The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are what the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. These two new devices feature incremental improvements to last year’s iPhones. There’s nothing wrong with that but just don’t be tricked by Apple’s decision to call these devices the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus because honestly, they aren’t the big, new refreshed iPhones one would expect to see called the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. That’s reserved for the iPhone X, which most people are calling the iPhone X because most people don’t use the Latin alphabet these days nor do they realize the X is a Roman numeral for 10 signifying the iPhone’s 10th anniversary.
It’s possible Apple decided to name these devices the way they have because there is a slight design change. The rear panels consist of glass that enables Qi wireless charging. This is all possible with a Qi-enabled wireless charging pads that have been powering select Android devices for years. I’m proud of Apple for adopting the standard and not creating their own, further dividing the market. The conveniency of not needing to plug your phone in to charge is much appreciated. You can still use the included lightning cable and if you need fast charging, you can buy a USB-C to lightning cable and a more powerful wall wart, if you like. But those are both sold separately.
But that’s really what is different with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus aesthetically. The gold color looks really classy with subtle hues of pink to please the rose gold lovers out there. The space gray should appeal to those who like dark devices but keep in mind, the gray color has several different shades and is definitely darker than the space gray color Apple uses with its MacBooks. What’s neat is you can use your older cases with the new iPhones, that is, if you upgrade from an iPhone 6 or later.
There is a True Tone display for both models that will adjust color temperature based off your environment to improve image quality. The display, in my opinion, is just fine and content looks good. But I think it could look better. The resolution and display types have remained the same for the last few years or so.
The processing power has improved by a noticeable degree, thanks to the new A11 Bionic chip. This is a serious processor that actually rivals some basic MacBook configurations with Intel processors. Applications open and close quickly, gaming is smooth and stutter-free. And while I have not yet tested this, you can use Augmented Reality apps with the new iPhones.
Where the problems lie is actually in the software. Apple phones have always really gotten a reputation that they just work but iOS 11 is kind of challenging that claim. I get the illusion that iOS 11 wasn’t ready for prime time because even with the latest version of iOS, I still get frame drops, get random bugs with the updated app dots that flicker when navigating the OS, there’s some connectivity issues, an unresponsive display I’ve had a few times, and issues with the orientation settings. Apple has changed some things like they’ve merged the notification center and lock screen and they’ve completely redesigned the control center, allowing you to customize what is here. And there are some subtle design tweaks throughout the OS and Apple apps. But aesthetics aside, the OS doesn’t run quite as well as it has in the past.
The camera hardware has stayed the same for the most part. You still have a 12-megapixel main shooter with an f/1.8 aperture and 12-megapixel telephoto sensor on the iPhone 8 Plus. Apple has actually tweaked some things behind the scenes to allow better pixel processing, faster autofocus, and better low light photos with less noise. You can also now record 4K videos of up to 60 fps and 1080p videos at up to 240 fps; an impressive feat for a smartphone camera.
While it’s tough to say that there’s a night and day difference between this year’s camera quality and last year’s, I will say photos are impressive in the right scenarios. Dynamic range is very good and my subjects tend to come out crisp and clear with little noise, even in inadequate lighting conditions. I will add that photos do tend to be on the warm side and are definitely not as cool as photos captured on other high-end devices like the Note 8. But a lot of those things can be tweaked in post.
The iPhone 8 Plus does have a portrait lighting mode in addition to the regular portrait mode. This mode lets you mimic professional lighting techniques. It’s a lot of fun to play with but it is definitely still in beta and doesn’t work flawlessly.
I mentioned the wireless charging of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus earlier in this video but it’s worth noting that the battery life is excellent on both of these devices, especially the iPhone 8 Plus. It was great with the iPhone 7 Plus but it seems to be on par or even a little bit better despite having a slightly smaller capacity battery than its predecessor. On average, this lasts me a full day on a single charge with around 20-30 percent remaining.
The speakers have been improved to get louder and output more of a bass response, both of which, I appreciate. I really do like the dual speaker setup Apple has going with these devices. It’s kind of a rare feature that you see nowadays and it’s really what has gotten me excited with the new Pixel smartphones.
So both iPhones are still IP67 water- and dust-resistant. They both have Touch ID sensors on the front and they both do not have a headphone jack unfortunately; all these stuff you’d come to expect in an iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The problem I’ve had with these new iPhones is not because they are bad smartphones because they’re not and they will be good daily driver devices. The only thing holding them back is the software. And it’s only a matter of time until those software bugs do get worked out.
What I have a problem with is how Apple has essentially made the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus obsoletes as soon as it announced the iPhone X. If you ignore the specs and features and look solely at the names, which phone sounds better: the iPhone 8 or iPhone X? I think to most people it’s going to be the latter. And a lot of people, a lot of Apple consumers, they want the latest and greatest Apple products. In a month, it won’t be the iPhone 8, it’ll be the iPhone X. Furthermore, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus starts at $699 and $799, respectively. For $200 more, you can get the iPhone X when it launches on November 3rd and have all of its new features, most notably its edge-to-edge AMOLED display, Face ID security system, and dual camera sensors with optical image stabilization.
In a nutshell, don’t buy the iPhone 8, wait for the iPhone X.
Now you’ve heard my opinion of Apple’s new devices. I want to hear yours. Let me know what you think of the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus in a comment.