While Apple’s iPhone 7 family has added — and removed — a handful of features, Cupertino’s newest flagship has a significant update in the aesthetics department.
In addition to Silver, Gold and Rose Gold, the iPhone 7 is being released in two new colors: Black and Jet Black. The matte metal Black color is reminiscent of Apple’s old Space Gray finish, but is much darker in tone. Jet Black, on the other hand, is an entirely different creature: it’s a high-gloss, black aluminum finish — and seems like a throwback to the glossy plastic backs of early iPhones.
The Jet Black finish is a first for newer generation iPhones, and is the result of a nine-step process, according to Apple. Instead of an industry-standard chemical wash, the Jet Black finish is created using a specialized powder, which polishes the aluminum housing, buffs out imperfections, and produces a mirror-like finish. The surface is made porous, which allows it to better absorb the dye — and allows Apple to create such a dark shade of black. Finally, the finish is spun in a bath of ultra-fine, magnetized iron particles, which gives the finish its high-gloss sheen, AppleInsider reported.
And if you’re having some trouble deciding between the two — and we don’t blame you — here are a few points to consider.
According to hands-on user experiences, Jet Black is — obviously — much blacker and more reflective. The matte Black finish, on the other hand, has more subtle reflections. Jet Black also seems to accumulate more fingerprints and smudging than the Black finish, and is more prone to micro abrasions during its lifetime. Apple has even warned users that Jet Black backs could be at greater risk of scratching and scuffing — and has advised people to use protective cases if they want their finish to remain pristine.
Additionally, matte Black iPhone 7s might feel a bit more “slippery” in the hand. In fact, writer and blogger John Gruber wrote that the Jet Black finish might be the “grippiest” iPhone Apple has ever made. When it comes to durability, most users have said that both finishes seem equally tough, according to PhoneArena. So you shouldn’t worry about either finish being more fragile than the other.
The last thing to consider is that a Jet Black iPhone 7 might be a more significant hit to your wallet: it’ll only be available in the 128- and 256-gigabyte models, while the Black finish will be available across all storage capacities. So if you’re dead set on getting a Jet Black iPhone 7, you might have to fork over some extra cash to get the higher-capacity model — if you weren’t planning on it already.