Should You Upgrade from iPhone 8 to iPhone XS? A Decision Calculator

iPhone 8 vs iPhone XS

The iPhone 8 was the last 4.7-inch iPhone from Apple. It has now in many ways been replaced by the $999 5.8-inch iPhone XS. If you own an iPhone 8, should you upgrade to the iPhone XS? The latter obviously packs a lot of new features but even after a year, the iPhone 8 is a pretty darn good smartphone.

To help you from this dilemma, read our decision calculator below which should make your life easier.

iPhone 8 to iPhone XS – Upgrade or Not?

The iPhone XS in itself is a relatively minor upgrade. It does not pack any major new features that would make people queue up at their nearest Apple store. However, when compared to the iPhone 8, the iPhone XS represents a huge jump especially in terms of build quality, design, battery life, and camera performance.

Futuristic Design, Bigger Display

The iPhone XS comes with a bezel-less 5.8-inch True Tone OLED display at the front. In comparison, the iPhone 8 comes with a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display. Despite the 1.1-inch difference in size, the iPhone XS is just a wee bit bigger than the iPhone 8. The bezel-less design ensures the iPhone XS is extremely compact despite coming with a 5.8-inch display.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus front

The display quality of the iPhone XS OLED panel is also leaps and bounds better than that of the iPhone 8. It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision content as well for better color reproduction and contrast. The iPhone 8’s LCD display is not bad by any means, but it is simply not as good as the OLED panel of the iPhone XS.

The biggest difference between the two phones is in terms of their design. The iPhone 8 design is outdated and it looks like a smartphone from a few years back, while the iPhone XS has a very futuristic design. Both phones feature a glass back but the bezel-less front of the iPhone XS gives it a futuristic look when compared to the iPhone 8. Plus, the iPhone XS features a stainless steel chassis which gives it a more premium in-hand feel than the aluminum chassis of the iPhone 8.

The iPhone XS also carries a higher IP68 water-resistance certification when compared to the iPhone 8 (IP67). However, this difference is unlikely to factor in for anyone looking to upgrade to the iPhone XS.

Performance

This is one area where despite the iPhone XS being better thanks to its A12 Bionic chip, the iPhone 8 can hold its own. The latter’s A11 Bionic chip is still plenty fast by today’s standards and the phone’s performance is only going to improve further once iOS 12 lands next week.

TrueDepth Camera, Face ID

While the iPhone 8 comes with a regular FaceTime HD camera, the iPhone XS comes with a TrueDepth camera sensor. The latter is significantly more complex and consists of a bunch of sensors alongside a 7MP shooter. This allows the TrueDepth camera system to capture depth information. It also allows Apple to offer Face ID on the handset which is now even faster than on the iPhone X from last year.

iPhone 8 Plus Touch ID button

In comparison, the iPhone 8 features Touch ID. While it is more reliable, fingerprint scanners are now a thing of the past in Apple’s ecosystem with the company now heavily pushing its Face ID technology as it is more convenient and futuristic.

The TrueDepth camera on the iPhone XS also allows it to offer features like Animoji, Memoji, and capture Portrait selfies with depth control. All these features are missing on the iPhone 8 since it lacks the necessary hardware. While not an immediate reason to upgrade, there’s no denying the fact that Face ID is more convenient than Touch ID — at least when it works properly. And Memoji, Animoji are cool new ways to interact with your loved ones.

Rear Camera

The iPhone 8 features a single 12MP camera at its rear, while the iPhone XS has a dual-camera setup. In the camera department, the iPhone XS represents a pretty major upgrade over the iPhone 8. This is because it offers better imaging performance in almost every key aspect, including better low-light performance thanks to larger pixels on its new camera sensor. The iPhone XS also has Smart HDR which Apple says will help the phone in capturing photos with more details and dynamic range. The video recording capabilities of the iPhone XS is also better with stereo recording and enhanced colors.

Now, the rear camera of the iPhone XS is definitely better than the iPhone 8. Plus, it also offers Portrait mode which the iPhone 8 lacks. However, if you are not someone who clicks a lot of photos or image quality is not something that is very important for you, the iPhone 8’s camera is going to serve you just fine.

Dual-SIM

If you are someone who carries two smartphones around because you have multiple numbers, you might want to consider upgrading to the iPhone XS from your iPhone 8 since it has dual-SIM functionality. However, before making the jump, make sure to check that your carrier has support for eSIM. Unlike other dual-SIM phones, the iPhone XS features an eSIM slot. This means you will have to register on the second network from within the device. This feature is carrier dependent and right now, it has only been rolled out in nine countries.

Storage

If you own a 256GB iPhone 8 but still frequently run out of space on the handset, you might want to consider buying the iPhone XS as it comes with 512GB of storage. Ideally, 256GB storage is going to be more than enough for most people but if you are running out of space for some reason and are unwilling to delete any data from your device, upgrading to the iPhone XS with 512GB storage at a heavy price is your only option.

Battery Life

The battery life of the iPhone 8 is definitely not its strong suit. The iPhone XS, on the other hand, packs enough juice to last you through a day of heavy use. If you are having to constantly charge your iPhone 8, the iPhone XS will be a huge upgrade in this department and put this misery of yours to an end.

Price

This is where the equation changes completely. The iPhone XS at $999 is extremely expensive. While the handset does pack a number of improvements over the iPhone 8, it is hard to justify the price tag. If you have the money to spend, go ahead and buy the iPhone XS. If not, my recommendation would be to consider the iPhone XR which offers far more value than the iPhone XS and XS Max.


The iPhone XS represents a huge upgrade over the iPhone 8 in almost all areas including some important ones like battery life, camera, and display. But the price difference between the two phones is simply too big to justify the upgrade especially with the $749 iPhone XS. Ultimately, if you are looking for a more premium phone and have the money, go for the iPhone XS. If not, sit back and wait for the iPhone XR to go up for pre-order in October.

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