The 12 best iPhone 7 features

The iPhone 7 hits the shelf today. Improvements—including the A10 fusion chip, improved battery life and new camera design—make the iPhone 7 a substantive upgrade.

iphone 7 features
iPhone 7: A close look at the best new features

Apple’s new iPhone 7 models go on sale today, and as we’ve come to expect from Apple, they offer up no shortage of compelling new features. While the overall design of the iPhone 7 hasn’t changed, the improvements underneath the hood are extremely impressive. From an incredible new camera design to much-improved battery life enhancements, the iPhone 7 legitimately feels like a much more substantive upgrade than the iPhone 6s was last year.

With the iPhone 7 now in stores, we’ve compiled a list highlighting all of the design and spec improvements prospective buyers can expect to see out of Apple’s next-gen smartphone. While some are understandably controversial (i.e., no headphone jack) some are welcome, if not long-overdue, additions to an already-strong product.

iphone 7 Retina HD display
Credit: Apple
Improved Retina HD display

According to Apple, the iPhone 7 display is the brightest and most-colorful iPhone display the company has ever shipped. Apple says the iPhone 7’s Retina HD display uses the same “color space as the digital cinema industry,” resulting in a screen that’s 25 percent brighter and capable of displaying a wider color gamut.

iphone 7 FaceTime HD camera
Credit: Apple
7 Megapixel FaceTime HD camera

Apple’s rear-facing camera has been great for a while, but the iPhone7 finally gives the front-facing FaceTime camera some long-overdue attention. Specifically, the new front-facing iPhone 7 camera boasts a 7-megapixel sensor, a welcome step up from the iPhone 6s.

iphone 7 rear-facing camera
Credit: Apple
iPhone 7’s rear-facing camera gets a major upgrade

The rear-facing camera on Apple’s 4.7-in. iPhone 7 model now features a 12-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization (OIS). Coupled with an f/1.8 aperture (which lets upwards of 50 percent more light in) and a more advanced lens design, the iPhone 7 can take crisper photos with more vibrant colors, even in low light situations, according to Apple. What’s more, the rear-facing camera now incorporates quad-LED TrueTone flash, which “adjusts according to the color temperature of the environment, resulting in sharper, more brightly lit photos.”

iphone 7 A10 fusion chip
Credit: Apple
Blazing-fast A10 fusion chip

We’re used to seeing speed improvements with each successive iPhone release, but the quad-core A10 fusion chip takes things to an entirely new level. The A10 fusion chip is an absolute beast. Impressively, it’s 2x faster than the iPhone 6 and a whopping 40 percent faster than the iPhone 6s. Thanks to a new architecture, the A10 chip is also more power efficient than its predecessors. With respect to graphics, the iPhone 7delivers 3x faster performance than the iPhone 6. Driving the point home, early benchmark testing confirmed that the iPhone 7 is hands-down the fastest smartphone on the market.

iphone 7 Improved battery
Credit: Apple
Improved battery life

Because Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, it was able to put in a battery pack that’s 14 percent larger than what shipped on the iPhone 6s. As a result, the iPhone 7 delivers two hours of additional battery life in most usage scenarios. Impressively, the iPhone 7 can deliver 12 hours of LTE browsing on a single charge. Meanwhile, battery life on the iPhone 7 Plus was upped by a respectable one hour. All things considered, these improvements are all the more impressive given Apple didn’t increase the thickness on either of its iPhone 7 models.

iphone 7 dual camera
Credit: Apple
iPhone 7 dual camera

Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus features a dual-camera system consisting of a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 12MP telephoto lens. Among other things, this enables users to zoom in on an object while retaining clarity. What’s more, Apple’s dual-camera implementation can now measure things such as depth of field, resulting in more eye-catching portrait shots that make use of the bokeh effect.

iphone 7 Improved water resistance
Credit: Apple
Improved water resistance

The iPhone 7 isn’t completely waterproof, but it’s closer than ever before. Thanks to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, not to mention other preventative measures, the iPhone 7 is completely dust and water resistant, earning the device an IP67 rating for the first time in history.

iphone 7 Faster LTE speeds
Credit: Apple
Faster LTE speeds

The iPhone 7 can support LTE download speeds of 450 Mbps, making it 3x faster than what the iPhone 6 was capable of and an impressive 50 percent faster than what the iPhone 6s was capable of. Apple also notes that the iPhone 7 includes “even more LTE bands,” which should make for improved roaming experiences for those who travel frequently.

iphone 7 Stereo sound
Credit: Apple
Stereo sound

Thanks to the inclusion of stereo speakers, the iPhone 7 is two times louder than the iPhone 6s and delivers an increase in dynamic range.

iphone 7 home button
Credit: Apple
Newly designed home button

As opposed to every iPhone that came before it, the home button on the iPhone 7 is completely static. That being the case, the home button rests atop of a Taptic Engine that provides tactile feedback when the button is pressed. According to early reviews, this new home button design may take some getting used to, though it is worth mentioning that users can calibrate the level of haptic feedback each press provides.

iphone 7 storage options
Credit: Apple
Better storage options

Apple finally removed the 16GB storage option from its iPhone lineup. With the iPhone 7, Apple provides more bang for the buck than ever before. Now, the entry-level iPhone 7 model features 32GB of storage while the mid- and upper-tier models come with 128GB and 256GB of storage, respectively.

iphone 7 colors
Credit: Apple
Brand-new colors

This may seem like a minor thing, but new colors certainly help some owners feel like they have a brand-new device. With the iPhone 7, Apple has kept around the gold, rose gold and the silver iPhone models. Two new colors include matte black and jet black. Note, though, that the jet black iPhone 7 isn’t available in a 32GB configuration.