I had seen that article before. And like the author I also take issue with Apple claiming the brighter screen. The first thing I noticed, as soon as I unpacked it, was that it seemed dimmer than my iPhone 6 Plus. I thought to myself, "What?" and then compared them side-by-side.
Apple's exact wording, in addition to the claim of it being 25% brighter, is, "The brightest, most colorful iPhone display yet" and "The iPhone 7 display uses the same color space as the digital cinema industry, so what you see will be noticeably more brilliant and vibrant. Because we all deserve a bit more brightness in our day."
It's really just not so though. What I see is not "noticeably more brilliant and vibrant." It's darker and dingier looking.
I also think the problem might be human device-by-device calibration, as the author mentioned. That is bound to introduced a per-device variation and lead to quality assurance issues in the manufacturing process. And would explain why even amongst different iPhone 7 Pluses the display looks different. Two friends from the U.S. visited and their iPhone 7 Pluses were noticeably brighter than mine, and even between their two phones there was a difference. For example, see this photo:
Those are three iPhone 7 Pluses, all with the same settings. Clearly there is a variance. What is your opinion of those three iPhone 7 Pluses? It seems obvious they are different.
One poster above wrote, "Maybe you should sue for false advertising if you're that convinced, but to me, it sounds like you're bound and determined to be unhappy with the display of your 7 Plus, and that's fine."
I'm not interested in lawsuits. And I'm certainly not bound and determined to be unhappy with the display of my iPhone 7 Plus. If that was the case, why would I have bothered to go through 4 exchanges already? I want to be happy with my display. I just want it as advertised.
Note that my main complaint isn't that the display is bad per se. If I never owned a previous device I would probably think it's a nice looking display and wouldn't have thought twice about it. But I have to admit it irks that it really does seem to be not as advertised, and not as bright as my iPhone 6 Plus. If I knew this before purchase I would have just waited for the next model. But during the purchase I went through a carrier change and my iPhone 6 Plus is locked to my old carrier and I can't just reverse everything.
Because an Apple VP's office got involved, which I give Apple credit for trying, the way things stand right now is that Apple refunded me the cost of my original device at full list price, even though I purchased it from my carrier in Japan. Because of a discrepancy in carrier list price, I ended up ahead by 9,000 yen (it's still a mystery why there was a price difference). So I got my money back, though I still have to pay off the contract with the carrier, which ends up being a large discount on the retail price of the device, so long as I stick with my new carrier for 2 years. A bit complicated - the way these things work differ country by country. But Apple did make things right and gave me an out.
At that point I had a choice - I had my money back and I could have gone hunting for a completely different phone to use with my current carrier, such as a Samsung or a Sony Xperia - or just drop down to a "middling" Android and not think so much about my device.
What I ended up doing was taking the refund and I bought a brand new iPhone 7 Plus, but this time directly from the Apple store online (which eliminates return issues). It was delivered the next day. While the display is about the same as the one I returned, and I can still return it until the February 22 under the 14 day Apple return policy,
I guess I will probably keep it though. I feel less badly towards Apple now, because the VP's office did try to help, and I ended up with a new iPhone 7 Plus, with a new AppleCare period that extends until February 2019, and since the new iPhone 7 Plus was purchased directly from Apple it is sim-free and I can use it in the U.S. when I travel there next month. And since it's an unlocked phone with a new 2 year AppleCare warranty I imagine the resell price will be good if I decide to sell it and upgrade when the next iPhone comes out. So I believe I'll keep it, unless I fall in love with something else under the next 5 days, which is unlikely. And I do love the other features of the iPhone 7 Plus.
But, like the author of that technical article, it does bother me that Apple is not advertising the quality of the display correctly. I'm trying to just ignore it. If I turn down the brightness of my iPhone 6 Plus and turn up the brightness of my iPhone 7 Plus in comparison, I can make my iPhone 7 Plus look brighter. Just not as bright (or vibrant, or brilliant) when both devices are at maximum setting.
I realize this is definitely something that can be filed under #FirstWorldProblems , and I know I've let it bother me way too much since getting the original one in November. I feel somewhat depressed about being so obsessed and materialistic about it.
What I suspect, since my U.S. friends' devices are brighter, is there might be a manufacturing issue with the Japan model. And, as mentioned, 100% of at least a dozen friends I've shown it too all immediately picked the iPhone 6 Plus as being brighter. So I know it's not just me. Even the store clerks at Apple stores point to my iPhone 6 Plus if I ask them, "Which one looks brighter?" I'm not imagining this.
The Apple engineering team, and other people with graphs and data, trying to explain why it really is "noticeably more vibrant and brilliant" reminds me of "The Emperor's New Clothes" - like I'm admitting I'm stupid unless I claim to see what isn't there.
What I want to do is reset my iPhone 6 Plus and send it to my sister so she can use it instead of her iPhone 4S, and to move on.
But the iPhone 7 Plus is not brighter, more vibrant and more brilliant than my iPhone 6 Plus. It's the opposite.