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It’s funny to think that a phone can cause so much excitement. Back in the day, the most thrilling thing about mobile communication was the dawn of mobile phones without pointy aerials. Now, mobiles can do all sorts and the anticipation isn’t about whether it’ll have an aerial or not but how much stuff you can pack into a small-ish battery powered rectangle – and some would argue that the iPhone is the pinnacle in mobile phones with all its technological wizardry. But are they all they’re cracked up to be?

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What’s on offer?

The iPhone 7 is the newest flagship phone from Apple, launched in autumn 2016. Alongside it is the iPhone 7 Plus, which, as the ‘Plus’ bit implies, it’s a slightly higher spec version as well as being physically bigger. But whether bigger is better is entirely up to you. The Plus measures 158.2mm x 77.9mm x 7.3mm which is pretty hefty if you’ve got dinky hands, it also weighs 188g so you’ll definitely feel it in your back pocket.

The standard iPhone 7 is smaller, 138.3mm x 67.1mm x 7.1mm and weighs 138g . Both come with three storage capacities – 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, they also both come in a range of colours – rose gold, gold, silver, jet black and black (which is more of a dark grey).

If the superficial appearances and weight aren’t that important to you, then the real differences between the 7 and 7 Plus comes in battery life and also the cameras. The iPhone 7 gives you up to 14 hours talk time (on 3G) and has a standby time of 10 days, you’ll also get about 12 hours of internet use if you’re out and about using 3G or up to 14 hours if you’re using wi-fi.

The 7 Plus (as you’d expect) is even better giving you up to a whopping 21 hours of talk time on 3G and a standby time of 16 days. You’ll get an hour’s more internet use (13) on 3G and 15 hours if you’re using wi-fi.

The cameras on both models have been given a big overhaul and are much improved. Both have 12MP cameras, but the 7 Plus has two lenses for improved picture quality in a greater variety of environments. It might sound super swish and swanky, but don’t forget that other brands such as Huawei have been doing dual cameras for a while.

The 7 and 7 Plus are also water and dust proof to IP67 which means you can put it into a metre of water for about half an hour without damage – whether you’re willing to test it out yourself is another matter.

If you have other Apple products like an iPad or Mac then it makes sense to complete the family with an iPhone – it’ll mean you can transfer files and photos almost seamlessly. But if you’re looking for iPhone deals on a budget then going for a package with a slightly older model could be the way the go – you’ll still get a great phone, it just won’t be newest on the market.

So, what else is there?

With all the hoo-ha over the iPhone 7, it’s been easy to overlook the launch of the iPhone SE, which was also released in 2016. It’s smaller, so more like the iPhone 6 and measures 123.8mm x 58.6mm x 7.6mm, it’s also light – weighing in at just 113g.

The iPhone SE also has a 12MP camera as well as the finger print sensor like big brothers iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Battery life isn’t bad either with up to 14 hours talk time and up to 12 hours internet use on 3G, if you’re using wi-fi you’ll get up to 13 hours internet use. There are only two storage options – 16GB and 64GB. Unlike the 7 and 7 Plus, you still get a headphone jack so you can listen to music while your phone’s charging.

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What’s in the pipeline?

Of course, after 7 comes 8 and the iPhone 8 is already being anticipated – when it’s available and whether it’ll be preceded by an iPhone 7s or 7 Plus s, is up for debate. Historically, Apple have launched a major iPhone release (numbered) alternately with a minor upgraded version – shown by the ‘s’ designation. But whether Apple stick to this and launch the iPhone 8 in the autumn of 2018 or ditch the ‘s’ versions and go straight to an 8 model in 2017 is anyone’s guess.

Predications about what the iPhone 8 might actually look like have gone into overdrive with rumours of it being made entirely of glass (shatterproof, obviously) or with a curved, wrap around screen. Until then, why not take a look at what iPhone deals are available right here, right now – let’s start comparing.