A Class Apart: iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus black

Apple is back with their iPhone duo, and completing a decade of iPhones is certainly special for the brand. While everyone waits for the iPhone X to hit the market, we have concluded our review of the twins — iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

Pros

Cons

  • Powerful performance
  • Wireless charging
  • Portrait lighting
  • Great images
  • Good Battery Life
  • Optimised display
  • No design innovation
  • No native pro photo mode

Design

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus front

If you own an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, the phones will look too similar, except for the double glass design. The glass back certainly feels a little scary for an iPhone, but this facilitates wireless charging. Apple has confirmed that these are the most durable glasses ever in a smartphone. The 8 and 8 Plus retain almost all design elements from the 7-series, including the aluminium bezel, dual cameras in the 7 Plus and the absence of a 3.5mm audio jack. An obvious design change is the curved antenna lines now making way for a closed thin line running around the back glass edges. Both the phones are noticeably heavier than the previous models, the 8 weighing 148g and the 8 Plus, 202 g. The 8 has dimensions of 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm while the 8 Plus measures 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm. The devices are IP67 rated, and hence are splash, water and dust resistant. A sapphire crystal protects the lens front element.

Handling

Though the 8 and 8 Plus have double glass surfaces, the phones are non-slippery. The iPhone 8 is quite compact and we feel it is the right size for one-hand operation. However, you would find the keyboard is a little small if you are used to larger devices. The 8 Plus is the same size that of the 7 Plus. The iOS 11 interface is quite user-friendly and the device is very responsive. Siri seems more responsive now.

Camera

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus use the same 12-megapixel wide-angle cameras with a BSI sensor. The Plus, adds another telephoto camera to provide 2x magnification. The cameras are the same that featured in the 7 Plus. The wide-angle camera has an f/1.8 aperture and the telephoto in the Plus offers f/2.8. Of all the camera modes in both the models, the portrait mode in the Plus, especially the Portrait Lighting feature stands out. Though the feature is still in beta and glitchy at times, it is my favourite, It allows you to add some cool lighting effects and the options include Natural Light, Studio Light, Contour Light, Stage Light and Stage Light Mono. The Stage Lighting feature lets you simulate focussed lighting on a portrait. Though this is aimed at portraits, you can apply it to any subject.

 

Both the 8 and 8 Plus offer Optical Image Stabilisation, though the effect is not very pronounced as in large-sensor cameras, probably due to the closeness of the elements to the sensor. Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Panorama (up to 63 megapixels), Live Photo mode, Body and Face detection, Auto HDR, Burst mode and Geotagging complete the list of goodies. Apple has used HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format) and JPEG for still images. The 7-megapixel FaceTime HD (front) camera lets you record 1080p HD videos. This is complemented by a Retina Flash, which uses the screen as a light source to illuminate your face while capturing a selfie.

Still images were quite sharp overall, especially in good lighting conditions. When the light is a little dim, the device chooses a higher ISO and the noise starts to show up. This is certainly not good news for photographers, especially without a Pro mode in the camera. But third party apps like Pro Photo can extend the capabilities multi-fold. The photo editing app remains the same. This is one of the best I have seen in a smartphone, allowing you to control parameters such as shadows, highlights, brightness, contrast, exposure, black point, saturation, colour cast etc. It also has a full featured B&W conversion, which lets you change the intensity, adjust neutrals, tone and grain.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus can shoot 4K videos at 24, 30 or 60 fps. The videos were smooth and crispy. Optical Image Stabilisation is available for videos as well. Another interesting feature is the 8-megapixel still photo capture along with 4K video. Videos can be recorded in HEVC or H.264 format.

Display

The 8 and 8 Plus use Retina IPS HD Multi-touch displays. The iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch, 1334 x 750 pixel (326 ppi) screen while the 8 Plus uses a 5.5-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution at 401 ppi. The screens are coated with oleophobic material that keeps fingerprints and smears away. The camera offers a True Tone mode, which adapts the screen colour to the ambient light for better relief. The images were displayed with extra punch and colours appeared vivid.

General Features

Apple has developed a new A11 Bionic chip for the new devices and it works alongside the Neural engine with embedded M11 motion coprocessor for class-leading performance. The A11 is said to be 75 percent faster than the A10 chip that powered the iPhone 7 and we have no reasons to think otherwise. The six cores are optimised for performance and battery saving, without compromising on either. The devices easily could last a day or more with one full charge in moderate use. The iOS 11-powered devices provide Augmented Reality for some cool games and applications.

The iPhone 8 has 2GB RAM, while the 8 Plus embeds 3GB. The phones are available in two variants with 64GB and 256GB internal memory. The iPhone 8 uses a 1821 mAh non-removable battery, while the 8 Plus uses a 2679 mAh battery. The phones can be wirelessly charged with compatible wireless chargers, but the process is painfully slow. The phones use a single Nano-SIM and the memory cannot be expanded.

Value for Money

The iPhone 8 is listed at ₹64,000 (64GB) and ₹77,000 (256GB), while the iPhone 8 Plus carries MRPs of ₹73,000 and ₹86,000 respectively. There are some cool offers on Flipkart and Amazon. With the offers in place, it is fair for the market that Apple is aiming at.

Our Verdict

The new crop of iPhones are certainly the best devices you can buy right now. If you are planning to upgrade from a 7 or 7 Plus, you might be disappointed with the limited improvements. The imaging capability is certainly great, but we have seen better implementation of dual cameras in some mid-priced Android phones.


Our Rating

Design: (3.5 / 5)
Handling: (4.5 / 5)
Camera: (4.0 / 5)
Display: (4.0 / 5)
Processing: (4.5 / 5)
Value for Money: (4.0 / 5)
Average: (4.1 / 5)

 Key Specifications

iPhone 8 iPhone 8 Plus

Operating System

iOS 11

Processor

A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture

GPU Neural engine withM11 motion coprocessor

Camera

12-megapixel wide-angle

 Dual  camera

12-megapixel wide-angle

12-megapixel telephoto

Aperture

f/1.8

Wide-angle: f/1.8; Telephoto: f/2.8

 Camera Features

Optical image stabilisation

Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync

Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)

Sapphire crystal lens cover

BSI sensor

Autofocus with Focus Pixels

Live Photos with stabilisation

Body and face detection

Portrait mode

Portrait Lighting (beta)

Display

Retina HD

4.7-inch LCD with IPS technology

1334×750-pixel at 326 ppi

5.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen LCD

1920×1080-pixel at 401 ppi

Best Video

4K video at 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps

Front camera

7-megapixel, f/2.2

SIM

Nano-SIM

RAM

2GB

3GB

Storage

64GB, 256GB

Size

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm

Weight

148 g

202 g


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