iPhone 8 Long-term Review: Time to Buy Before the New iPhones release?



If you think back over the last decade at all the devices that Apple has released, the iPhone 8 has probably generated the least excitement of all. Of course, the reason for that is the iPhone X – the first time Apple has fully diverted from its tried and tested design philosophy.

With Apple’s yearly iPhones launch around the corner, you should be able to get last year’s models at a discount. So let’s look at how the iPhone 8 holds up and whether you should consider it today.

Design and Build

This is now the fourth year in a row where Apple has stuck with this design for the iPhone. It was first revealed back in 2014 with the iPhone 6. Of course, with every iteration the internals are changed and upgraded – you now have 3D Touch on the display, no more headphone jack, the home button has morphed into the recessed TouchID and the processing units have become much more powerful. Other than that, though, you’re essentially looking at the same device.

It is still comfortable to hold, but now with two plates of glass I would invest in a case as it is more prone to breakage than before. Another reason to get a case is because of the protrusion at the back – the camera bump. If you don’t use a case, the iPhone is always resting on the camera when you lay it down on its back, which is prone to scratches.

Display

While we’ve grown used to this type and size of display on the iPhones, having seen the bezel-less OLED display on the iPhone X makes the decision to retain the same massive bezels on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus more confounding than ever. That OLED on the X is built by Apple’s main rivals, Samsung, who has popularized edge-to-edge screens and OLED technology.

EAll the flagship from 2017 that adopted the 2:1 screen ratio make this device feel old and outdated by comparison. Looking at the front of the iPhone 8 is very underwhelming. After most competitors have also shifted to the better OLED technology, Apple has decided to stick to its IPS panels here. While they are the best IPS LCD screens you can find, they still pale (literally) in comparison with OLED technology. The big improvement in this year’s IPS is the addition of True-Tone technology which is designed to tweak the look based on the lighting of your environment to ensure colours are consistent.

Software and Performance

Just as the iPhone 8 brings refinements to a familiar design, so does Apple’s latest platform update, iOS 11. There are some minor tweaks and improvements here and there, many mostly unnoticeable to the user. It performs better than ever, ensuring a silky smooth experience when flipping through the interface.

As per usual, this new version of iOS is a pleasure to use and very simple to learn if you haven’t used it before. For users looking for more customisation options and Android veterans, it is a bit limiting as it always has been. The new gestures work very well once you get used to them as well. Swipe up from the bottom to access the control centre for all your quick toggles and sliders. Swipe down from the top for notifications.

Camera

The biggest difference between this variant and the iPhone 8 Plus is the lack of that dual camera arrangement at the back. What it does have is a 12-megapixel main camera with an f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilization, and HDR. It’s designed to be easy to use; just point and shoot and more often than not, you’ll get a pleasing photo.

For most that won’t be fiddling with camera options to take manual pictures, this will be one of the best options out there. The only camera we would rate higher from pre-2018 is that of the Google Pixel 2 / 2 XL.

The iPhone 8 can also record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second and 1080p video at up to 240fps, which makes it more capable than the vast majority of flagships. You also get a 7-megapixel front-facing camera with an f/2.2 aperture serve just fine for FaceTime calls and selfies.

Conclusion

Interestingly, the iPhone 8 still holds up against the flagships of 2018. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro are slightly better devices in various and different ways, but for a phone that is almost 12 months old, you can’t go wrong. If you can find it for a decent price.

If you have the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S I would highly recommend upgrading to the new iPhone 8. If you still have an iPhone 7 the spec bump won’t be that noticeable and I’d hold out for 2018’s flagship.

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