iPhone and iPad Product Reviews

iPhone 8 Review: Smart Phone, Dumb Upgrade

Tim Brookes 18-10-2017
Our verdict of the iPhone 8:
You'll need to make your own mind up about this one, since it's a refined smartphone but a lacklustre upgrade. Had Apple included a fast charger and maybe some form of wireless charging pad, it would have matched the 8/10 awarded to last year’s iPhone 7 Plus.

If you expect your yearly smartphone upgrade to include a few significant advantages over last year’s model, the iPhone 8 may disappoint. If you’re not one to upgrade your device year-on-year, the iPhone 8 might be the best smartphone you can buy right now.


This year’s model marks one of the least exciting updates we’ve ever seen, but its base model is $50 more expensive than last year’s model iPhone 7 Plus Review This year's iPhone 7 models break with convention. For the first time ever Apple has opted for the same general design three years in a row, while introducing some divisive, but long-overdue features. Read More . So what, if anything, can redeem the iPhone 8 enough to make you want to part with your cash?

Back to Glass

Just like the iPhone 6s and 7, the iPhone 8 isn’t that different in design to the model that preceded it. The only immediately noticeable change is the inclusion of a glass panel on the back, a change made to accomodate a conductive panel that adds a long overdue feature: wireless charging The Best iPhone Wireless Chargers That Are Cheaper Than Apple's The iPhone X and iPhone 8 can be charged wirelessly. But most Apple fans don't know that there are cheaper and better wireless chargers available. Read More .

Whether you’re a fan of the iPhone 4-esque styling or not, early drop tests confirm that it’s as easy to break as any smartphone screen. Time will tell if it also scratches up badly, but considering most of us cover our devices with a case it’s unlikely to even be noticed let alone sustain significant damage.

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In terms of physical dimensions it’s basically an iPhone 7, with the same camera and flash placement, identical capacitive Touch ID home button, and the same perforations and inputs around the edge of the device. At only 0.1mm taller, 0.2mm wider, and 0.2mm thicker, the biggest difference you’ll notice is in the weight.


The iPhone 8 is 10 grams (0.35 ounces) heavier than last year’s model, likely due to that glass and conductive panel. More significantly, the change does mean that the balance of the device has been slightly altered. The new model feels slightly more top-heavy in the hand compared to the iPhone 7, something that’s likely to be more significant on the Plus models.

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Ultimately it’s still a pleasant design, but you’d be forgiven for being a bit bored of it by now. It’s serviceable without being drastically different, and if you really want a radically different iPhone to the last three models, you’ll have to opt for the iPhone X Apple Announces iPhone X & iPhone 8: Everything You Need to Know What's so special about the iPhone X? Can you really justify the $999 price tag, or is the refined iPhone 8 a better buy? Read More when it arrives in November.

So it’s a Fancy iPhone 7?

The comparisons with last year’s model don’t stop there, and the closer you look the more it feels like an iPhone 7s than a true generational leap. As expected, the biggest upgrade comes in the form of Apple’s system-on-chip which provides a few improvements beyond the usual speed boost.


The iPhone 8 is powered by the same A11 Bionic chip found in the upcoming iPhone X, despite being $300 cheaper for the base model. It’s still got 2GB of RAM (compared to 3GB for the Plus) which is likely less of a drawback than it seems when you factor in the single lens camera and smaller 4.7-inch display.

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According to Apple the A11 offers some significant speed improvements: 25% CPU boost at full load, and 70% when idling; a 30% bump in GPU perfomance; and a whopping 70% improvement to multitasking. In testing, the device didn’t skip a beat while switching between Safari tabs, Facebook, and more demanding processes like iMovie.

It’s worth noting at this point that I haven’t noticed any significant problems with my year-old iPhone 7 Plus, either when running demanding apps or when switching between them. If you’re upgrading from the iPhone 6s or earlier, you’ll probably some performance boost though.


Wireless charging finally makes an appearance in an iPhone, but the feature could be missing altogether for all you know. The iPhone 8 is compatible with Qi wireless chargers, but there’s no charging pad included in the box and the company’s AirPower charging mat won’t be here till next year.

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The iPhone 8 also adds fast charging, a feature many competing smartphones have had for a long time. This also suffers from a critical flaw: there’s no compatible fast charger in the box. Apple recommends its own USB-C to Lightning charger, and 29w USB adapter — an additional $75 worth of expenditure. Thanks, Apple.

If you’re willing to fork out for the additional hardware, the iPhone 8 can climb to a 50% charge from dead in 30 minutes. That’s not an insignificant improvement, and the investment might be worth it if you’re always out of battery and don’t want the added heft of a Plus-sized model Which iPhone Is the Best? iPhone Models, Compared Which iPhone is the best? Which iPhone should you buy? Here are the best Apple smartphone options for your needs. Read More .


Visible Improvements

While the iPhone 8’s display maintains the same resolution, pixel density, and contrast ratio of its predecessor, Apple saw sense to add its True Tone white balancing technology to the display this time round. First seen on the iPad Pro iPad Pro 10.5 Review: Is the Best iPad Good Enough? The 9.7 inch iPad Pro was the shortest lived tablet in Apple's history, surviving only 15 months before being succeeded by the new 10.5 inch model. So does 0.8 inches do enough to close the... Read More , the feature adjusts the whites on screen to better suit the ambient lighting of your surroundings.

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It’s a subtle feature, but I really liked it on the iPad Pro and it’s most welcome here. You’ll also get compatibility with Dolby Vision and HDR10 standards, which streaming services like Netflix will take advantage of (though whether there will be a lot of content remains to be seen).

Optics-wise the iPhone 8 sports the same 12 megapixel f/1.8 rear camera and 7 megapixel f/2.2 front-facing camera as the iPhone 7. Thanks to the A11 Bionic, Apple has improved the image signal processor for faster low light autofocus, better noise reduction, and improved pixel processing.

This is more in-line with Google’s offerings on its recent mobile devices, where software takes a pivotal role in improving image processing to deliver better results. I’ve always been a bit disappointed with the somewhat noisy telephoto lens on my iPhone 7 Plus, so this is a most welcome improvement. The results speak for themselves, with the camera finding focus points and delivering cleaner images than last year’s hardware.

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Perhaps the most significant improvement over last years model though is the inclusion of 4K videos at 60 frames per second. This is something even Sony’s $2000 mirrorless cameras don’t currently offer, and it enables smooth 50% speed videos at a massive resolution. Again, you can thank the A11 for that.

A Worthy Upgrade?

There’s also the usual flurry of small improvements we’ve come to expect from iterative hardware updates, and refinements to existing technologies that improve usability. You’ll get Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility Bluetooth 5: What's New and What's Good? The latest version of Bluetooth has been announced and will be packed full of improvements and new features. Here's everything you need to know about it. Read More for example, and the speakers are 25% louder. The base model also includes double the storage at 64GB, though the 128GB option is entirely absent this time round.

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Touch ID is present again, marking the biggest difference between this and the iPhone X. While the upcoming model uses facial recognition, the iPhone 8 still relies on your fingerprint. It’s faster than ever, and for many it’s more than sufficient. We don’t yet know how well Face ID will work, how fast it will be, and whether it’s truly convenient.

And that’s before you reach for your tinfoil hat Buying an iPhone X? Face ID Might Make You Reconsider The iPhone X's most notable feature is the Face ID device unlock system. But how secure is it? Will Apple have access to a huge database of everyone's faces? Read More and explore the various privacy and security implications of a smartphone that maps your face. With Touch ID you can unlock your iPhone in your pocket and it’s ready to go before you’ve raised it to your face — in many ways it’s more convenient than the next big thing. Could the iPhone 8 be the last time we see the feature on an Apple smartphone?

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A new fast setup feature allows you to use your old phone to automatically transfer credentials when you first fire it up, but most people will likely restore the phone fully using iTunes. For the feature to be really useful, it would need to be reliable enough to transfer your old phone’s contents in its entirety. Next year’s iPhone, perhaps?

Despite tweaks and hardware improvements, many things remain the same. Battery life hasn’t improved, though fast charging will likely sweeten the pill if you’re willing to buy the necessarily cables and adapters. The IP67 water and dust resistance remains the same, but it would have been nice to see a more rugged iPhone. The chassis is also made from the same tough 7000 series aluminium.

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iOS 11 is also new, but your old phone is probably compatible iOS 11 Out Now: How to Download & Install it on iPhone & iPad iOs 11 adds new features, security fixes, and forwards-compatibility with future apps — so what are you waiting for? Read More . It doesn’t add too many hardware-specific functions outside of some smart portrait lighting effects for iPhone 8 Plus users.

Ignore the Score

You can ultimately evaluate the iPhone 8 without ever picking it up, assuming you already own a 6s or 7. It’s a refinement of what came before it, with unrealised potential in its wireless and fast charging abilities. The new A11 processor really gets the job done, but the A10 and A9 chips are also still capable in their own right.

From a reviewer’s standpoint, this creates a dilemma. Just because the iPhone 8 isn’t a significant leap over last year’s model, that doesn’t make it a bad device. It also doesn’t make it a bad buy.

But as a new device, and one that many expect will include significant changes to make their purchase worthwhile, there’s no denying that it falls short. This makes the number at the start of this review largely irrelevant, because your own situation and expectations will shape how you see this device.

Much of this is likely down to the iPhone X being Apple’s vision of the future, but that technology comes at a price.

Related topics: iPhone 8, Smartphone Photography.

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  1. Emel
    November 9, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Perfect phone!

  2. sue raves
    November 3, 2017 at 12:12 am

    I have always had an Apple phone from the very first one, love Apple products always so basic but the best tech specs would love to win this one

  3. Charles KY Yap
    October 31, 2017 at 1:48 am

    I have been a follower of the iPhone since iPhone 3 and am interested to get hold on the iPhone 8. I am currently holding iPhone 6+ and 7+

  4. Issaka Awwal
    October 30, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Please let me be the lucky winner.

  5. Issaka Awwal
    October 30, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Please let me be the lucky winner

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    October 28, 2017 at 8:40 pm

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  8. Rahimi Fizany
    October 28, 2017 at 8:38 pm

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  9. Liyana
    October 27, 2017 at 9:07 am

    This new iphone is amazing..be mine..be mine..pleaseee

  10. Liyana
    October 27, 2017 at 9:06 am

    This new iphone is amazinggg..be minr..be mine..pleaseee

  11. RUBY
    October 27, 2017 at 8:42 am

    i want it too. thats my dream to use iphone . even i collect money to buy iphone still not enough yet :( its so hard to buy iphone.

  12. Eikaa
    October 27, 2017 at 5:55 am

    I want itt <3

  13. E. Raphael Diamond
    October 26, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Really useful and clear review for the iPhone 8 model. Thank you

  14. Nchedo Obi Igweilo
    October 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Makeuseof.com is a great site. It is very informative.Its information is based on a well researched grounds.
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  15. Sylvie Godin
    October 24, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Omg ? I need it ......my girl want one soo it Time too win ?

  16. Doug
    October 24, 2017 at 10:40 am

    My iphone 6S seems to have the bulk of the features shown here.

  17. achmad fajar muzakki
    October 24, 2017 at 7:29 am

    I hope I will be the winner because I don't have a phone yet since mine was broken almost a year ago, wish me luck!!!!!

  18. Nnamdi Stephen Ezeh
    October 23, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Ultimately it’s still a pleasant design

  19. Lydia Correa
    October 20, 2017 at 3:49 am

    I'm still on 4s. Hope I win. Really need new phone.

  20. Kristin Smith
    October 19, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Thank you for this great giveaway!

  21. beneksz
    October 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    My lumia 535 is dying so hope I will have chance to win ?

    • Ganu
      October 27, 2017 at 6:39 am

      Same here Lumia 535

  22. Linda Coyle
    October 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Looking forward to all of the awesome new features of the iphone8. My current iPhone I have had for 6 years and it has a broken screen but is still usable just difficult to scroll, view photos and messages clearly.

  23. BK
    October 19, 2017 at 5:48 am

    HOPE I WIN!!....

  24. Howana Daley
    October 19, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Hope I Win !
    I'd be grateful.

  25. Howana Daley
    October 19, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Hope I win !
    I'd be grateful.

  26. Brandy Cendejas
    October 19, 2017 at 12:45 am

    Wishing and hoping to win . Goodluck yall.

  27. Dexter
    October 18, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    Awesome giveaway!

    • Joan Transue
      October 19, 2017 at 12:29 am

      I need a new phone maybe I will get lucky Thank You

  28. Paul V
    October 18, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Hopefully Christmas will come early this year!