Apple has opened up preorders for the new iPhone 8 models, with their U.S. release pegged for September 22. But you might still be on the fence and wondering if they're worth shelling out top money for, especially with the $999 iPhone X looming on the horizon. Anyway you look at it, this is a lot of money.
Let's be honest. Despite the 8 suffix, if you truly think about it, these new iPhones are not the latest and greatest among phones. It's essentially just the "S" upgrades of the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Except for a few hardware tweaks, their form factors are virtually unchanged from the iPhone 6 (which came out three years ago!)
In regard to the price, iPhones are always a premium. As usual, despite the incremental upgrades, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will not come cheap:
- For the iPhone 8, you'll pay $699 for the 64 GB version, and $849 for the 256 GB.
- The iPhone 8 Plus will start at $799 for the 64 GB version, and $949 for the 256 GB.
Since they're pretty much identical to the iPhone 7 models, what new features are in the iPhone 8 models that make the upgrade worth it?
The easiest way to see this is to look at a chart. We made one for you.
|iPhone 8||iPhone 7|
Starts at $699
|Starts at $549|
|Wireless Charging||Yes, Qi Charging||No|
|Talk Time||Up to 14 hours||Up to 14 hours|
|Internet Use||Up to 12 hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Video Playback (wireless)||Up to 13 hours||Up to 13 hours|
|Audio Playback (wireless)||Up to 14 hours||Up to 14 hours|
|Fast charging||Yes, up to 50% in 30 minutes||No|
|Display||Retina HD LCD Display with True Tone||Retina HD LCD Display|
|Processor||A11 Bionic chip||A10 Fusion chip|
|Camera||12MP rear camera, 7MP front camera||12MP rear camera, 7MP front camera|
What about the processor?
First, there are the under-the-hood improvements. The iPhone 8 models have the new Apple A11 Bionic chipset which Apple said is 25 percent faster than the iPhone 7's A10 processor.
Now that's saying something since the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus are still two of the fastest smartphones out there.
Additionally, the iPhone 8 models will have the first Apple-made graphics chip that was designed specifically for Apple's graphic engine, Metal 2.
Now, with the A11 chip, you're getting the same chip that will run the iPhone X for just a fraction of its price. If you want the best iPhone performance out there without spending at least $999, then the iPhone 8 models are definitely worth the look.
However, if you are completely happy with your iPhone 7's performance, then the iPhone 8 may not be worth the upgrade.
Although the displays on the iPhone 8 models are similar to the iPhone 7 LED screens, there are small key features that are being introduced.
First is the introduction of erstwhile iPad Pro-only True Tone technology to the iPhone line. With this, the iPhone 8 display will react to the existing environment and adjusts its color balance accordingly.
Another new feature is support for high dynamic range (HDR) video content with Dolby Vision and HDR10. This makes for a wider range of light and color for more realistic images from HDR-enabled content from streaming sites like Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.
These are not game-changing features at all. Again, nothing crucial enough to trade an iPhone 7 for.
Will my pics be better?
Camera-wise, there are no changes from the iPhone 7. The iPhone 8 has the same 12MP wide-angle lens with optical image stabilization on the rear and the 7MP selfie camera that the iPhone 7 has. It's the same case with iPhone 8 Plus, it has the same rear dual lens camera of the iPhone 7.
Apple is promising video and photo improvements from the iPhone 8's A11 Bionic chip but that remains to be seen.
But as it is, do not trade your iPhone 7 for an iPhone 8 for the cameras. They have the same exact hardware.
Wireless charging or not?
Perhaps the biggest update for the iPhone 8 compared to the iPhone 7 is the addition of wireless charging. This is also the reason why the iPhone 8 models now have glass backs as opposed to the iPhone 7's aluminum.
Using the Qi wireless charging standard, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus owners can finally use Qi accessories for charging their smartphones without plugging them in.
Keep in mind that charging via Qi still requires that your phone lays on top of a charging mat that still needs to be plugged in. Additionally, the iPhone 8's wireless charging is slower than other competing phones like the Samsung Note line.
If you're not keen on wireless charging, another difference between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 is the addition of wired quick charging.
But still, since battery life is about the same, Apple's implementation of wireless charging on the iPhone 8 is not worth ditching your iPhone 7 for.
How about the iPhone X?
Now that you've seen the major differences between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 lines, it's probably wise to just hold off and wait for next year's iPhone "9" upgrades.
However, if you want the "future of iPhones" now and you're willing to spend the $999 price of admission, you may get the premium iPhone X instead.
Compared to the iPhone 8, the iPhone X has more new features. It has longer battery life, a facial scanner called Face ID and the much-touted edge-to-edge OLED screen.
One major difference between the iPhone X and the iPhone 7/8 is its lack of a Home Button and the Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
If you don't want to abandon Touch ID for the still untested Face ID system, then stick with the iPhone 8 if you really want to upgrade.
The iPhone X will cost you. To buy the iPhone X 64 GB, be prepared to shell out $999, and $1,149 for the 256 GB version.
Tip within a tip: The iPhone X's features are not really new. Click here to get cheaper iPhone X alternatives you can get right now.
To sum up, if you have an iPhone 7 and you don't really have the compulsion to get the latest and greatest from Apple each year, then it's not worth upgrading to the iPhone 8.
Tip within a tip: Want cheaper iPhone 8 prices? Then don't preorder it or buy it right away. Wait for deals instead. Click here to learn how.
If you're willing to spend, then get the iPhone X instead or better yet, wait for next year's iPhones. By that time, the iPhone X features may already make it to the "S" models of the iPhone 8.
However, if you still have an iPhone 6S, iPhone 6 or older, then you will surely enjoy and feel the improvements that the iPhone 8 is offering (unless you still want a headphone jack, but that's another story.)