A Look at the iPhone 8 & 8 Plus

Apple is known for surprises and fan service at their press conferences, perhaps more than any other company in the world. This comes with a bit of a burden when your audience comes to expect to feel nothing less than blown away every time there is a new product unveiling. Traditionally, iPhone conferences have sort-of leapfrogged dramatic changes to iPhones, with one year there is a substantial change followed by a year featuring the “s" incremental upgrades.

This year was different, as there were three completely new iPhone models unveiled, the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and the 10th Anniversary iPhone X. The X has grabbed most of the media attention and has earned its own BFads.net feature article, but that doesn’t mean that the 8 and 8 Plus models are to be ignored, especially if you are one that prefers hardware buttons to interface with your phone and price tags that begin well under $1,000.00.



iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Compared

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Compared

Before we get started on what has changed since the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, let’s get the differences between the 8 and 8 Plus out of the way.

As one can probably divine from the names the main difference between the two phones is, once again, the size, with the 8 Plus obviously being the larger of the two. The iPhone 8 clocks in slightly larger than the iPhone 7, and measures 5.45" x 2.65" x 0.29", an increase of 0.01" in each measurement, with a weight of 5.22 ounces. The iPhone 8 Plus sees the same 0.01" increase across the board, and measures 6.24" x 3.07" x 0.30", with a weight of 7.13 ounces.



Design Changes

Design Changes

There is not really any other way to say it except that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus look almost exactly like the 7 and 7 Plus, in fact it would surprise almost no one if these were simply named 7s and 7s Plus. Still there are a few design changes like all-glass design, save for the “aerospace-grade" aluminum band that circles the phone and houses the volume, mute, and power buttons. The glass on the 8 series of iPhones also boasts the “most durable glass ever in a smartphone," according to Apple, and is available in space gray, silver, and gold finishes.

With that said, the biggest design upgrade cannot really be observed at a glance, Apple credits the change to an all-glass backing with giving them ability to ad Qi-compatible wireless charging to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. That’s right, wireless charging has finally landed on iPhone and it does not feature proprietary technology that requires purchasing of new accessories! Owners of wireless charging pads that use the Qi open interface standard can use their existing accessories with the new 8-series iPhones.

Rounding out the design upgrades is the inclusion of stereo speakers at either end of the phone when held horizontally. While the 7-series of phones also had stereo speakers, the speakers found on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are 25% louder and provide deeper bass.



Screen Upgrades

Screen Upgrades

Just as with the previous generation, the difference in size between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus is, primarily, to accommodate a larger screen. On that front, the size and resolution for both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus remain the same as their last-generation counterparts, with the iPhone 8 featuring a 4.7" 1334 x 750 326ppi Retina HD screen and the iPhone 8 Plus sporting a 5.5" 1920 x 1080 401ppi Retina HD screen.

However, size isn't everything, and there have been some very notable changes to the retina screens found in the new generation of iPhones. Most importantly is the addition of a new display technology that Apple calls True Tone. Using a four-channel ambient light sensor, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus automatically adjusts the white balance of the display to match the light of your surroundings. Coupled with the dual-domain pixels made standard on iPhones back in the iPhone 6 days, the Retina HD display found in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus gives you the best image quality and color-accuracy of any iPhone to date, regardless of environment or viewing angle.



Camera Upgrades

Camera Upgrades

If camera quality and options are paramount for you, the iPhone 8 Plus is still going to be your go-to options in the 8-series of iPhones. Just as in the previous generation, the Plus model is the only of the two that features both a 12MP wide-angle and a 12MP telephoto camera along the back of the phone, while the iPhone 8 features only the 12PM wide-angle camera. The wide angle camera found on both phones features a f/1.8 six-element lens and optical image stabilization and an improved flash. Both phones also feature a 7MP front-facing Facetime HD camera that uses the retina screen as a flash.

The real stand-out camera upgrade in the iPhone 8 Plus is the portrait-mode enhancements. Using both cameras, the iPhone 8 Plus offers improved detail with better separation between subject and background. While this effect was available in the 7-series, using the new A11 processor and Image Signal Processor, photographers can apply real-time lighting effects to their subjects while capturing images for truly dramatic shots.

On the video front, Apple has beaten every other smartphone manufacturer to the punch and has made the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus the first phones capable of recording 4k 60fps video, a massive increase in video quality (and file size)! For 1080p recording, the 8-series phones now support 30fps, 60ps, and 240fps slow-motion shooting as well as time-lapse video recording.



Under the Hood

Under the Hood

As they do every year, Apple once again boasts that their new processor is the fastest, most powerful CPU ever in a smartphone. The new A11 Bionic processor features a 25% faster 6-core CPU and Apple’s first in-house developed GPU, which outperforms past models by 30%.

Not only does Apple claim that the new A11 chip will deliver faster everyday performance while conserving battery life, when coupled with the new Metal 2 graphics software and Core Machine-Learning platform, Apple hopes to provide a sandbox for software developers to produce ground-breaking video games only possible on the new iPhones.

Apple has famously (or infamously) never allowed external storage to be added to an iPhone so one of the biggest decisions shoppers face is always storage capacity. The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have only two options, 64GB and 256GB. Can’t decide which capacity you need? If you plan to use the 4K 60fps recording feature, 256GB should be the only option you consider, as videos recorded at this quality will be massive.



Final Thoughts

With all the exciting new features and upgrades out of the way, it’s time to get down to the less pleasant part of a new iPhone release: the price. Both phones dropped September 22nd and are available for purchase from all four major US carriers and at retailers nationwide, or can be bought directly from Apple at any Apple store or at Apple.com.

The iPhone 8 will be priced at $699.99 for the 64GB model and $849.99 for the 256GB model, while the iPhone 8 Plus retails for $799.99 for the 64GB version and $949.99 for the 256GB variant.

As always with new iPhone releases, the competition is fierce between retailers and carriers, check with your favorite carrier or store to see if there are any freebies, throw-ins, or financing options to help subsidize the price, or at least soften-the blow.

September 27, 2017
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