iPhone 8 Plus Review - More Of The Pleasantly Surprising Same

iPhone 8 Plus Review - More Of The Pleasantly Surprising Same

So Apple has left us in a bit of a weird limbo… Should you invest now in an iPhone 8/8 Plus or wait for the iPhone X?

The Cupertino-based company announced their flagship line of phones for the next year - a very familiar iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. But then, as all rumours and leaks pointed to, they threw this archaic design out the window and introduced an all-screen design in the iPhone X. Many questions of this phone and its usability are difficult to answer, but one thing is for sure - this is the first iPhone to actually look futuristic in a long time.

However, as you can see in my iPhone 8 vs iPhone X video, I personally said no to the tenth anniversary smartphone for a simple reason - it’s a totally new Apple product. 

Whenever there’s a new Apple gadget, the golden rule is to always wait for the 2nd generation (oh hi, Apple Watch). But that doesn’t mean I’m right. They could buck the trend and I may have made a pricey mistake in my choice. This is the quandary that Apple have put you in - do you invest in the here and now, or do you take a chance on their ambitions?

It’s a civil war between the present and future - let’s see who wins a considerable amount of your money, starting with the first luxury star. The iPhone 8 Plus.

For context, I have upgraded to this from the iPhone 6S Plus and my thoughts have been formed over vigorously testing this phone over the last 10 days. In my day job in digital marketing at the local university, this requires a wide variety of use cases, with particularly intensive tests like:

  • Multi-tasking across multiple social networks
  • Being away from any power sources for over 24 hours
  • Plenty of video recording and photography
  • Data-heavy moments of computation on both Wi-Fi and 4G
  • And much more…
iPhone 8 Plus Back.JPG

Design

“It’s exactly the same as the iPhone 7, the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6,” I hear you proclaim. And you’re right… To a point.

I’ll be the first person to say this four-year-old design language of the iPhone is one of its worst iterations (personally loved the iPhone 4 most), but with the feel of the glass back and the added weight of this extra material, it feels premium for the first time in a while.

Much like the previous phones, the Plus model does feel kind of gargantuan in the hand, but that’s a gripe you get over quick with the software touches.

Same as the 7, it is also splash, water and dust resistant - allowing me to binge watch a whole lot of Netflix content in the shower. Watching it on the same 1080p display makes you question whether Apple could have popped a higher resolution display in there (yes, they could have), but of course they can’t take the wind out of the iPhone X’s sails.

Simply put, it’s alright, really. Much like any other iPhone, it’s nice to hold.

iPhone 8 plus screen off.JPG

Battery

And speaking of that glass back, using this material means Apple were able to pop wireless charging into the iPhone for the first time ever. Yes, I know 2009 Palm Pre fans called with news that this is ridiculously old, but let’s just be thankful it’s actually here!

Using the Qi standard means you won’t need some silly proprietary hardware, meaning it’ll work with the already-existing universe of chargers.

In terms of lifespan, the battery pleasantly surprised me. With stories circulating that Apple actually decreased the battery capacity in the iPhone 8 compared to the 7, I managed to comfortably make it through whole days with 40% left (without activating battery saver mode). Of course, I expect this to deteriorate over continued use, but not bad, Apple.

iPhone 8 Plus Camera.JPG

Camera

Once again, pleasantly surprised. You’d easily come to the conclusion that this camera is exactly the same as what is in the iPhone 7 - 12mp. But there is a lot more going on under the skin with software and hardware.

Colours are as close to the real scene than I’ve ever seen in any mobile phone photography. Nothing seems blown out or over-coloured, noise is reduced greatly in the dark and the flash doesn’t eliminate the detail of the scene.

Portrait mode has been practically perfected, creating some dramatic shots and just about fooling a few of my DSLR friends. Portrait Lighting is a cool feature that adds studio-quality lighting to your portraits, but is not quite up to scratch yet. Out of every 10 uses, three of them wouldn’t correctly detect the subject - cutting off shoulders or missing ears.

Video is where you will see the biggest difference, as see from my Cousin and his wife’s family trying homemade Chilli Vodka Shots. The sweet smoothness of 4K footage at 60fps. So good.

iPhone 8 Plus side profile.JPG

General Usage

Thanks to the A11 Bionic chip (fun fact - Bionic means nothing. Apple simply added that on the end of the name because nobody talks about a processor simply called A11. Oh, PR), things move on quite rapidly.

However, the difference is impossible to notice. Apps already run plenty fast enough on the iPhone 7’s processor, so this is essentially just future-proofing that everyone doesn’t need.

But multi-tasking was handled very ably, the lack of a headphone jack is kind of frustrating but one that doesn’t bother me (and it’s a port that’s past its sell-by date to be honest). 

Conclusion

So this review leaves me in a confusing position. It’s difficult to actually recommend this phone, even though it’s a really good phone. It ticks all the boxes you’d want from a new iPhone. But the differences don’t put this in a position of being essential to saving yourself some money and getting an iPhone 7.

If you really care about a highly specced camera, this is the way to go. If you seriously care about having the latest iPhone, this is the way to go. If you just want an iPhone that’s going to make you happy, you can afford to save yourself some pennies and go a step-down.

7/10

I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.