Own an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus and wondering if you should upgrade to the iPhone 12 or not? Read our detailed comparison guide to know if the upgrade from iPhone 8/Plus to iPhone 12 is going to be worth it or not.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is now getting old in the run and the iPhone 12 definitely makes for a tempting upgrade. Below is how the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus compare to the iPhone 12 and just how clearly the latter is better.
iPhone 8/Plus vs iPhone 12: Should You Upgrade?
- iPhone 8 – 4.7-inch True Tone Retina HD IPS LCD panel, 1334 x 750 pixel (326 ppi), True Tone, 3D Touch
- iPhone 8 Plus – 5.5-inch Retina HD IPS LCD panel, 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi), True Tone, 3D Touch
- iPhone 12 – 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, 2532 x 1170 (460 ppi), Haptic Touch, HDR Display, True Tone, HDR10, Dolby Vision
When it comes to display, there’s no comparison between the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone 12. Apple’s newest iPhone has a bigger, brighter, and a higher resolution display that supports HDR and Dolby Vision playback. Even better, it has slimmer bezels due to which despite the bigger display size, the iPhone 12 is actually smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus in size. Lastly, the iPhone 12’s display is protected by Ceramic Shield that offers 4x better drop performance.
The LCD panel on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are good but pale in front of the Super Retina XDR display of the iPhone 12.
- iPhone 8 – 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm, 148g, IP67 certified
- iPhone 8 Plus – 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm, 202gms, IP67 certified
- iPhone 12 – 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm, 164g, IP68 certified
The iPhone 12 is made from aluminum like the iPhone 8/Plus. However, it has a much more modern design with a front that has minimal bezels. There’s no home button and Touch ID on the iPhone 12 since it features Face ID. If you do not like a notch display and Face ID, the iPhone 12 is not for you. Otherwise, the iPhone 12’s design is much more modern when compared to the iPhone 8 lineup. It also has better dust and water-resistance that’s rated for 6m depth. Lastly, despite packing a bigger display than the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone 12 is both slimmer and lighter than it.
- iPhone 8/Plus – A11 Bionic, 10nm chip, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, Neural engine
- iPhone 12 – A14 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core Neural engine
The iPhone 8’s A11 Bionic chip was ahead of its time when it first debuted in 2017. The Neural Engine on the chip was a relatively big deal as it greatly helped speed up certain ML tasks.
Three years later, the A11 Bionic chip is showing its age. In comparison, the A14 Bionic inside the iPhone 12 is another league altogether. Based on the 5nm fabrication process, the 6-core CPU of the chip offers a 40 percent boost in performance while the 4-core GPU brings about a 30 percent performance jump. The Neural Engine has also gotten a major boost and now boasts of 16 cores making it twice as fast as before. Lastly, the second-generation ML boosts machine learning calculations by 10 times.
Apple claims the new CPU is 50% faster than other smartphone CPUs in the market. The GPU is also up to 50% faster than any other smartphone GPU. With such a massive performance bump across the board, the iPhone 12 lineup is once again going to set a new bar in terms of performance. The faster Neural Engine, ISP, and ML will also greatly benefit apps that are increasingly relying on them for complex and specific tasks.
- iPhone 8/Plus – 64GB, 256GB
- iPhone 12– 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
All three phones ship with 64GB base storage but the iPhone 12 is available in 128GB and 256GB storage variants while the iPhone 8/Plus was only had another top-end variant with 256GB storage.
One advantage the iPhone 12 does have is in terms of RAM as it has 4GB RAM while the iPhone 8 Plus shipped with 3GB RAM. The additional gig of RAM means the iPhone 12 is going to be much better at multitasking.
- iPhone 8 – Single 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 aperture, 1.22um pixel pitch, OIS, Auto HDR, Focus Pixels, Quad-LED True Tone Flash
- iPhone 8 Plus – Dual 12MP wide and telephoto sensor with f/1.8 and f/2.8 aperture, OIS, Portrait mode, Auto HDR, 4K video recording
- iPhone 12 – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.6 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um large pixels, OIS, Smart HDR 3, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Brighter True Tone Flash, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Dolby Vision with HDR recording, Night mode Time-lapse
The primary camera resolution might not have changed between the iPhone 8 and iPhone 12. However, the camera sensor and pixel size have. The iPhone 8’s primary 12MP shooter might sound good on paper but absolutely pales in comparison to the iPhone 12. The latter has a newer and bigger camera sensor along with a wider aperture that allows it to capture more light that helps in low-light scenarios. Then, there’s the improved processing thanks to Smart HDR 3 and Deep Fusion.
The iPhone 12 also has Night mode support for all its cameras — a feature that’s missing from the iPhone 8 series. The iPhone 8 Plus also has a secondary camera — a telephoto sensor but its usefulness is limited. In comparison, the iPhone 12’s 12MP ultra-wide is more useful as it allows one to capture photos with a completely different perspective.
The iPhone 12 is much better than the iPhone 8 when it comes to video recording. Among other things, it can record 4K 60fps videos in Dolby Vision with HDR.
- iPhone 8/Plus – 7MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Auto HDR
- iPhone 12 – 12MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Portrait Lighting, 4K video recording, Night Mode, Deep Fusion
Another area where the iPhone 12 is a notable upgrade over the iPhone 8 series. The FaceTime camera on the iPhone 12 takes much better selfies thanks to its higher resolution and Deep Fusion. It also supports Night Mode so you can take great selfies in low-light scenes as well.
- iPhone 8/Plus – Touch ID sensor integrated into the home button at the front
- iPhone 12 – Face ID
The iPhone 8 series was the last one from Apple to launch with a physical home button. In today’s day and age, a physical home button has no space on a smartphone. The iPhone 12 ships with Face ID with all its components housed inside a notch in the display. Face ID is definitely more convenient than Touch ID but only when it works. In some scenarios — like when one is wearing a mask, Touch ID is far more convenient to use than Face ID.
- iPhone 8/Plus – Single SIM, LTE-Advanced, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode
- iPhone 12 – 5G, Gigabit LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with Reader mode, Ultra-Wideband chip, GPS
There’s no competition here. The iPhone 12 not only supports LTE speeds of up to 2Gbps, it also has 5G support which means if you are lucky you can pull speeds of as much as 4Gbps. It also has the U1 chip, dual-SIM connectivity, faster Wi-Fi, and more.
- iPhone 8 – Up to 13 hours of video playback, up to 40 hours of video playback, Qi wireless charging, fast charge support,
- iPhone 8 Plus – Up to 14 hours of video playback, 60 hours of audio playback, Qi wireless charging, fast charge support
- iPhone 12 – Up to 17 hours of video playback, 65 hours of video playback, Qi wireless charging, MagSafe Charging support, fast charge support
Another area where the iPhone 12 is much ahead of the iPhone 8 series. If you got the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus on Day 1, it is likely that its battery capacity has gone down below 80%. This means the device is unlikely to get through a day of even light to moderate use. Even when you level the playing field with a new battery, the iPhone 12 lasts much longer than the iPhone 8 series.
While all the three phones come with wireless charging, the iPhone 12 features MagSafe charging which allows compatible accessories to automatically snap on the back of the device. With MagSafe chargers, the iPhone 12 can also charge at up to 15W speeds wirelessly.
Apple no longer sells the iPhone 8 series and the iPhone 12 lineup starts from $799. That’s a lot of money but when you compare the iPhone 8 to iPhone 12, you will see that there are major improvements across the board that make the update well worth it. You get a better and bigger display, better design and build quality, better performance, longer battery life, a much-improved camera, and so much more. You can always trade-in your old iPhone 8/Plus to get an even better deal on the iPhone 12.
Overall, in my opinion, if your iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus is running a bit slow and if you are not happy with its camera or battery performance then you should look into upgrading to the iPhone 12. It’s a massive upgrade and one that will last you easily for the next 3-4 years.
If you have not already purchased your new iPhone, here’s how you can get an iPhone 12 for free. And once you do get your hands on it, check out the best iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro tips and tricks. There are plenty of new features in iOS 14 that you need to know about, so take your time to go through them all.
This post was last updated on March 26, 2021.