs the latest software in iOS 12, has a fingerprint sensor home button and retains the aluminum finish that some iPhone fans prefer.
Apple's iPhone 7 Plus is more than just a bigger iPhone 7 – it's a markedly better version.
Why is the iPhone 7 Plus better? Two reasons other than the bigger screen size: improved battery life and an innovative camera.
iPhone 7 Plus specs
Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm
OS: iOS 12
Screen size: 5.5-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 1920
CPU: Apple A10 Fusion
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 7MP
Battery is always going to be better on a bigger phone, given the larger capacity, but the camera was a surprise at launch. Apple added a dual-lens camera, a conscious effort to make the iPhone 7 Plus a distinctly different choice.
As we said in our iPhone 7 review, there are many, many similarities between 2016's iPhones and the 6S duo – and while the iPhone 7 Plus may be the better of the two 2016 iPhones, it hasn't exactly moved on in leaps and bounds from the iPhone 6S Plus.
With the arrival of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, and even the previous year's iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, those looking for the latest and greatest from Apple can skip the 7 Plus, but for the budget-conscious buyer who wants a fingerprint scanner and doesn't mind a bit of bezel the iPhone 7 Plus is still a top offering.
iPhone 7 Plus price and availability
- iPhone 7 Plus price (32GB): $569 (£569, AU$929)
- iPhone 7 Plus price (128GB): $669 (£669, AU$1,099)
- Launch price: from $769 (£719, AU$1,229)
- iPhone 7 Plus release date: September 2016
At launch, the iPhone 7 Plus price started at $769 (£719, AU$1,229) for the entry-level 32GB model and $869 (£819, AU$1,419) for the 128GB variant. Apple also offered a 256GB iPhone 7 Plus, but this particular model has now been discontinued.
With the arrival of newer generations of iPhone, the iPhone 7 Plus price has dropped, and it can now be picked up for $569 (£569, AU$929) in its 32GB guise.
Meanwhile, the 128GB iPhone 7 Plus price is down to $669 (£669, AU$1,099).
The iPhone 7 Plus is still widely available from Apple directly and from major retailers and carriers around the world.
- Water resistance is genuinely useful
- Lack of a headphone jack is initially frustrating
- More of the same design, with the same look as predecessors
It's easy to tell the iPhone 7 Plus apart from its predecessors, as it's the only iPhone to sport two cameras on its rear.
Aside from the bulkier camera block, lack of a headphone port (more on that in a minute) and a couple of new colors though, Apple's stuck with exactly the same design that's served it well for its previous two iPhone iterations.
If you've owned, or are familiar with, the iPhone 6 Plus or 6S Plus then you'll know exactly what the iPhone 7 Plus looks like.
The rounded corners, aluminum frame and minimalist styling means the iPhone 7 Plus retains its premium status, and with the introduction of new black and 'jet black' colors, fans have two new ways to show their dark side.
More recently, Apple introduced a special edition red version of the iPhone 7 Plus (and iPhone 7) in partnership with the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS programs and help deliver an AIDS-free generation - though only the black, silver, gold and rose gold shades are still sold direct from Apple.
We've used the red version of the iPhone 7 Plus now and found most people who have seen it like the look of the phone, but no-one we've spoken to has been thrilled enough to jump out of their seats to buy the phone in red immediately.
If you're curious about the shiny jet black finish, check out our iPhone 7 review, but if you're interested in the standard black color then stay right here.
We're fans of this matte black finish, as it gives the iPhone 7 Plus an understated yet elegant look – basically the polar opposite to the gaudy rose gold that's also an option here.
Moving on to the lack of a headphone jack, it's a decision Apple has described as "courageous", but while it's a positive step forward for the mobile industry, the short-term effects are the ones that are making the most noise for now.
- Here's what comes in the box when you buy the iPhone 7 Plus
Apple does include an adapter in the iPhone 7 Plus box, allowing you to plug in your standard 3.5mm headphone connection – but it's not a particularly appealing compromise. It also includes a set of lightning-connected EarPods, so you can avoid the adapter if you don't mind Apple's creations – but immediately there's a problem.
If you're someone who tends to find themselves charging their iPhone while also listening to music via a pair of wired headphones, that's a no-go with the iPhone 7 Plus. It's one or the other – unless you use an adaptor that's rather unattractive, and which you'll have to purchase separately.
The easy way around this is to invest in a set of wireless headphones – Apple's own AirPods are available for $159 (£159, AU$229) – but any Bluetooth set will work with the handset if you want to spend less.
It's far from a crisis at Apple, but the inconvenience is real – and it's one we experienced during our review – although it's one that can be easily overcome if you're willing to compromise a little.
A new feature that's much less controversial is the IP67 rating for the iPhone 7 Plus, meaning it's both dust-proof and water-resistant.
It'll be able to survive an accidental slip into the bath, or a quick email bashed out in the shower, with the official test showing it's good for a half-hour dip at a depth of up to one meter in freshwater.
It's worth noting that it's not fully waterproof though, and frequent exposure to water may well spell trouble – but the iPhone is now more capable than ever of surviving life's little accidents.
Measuring 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm, the 7 Plus is exactly the same size as the 6S Plus it's replacing, although it has dropped slightly in weight, from 192g to 188g. For users looking to upgrade from the now two-year-old 6 Plus, the 7 Plus is slightly thicker, and still a little heavier than your current device.
You're unlikely to notice the difference in the hand though, as it'll still stretch your one-handed dexterity to the max, especially when it comes to hitting the back button in the top-left corner.
Apple's 'reachability' feature, while sees the top of the screen jump down to halfway with a double-tap of the home key, is still in play here, which helps alleviate the sheer height of the handset dictated by the Cupertino firm's now-iconic chunky bezels.
Bringing all this together, Apple has another well-styled iPhone on its hands, and while it hasn't broken any new ground in terms of looks, this is the most robust and refined handset we'd seen from the firm at the time, though numerous handsets from Apple and others have since improved upon it.