The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have been overshadowed by iPhone X, but they deserve a little attention because not everyone wants to shell out $1,000+ for an iPhone. For those people, the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus both offer powerful hardware and features like wireless charging, while being a bit more wallet-friendly than iPhone X. But the sleek iPhone X has its advantages. Which one to buy? Read on.
|Name||Apple iPhone 8||Apple iPhone 8 Plus||Apple iPhone X|
|Lowest Price||$699.00 MSRP||$799.00 MSRP||$999.00 MSRP|
|CPU||Apple A11||Apple A11||Apple A11|
|Dimensions||5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29 inches||6.24 by 3.07 by 0.3 inches||5.65 by 2.79 by 0.3 inches|
|Weight||5.22 oz||7.13 oz||6.14 oz|
|Screen Size||4.7 inches||5.5 inches||5.8 inches|
|Screen Type||Retina||Retina||Super Retina HD|
|Screen Resolution||1,334 by 750 pixels||1,920 by 1,080 pixels||2,436 by 1,125 pixels|
|Camera Resolution||12MP Rear, 7MP Front-facing||Dual 12MP Rear, 7MP Front-facing||Dual 12MP Rear, 7MP Front-facing|
|Wireless Specification||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Read the Review||Read the Review||Read the Review|
Design and Display
The iPhone X is the phone with all the design changes. You get an edge-to-edge display, a glass front and back, and a highly polished metal band along the sides. The front consists of a smooth expanse of screen that replaces the familiar Touch ID-enabled home button with Face ID sensors set in a cutout at the top.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus stick to more traditional looks. They add a glass back for wireless charging, but keep the home button and a regular aspect ratio for a body that's largely identical to iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
Dimensions are where you'll notice the biggest differences in usability. The iPhone X has a 5.8-inch screen compressed into a body that measures 5.65 by 2.79 by 0.30 inches (HWD) and weighs in at 6.14 ounces.
Compare that with the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 (5.45 by 2.65 by 0.29, 5.22 ounces) and 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus (6.24 by 3.07 by 0.30 inches, 7.13 ounces); despite having a bigger screen than the 8 Plus, the iPhone X still has a form factor that's only slightly bigger and an ounce heavier than the iPhone 8. That means when it comes to using it with one hand, the iPhone 8 will be easiest to use, the iPhone X comes in at a close second, and the iPhone 8 Plus will be the biggest, heaviest, and most unwieldy.
All three phones are IP67 water- and dust-resistant, letting them survive in 5 feet of water for half an hour. Headphone jacks are now a thing of the past, but all three support Bluetooth 5.0, which improves range and lets you stream to two pairs of headphones simultaneously.
The difference between the iPhone X display and the ones on the 8 and 8 Plus is like day and night. The iPhone X boasts a 5.8-inch, 2,436-by-1,125 Super Retina HD panel that packs in 458 pixels per inch, the biggest increase in pixel density since the iPhone 6 Plus. By contrast, neither the iPhone 8 (1,334-by-750, 326ppi) or iPhone 8 Plus (1,920-by-1,080, 401ppi) receive an upgrade in resolution or pixel density over the iPhone 7.
Display technology is different, too. The iPhone X's Super Retina HD display is an OLED panel sourced from Samsung, giving users rich, saturated colors and dense, inky blacks. All three phones get Apple's wide color gamut and True Tone display, but only the iPhone X has HDR, allowing for significant visual enhancements on photos, videos, and streamed content. Maximum screen brightness is equally high for all three devices, providing good sunlight visibility. 3D Touch, a feature that dates back to iPhone 6s, lives on.
Processor and Battery
If what's under the hood is most important to you, there's a lot to be pleased about with Apple's new A11 Bionic chipset found in iPhone 8 and X. According to leaked benchmarks on Geekbench, it's the single most powerful processor on a mobile device we've seen, with a single-core score of 4,061 and a multi-core score of 9,959, beating every Android device and all previous iPhones and iPads.
There's also Apple's custom-designed GPU, which should give you strong gaming performance across the board. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that these are the three most powerful phones in the world.
We don't have details on battery capacity, but Apple claims iPhone 8 battery life will be similar to iPhone 7. For reference, the iPhone 7 clocked 5 hours, 45 minutes in our battery test—in which we stream full-screen video over LTE at maximum screen brightness—and the 7 Plus clocked 6 hours.
The big winner is the iPhone X. According to Apple, it should last two hours longer than the iPhone 7, giving you nearly 8 hours of runtime. All three phones now support fast charging, letting you juice up to 50 percent in 30 minutes with the iPad adapter.
Camera capability is hard to test without doing a full shootout in PC Labs, but taking into account the hardware gives us a good idea of what each iPhone should be capable of. Starting at the bottom, the iPhone 8 has a single 12-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization and quad LED True Tone flash. The lack of a secondary sensor means you don't get telephoto zoom, portrait mode, portrait lighting, or the bokeh effect. The iPhone 8 should work with AR apps, but you may not get depth sensing that's as accurate as a dual sensor setup.
The iPhone 8 Plus has two 12-megapixel rear cameras. One is the standard wide angle lens while the other is telephoto, giving you 2x optical zoom. On 8 Plus, only the wide angle lens has OIS, letting you record stable video and improving low-light shooting. Other features include the shooting in portrait mode and being able to take advantage of Apple's Portrait Lighting feature, which gives you studio-quality lighting effects.
The iPhone X has similar hardware to the 8 Plus, with two 12-megapixel sensors. It also supports 2x optical zoom, Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and bokeh. The big advantage of the iPhone X is that both its rear cameras support optical zoom, rather than just one, giving you more consistent quality when it comes to video recording and low-light shooting.
Where iPhone X really pulls ahead is with the 7-megapixel front-facing TrueDepth camera. As the name indicates, this is what scans your face for Face ID. Aside from unlocking, it also boasts a Portrait mode for your selfies, Portrait Lighting, and Animojis, which are animated emoji that track your facial movements. It's a pretty impressive technology, which could have some interesting uses as developers create apps for it.
All three phones have an improved image signal processor for fast autofocus in low light. They're also capable of 4K video recording at 24, 30, and 60fps, and support 1080p slow-mo video recording at 120 or 240fps.
Software and Features
All three new iPhones will come running iOS 11, Apple's latest operating system. It will roll out to all iPhone owners on Sept. 19 and bring with it new features like ARKit's augmented reality support, a file manager, and serious multitasking capabilities. If there's one thing Apple is great at, it's consistent updates, so you have nothing to fear on this front regardless of which iPhone you buy.
Price and Availability
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be available for pre-order starting Sept. 15 and will begin shipping Sept. 22. The iPhone X pre-orders start Oct. 27 and ship Nov. 3.
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Price is likely to be the biggest factor in determining which iPhone to buy. Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 8 is the most affordable; the 64GB model will cost you $699 and the 256GB comes in at $849. For the iPhone 8 Plus, you're looking at a starting price of $799 for the 64GB model and $949 for 256GB. The iPhone X, meanwhile, costs a hefty $999 for the 64GB model and $1,149 for 256GB.
Overall, if price is your biggest concern, the iPhone 8 gives you the powerful A11 processor, wireless charging, and some small improvements to camera and display in a compact form factor. If camera quality is a primary concern and you prefer a bigger screen, the iPhone 8 Plus packs in dual rear camera sensors, a larger, higher-resolution display, and most of the features you get with the iPhone X. Finally, if price is no object, the iPhone X is leaps and bounds ahead of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in terms of design and hardware, incorporating innovative new technology. We'll be testing all three in the coming months, so stay tuned for more details.