- Fantastic new Bionic A11 processor
- Camera has had some improvements to quality
- Design is now beginning to feel dated
- Screen resolution is not even full HD
- IPS display rather than OLED technology
So the iPhones 8 have been around for a short while now, and we wanted to get our hands-on time with one before it became obsolete by its bezeless overlord, the iPhone X. All the phones, being the 4.7″ iPhone 8, the 5.5″ iPhone 8 Plus and the astonishingly good looking iPhone X were all announced at the same Keynote session, yet the iPhone 8 came to market first. I was baffled on why Apple would even bother releasing the iPhones 8, but then the age of the £1000 smartphone reigned over us, and it became clear.
The iPhone 8 at the time didn’t seem worth it. But on closer inspection, there are a few things that Apple have done wonderfully. Taking a look at the physical phone, nothing has changed from the older housing of the iPhone 7 except the back. The entire phone is now made of glass which is a bid to push wireless charging onto the world. Wireless charging, also known as Qi charging is beginning to pop up everywhere: Starbucks tables, Ikea furniture and even in newer vehicles.
The full glass idea though is a strange one. Although it’s coated with Gorilla Glass 5, and meant to be tough, I still can’t shake that feeling that a drop onto one of the phone’s corners will send a heart stopping shatter through the device. And then once again, another trip to your local high street’s mobile phone repair centre for a costly repair. The iPhone 7’s aluminium rear fared better, and in my opinion looked a little nicer, in terms of breakability.
Everything you may expect in terms of design is still there. It has a metal band around the outside, the home button with haptic feedback still resides in the centre, there’s still no headphone jack and the bezel has seen minimal improvement since the release of the iPhone 6 many years ago. Since the iPhone X will be with us very soon now, I suspect that this is the last time that the iPhone will follow this outdated design.
The screen for one has had a bit of an overhaul, and while it’s still not hitting those full HD resolutions – coming in at 1334 x 750 – there is now what’s called TrueTone taking over colour gamut of your screen. It’s been designed to adapt to your surroundings. If you’re in a dimly lit room, the phone will ultimately lower the brightness and turn it a colder tone. If you’re in the blaring sun, the brightness will rise and produce a warmer looking tone. The technology that drives the screen is still IPS. I have no idea why Apple haven’t opted for OLED here, as Samsung and LG are already doing so and producing some wonderful phone screens.
There is one big aspect on where the iPhone shines. Its Bionic A11 chipset processor and the newer 12 megapixel camera. The processor according to Geekbench scores is the fastest on the market at the moment with it coming in at 4210 on a single core processor and 10034 on a multicore processor. If we compare that to a Samsung Note 8, the score for a multicore processor came in significantly less at 6479. That’s insane. Who would have thought it. It’s just a shame that there is no 4K and no OLED technology. Instead we have to suffer 720p… in 2017!
Moving onto the 12 megapixel camera, and we’re impressed. Paired with the A11 chip, the camera definitely performs. Take this camera to a busy nightclub dancing in the centre of the room, bashed by other people’s shoulders, and you’re still able to pull of some pretty wonderful selfies. Inside the rear camera is a single 12-megapixel lens with an aperture of f/1.8. It’s pretty fast, and takes some truly sharp images. All photos are automatically set to HDR as default, and in most cases works. There were a couple of times I thought things like reds were a little oversaturated for my liking. The optical image stablisation works well, and even when capturing video, you can get some smoothish looking pans.
The biggest issue this camera faces is in low-light scenarios. I took a few shots under what I would call dull, and the iPhone 8 found it very hard to focus onto my subject. On the few photos that actually came out okay, it wasn’t that the photo was noisy, it just didn’t look very sharp, or sharp enough compared to daylight photos.
The video camera has had some major improvements. You can shoot full 4K at 60fps, and even full HD 1080p slow motion at 120fps which is incredible. It doesn’t touch the slow motion of something like a Sony XZ Premium that we reviewed earlier, but for that sharp 1080p slomo goodness, you can’t really go too wrong with this. Augmented Reality worked pretty accurately actually, and really marks the future of smart phones and AR. I feel this is Apple’s heavy push into the AR market. Although apps are pretty limited at the moment, it won’t be long until there are a whole host of AR apps available. Angry Birds in your living room anyone?
With all of the new additions this phone has taken on, it’s hard not to recommend it over the competition. But with the new iPhone X so close now, half of me is saying save your pennies and go for one of them. The iPhone 8 just felt a little dated. We’ve seen it before. Yes there’s a better processor and camera, but with the likes of Samsung dominating with their bezeless S8, Apple should have possibly changed up the design a bit and not just stick a glass panel on the back. This phone truly feels more like an iPhone 7S than a brand new handset range. The iPhone X is definitely a phone of the future, if you can stomach the £1000 price tag. If not though, don’t worry. The iPhone 8 still offers enough for Apple fanboys to sink their teeth into. We were sent the new iPhone by mobile phone network Giffgaff, so make sure you head over to their website to check out their latest pricing.