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Tests show that one iPhone 7 model is actually slower than all the others

Published Oct 10th, 2016 11:10AM EDT
iPhone 7 Storage Speed
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

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I said it over and over: you’d better stay away from the 32GB iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus if you’re buying a new iPhone this year. You’d be much better off spending an extra $100 on the 128GB version of your choice. Apple’s decision to kill the 16GB iPhone can only be applauded, but 32GB will not be enough space if you rely on local storage for apps, entertainment, photo and video storage. The longer you use the device, the more storage you’ll consume and you’ll soon run out of space on a 32GB device.

But, as it turns out, there’s actually another other reason to avoid the entry-level iPhone 7 and 7 Plus this year, and it involves performance.

DON’T MISS: No matter what happens next, the Galaxy Note 7 is dead to us

Benchmark tests and real-life tests performed by GSM Arena suggest that the 32GB iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus does worse than the 128GB and 256GB versions when it comes to read and write speeds.

Storage speed is an key characteristic of a phone, and Apple’s custom storage controller, first introduced with the iPhone 6s series last year, is partly responsible for the phone’s quickness. In fact, the year-old iPhone 6s still beats every Android-powered handset released this year in performance tests.

Tested in Basemark OS II, the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus scored over 800 points, while other iPhones reached 1300 to 1700 points on the same test. The Pass Mark test revealed that the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus’s write performance lagged behind the iPhone 6s Plus’s, while read speeds remained the same.

The site also came up with a real-life test to measure read and write speeds for the iPhones. It recorded a 10-minute 4K video with the iPhone and then trimmed it exactly in half using the built-in trim feature. The test measured how fast the iPhone reads the original 3.3GB file and writes a new video file that should measure half that. The results showed that the 128GB iPhone 7 Plus was three times faster than the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus — check out the following table with stats for all the iPhones used in the test.

32gb-iphone-7-plus-vs-128gb-iphone-7-plusImage source: GSM Arena

Unless you’ve been using multiple iPhone models, you would likely never realize that the 32GB version is slower than the other two versions. In other words, this “issue” won’t hurt you.

However, Apple isn’t treating all storage tiers the same and it’s not clear why. It might be related to the type of storage Apple is using in the 32GB version, which could be slower than what’s used in the 128GB and 256GB models. Unfortunately, the 256GB iPhone 7 was not included in this comparison.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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