The iPhone X is tomorrow’s iPhone, available today. The iPhone 8 is yesterday’s iPhone with upgraded internals. If you’re in the market for a new iPhone, you might be wondering which new iPhone is right for you. This time, the choice isn’t as simple as which screen size you want. You need to choose between three iPhones, six pricing tiers and whether you prefer the smartphone of the present or the smartphone from the future.
And of course, there’s no right answer for everyone. Your choice will depend on your needs, your use cases and your budget. So let’s talk about the new iPhones, how they’re different, how they’re the same an which one is right for you.
What’s the Same Between iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
We’ll get to the differences in a bit, but let’s first talk about what’s the same between all iPhones. And that’s the bonkers performance.
They’re all running on the A 11 Bionic chip which is a beast. It’s a 6 core system with two high-frequency cores and 4 high-efficiency cores. The high-performance cores are 25% faster than the A 10 Fusion chip and the 4 high-efficiency cores are 70% faster. Plus, Apple has designed it’s own 3 core GPU this time, which is 30% faster.
Apple’s calling the A11 Bionic chip the smartest chip they’ve developed and it’s not difficult to see why. What’s amazing about this new chip is that all 6 cores can now run at the same time (unlike the A10 Fusion chip). And A11 Bionic chip is customized for AR applications and machine learning. So no matter which new iPhone you end up buying, you’ll still get the best possible performance in new AR games.
Other than that, all three iPhones run on the latest iOS 11 versions, have stereo speakers, water and dust resistance, a glass back and support wireless charging via the Qi standard.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Are the Familiar Upgrade
Other than the glass back, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus look just like the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (they come in three colors – Space Gray, Silver and Gold). In fact, so little has changed when it comes to the body that iPhone 7 cases will with with iPhone 8. The screens are still the same at 4.7 inch for the iPhone 8 and 5.5 inch for the 8 Plus.
The iPhone 8 design is basically the same that we’ve seen from iPhone 8. The big chin and forehead, the capacitive Home button with Touch ID and the Retina HD display.
The iPhone 8 does have a better camera but the improvements are more in the software. The iPhone 8 still only has a single 12MP shooter. The iPhone 8 Plus’s telephoto lens still doesn’t have optical image stabilization (the iPhone X does get this). The iPhone 8 Plus does have the new Portrait Lighting feature which lets you change the background of a Portrait mode photo.
If you already have an iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, you might not see that much of an improvement in the camera or the performance. We’ll know more once the phones start shipping.
If you’re coming from an iPhone 6 or 6s and you only want to spend $700 on a new iPhone, then I think buying the iPhone 8 makes sense. You’ll still get top of the line specs, wireless charging, that new glass back, and a much better camera compared to iPhone 6.
The iPhone X Is Tomorrow’s iPhone, Today
In many ways, the iPhone X is akin to the first iPhone. Groundbreaking, experimental and not for everyone.
The iPhone X leaves behind things we’ve become familiar with in the past 10 years. If you’re the kind of person who values consistency or doesn’t want to change how they use their phone, then that’s reason enough to stay away from the iPhone X, at least for this first generation.
The iPhone X has an all new design, with a front that’s almost all screen. And what a screen. It’s a 5.8 inch OLED display with a resolution of 2436×1125 which comes to 458 PPI. The glass stretches to all four corners of the body. There’s no bottom chin and up top, you’ll find the now infamous notch. Design is a totally subjective matter so you might hate that the notch interferes with the screen or you might think the new design looks beautiful. It’s possible that once we start using the device actively, we won’t even notice the notch.
It lets go of Touch ID and instead uses the new Face ID system for unlocking and payment authentication. The Face ID system is based on the TrueDepth camera system that’s made up of a flood illuminator, an IR camera and a dot projector. The dot projector projects 30,000 dots on your face, makes a mathematical model of your face and then matches it with the saved face on the iPhone’s Secure Enclave. All this happens invisibly and quickly.
There’s also no Home button on the iPhone. Instead, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to unlock or to go back to the Home screen.
The iPhone X also gets the best camera system, both front and back. On the back, there’s dual optical image stabilization, for both cameras. This means low light portrait mode shots will be much better. And now, the front facing camera can also do Portrait mode, along with Portrait lighting. If you’re the kind of person who wants the best possible smartphone camera, the iPhone X is the right choice for you.
The TrueDepth system also enables Animoji, Apple’s fun animated take on emojis. Animojis mirror your expressions in animated characters like panda, cat, rooster and more. iPhone X also has 2 hours more battery backup compared to the iPhone 7.
If you want the best possible iPhone and you don’t mind adapting to new ways to use your phone, go for iPhone X.
Apple’s “Genius” Pricing Strategy
Here’s what the new iPhones cost.
- iPhone 8 (64 GB): $699
- iPhone 8 (256 GB): $849
- iPhone 8 Plus (64 GB): $799
- iPhone 8 Plus (256 GB): $949
- iPhone X (64 GB): $999
- iPhone X (256 GB): $1,149
This time, Apple has changed the configuration so you can either have just enough storage or way too much storage. And it’s now a $150 jump between storage tiers. Plus, the iPhone 8 starts at $50 more than the iPhone 7 started at last year.
The new pricing makes the decision to choose a new iPhone even tougher. And clearly, Apple is trying to get people to go for the iPhone X. After all, the 64 GB iPhone X is “only” $50 more than the top of the line iPhone 8 Plus. And it’s easy to rationalize that you get so much more for the price.
I think if you’re the kind of person who uses music streaming services and backs up all photos and videos to cloud storage, 64 GB should be enough for you.
And I think deciding to buy the 64 GB iPhone 8 is much easier. Especially if you’re coming from the iPhone 6/6s and you have a budget of $700.
It’s going to be much harder to pick between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. It’s no apple to apple comparison but you’re technically getting a bigger screen with the iPhone X, which is much more vibrant, in a package that is way closer to the iPhone 8 size.
Let’s be honest, in the world of LG V30 and Samsung S8, the iPhone 8 Plus looks unwieldy. It’s way too big and way too heavy for a 5.5-inch screen device. Spending $200 more gets you the better screen and even better cameras.
But the iPhone X won’t ship for another two months (November 3), and there are rumors that there are going to be supply constraints, so getting your hands on iPhone X is not going to be easy.
If you just can’t spend more than $800 (or more than $950 for a 256 GB device), or you’re not ready to embrace all the new changes in the first version of the iPhone X, and you need the iPhone in a week, go for the iPhone 8 Plus. Or else, wait for the iPhone X. Use the two months to save up some cash.
Which iPhone Will You Buy?
What have you decided? What are your personal pros and cons against each new 2017 iPhone? Share with us in the comments below. And if you have already made up your mind on which iPhone you plan to buy but are looking at your upgrade options, make sure to check out FAQ on the iPhone Upgrade Program.