Like clockwork Apple has just laid to rest months of rumour and speculation by formally launching the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the only problem is, the Android contingent already have them beat.
Here are six reasons why Android smartphones still trump Apple’s new star players.
1. Those displays
Samsung, Sony, Motorola, LG, Huawei, HTC and a number of other top-tier Android smartphone manufacturers all offer handsets with stunning displays. That’s not to say the new iPhone screens aren’t better than last year’s (they empirically are), but no matter how good the colours might look or the number standards Apple says they now adhere to, they’re both still the same resolution as they were two years ago and that simply doesn’t fly in the competitive smartphone market.
The iPhone 7 uses the same resolution 750x1334 4.7-inch display, whilst the iPhone 7 Plus packs a 5.5-inch screen with a Full HD resolution. By comparison, rival flagships like the Galaxy S7, Moto Z and HTC 10 all pack 2K resolution. Sony’s Z5 Premium even boasts a 4K screen, whilst this is Samsung’s second-generation flagship with a 5.1-inch screen and 2K resolution.
2. Storage (yes, still)
We have to hand it to Apple, the company has finally (and we’re talking years of dissatisfied iPhone users) heard the message and seen sense to bolster the base storage capacity of the iPhone up from a measly 16GB.
Unsurprisingly as the company has taken so long, demand for storage from apps and services has also progressed, so even though you, at the very least, can pick up an iPhone with twice the space of last year’s model (at 32GB) that no doubt quickly full out sooner, rather than later for new iPhone owners tied to a two-year contract.
And as this is an iPhone it should go without saying that Apple likely hasn’t even entertained the idea of expandable storage, so ready your wallets and prepare for the pain.
3. Cost and colour
There is a ton of new tech in these latest iPhones and five fancy colours to choose from, but unsurprisingly, not all devices are created equal and the one thing that iPhone users want most – more storage, is the very thing that Apple loves to charge a horrific premium for.
The base 32GB iPhone 7 starts at £599, but jumping to the 128GB model jacks the price up by an additional £100, opt for the top 256GB option and prepare to pay another £100 on top of that. Use the same rules of storage an additional costs with a starting amount of £719 and you’ve got the pricing of the iPhone 7 Plus line, which tops out at an astounding £919. A rival device like the Nexus 6P, which boasts 128GB of storage and a 5.7-inch 2K display sells for £649, that’s £70 less than the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus.
Apple also showcased a stunning new shiny Jet Black finish iPhone, but what they didn’t make mention of was that fact that it’s unavailable as a 32GB model. Even on the company’s website, there’s no mention of storage until after you’ve chosen your colourway, so some potential iPhone owners might not realise that there was even a 32GB option on the table if they were sucked into the inky blackness of that new colour without doing their research first. Apple also cites that the Jet Black iPhones scratch easily too.
Look at the top rival smartphones and none of their manufacturers charge you any extra for their fancier colourways or charge quite so much from one storage capacity to the next.
4. Lightning earphones
Audiophiles might appreciate Apple forcing people’s hands by removing the 3.5mm headphone jack on both of its new iPhones for a truly digital connection (in the iPhone’s pre-existing Lightning port), but that leaves the rest of us muggles with the necessity of an adapter if you do want to use ye olde headphone jack connection with the new 7 or 7 Plus. And if you lose the adapter that comes in the box, or it breaks, expect to fork out £9 for a replacement.
5. Wireless charging
For a company so keen on cutting wires it seems off that this wasn’t the generation of iPhones to bring wireless charging to the table. Rival Samsung has managed it with its sylphlike Galaxy S7 Edge, but in a stroke of genius Apple is forcing users to choose between listening to music or charging your phone.
Queue the plethora of third-party accessory makers that will let you do both at the same time with yet another dongle, and the inevitable Apple adapter that will cost five times the market average for the same pleasure.
6. Blurry camera
The iPhone 7 Plus isn’t just bigger, packs a higher resolution screen and a more capacious battery than its smaller sibling, it also enjoys a much more interesting camera arrangement – offering all of the prowess of the iPhone 7, plus an additional secondary 12-megapixel sensor behind a telephoto lens that gives you a few smart extra features.
Much like the camera setup that arrived on the LG G5 earlier this year, Apple’s new dual sensors let you zoom in on shots without losing quality and dress the backgrounds of photos in creamy bokeh, whilst keeping your foreground subject pin sharp when shooting in the new ‘portrait’ mode. The only problem is that option isn’t available to users at launch, with the company’s Phil Schiller happily proclaiming that you’ll have to wait later into the year to access the feature that serves as the main selling point of buying the Plus over the standard iPhone 7.
Whilst manufacturers of rival Android smartphones have unquestionably added new camera features to their phones after they’ve hits the market, I can’t think of one that’s promised and showcased such features at a phone’s launch and then told people to pay up for the privilege of waiting for it.