Earlier this month, Apple officially introduced the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, with pre-orders going live late last week and both devices launching into the world on Friday, September 22.
Ahead of that public launch, reviews are now in. The general consensus appears to be that Apple has created year-over-year upgrades that are certainly worthwhile to anyone who might be ready to move on from their iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, especially if they want a slight increase in camera performance. The glass back also makes wireless charging a worthwhile upgrade.
Of course, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus borrow their design from what was brought to market with the iPhone 6, so while other current high-end phones feature bezel-less designs, including the upcoming iPhone X from Apple itself, these devices don’t follow that design strategy.
So, here’s a quick roundup of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus reviews that have been published today from some of the biggest publications:
“That’s the thing about the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. These are very good and very impressive phones, and yet, they’re not even Apple’s best handsets. The iPhone X represents Apple’s vision of the future, and also Samsung’s and Essential’s and Huawei’s and everyone else’s. It’s a future without bezels, and with enough camera power to really change how smartphones work. The iPhones 8 check every box a phone has ever checked before, but they feels like the last of something right as Apple and others prepare the first of something else. When your phone can see you, and see the world, it will change what a phone is, and does, and can be. This fall, Apple’s giving you a choice: get a seat on the best piston airliner ever, or take a chance on jet engines.
If you want an awesome iPhone, this is it. I’d recommend the 8 Plus, if you can stomach the size, because the added camera power and battery life are really nice to have. But both are fantastic phones, upgrades over even last year’s model. But if you want to be part of the future, save your money for now. Then go get an iPhone X and see what’s really coming next.”
“After spending a week with the 8, I can’t think of a single compelling reason to upgrade from an iPhone 7. The 7 is still extremely fast, offers virtually the same design in a lighter package with a bigger battery, and will get almost every feature of the 8 with iOS 11. If you really want Qi wireless charging, you can get a slim $15 case that supports it. And if you’re dying for Portrait Lighting, there are tons of photo apps in the App Store that offer similar effects. Of course, if you’re upgrading from anything older than an iPhone 7, the improvements in the camera and the overall speed of the phone are going to really impress you.
And yet, a lot of people are going to buy an iPhone 8 — it’s the phone to get if you’re on an upgrade plan, your older phone breaks or finally gets too slow, or you just need a new phone right now. It’s Apple’s new default phone, and it’s pretty great that a default phone is actually this good. But it’s not the future, and it’s not the cutting edge. It’s just the default.
It’s an iPhone.”
“The camera in your pocket is about to get better. Again. Apple has always packed serious photography power inside the iPhone, and the iPhone 8 Plus is no exception. With a new 12-megapixel sensor that captures color and texture in stunning detail and dual wide-angle and telephoto lenses, the iPhone 8 Plus delivers a serious camera.
I set out on an adventure in and around San Francisco, CNET’s hometown, to capture the city’s eclectic mix of architecture, landmarks and natural beauty — testing a range of lighting conditions, photography modes and filters.
I boated on San Francisco Bay, fished on Ocean Beach, biked around Angel Island and walked through Chinatown with the soon-to-be-released iPhone 8 Plus in hand. More than 2,000 photos later, I feel like I have a good sense of what this new camera can do. I’m definitely impressed.”
“The iPhone 8 models are at the more expensive end of the range. But even though they’re fantastic devices, they’re not as enticing as the iPhone X.
My advice is to ask yourself how much you’re willing to pay. If you don’t mind giving up some of the futuristic features in the iPhone X, then the iPhone 8 models will give you the same power and performance and most of the same features of iOS 11 for hundreds of dollars less.
But if the price tag doesn’t scare you away, hold off on the iPhone 8 and go for the X.”
“When I first picked up the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, I immediately decided they were actually just the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. I was wrong: They’re definitely much more than that. They’re just saddled with a less exciting design. If you subscribe to the maxim that it’s what’s inside that really counts, the 8 and 8 Plus are big improvements. They pack more storage, great cameras, improved software and absolutely first-rate performance into some highly familiar packages. The iPhone X will continue to suck the air out of the room for the foreseeable future, but one thing has become clear after my week of testing: They might not have the X’s style, but the 8 and 8 Plus are truly excellent phones that won’t let Apple die-hards and new customers down.”
“The glass might remind you of the iPhone 4, one of the most iconic Apple designs. But I’m not sold. The iPhone 7’s glossy black finish gives it a contiguous surface, like a pebble smoothed by the ocean. The iPhone 8 shows seams where the glass touches the aluminum band, making it feel a little like a knockoff. And there’s no denying it looks dated compared with the curved glass on rival Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which takes the screen all the way to the edge.”
“These are solid year-over-year updates — at least as impressive as the iPhone 7 was over the iPhone 6S. If they hadn’t debuted alongside the iPhone X we’d be arguing about whether these are the most impressive new iPhone models since the iPhone 6. There’s a lot to love about them and nothing to dislike.
But they did debut alongside the iPhone X, and because of that almost nobody is excited about them. There’s no use pretending otherwise.
But it’s worth noting that it’s just as instructive to compare the iPhones 8 to the iPhone X as it is to compare them to the iPhones 7. The iPhone X certainly has much to offer: the edge-to-edge 5.8-inch OLED display, the form factor that’s easier to hold and pocket than the Plus, the front-facing sensor array for Face ID and depth mapping with the front-facing camera, and an even better camera system on the back (with optical image stabilization for both lenses — the iPhone 8 Plus only has OIS for the wide angle lens). But the A11 chip (including the improved image processing that I described above), inductive charging, True Tone — all of these things in the iPhone X are also in both iPhone 8 models.
Pretty good for a boring update.”
“As far as a consumer goes, however, the iPhone 8 is the easy traditional choice this year. It’s got nearly every technical enhancement that the iPhone X has outside of the TrueDepth camera and OLED screen. I think the mental calculus on this one is probably closer than it’s ever been, but the framework is roughly the same: If you’re the kind of person who buys the high end iPhone every year then wait for the iPhone X. With the one added caveat of if the notch for the depth camera on the front of the X offends you, well you have most of the major tech right in the iPhone 8.
I’ve been thinking about this one, and I think the best way to categorize the iPhone X is as a super set of the iPhone 8 series. I’ll talk about that more when it comes time to discuss the X, but for now the iPhone 8 is still going to get you most of the way to “the best” — especially when it comes to the camera.
The iPhone has been the world’s most popular camera for a while now, and it has become a huge reason, perhaps the primary reason, that iPhone users upgrade. Each year, improvements in silicon or design have also contributed to improvements in the iPhone as a camera. This year, Apple has done something really incredible with the Portrait Lighting mode, which is why if you’re in the market for a new iPhone, I recommend the 8 Plus.”
Many agree that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are powerful devices with great cameras, while some suggest that they might not be worth it to upgrade from the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. Most of them agree that waiting for the iPhone X, though, might be the best bet if you want all of the great things in the iPhone 8/8 Plus, but also want even more future-ready technology under the hood, and a bezel-less design with an OLED display.
Are you planning on picking up an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus? Have you already pre-ordered?