Review: iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus | iLounge

Review

Review: iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

A-
Highly Recommended
iPhone 8 Plus

B+
Recommended
iPhone 8

Company: Apple

Model: iPhone 8 / iPhone 8 Plus

Price: $699 – $949

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Jesse Hollington

Pros: Solid updates to both of Apple’s standard iPhone models offer the same horsepower as Apple’s upcoming iPhone X in a proven and familiar form factor. New all-glass design brings back some of the “museum-quality” elegance of the iPhone 4 era. Virtually identical dimensions mean that almost all previous cases should continue to fit. A11 processor unlocks new camera improvements and experiences such as augmented reality. True Tone display improves on-screen color reproduction. Despite the same specs, both models feature noticeable camera improvements. iPhone 8 Plus gains a new Portrait Lighting mode for even better portrait photos. Fast-charging provides a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes. Wireless Qi charging makes recharging more convenient, especially when using a case.

Cons: Modest improvements over the iPhone 7 make this year’s update feel less significant, particularly in comparison to the looming iPhone X. The iPhone 8 continues to lag behind its larger sibling for photography. Package still only includes the same 5W power adapter as before, so you’ll need to supply your own adapter for faster charging. Wireless charging also doesn’t offer any additional performance over the included 5W power adapter.

Realistically, Apple’s iPhone design has changed very little in recent years since the original debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014 — in fact we raised the question last year whether the iPhone 7 models were worthy of a new number or were more like “s2” models, particularly in contrast to the significant redesigns we saw with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5.

However, while the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus retain the same form factor as their predecessors — they’ve grown less than half a millimeter in each dimension — they actually make a subtle but significant change with their return to the glass-backed design of the iPhone 4 — a model that we still feel was the most elegantly-designed iPhone that Apple ever produced. Although Apple’s switch to the glass backing on the iPhone 8 is surely more pragmatic than aesthetic — it’s necessary to support the new wireless charging features — it definitely makes the iPhone 8 models feel more “premium” than prior models. With the possible exception of last year’s jet black iPhone 7, this is the first iPhone model we’ve seen in a while that we actively dislike putting into a case.

Thanks to the new E-LABEL Act, the rear of the iPhone also loses the fine print — the somewhat unsightly FCC and other industry certification markings that have pervaded every prior iPhone model, adding an extra small gleam of elegance to the design.

Apple has also reduced the color choices on the iPhone 8 models, returning to the standard three options of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 era; space gray returns to the lineup after being dropped last year in favor of matte black and jet black, and the rose gold color that was introduced with the iPhone 6s in 2015 is gone entirely.

Although the iPhone 8 is back to the standard colors of space gray, silver, and gold, the new glass design makes each of these colors significantly different from prior models, particularly in light of the seven-layer color process that Apple used. The space gray iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is close enough to last year’s jet black iPhone 7 that we feel Apple would have been justified in calling it “black” and the silver is far more similar to an off-white version of the white iPhone 4. The switch from aluminum to glass on the back gives the iPhone 8 models a museum-quality design. Although only time will tell how well the glass holds up to scratches and scuffs, we do suspect it will fare better than the high-gloss aluminum used in last year’s jet black iPhone 7.

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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