Every fall, Apple introduces a new version of the iPhone. While there were always rumors of an iPhone 8, I was sure that it was going to be an iPhone 7S. I’ve had the new iPhone 8 Plus for several weeks now, and I’ve been able to do extensive testing.
To get the most out of this test review, I recommend you follow the suggestion of Raffael Zeier from the Tages-Anzeiger, and for this post just pretend that Apple didn’t introduce the iPhone X at this keynote 15 minutes later and that it would be coming out on the market at the end of the year.
As I was unpacking it, the iPhone 8 strongly reminded me of my iPhone 7 in red, since it looks exactly the same from the front. But when I turned it over, I was thrilled to see that the glass back is beautifully done, especially in white. Incidentally, if it breaks, figure on paying up to CHF 400 – which makes it considerably more expensive than the front with the display. The new design looks fresh and is probably why Apple christened this iPhone with the number 8 instead of 7S.
What`s new about the iPhone 8
In addition to an adapted design, the iPhone also includes some innovations that make several of the competing smartphones look old.
iPhone Wireless Charging
Apple has now incorporated in the iPhone 8 what other manufacturers have already been offering for some time. With this feature, you won’t need to plug any more cords into the iPhone in the future, because to charge it, all you have to do is place it on a charging pad. The best thing about this is that Apple supports the Qi standard, which makes it possible for one household to have just one charging station, even with several smartphones by different manufacturers. Btw., for some time, IKEA has been selling furniture that already has a wireless charging feature built into it, with the Qi standard, of course. I don’t have one of these charging stations in my own home, but I was able to test one for a short time. What’s great is that the charging works well even with the case on the phone.
New Retina HD Display
Anyone who’s seen the iPad Pro that came out this summer knows about True Tone technology. It’s recently also been installed in the iPhone 8, so it automatically adjusts the white balance, which adjusts the image to the ambient light and should make for a more enjoyable reading experience. I haven’t noticed a big difference myself, although I do notice one after reading for a long time on the iPad in the evening.
Camera – Practically everything is new
The iPhone camera was always one of the good ones, and for the iPhone 8, everything has been redone except the lens. The photo sensor has recently been optimized for even better images with less light, which is easily noticeable since there’s hardly any static anymore. The image stabilization has also become way better.
If you’ve seen the disassembled iPhone on iFixit, then you’ll notice that the camera is held by magnets on all sides in a kind of weightless state, which allows for a new level of image stabilization.
Portrait Mode with new Possibilities
Those of you who like portrait mode will be very happy that the new iPhone 8+ now gives you practically a whole photo studio, though it’s admittedly still in beta (like portrait mode last year, which has since been completely released from that phase).
In addition to the familiar portrait mode with natural light, the studio offers various other options:
- Studio Light – The face is illuminated using artificial intelligence, as though you were in an actual photo studio.
- Contoured Light – The face is artificially illuminated so that dramatic shadows form at appropriate places.
- Stage Light – The background, which is normally blurred, turns totally black, and the face is illuminated.
- Stage Light Mono – Exactly the same as the previous filter, except that here the whole picture is black and white.
The nice thing about these filters is that no matter which setting you used for the portrait, you can still change the filter after the fact. In my tests, natural light, studio light, and contoured light worked perfectly, while the stage light and stage light mono modes were in part really bad. But like I said, these filters are still in the beta stage.
Incidentally, the portrait camera settings can also be used and edited by other apps, so that you can use apps like Slør to change the focus point after the fact and also to influence the aperture intensity.
HEIF – Even smaller Images
With the new camera and the different portrait filters, I’ve been running all over the area for days taking a whole wad of pictures. Luckily, with iOS11, Apple has switched from JPEG to the new HEIF image format (High Efficiency Image File Format). That means that the quality of the photos remains the same, but they’re only half as big so that you can take twice as many pictures before running out of memory.
4K with 60 Frames
If you poke around in the settings, you’ll find a video option that admittedly uses up your memory really fast but that also seriously improves video quality.
A11 Chip – The iPhone`s Power Processor
Apps and services always need to get better and faster for the future. With functions like ARKit, which since iOS11 has given me the ability to use augmented reality on any device, the iPhone obviously needs a lot more power. The A11 chip provides the right performance capacity for this. I’ve only noticed it myself when I use Insight Heart to look at the human heart in AR and I don’t see any jerking or whatever. Everything runs smoothly. If you look at the results from the benchmark test, you’ll see that the iPhone 8+ outpaces all current smartphones, and even the MacBook Pro looks old by comparison.
This probably also explains the high price, because let’s face it: which one do you use most – your laptop or your smartphone?
Yeah, the iPhone 8 is great, and the iPhone 8+ is even better. As with their precursors, Apple has once again installed some great new technology. Unfortunately, my test showed that the battery life lasted no longer than the one for the iPhone 7+.
If you’re wondering whether you should buy yourself the new iPhone, I need to quickly remind you of the reality that the iPhone X will be available for purchase in a few months. In my view, the iPhone 8 is already really good, and the iPhone X is sure to be a whole lot better but also more expensive. For those of you who’ve always been happy with the price and performance, I heartily recommend the iPhone 8. For the rest of you, if you’ve got a bit more money in your piggy bank, you should definitely wait for the iPhone X.