It's no secret that smartphones over the years are becoming more subtle and less intrusive. Screens are growing, the frames around them are shrinking. The boundaries between us and information - applications, contacts, etc. - gradually eroded. Apple has sensed this trend and is reinforcing it in the iPhone X. To make this transition smoother, the company also introduced the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
These devices look familiar and interaction with them is familiar to most users. They can be called traditional. This is not a disadvantage, just the opposite. Perhaps in the future, all iPhones will look like the iPhone X, but so far the iPhone 8 is a safe choice with high build quality and high performance for those who are in no hurry to get into the future. Perhaps these are the last such traditional iPhone devices.
You are reading a translation of the review from the portal Engadget.com, the original material was published on September 19, 2017.
Like it or not, the iPhone X is radically changing Apple's approach to smartphones. The American company showed how it sees the future of mobile devices, so it is not surprising that in comparison with it, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus seem boring. This is not to say that they have poor design or build quality. Just the appearance of the iPhone has not changed for three years since the advent of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and managed to get bored.
The rounded edges, the protrusion of the camera, the Lightning connector, the volume control are in the same place as always. Again there is an IP67 water and dust protection standard, a capacitive button, stereo speakers and a headphone jack. The iPhone 8 is very familiar, which for someone will be a virtue, not a disadvantage.
This is not to say that the iPhone production formula has not changed at all. Updated color options have appeared, the cases are metal and wrapped in a strip of aluminum of the 7000 series. The back surface has become glass, which allows you to pass the signal for wireless recharging. Some are concerned about the transition from metal to glass cases and there is reason for excitement. Surely everyone saw at least one owner of an iPhone with cracks on the screen. Apple promises to solve this problem by using the most durable glass in the history of smartphones, it has not failed in a week of testing. At least, being in a bag with other objects did not leave scratches.
Another advantage of glass over metal is the transmission of a radio signal. As a result, the large antenna bands around the chassis have completely disappeared. When you look at the iPhone 8 from behind, you see glimpses of the camera, the shining Apple logo and the inscription iPhone, the inscription Designed by Apple has disappeared. As a result, the appearance of the iPhone has become more than ever clean. Also, the glass surface leaves a pleasant feeling, although everyone may have different opinions. Glass is a little warmer than metal, but it glides on the table in the same way.
All these elements are part of longer, thicker and heavier bodies. iPhone 8 is as thick as iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone Plus is heavier than both of them. It would seem that the difference in weight is insignificant, but it is felt. The standard iPhone 8 is still comfortable to hold in your hand for a long time, but the combination of weight and frames makes the iPhone 8 Plus too large for one-handed operation. For comparison, the Galaxy S8 + and LG V30 have even larger screens and at the same time are perceived as more compact and convenient.
Smartphones have many advantages inside. Apple abandoned the base version with 32 GB of flash memory and now the countdown starts at 64 GB, and ends at 256 GB. For the first time, Apple has developed its own graphics processor, which works side by side with the A11 Bionic processor. Naturally, no problems with speed and smoothness are observed. A larger battery and an improved dual camera speak in favor of the Plus model if you can cope with the size of this device.
Screen and sound
You already heard all this: iPhone 8 has an IPS LCD screen with a diagonal of 4.7 inches and a resolution of 1334 x 750, Plus model has a diagonal of 5.5 inches and a resolution of 1080p. All these parameters do not differ from the models a year ago and the similarities do not end there. The DCI-P3 uses a wider color range, as on the iPhone 7, the brightness and contrast have not increased compared to last year. Thus, the screens remained the same.
Apple has brought here one of the useful features of the iPad Pro tablets. True Tone technology uses an ambient light sensor and changes the color temperature of the screen so that the white and other colors remain balanced. You can enable this feature during initial system setup. Colors become less neat, but eye strain is reduced.
Continuing the theme of colors, you need to express concern about the lack of support for the HDR standard. Services like Amazon Prime and Netflix are gradually making such a richer video available, and users become spoiled screens in the Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30. iPhone X has full HDR support, but for now you have to be content with the color range of iPhone 8. As with last year’s models, this extended color range gives certain images, such as photos from improved cameras, additional saturation. For example, red and yellow colors become more noticeable, blue seems deeper. Landscape shots benefit most from the extended color range, but many won't notice anything.
What definitely cannot be missed is the difference in sound quality. Smartphones received more powerful stereo speakers, the developers promise a 25% increase in volume. It would be very nice if the speakers carried with them a greater immersion effect, like the four speakers on the iPad Pro. At the very least, the speaker inside the auricle complements the capabilities of the lower speaker.
The iOS 11 operating system began to spread on the supported iPhone and iPad models. A lot of innovations appeared here, but this review was written before the distribution began and some functions were not tested, such as Apple Pay on P2P and AirPlay 2. In this case, we will focus on what iOS 11 means for iPhone 8.
At first, it seems that iOS looks as usual. Upon closer inspection, this illusion begins to dissipate. The bet on bold text that was made last year at Apple Music extends further, so you will see large and rich application titles.
The control center also looks in a new way, from a simple settings panel it has turned into a cluster of elements with switches for new functions, such as the True Tone screen and the Do Not Disturb while Driving mode. The last switch is especially useful: theoretically, the function should block notifications in a moving car, but the device cannot know whether you are a driver or a passenger. The new look of the control center cannot be called ideal, especially when you occasionally accidentally change the screen brightness or volume when trying to close the panel. However, it will take a little time to get used to.
The classic notification center no longer exists. A gesture down from the top of the screen shows notifications on the lock screen. You can still use 3D Touch notifications for enhanced viewing, but it seemed like such a major update would bring better interaction with a lot of notifications. Deleting all notifications with a single gesture is a simple action, but how difficult was it to group notifications into separate applications?
Significant updates received Apple's virtual assistant. The voice has become more natural, as a result of which there is a feeling that you are communicating with a person. Siri is also smarter now. >
It is worth noting that queries can now be typed on the keyboard, but this does not mean that you need to do this. This option is hidden in the accessibility settings, a set of requests takes longer than voice requests. It would be better if there was an easier way to switch between these interaction modes or that they coexisted in the Siri interface.
The App Store has been significantly redesigned, with a large emphasis on video on application pages and daily editorial posts regarding new programs. You should not expect that internal Apple reporters will produce some amazing news, as the emphasis is mainly on advertising. Now that users have more disk space at their disposal, the new Files application should be useful. Not all users need advanced file management on the iPhone, but it's nice to be able to drag and drop files into iCloud Drive's cloud storage . The application also supports other services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, but such manipulations are not yet available there.
Enough in iOS 11 small useful additions. If you hold the volume control down and the power button, the reboot will no longer occur - now a version of the closing window appears with the ability to call emergency services, and for this you need to use the PIN code to unlock.
This is a useful innovation for emergencies, but replacing the forced reboot is rather frivolous: you need to press the volume control up and then quickly down, then hold the power button for about 10 seconds. Some users like to reset the device if it starts to work incorrectly, so over time this combination of keys will begin to annoy. There is also an option to turn off the smartphone from the settings menu.
The main rear cameras on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are the same, with a resolution of 12 megapixels. The developers claim that it has become faster and got deeper pixels to improve clarity and color accuracy. You need to discount marketing bragging exaggeration, but overall it's a great camera.
It seemed that compared to the camera on the iPhone 7, the new device better conveys the details. For daylight, the detail is even higher than on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 . The difference was not significant, but it was.
These smartphones handle colors differently: the iPhone constantly produces more natural photos, while on Note 8 they look more vibrant and idealized. The Samsung device seems to show the world as it should be, and not what it really is. At the same time, the HDR option was enabled on both cameras, in iPhone 8 it is active by default. In low light conditions, Note 8 without a flash produces slightly brighter images, but Apple offers an improved dual-LED flash that quickly lights up after a long exposure. Many dislike flash photography, but Apple’s approach may change that bias. Given the excellent cameras in Samsung devices, the fact that the iPhone is not inferior to them, and sometimes even superior, is respected.
The iPhone 8 Plus has an auxiliary rear telephoto camera with a resolution of 12 megapixels, which is not so impressive. It is not so good in low light, because its aperture is f / 2.8 compared to the wider f / 1.8 on the main wide-angle camera. Having two cameras makes some interesting tricks available. The portrait mode is still available, while the quality has increased compared to last year. This time, the subject can be within 2.5 meters of the camera and it better recognizes where to start blurring the edges behind the subject. The first version of the portrait mode performed poorly in low light, now this problem is not so acute, which helps using the flash.
There is also a Portrait Lighting mode. It is only available on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, while it can be called being in beta. This becomes obvious within a few minutes after the start of its use. The Natural Light mode offers the standard portrait photographs described above. Studio Light illuminates the face of the subject. The following three modes may be more problematic. Contour Light should highlight faces with more dramatic lighting, but instead can make them darker and more sinister. Stage Light and Stage Light Mono make everything behind the subject black and show how difficult it is to correctly determine the boundaries of the foreground and background. A lot of photos in these modes turned out just awful.
Video shooting has also been updated. There was a recording in 4K format at a speed of 60 frames / s, there is also a slow-motion recording of 240 frames / s at a resolution of 1080p. When the conditions are suitable, the image is surprisingly clear and smooth even in 4K.
Performance and battery life
This section can be made relatively short: thanks to the new 6-core Apple A11 Bionic processor, the devices work very smoothly and quickly. However, this is the case with all new iPhone models. More impressive is the ability of this architecture to improve performance when needed. If you switch to new devices with iPhone 7, you won’t see a significant difference when launching applications or scrolling through interfaces.
There are certain situations in which the devices cope without problems with the help of their four economical cores. When the load increases, when you start games or when many applications are open at once, two powerful cores come into play. Each time, smartphones use various combinations of these cores so that the speed is high, and energy consumption and heating are as low as possible. The iPhone 8 Plus is better suited for multitasking, as it has 3 GB of RAM versus 2 GB in the iPhone 8.
Extra power comes in handy when you launch augmented reality applications. In this test, two such applications were considered, both were not in the final version: Ikea Place and the game Machines. No problems arose in their work. It was interesting to see how the applications on the Apple ARKit framework will work compared to the Google Tango software and the hardware capabilities of the devices with it. So far, the implementation is impressive. IPhone 8s also display virtual objects well in physical space, and these objects usually stick to surfaces better than in Tango apps. Two unfinished proposals do not allow a reliable assessment of the future of this technology, but inspire cautious optimism.
Also worried about the duration of battery life, taking into account rumors about a decrease in battery size compared to last year. As a result, the duration remained the same. In testing with watching video at HD resolution and brightness of 50%, iPhone 8 showed a result of 12 hours 2 minutes, a minute less than the iPhone 7. The result of the iPhone Plus was 14 hours 26 minutes, which exceeds the result. With everyday use, the iPhone 8 is able to work without problems a full day and will remain the next morning. iPhone 8 Plus works for about a day and a half, and if you do not load it, then all two.
The kit does not include adapters for quick recharging, but smartphones support the Qi standard. In addition, wireless charging works when smartphones are wearing covers. There was no slowdown.
When I first met with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, it seemed that they were no different from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. The impression turned out to be erroneous: they have new advantages, just the design is no longer impressive as before. If internal content is more important to you, the new devices take a significant step forward. The volume of flash memory has grown, cameras, software have been improved, and productivity has become higher than ever. It may not have the sleek style of the iPhone X, but it's still great smartphones for those who are going to stay in the Apple mobile ecosystem or join it for the first time.
- Impressive performance
- Great build quality
- Great cameras
- Wireless recharge
- High battery life (on iPhone 8 Plus)
- The first augmented reality applications are encouraging
- Too familiar appearance
- Camera protrusion returned
- Missing dual camera (on iPhone 8)
- Hard to hold (iPhone 8 Plus)
- No water and dust protection IP68