iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Review Roundup: Powerful Devices With Great Cameras Set Stage for iPhone X

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus reviews are out, providing us with a closer look at two of Apple's latest smartphones ahead of their Friday launch.

iPhone 8 and 8 plus verge

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus via The Verge

The devices represent Apple's first glass-backed iPhones since the iPhone 4s in 2011. Most reviews complimented the glossier design, although there were naturally some concerns about glass being more prone to shattering.

And not everyone was sold on the new look.

The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey A. Fowler:

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.

Apple stressed that the glass on iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus has a strengthening layer that is 50 percent deeper, but we'll have to wait for drop tests to see how the devices hold up from both ordinary and extreme heights.


The switch away from aluminum was necessary to facilitate wireless charging, an overdue feature many Android smartphones have had for years.

Wired senior writer David Pierce:

Wireless charging makes the iPhone feel less like a Tamagotchi needing constant feeding, and more like a digital sidekick that’s always ready to go. Pick it up when you need it, put it down when you don’t; whenever you’re not using your phone, it’s charging. Android users have known this feeling for years, but a lot of iPhone users are going to love it now.

TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino focused on the new cameras, which he said are "killer" and the best reason to upgrade this year yet again. He was particularly impressed with Apple's new Portrait Lighting effects, which he described as the marquee feature of the iPhone 8 Plus.

The studio and contour options are going to be flooding social networks and phones internet-wide as soon as people get their hands on their iPhone 8 Pluses. The stage lighting takes a bit more effort, but when you nail it and the software is able to do its job by accurately detecting hair and head shapes, it really stuns. It can produce images that feel professional and would take dozens of lights and pieces of equipment to pull off.

One of the new Portrait Lighting effects is called Stage Light, which spotlights the subject's face against a deep black background. But, as seen below, the results aren't always perfect.

portrait lighting techcrunch 800x520 1

Original photo on left with Stage Light on right via TechCrunch

CNET photographer James Martin tested the iPhone 8 Plus camera by shooting more than 2,000 photos in San Francisco, and he was thoroughly impressed with everything from detailed textures to low-light performance.

With the new sensor, HDR delivered better details in highlights and shadows. HDR is always on, signaling Apple's deeper commitment to computational photography with the iPhone 8 Plus. That's different than the iPhone 7 Plus, which gave you the option to set HDR to auto, off or on.

Martin added that even his high-end DSLR can't achieve the kind of exposure he achieved with the iPhone 8 Plus.

iphone 8 photo cnet

Shot on iPhone 8 Plus via James Martin/CNET

In terms of performance, The Verge's Nilay Patel said the A11 Bionic chip's increased processing power "feels like headroom for the future," and not something you immediately notice compared to the iPhone 7 in particular.

I didn't notice a huge performance boost over the iPhone 7 while doing basic things like browsing the web, watching videos, and taking photos. I played a few games and everything seemed fast and fluid, of course. Apple sells iPhones for years after they're released — the iPhone 6S is still in the lineup! — so a lot of this extra power just feels like headroom for the future, not something you immediately sense when upgrading from a previous model.

Should You Upgrade?

It depends on who you ask.

While most reviews recommend waiting for the iPhone X, particularly if you currently own an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are still respectable and more affordable updates with faster A11 Bionic chips, True Tone displays, improved cameras, wireless charging, and more.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber said the devices are "excellent year-over-year upgrades" compared to their iPhone 7 counterparts.

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.

The Verge's Nilay Patel was much less impressed, noting that he "can't think of a single compelling reason to upgrade from an iPhone 7."

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.

Engadget's Chris Velazco:

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.

Business Insider's Steve Kovach:

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.

The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey A. Fowler:

That is what is frustrating about the iPhone 8: In the past, Apple rarely raised prices when it made a better phone with more storage. This time, it releases an incremental update and charges $50 more. It’s the first time the most basic new iPhone costs $700.

The virtues I see in the iPhone 8 are niche: I’m glad you don’t have to spend $1,000 to get an improved camera and processor and even wireless charging, if that matters to you. But Apple’s confusing iPhone family now includes three pairs of practically identical phones: the regular and Plus versions of the iPhone 8, 7 and 6s. Don’t buy the spendiest one.

More Reviews: The Loop, iNews, Financial Post, The Independent, The Washington Post, 9to5Mac, Associated Press, and BuzzFeed News

Tag: reviews
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Zachari Avatar
51 months ago
In what photography world does this look good?

Attachment Image
Score: 74 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TimUSCA Avatar
51 months ago
The main difference between the previous iPhones and iPhone 8 is it just support wireless Charing. Otherwise nothing major upgrade over iPhone 7 Plus.
Only if you consider new features to be the only difference... but literally every component was upgraded from the screen to the cameras. I don't think it's fair to say there are no major upgrades outside of wireless charging.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ds6778 Avatar
51 months ago
The main difference between the previous iPhones and iPhone 8 is it just support wireless Charing. Otherwise nothing major upgrade over iPhone 7 Plus.
Keep telling yourself that :)
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BMcCoy Avatar
51 months ago
Wireless charging would be sufficient to designate an 'S' model in the past - like Siri, TouchID, etc.

So are we all agreed this is not really an '8', but a 6SSS ?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chazzle Avatar
51 months ago
Correction:
The iPhone 7 scores in your Geekbench 4 chart are completely wrong. They should be right at the iPhone 7 Plus level.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sunny1990 Avatar
51 months ago
The main difference between the previous iPhones [7 and 7 Plus] and iPhone 8 is it just support wireless Charing. Otherwise nothing major upgrade over iPhone 7 Plus. All minor spec bumps come at a higher price tag since Apple rised the price by $50.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
macos monterey tidbits feature copy

Apple Releases New macOS 12 Monterey Public Beta

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:19 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third public beta of the macOS 12 Monterey beta to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to test the new macOS Monterey software ahead of its public release. The third beta comes two weeks after Apple released the second macOS Monterey public beta. Public beta testers can download the macOS 12 Monterey update from the Software Update section of the System...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Apple Releases New Public Betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:16 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to download and test the new updates ahead of their fall release. The third public betas come two weeks after Apple released the second public betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS 15 updates over the air after...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...