iPhone 8 Review— The Ultimate Expression of the Founding iPhone Design
When I first decided to buy an iPhone 8, I did so only because iPhone X isn’t coming out for another month and a half. After I set up my iPhone 8 Plus, I realized something really important. I realized that this is probably the last iPhone I’ll own with a home button and the traditional iPhone shape. This was somewhat shocking to me, after ten years of a familiar face we’re about to be yanked into the future where phones are just displays. The notch defines the iPhone now, not the home button. But iPhone 8 is more than just the last iPhone with a home button, it’s the greatest expression of the founding iPhone design. It’s a product that will never get the credit it deserves; it’s not just the greatest iPhone ever, it’s the ultimate expression of the original iPhone. iPhone 8 is what the original iPhone always aspired to be.
A Weekend with iPhone 8 Plus
I unwrapped my iPhone 8 Plus at around 2 o’clock on Friday alongside my Apple Watch Series 3. I’ll be writing a separate review of Apple Watch Series 3, but this is all about iPhone 8. I chose iPhone 8 Plus because of the dual camera system with portrait lighting. The smaller iPhone 8 is inferior to the iPhone 8 Plus in several ways making it a device you should hastily avoid. The last plus sized iPhone I had was the 6 Plus and I loved it. But I chose to get the smaller iPhone 6s and the smaller iPhone 7. I took an odd break from the plus club but am happy to be a part of it again. While the 8 Plus surely is ginormous, that size is totally worth it. The display is stunning, especially with true tone. The difference is noticeable, much more than I had originally expected it to be. It’s a really great feature that just fades away after awhile, becoming completely normal. My iPad Pro doesn’t have a true tone display and I’m already feeling ready to upgrade after just three days with a true tone iPhone. So, iPhone 8 isn’t a massive upgrade, it’s something you’ll hear in every review you’ll read. I’m going to avoid talking about that any further because I disagree quite a bit. iPhone 8 is a bigger update than iPhone 7 was in my opinion. It’s also the most beautiful of the 6 series design phones. iPhone 8 fixes just about each annoying thing about the iPhone 6’s design. It loses the ugly lines on the back in favor of a gorgeous glass panel reminiscent of the iPhone 4. It also has refined colors, the same as iPhone 6: gold, silver, and space gray. But each one is much more beautiful on iPhone 8 than they were on iPhone 6. The gold is a combination of rose gold and yellow gold, making it the best gold Apple’s ever produced. It’s personally not my taste but I’m sure many will love it. The space gray is a combination of the original space gray and last year’s matte black. It’s lighter on the glass and dark on the edge. The silver is my favorite and the one I got. The silver band looks so pure and the white back is just so Apple. I can’t forget to mention the fact that Apple was able to get all of the regulatory icons off the back of the phone making the only text that appears on it “iPhone” in the San Francisco typeface. It looks truly beautiful.
The Camera, well Actually Cameras
iPhone 8 Plus has the most incredible camera I’ve ever owned. It takes breathtaking pictures, especially with portrait mode. That was my biggest regret last year in not getting the iPhone 7 Plus, I wanted portrait mode so badly. While portrait mode is nothing new, portrait lighting is. Portrait lighting is incredible, but because it’s still in beta there are occassionally mixed results. For the most part though, people and small objects look incredible with portrait mode and portrait lighting. Video shot in 4K at 60 frames per second looks absolutely stunning as does slow mo shot at 240 frames per second. There’s not a whole lot I want to say about the camera other than that it’s incredible and will absolutely blow away anyone upgrading this year.
This one might be my favorite new feature this year. Wireless charging makes powering up your iPhone seamless. I picked up the white Belkin wireless charging pad from Apple, there is also a black Mophie one available but I prefer white when it comes to Apple accessories. It’s so nice to just put your iPhone down on your desk and have it charge. There are a few caveats, all of which will be fixed when Apple releases AirPower next year. I’ve noticed just how carefully you have to align iPhone 8 on chargers. I must have bumped mine less than a centimeter over night and woke up to it with only 20%. It also charges relatively slowly, but it’s still the same speed as with a regular cable. iPhone 8 and 8 Plus support fast charging but you’ll need one of Apple’s USB-C power adapters that come with MacBook and MacBook Pro. Regardless of these qualms I have with it, wireless charging is effortless and makes me want to cut up all of my old lightning cables.
A Note About Size Classes
iPhone 8 Plus is the fourth plus sized iPhone. Each one to date has had a special version of iOS that utilizes a larger size class than the smaller iPhones. This means that there’s a landscape home screen, two column views for apps like Mail and Messages and generally more space on the display. iPhone X utilizes the same size class that iPhone 8 uses, not the plus size class. This means that even though the iPhone X has a larger display, it won’t necessarily show the same amount of content or the same interfaces for apps. Mail will look like it does on iPhone 8 in landscape, not how it does on iPhone 8 Plus for example. As someone who loves the landscape version of iOS on plus sized iPhones, I’m disappointed. I like to use Mail and Safari in landscape mode on my iPhone. Even Tweetbot has a special landscape interface on iPhone 8 Plus. But that won’t appear on iPhone X. This means that people in the plus club will have to decide whether they want to sacrifice the plus size class for a more futuristic looking phone. I’m torn.
iPhone 8 Plus flies. The A11 Bionic chip makes the iPhone as fast, if not faster than a MacBook Pro. This means that iOS runs smoother and more beautifully on iPhone 8 than on any iPhone before it. Taking photos is instaneous, unlocking and launching apps is faster than ever before, games load quickly and never stutter, and animations are like butter. iOS 11 is a great update too, even on older iPhones. The new control center is my favorite new feature for the iPhone this year. So, should you buy the iPhone 8? That’s up to you to decide. Do you want the ultimate expression of the original iPhone design or do you want to wait for the iPhone X and get the first expression of the future of iPhone design?