iPhone 8 Plus First Impressions and Some Interesting Details


iPhone 8 Plus First Impressions

You probably know everything about the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, and the teardown of the new iPhones seems to have confirmed the other unknowns such as the amount of RAM and capacity of the battery.

But here are my first impressions and some interesting details about iPhone 8 Plus I thought were worth sharing.

DESIGN

Apple did a better job of hiding the antenna bands in iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus by moving them to the edge of the casing and introducing two new darker colors. Thanks to iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus’ edge-to-edge glass casing Apple doesn’t have to worry about the antenna bands. They have been able to safely hide them behind the glass casing, so the only thing you see is the antenna bands around the sides.

iPhone 8 Plus antenna bands

As I had mentioned in the iPhone 8 Plus unboxing article, the Space Gray color of the aluminum casing is not as dark as the matte black iPhone 7 Plus but it is also not light as the previous space gray iPhones like the iPhone 6/6 Plus and iPhone 6s/6s Plus. The glass back casing is a lot darker and looks like the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus. It looks amazing.

The other advantage of the glass back casing which you realize immediately after you hold the iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone 8 for the first time, is the grip. It is more grippier and comfortable to hold than my matte black iPhone 7 Plus. It was one of the reasons I preferred using the case. However, if you were using the Jet black iPhone 7 Plus, which is not as slippery then you may not be able to figure out the difference. Apple also doesn’t seem to be worried about micro-abrasions in the case of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus as it hasn’t issued a warning for them like the Jet Black iPhone 7/7 Plus. So I am tempted to use it without a case.

DISPLAY

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come with True Tone display. It was first introduced in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in 2016. Since I am still in the process of setting up the iPhone 8 Plus, I need to keep switching to my iPhone 7 Plus occasionally to check apps that are not installed on my iPhone 8 Plus yet. The difference in the display is noticeable. iPhone 7 Plus display feels a lot brighter, whereas the iPhone 8 Plus seems easier on the eyes. It is one of those features that you don’t notice, but I think once I get used to the True Tone display, it is going to be difficult to go back.

PERFORMANCE

iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 is powered by Apple’s all-new A11 bionic chip. Early benchmarks have suggested that it is a monster CPU, but In terms of real-world performance, I couldn’t see much of a difference in things like launching apps etc. But it is required for features like lighting effects in Portrait mode on the iPhone 8 Plus and other machine learning features.

CAMERAS

It is too early to figure out how much better the iPhone 8 Plus’ camera is compared to the iPhone 7 Plus’ camera. The only feature that’s new on the iPhone 8 Plus is the Portrait Lighting in portrait mode. I was able to take some great photos of my kids and seems like a cool feature. But I think it still needs some work as the edges of the hair and the body seemed to merge with the background especially in Stage Light mode making the photos look a little weird. But like the Portrait mode last year, Portrait Lighting is also in beta currently, so I expect it to get better.

We will be doing a more detailed review of the iPhone 8 Plus’ camera so stay tuned.

WIRELESS CHARGING

Thanks to the glass back panel, Apple is finally able to add inductive charging feature to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. I would argue that inductive charging is not wireless, and quite surprised that Apple decided to play along with the industry by calling it wireless charging too. But it is a quite convenient. Ironically, I am using Samsung’s wireless charger that comes with a stand.

I don’t think I need the wireless charger at home, but I believe it will be quite convenient at work, as I need to keep picking up the iPhone regularly.

Other Interesting details

  • iPhone 8 Plus comes pre-installed with iOS 11 (build number: 15A372), which is the same as the build number of the iOS 11 that was released earlier in the week.
  • On the 64GB iPhone 8 Plus, the storage space available was 54.36GB, so roughly 10GB of storage space is taken by iOS 11 operating system.
  • My iPhone 7 Plus case fits the iPhone 8 Plus perfectly. The inductive charging also works while using the iPhone case.
  • The Geekbench 4.0 app (iTunes link) confirms iPhone 8 Plus comes with a 2.37 GHz A11 Bionic chip with 3GB RAM. In comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus is powered by a 2.31 GHz A10 Fusion chip with 3GB RAM.
  • The iPhone 8 Plus got a single-core score of 4075 and an incredible multi-core score of 9148 (higher scores are better), making them significantly faster than the iPhone 7 Plus, which got a single-core score of 3462, and multi-core score of 5595. The A11 Bionic chip is it comes with two high‑performance cores and four high‑efficiency cores (instead of just two in the case of the A10 chip). Apple has said that the high-performance cores of the A11 Bionic chip are up to 25 percent faster than A10 fusion, and high‑efficiency cores are up to 70 percent faster.
  • The only drawback of the glass back casing is that it has made the iPhone 8 Plus slightly heavier (202 grams compared to iPhone 7 Plus’ 188 grams).
  • Unlike last year, where I was blown away by how fast the Touch ID worked, I didn’t find any improvements in Touch ID on the iPhone 8 Plus.
  • iPhone 8 Plus still comes with a 5W charger. It is quite disappointing that Apple continues to ship the 5W charger even after it added fast charging feature in iPhone 8 and iPhone X. So you need to spend $49 for the 29W USB-C Power Adapter and another $25 for the USB-C to Lightning cable to use the feature.
  • Apple only includes USB-A to Lightning cable in the box. I was expecting Apple to start including the USB-C to Lightning cable, as it is ridiculous that customers still have to spend $25 for the USB-C to Lightning cable after spending more than $2,500 on iPhone 8 Plus and the new MacBook Pro which comes with only USB-C ports.

UPGRADE ADVICE

If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 6/6s or iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus, and can’t afford an iPhone X, then the improvements in the iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus like the A11 Bionic chip, Portrait mode with Portrait Lightning, second generation Touch ID, waterproofing are definitely worth an upgrade. If you’re looking to upgrade from iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus then I would recommend upgrading to an iPhone X.

iPhone 8 Plus is also a good upgrade for users who want familiar features like the Touch ID, and a bigger 5.5-inch screen. Apple claims iPhone X has a 5.8-inch screen but it has the same width as the iPhone 8, and the notch makes some portion of the screen unusable from a UI perspective.

I will update the post if I find anything interesting worth sharing. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments.

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