Apple. It’s the biggest technology brand in the world, but if you didn’t know this about them you could easily be forgiven for thinking it was a mid-range phone manufacturer with delusions of grandeur.
I’ve used plenty of iPhones over the years and had a great time and experience with most of them, but there comes a time when you just gotta say enough is enough. Even more so when Apple wants you to PAY MORE for a phone that is difficult to tell apart from the three phones that preceded it.
I know, I know – Apple does what it wants and, largely speaking, it gets away with it. You also have the iPhone X, which is the first proper update Apple has issued since 2014, and this muddies the waters even more because it makes the case for the iPhone 8 all the more perplexing.
Who would actually buy this phone? I keep asking myself this question, and so far I’ve yet to come up with an answer. Maybe people that don’t know the first things about phones, but know they should probably use an iPhone? Maybe my uncle? Possibly my mom?
No one with an interest in technology would even look at this phone twice. Why? Simple: it’s boring as hell and has a premium attached to it that is completely over-inflated. If the iPhone 8 was a property, it’d be a single bedroom bedsit in Camden listed for £800,000.
This is going to be a short review. I will not gloss around the edges. It is based on two week’s use of the iPhone 8 and is basically what I think about the phone from a user and potential customer perspective.
iPhone 8 Review – Design
Besides the new glass back panel, which is there for wireless charging purposes, the iPhone 8 looks identical to the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6s, and the iPhone 7. It’s available in three colours and does nothing to excite the senses.
Basically, if you’ve seen an iPhone between 2014 and now, you know what it looks like. Apple hasn’t changed a thing. And that, as they say, is that when it comes to the look and feel of the phone.
iPhone 8 Review – Specs & Hardware
The one area where Apple’s iPhone 8 is better than other phones is in the CPU department. Apple’s A11 chipset is INSANE. And I really do mean INSANE. This thing is basically a laptop-grade processor and this ensures amazing performance across the board with zero hang.
Thing is, this isn’t something you can really sell a phone on. How many average consumers go into a retail store and ask for a phone that has a brilliant CPU? Most phones have great CPUs these days and most people don’t even use 20% of their capabilities.
People use phones for Facebook, web browsing, and taking pictures and Snapchat. They’re not running PhotoShop on there or editing a feature film; all that is still done, despite what Apple would have you believe, on a PC with a big display and a mouse and keyboard.
Everything else, as you’d expect, is more or less the same. The iPhone 8 works well, does what you want, takes great pictures, and has OK battery life. What it doesn’t do is make you feel like you’re holding an expensive piece of technology. It feels regressive, even for Apple, like a throwaway made for people that can’t or don’t want to pay $1000+ for the iPhone X.
In this respect, it’s kind of like the iPhone SE, only a bit more tragic. I mean, if you’re in the market for an iPhone and you REALLY want an iPhone, but you can’t afford the iPhone X, why on earth would you go for the iPhone 8? Because it’s new? That’s silly. You’d be better off just getting an iPhone 7 Plus.
Yes, it has an updated camera, and, yes, it has wireless charging and a new back panel, but that, for “visible” updates is literally it. I have shown the phone to multiple friends and colleagues and none of them could find anything “new” about this phone.
I then told them that Apple wants £699 for this phone and they all proceeded to laugh. Why? Simple, because most of them know that they can get a multitude of phones for less than that which pack in much more exciting features than what’s on offer here. Even now, after two weeks of using the iPhone 8, if someone gave me the choice of continuing to use this phone or swapping it for an iPhone 7 Plus, I’d take the iPhone 7 Plus every time.
iPhone 8 Review – Camera
Apple’s camera game has always been rock solid, at least, for the past several years, and the iPhone 8 is no exception to this rule. The camera on the iPhone 8 is superb in almost every regard. The software is also a joy to work with.
The iPhone 8 packs in a single-lens 12MP sensor on the back which contains a f/1.8 lens along with OIS. It takes beautiful, natural looking shots that seldom require any touching up or editing. As ever, Apple’s point and shoot cameras are easily up there with the best of them.
The front-facing camera is 7MP setup, which means FaceTime calls are conducted in HD and you can take decent(ish) selfies with the iPhone 8, if that’s your bag. All photos are now taken in HDR+ as standard, so things really do pop. Even in low light.
All told, the camera – along with the A11 CPU – is basically the iPhone 8’s two redeeming features. But given the quality of the cameras inside this year’s available and incoming Android phones, I wouldn’t say that Apple is doing anything in this department that can’t be had elsewhere (for less money).
The iPhone 8 Plus, however, has a vastly superior setup: it features a second f/2.8 telephoto lens, which allows you to take awesome landscape shots in a huge amount of detail. Again, if you’re getting an iPhone in 2017/18, it should either be a Plus model or the X – there really is no other way to view these things.
iPhone 8 Review – What’s It Like To Use?
Oddly, this the only iPhone I have used that was buggy. I penned an article all about this, so check that out for a full breakdown of what’s been happening, but suffice to say things haven’t been great.
I’m talking about things like the phone constantly turning itself off; the battery life being ALL OVER THE PLACE; the screen freezing; the Home button not working – basically, a lot of weird stuff you wouldn’t expect from an iPhone.
I’m willing to admit this could be an isolated issue with my review unit, but it definitely has to be noted. If I find more reports of this, I will update this review accordingly.
I do like the size of the entry-level iPhone though. It makes a change from using MASSIVE Android phones. I like the fact that it hardly takes any room up in my pocket and that it is comfortable to talk on.
I REALLY dislike that there is no headphone jack, mostly because I can’t connect it to my car, but also because the EarBuds that come with it suck and I don’t have an adapter. I cannot wear those hard, plastic things for more than 30 minutes without getting sore ears. Why not just pack in some comfortable Beats headphones? Or just NOT get rid of the headphone jack, so I can use my own £300 pair of Bose headphones?
iPhone 8 Review – Battery Life
Again, this is a hard one to gauge because my iPhone 8 has been very squiffy throughout my testing. The battery life, on a good day, is average (or thereabouts); it’ll get you through to around 7 pm, but if you’re off out you will definitely need a top up.
Twice during testing, the iPhone 8 crapped out at 3 pm, for no good reason. The battery just died. I remember checking an email around 12 pm, after getting up at 7 am, and thinking, “that’s a bit low”, it was around 40%, and then, a few hours later, it was dead. Weird.
Worse still, Apple has issued two updates since I’ve had this phone, and neither of them fixed the iPhone 8’s weird narcolepsy problem or its squirrelly battery. Also, after 12 months of Pixel XL usage, the idea of having to charge my phone in the middle of the day seems, well… antiquated.
iPhone 8 Review – Would I Buy This Phone?
Why? Simple, it’s too expensive for what’s on offer. I can think of multiple phones I’d rather own and use than the iPhone 8 (and I’ve included a few below, just in case you thought I was bluffing):
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone X – simply because I’d like to see and feel what an actual new iPhone is like
- iPhone 8 Plus – it’s basically this phone just better.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – a great phone that should 100% be on your radar
- Google Pixel XL – yes, the original one.
- Galaxy S8 – Love it.
- OnePlus 5 – Amazing value for money
- Google Pixel 2 XL – likely my next phone
- LG V30 – also likely my next phone
- Huawei P10 – it basically looks like an iPhone 8, only it’ll cost you around 50% less and it boasts a great camera and plenty of decent hardware
Also, if you’re reading this review after buying the iPhone 8 and you’re looking for validation on your purchase, I’m sorry. But I have to call it like I see it and I also cannot get my head around how Apple has the gall to charge more for this phone that last year’s iPhone 7.
It makes no sense.
If you want my advice, and you have to have an iPhone, but you’re not interested in the iPhone X, go for the iPhone 7, which you can pick up via GiffGaff for £469. You won’t notice a massive amount of difference and you’ll save a bundle in the process.