They’ve been overshadowed a bit by the arrival of the iPhone X , but Apple also announced the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and they bring the change we’ve been hoping for with the iPhone 7; a new and fresh look. That is probably why these iPhones are not called 7s and 7s Plus, but iPhone 8.
The iPhone 8 series has a glass back for the first time since the iPhone 4s. It is actually the only major change in the design, because the shapes and dimensions are broadly the same as with the 7 series. We see the choice for glass more often this year with high-end models and Apple’s metal fatigue will probably have the same reason as with those devices. We see more and more cheap smartphones that are made entirely of metal, making it difficult to see it as a luxury material.
We’ve had extensive hands-on hands with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus here in Cupertino, and they don’t feel significantly different from the 7 and 7 Plus. They have the same size, but the extra weight also turned out to be difficult to feel. The choice for glass does mean that the back of the iPhone 8 (Plus) is more contagious, because you simply see finger smears better on this material. So that’s cleaning. In addition, these iPhones will also be a lot more fragile than their metal counterparts, although Apple claims to have made the strongest glass ever put on a smartphone.
|Device||iPhone 8||iPhone 7||iPhone 8 Plus||iPhone 7 Plus|
|809 euros||769 euros||919 euros||909 euros|
Another consequence of a glass back is that the antenna lines are no longer visible on the back. They run at the top and bottom of the iPhone 7 series. With the new iPhones you only see them running on the sides. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus can now also be charged wirelessly with a Qi charger, which is not possible with a metal back. Apple also announced a mat in Cupertino that allows the new iPhones, Apple Watch Series 3 and the AirPods, with new charging box, to be charged wirelessly at the same time.
Apple emphasized the quality of the iPhone’s new speaker during the presentation, so we’re very curious to see how it sounds in a quiet room. During the hands-on session it was not possible to get a good picture of this due to all the noise, so whether the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus sound significantly better than their predecessors, we will not know until the review. The speaker could be 25 percent louder and produce better bass tones.
Unfortunately, just like last year, there is only a double camera on the Plus variant, which is disappointing, especially since the smaller iPhone has gone up considerably in price compared to the Plus variant. The cameras have broadly the same specs as their last year’s versions, but they’re said to perform better in low-light conditions due to a new sensor. Apple has put its own isp in the iPhones and this should help ensure that focusing in low light is a lot better. The new isp also enables hardware noise reduction. Of course, we were not able to properly test that at the event at Apple Park.
The camera of the new iPhones responds quickly and shoots beautiful images at first glance. We couldn’t really stress test it, of course, due to the lack of difficult lighting conditions, so how big the step forward is with the new camera, we will test during the review period. What we will also test extensively during the review: the video capabilities of the new iPhones. They can film in 4k at 60fps and the slow motion mode gets even more interesting at 1080p resolution at 240fps.
What we could try is the new Portrait Lighting mode. With this, only in the case of the Plus version with dual camera in portrait mode, you can adjust the exposure of a face in real time or afterwards, for example to create a more dramatic effect by turning on the contours of a face or the background. even omit it altogether. That works smoothly and it is a nice addition to the possibilities of the portrait mode if you often photograph people.
With the new iPhones, Apple emphasizes augmented reality. The cameras, processor and gpu would have been adapted to AR and they have a new gyroscope and accelerometer for apps that use ARKit. We were able to see some games that work with the technology. That looked very nice and the virtual objects were placed fairly correctly on the table. It is a fun toy, but also has useful functions, such as measuring your house without a ruler.
Apple also mentioned an interesting function where you can see the names of players during a sports game as they run across the field and, for example, immediately request their statistics. The already good Sky Guide app also gets an AR function, where you no longer have to look at a drawn starry sky, but can see the information via the camera at the real stars.
Fortunately, not only the new iPhone X has the new A11 Bionic chip. The iPhone 8 series also has it and it should be a lot faster and more economical. Apple has created a hexacore chip with two clusters of three cores each. The two fast Monsoon cores are said to be 25 percent faster than the fast Hurricane cores in the A10 chip and it contains four energy-efficient Mistral cores, which in total should be no less than seventy percent faster than the two economical Zephyr cores. cores of the A10.
An improvement over the A10-soc is also that the fast and slow cores can be put to work simultaneously and they can be switched on and off dynamically. Apple is increasingly in control and has therefore made its own GPU with three cores. This should be thirty percent faster than its predecessor, which was still designed by Imagination. Of course there’s not much to say about the performance compared to the A10 or other socs, so all we can say about it is that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus feel fast and apps launch very quickly.
Fixed values, new values
In addition to the new additions, the iPhone 8 series has a lot of things that have remained the same at first glance. For example, the size and resolution of the LCDs are unchanged, they are just as waterproof as the previous generation with an IP67 rating and they have the same amount of RAM.
However, the minimum storage memory has increased from 32 to 64GB and that is a nice improvement. There’s no 128GB version, but both phones do have a 256GB variant. The addition of True Tone ensures that the color temperature is adjusted to the ambient light and that is easy on the eyes. Also, the new iPhones have Bluetooth 5.0 and they are up to date with this wireless protocol.
The new devices run from the release iOS 11 . We were able to taste it again and there are some nice changes. For example, the new control panel is very clear and easy to operate with 3D Touch. It looks slick and you can now decorate the panel yourself, which is very nice. There are also new photo filters, the app store has a much more attractive design and you can have little-used apps and old messages automatically thrown off your phone. They are not really gone, but must be downloaded again if you need them again. It’s not a huge makeover, but it comes with some nice tricks.
The iPhones have become more expensive again, especially the 4.7″ version, compared to last year’s version. That is bad news for those who want to buy a reasonably affordable iPhone, especially since the cheap entry-level iPhone SE is now getting older. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have a new look, which is nice after they have looked the same for a long time, but we are very sorry that the dual camera is not on the iPhone 8.
The camera, soc and speaker have had a good upgrade and it is also nice that they can be charged wirelessly, also with a Qi charger that does not have to be from Apple. Augmented reality is a big selling point and it should provide the necessary entertainment and tricks. We’ll have to wait and see if augmented reality works better than on an iPhone 7, SE or 6s. It is now up to the developers whether this will indeed be as big as Apple hopes.
All in all, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus offer no revolutionary changes. The innovative power seems to have been largely swallowed up by the iPhone X this year. They are mainly solid upgrades and they look nice, as long as you don’t let them bounce.