iPhone 7 Announced! Should I Switch from the SE? How about the imported Unlocked Models?


On September 8, midnight Japan time, Apple announced the iPhone 7.

I thought I’d watch a digest in the morning but I ended up watching the presentation live.

You can see the whole presentation from the following link.

The phone that I’m currently using the Hong Kong version of the iPhone SE..
I had the 5S before the SE and I can tell you that the performance of the phones are totally different.
I am satisfied with the SE and I’m only going to transfer to the iPhone 7 if there’s significant improvements.
Like really significant.

Today, I’m going to consider:

  • major changes with the iPhone 7
  • which imported unlocked iPhone 7 model will be the best choice for use in Japan



Major changes with the iPhone 7



Jet Black (glossy) and Black (matte) are added to the line-up.
Space Gray has been taken out.



Almost the same size as the iPhone 6S with the same size 4.7 inch screen.


Home button:

iPhone 7 will have a solid-state home button, meaning that it won’t move when you press on it.
It’s gong to be pressure sensitive, allowing for more commands depending on how strong you push.


Water resistant:

iPhone 7 is now water resistant.
I’ve never dropped my iPhone in water before but it won’t hurt for it to be water resistant.


The headphone input is gone:

You’ll hook up your headphones via lighting cable with the iPhone 7.
You’ll still be able to use your headphones because an adapter is included with the phone.


New camera:

Pixels are the same at 12 mega-pixels, but the camera has a wider aperture (F1.8). 
The SE and 6S are at F2.2 so the 7 is going to get brighter shots in the dark and more boke.
The 7 Plus has 2 cameras and can do 2x zoom with the lens.
You can digital zoom up to 10x so big improvement in the camera function.
The camera is still popping out from the body like the 6 and 6S.
The body is now molded that way so it is better looking than the 6 series.
The ring around the camera on the 6 series were really ugly.

New selfie camera;

Increase to 7 mega-pixels from 1.2 on the SE and 5 on the 6S.


Stereo speakers:

On iPhone 7, you get stereo speakers.
On on the bottom and one on the top.
Apple said in the presentation that the sound will be twice as loud.


More storage:

The iPhone 7 is available with 32GB, 128GB and 256GM of storage.
I’m ok with 64GB so I’ll have to go with the 128GB, even thought I don’t need that much.



This should be the biggest change for users in Japan.
The Japanese model will be equipped with Felica which will enable payment methods such as SUICA.
SUICA is widely used in Japan for payment and for riding trains.
Apple emphasized this special feature for Japan in its presentation.



iPhone 7 looks pretty good in my opinion.

I personally liked:

  • color (I’ve been waiting since the iPhone 5 to get a pure black color so finally!)
  • Felica (I don’t use SUICA but if I can get it on my iPhone, I will consider)

So then will I change from the SE to the 7?

Probably no for two reasons.

The two reasons are:

  • Size (7 is just too big)
  • Body shape (The 7 has a similar body structure as the 6 and has curved edges. The SE has squared edges and it can stand on its own. It’s very helpful when taking group pictures and watching videos)

I’m picky about these two things and that’s why I won’t change.

For those that don’t care about these things, I think an upgrade to the 7 is well worth it!



Which imported unlocked model is best for use in Japan?

I use an imported iPhone

You can now get an unlocked iPhone in Japan so an imported model has only one distinct merit: a silent camera.
I always get an imported iPhone because of this.

The two things you have to consider when getting an imported model are:

  • are the bands suitable for Japan
  • are there any restrictions for unlocking

Different models of iPhones are sold for different countries and the bands that they can use are different for each model.
In addition some models are only GSM or CDMA, not both (you need CDMA for use with au).
You have to make sure that the bands are suitable for Japan.

Also, some have restrictions for unlocking.
For example, for some models the Sprint iPhone was locked when using it in the US.

I use the Hong Kong model A1723 64GB that I got through EXPANSYS.
I’ve used it on docomo, Yahoo mobile and NifMo networks with no problems.

With the 7, you have to make one additional consideration.

And that is whether you’ll be needing the Felica function.

Felica will only come equipped with Japan models.
So the choice to use an import model will be a choice between Felica or silent camera.

If you want the silent shutter, the A1660 iPhone 7(7A1661 for the 7 Plus), specifically the Verizon and Sprint models will be your best bet.
These pretty much cover the bands in Japan and are compatible with both GSM and CDMA.



Final words

The Apple presentation aren’t what it used to be but they are still fun to watch.

The size and body shape of the 7 won’t work for me but the Felica function is very appealing.
It’s equipped on the new Apple Watch that they announced so I might just go with the watch.



MVNO is getting really popular in Japan.
The one I’m using is NifMo.
They use the docomo network which is the most reliable in the country,
I’ll write about his in a different post so stay tuned!




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