Tuesday, November 22, 2016

There's no going back now: Two months with iPhone 7 Plus

Even before Apple announced the iPhone 7 Plus, I made the decision to go big with this year's model, despite my reservations.

Once Apple confirmed nearly every rumor we'd covered and read leading up to the iPhone 7 announcement, including two cameras on the back of the 7 Plus model and increased battery life, there was no turning back.

On launch day, my iPhone 7 Plus arrived, and I spent a weekend adjusting and tweaking how I held the phone and where I placed it while driving my car.

By far, my favorite aspect of the iPhone 7 Plus is the size of the screen. From watching videos to reading news, I appreciate the added screen real estate.

Due to the increased screen size, I've found myself using my iPhone in landscape mode more often. When Apple first announced the larger "Plus" model iPhone 6 in 2014, the company also revealed developers could create custom interfaces to take advantage of the bigger screen, even in landscape orientation.

For example, when using an app like Safari in landscape orientation, you can view and manage tabs in the same manner as on an iPad or Mac.

I'm continuously surprised each time I rotate my phone and find myself interacting with more than one column of information in Mail or an iPad-inspired look in a third-party app such as Deliveries. Even the home screen is usable in landscape.

Other than when watching a video, I don't recall ever using the standard iPhone 6S in landscape mode. Now, it's a common occurrence.

After using countless Android phones with screens larger than 4.7-inches, I knew the added screen size would be useful. I just didn't imagine it being this useful on an iOS device.

If you recall, one of the headlining features of the iPhone 7 Plus over the standard iPhone 7 is an additional camera lens on the back of the phone that can be used to optically zoom, and thanks to some fancy software tricks, create a depth-of-field effect on some photos.

Despite announcing it at the iPhone event in September, the iPhone 7 didn't launch with Portrait mode. It wasn't until a few weeks later that Apple released a beta version of iOS 10.1 with a Portrait mode included for the iPhone 7 Plus. A few weeks after that, the update went live for all (although the Portrait mode feature is still labeled as a beta).

The short review of Portrait mode is this: when the software gets it right, it looks amazing. You'd be hard pressed to find another smartphone camera with a similar effect that can pull it off with the same level of clarity.

However, when Portrait mode gets it wrong, it's laughable. I've taken countless photos where the top half of a glass is cut off or an entire side of someone's face is blurred out all together.

That said, after you use Portrait mode for an extended amount of time, you begin to learn situations, subjects, and lighting environments that work well with the camera's latest trick.

Having the option to optically zoom in on a photo or video has proven invaluable, as I take photos of my kids or products for work. I want every phone to have optical zoom after using the 7 Plus.

MGCLS - LAX Car Service

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