2016 is almost in the can and we now know the best phones of the year. My, didn't that fly by?
The quality of this year’s top phones has been incredible - at least it is as long as we sweep the little issue of exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7s under the fire-retardant carpet. And at least that gave us all something to talk about, eh?
Big innovations from the class of 2016 include cameras so advanced they sound like they’ve been teleported out of someone’s daydream and batteries that charge so fast you’ll get a day’s juice in less time than it takes a cup of tea to go cold.
For those of you who are out to buy rather than just peer in the shop window wistfully, though, the question is whether it’s worth spending big on the tech wizardry of the iPhone 7 Plus and the cutting-edge software of the Google Pixel. Or should you give your bank balance a break and pick the OnePlus 3 instead? Or, for that matter, Sony's newest flagship, the Xperia XZ or the unsung and possibly underated Honor 8? Let's find out.
One annoying thing about the iPhone 7 Plus is that it’s big. Bigger than almost all the 5.5in Android phones. It’s just something you have to accept. It’s otherwise as lovely as ever, though, and there are new shades: black and glossy black. The glossy one is the stealth bomber of phones. Seriously cool. But it is also a fingerprint magnet par excellence and isn’t half easy to scratch. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Everyone will know you have an iPhone 7 Plus even if you opt for plain old silver too because this is the only iPhone with two cameras on the back. Don’t worry, bragging rights come as standard.
Loads of two-camera phones have appeared over the last five years, but none quite like this. The iPhone 7 Plus has a 'normal' camera right next to 2x zoom one that lets you take better, sharper shots of far-away subjects. The killer app is portraits, though. Not only can you stay a bit further away from your muse, the new Portrait mode blurs out the background so your photos look like they’ve been taken by a pro with a RM5000 camera. Instead of, err, a near-RM5000 phone. But hey, a DSLR can’t play any of those brain-rotting casual games.
OS and Apps
Everyone knows iOS now, right? You might not know about all the extras iOS 10 added, though. Siri now works in third party apps, 3D Touch adds a whole new later of interaction and there are widgets for your lock screen. Oh, and you can now delete the Stocks app. Finally.
The screen specs of the iPhone 7 Plus won’t blow you away. It’s 5.5in across, an LCD and 1080p resolution. In person, though, it is up there with the best. Great contrast, deep blacks and colours that look vivid while being much more natural than a lot of the punchier-looking Androids.