On Nov. three,  Apple will roll out its seductive sports activities automobile of a telephone: the all-new, completely redesigned, edgy, giant-screened iPhone X.

Within the meantime, the iPhone Eight ($699.00 at Apple) and eight Plus — the sensible crossover and supersized SUV of the 2017 Apple telephone line — have pulled into the lot. They’re right here and out there, and immediately your iPhone buy resolution is wildly complicated.

So why purchase an iPhone Eight when that attractive iPhone X is simply across the nook? The Eight is final yr’s design with this yr’s expertise. It feels acquainted. It is a secure decide. It is a “let’s not spend a thousand on an iPhone” iPhone. It is a “Contact ID and a house button matter extra to me than a leap of religion into the world of Face ID” iPhone.

Identical really feel, just about. You OK with that?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Make no mistake: The iPhone Eight is actually the “iPhone 7S.” Apple saved the cool options and radical new design for the iPhone X, which prices 43 p.c extra — $999, £999 or AU$1,579 to begin. And if you’d like the actually spectacular twin digicam, with portrait mode and 2x optical zoom — each significantly good step-ups — you may have to put money into the a lot bigger iPhone Eight Plus ($799.00 at Apple), or look forward to that eventual X. It is a totally different strategy than Samsung, which made its entire line of Galaxy S8 and Word Eight telephones look new. With the iPhone, new seems solely come on the prime finish.

That X is tempting certainly, however my solely real-world expertise with the machine is the transient time I spent with it at Apple’s Sept. 12 launch occasion. Till I can ultimately get one and put it by way of its paces, I strongly advocate that you just chorus from shopping for any telephone in any respect.

However for those who want a telephone proper now, or when you have no need to pay the iPhone X premium, let’s discuss sensible concerns.

2017 iPhone pricing (64GB, 256GB)




iPhone Eight

$699, $849

£699, £849

AU$1,079, AU$1,329

iPhone Eight Plus

$799, $949

£799, £949

AU$1,229, AU$1,479

iPhone X

$999, $1,149

£999, £1,149

AU$1,579, AU$1,829

The iPhone Eight’s greatest characteristic is its processor, a quick new six-core A11 Bionic chip, much like the processor within the iPhone X and eight Plus. Due to an all-new picture sensor, photograph high quality has improved in low mild, as has video high quality. The iPhone Eight provides an improved iPad-style True Tone display screen, and the audio system sound good and loud. All the brand new iPhones embrace wi-fi charging now, due to a glass again.

When you have an iPhone 7, you may discover the quicker velocity, higher display screen and higher digicam on the iPhone Eight “good to have,” however wanting “must-buy” territory — except you are notably enamored with the wi-fi charging Android house owners have loved for years.

For anybody with an iPhone 6S ($610.00 at Amazon Market) or earlier mannequin, nonetheless, the advantages of leaping to an iPhone Eight ramp up dramatically. The velocity, display screen, audio and digicam enhancements will really feel important, and you will get good upgrades you missed whenever you skipped the iPhone 7, together with water resistance.

So, yeah: That iPhone X might look nice within the showroom window. However in the end, you are driving off the lot with the sensible four-door crossover. It is extra inexpensive. It will get completely first rate fuel mileage. But it surely nonetheless has the identical good high-end navigation package deal, leisure system and fuel-injected engine as that candy low-slung coupe. Not too shabby.

That is the iPhone Eight. The baseline 2017 iPhone stays a top-tier smartphone — a significantly good telephone. Simply do not anticipate it to show heads.

Look, it is your $700, however we have not reviewed the X but.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Do you look forward to the iPhone X? (Sure)

The X is compact — it is obtained a 5.Eight-inch display screen in a physique that is taller however barely wider than the Eight — and it feels nice. Its twin cameras must be at the very least nearly as good as these on the wonderful iPhone Eight Plus. It has a bizarre 3D-mapping entrance digicam array housed in a notch above the display screen, a design compromise some iPhone purists discover maddening. It makes use of your face to pay for issues. And we’ve got but to see how its Face ID tech compares to Contact ID in real-world testing.

If any of that sounds engaging to you — or for those who’re keen to pay an enormous premium for “one of the best iPhone” — it’s best to wait till November.

In case you do not care about that stuff, or for those who simply cannot see your self paying $1,000 for a telephone, the iPhone Eight is ok. Sure, it is principally what we had been calling all of it yr: the “iPhone 7S.” However S telephones are sometimes one of the best values, and the iPhone Eight is not any exception. It is a greater iPhone that appears the identical.

Editors’ observe: In-depth battery testing remains to be to return, as is sturdiness testing and extra photograph comparisons to different telephones. Scores are provisional till we full these exams.

Mophie’s wi-fi charging mat will work with 7.5W quicker iPhone Eight charging later this yr.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Wi-fi charging: Cool, however BYO and sluggish (for now)

The iPhone Eight comes with a Lightning cable and plug, nevertheless it works with the prevailing Qi wi-fi charging customary. Which means there are already many inexpensive third-party chargers in the marketplace, and lots of public locations — like McDonald’s, as an illustration — have already got counters with Qi-compatible chargers built-in.

Apple would not have its personal wi-fi cost base in any respect, at the very least not but: AirPower arrives subsequent yr, a mat that expenses the brand new iPhones, the Apple Watch Collection three and AirPods ($179.57 at Amazon Market) with a brand new cost case. Within the meantime, Apple recommends Belkin and Mophie chargers that can cost the iPhone quicker when it is up to date to permit 7.5W wi-fi charging by way of an replace later this yr. A check unit of Mophie’s new charger labored effective for me: It has a round, rubberized base however has its personal specialised cost wire (you may’t use Micro-USB, USB-C or Lightning with it).

For now, wi-fi charging is sluggish. Half an hour with Mophie’s charger delivered a few 15 p.c uptick in battery. It is supposed for in a single day charging, with a Lightning cable nonetheless the quicker approach to cost the iPhone Eight. If you need quicker nonetheless, spring for a separate higher-wattage MacBook charger — and, in fact, the USB-C-to-Lightning cable, offered individually. The brand new iPhones will cost as much as 50 p.c in half an hour this fashion, however not with included chargers. (Keep tuned for extra testing.)

Nonetheless, now that Apple’s on board with an current customary — Samsung and others have lengthy supported Qi — wi-fi charging seems to lastly change into a common comfort. Starbucks has already pledged to make its current wi-fi chargers iPhone appropriate, and there are many Qi chargers out there on Amazon for as little as $20 within the US.

Apple claims that the iPhone Eight’s battery will final about so long as the iPhone 7’s does. In our first days with the machine, that has matched up with our anecdotal expertise. Remember that the similar-size iPhone X guarantees as much as 2 hours extra battery life than the Eight — much like the battery life you may get with the Eight Plus.

The iPhone Eight (left) lacks twin cameras as soon as once more.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Higher digicam, however not twin cameras

The iPhone Eight would not get a twin digicam just like the Eight Plus and the iPhone X, and that is a disgrace. However its photographs and movies do look improved.

This time round, the entrance and rear cameras get higher principally by way of new sensors and a brand new picture sign processor. Whereas low mild pictures do look nicer, and shutter velocity and focus appear a bit quicker, I did not see sufficient of a change from the iPhone 7 to astonish me, however the photographs I took all seemed actually, actually good. The Eight’s digicam nonetheless lacks the intelligent Portrait results of the 7 Plus ($785.70 at Amazon Market) and eight Plus, and telephoto lens (2x optical zoom) discovered on these telephones, too.

Automated settings at an artwork honest. (Artwork by Primitive Twig.)

Scott Stein/CNET

This telephone additionally now shoots 60fps, 4K video and 240fps, 1080p slow-mo, and people video adjustments make a distinction for severe video work. However for those who’re shopping for an iPhone as a digicam for skilled use, you owe it to your self to get the iPhone Eight Plus. Or, wait to see how the iPhone X performs — its entrance and rear cameras, on paper, are even higher than the Eight Plus.

The shiny black iPhone 7 (left) versus the silver and white iPhone Eight (proper).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Design: Outdated-school, however effective

When the iPhone 6 ($348.00 at Amazon.com) debuted, its display screen dimension and design made huge waves. However that was 2014. Very similar to with the MacBook Air or iPads, Apple has locked within the design yet another time right here, however with a building facelift. A return to a glass again, the primary because the iPhone 4S again in 2011, permits extra than simply aesthetics: that is what permits the aforementioned wi-fi charging to work. The telephone feels good, although, form of like final yr’s Pixel ($599.95 at Amazon.com), with an analogous grippiness to the matte black iPhone 7. The glass really makes it really feel much less slippery.

Apple says the glass within the new iPhones is 50 p.c extra sturdy than final yr’s iPhone 7 glass, with impression and scratch enhancements and metal body reinforcements (and extra sturdy aluminum). It is onerous to inform how impact-proof these telephones will probably be in observe as a result of Apple will not make any particular claims, and we have solely had these telephones for a few week. Keep tuned for drop exams. We’ll discover out. Within the meantime, my pure inclination is to coddle all-glass telephones. The excellent news is that the majority iPhone 7 instances will work on the Eight, as long as they’ve a little bit of flexibility. (The iPhone Eight is a fraction of a millimeter larger than the 7 throughout.)


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