It’s not so often that two brand new iPhone models are upstaged at their own launching, but that’s exactly what happened at Apple’s September event this season. The iPhone X was the star of this series, the trendy new kid everyone wanted to hang out with, while the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus were relegated to the role of the designated driver – boring, reliable, the one which you know will be there as soon as you’re done partying with your new friends.

That was certainly true in the hands-on area post the launching event in the Steve Jobs Theatre, where everyone stood in line just to spend some time with the iPhone X, while most iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus units waited to get an audience. But as quickly as it arrived, the cool new thing was gone, not to be seen again until November. Having seen the one with all the X-factor, it appears maybe not everyone is excited at that prospect of getting reunited with their ‘boring’ old friends.

You learn to appreciate familiarity over the latest fashion and appreciate the reliability that comes with the tried and tested. Have doubts about Face ID about the iPhone X? Touch ID on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus functions good as always. Can not get your head round the ‘notch’? No such thing about the ‘normal’ models. It’s this familiarity and reliability which both of these models hope to appeal to, though Apple wouldn’t need the ‘boring’ tag everywhere near the duo, even if we frequently use the word as a compliment.

Let us forget about this iPhone X for a bit and find out how the other two new iPhone models fare in a world where their sibling does not exist. Are they compelling enough upgrades in their own right? Let’s find out.

IPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus design and display

From the front, the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus are practically indistinguishable from their predecessors. Virtually everyone we revealed our review units to started with “Oh, so it looks just like the [iPhone] 7” before we asked them to turn them around and look at the all-glass backs. That is right, the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus are all-glass on the front and the back, a throwback to the design last seen in the iPhone 4S.

During the couple of weeks that we have spent with these phones, we – accidentally, we promise – managed to drop them after each. First, the iPhone 8, face down, in the coffee table, and then the iPhone 8 Plus in the height of approximately four feet. While the iPhone 8 escaped unhurt, its bigger sibling landed on tiles on one of its corners and had a little abrasion to show for it afterwards – a stark reminder as to why most people choose to pay their precious phones in instances. While on the topic, though the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are marginally bigger than their predecessors, we had no problem fitting our Apple leather cases from the iPhone 7 along with iPhone 7 Plus onto them. Most existing third-party instances designed for the older iPhone models should fit just fine also.

At 148 grams, the iPhone 8 is your heaviest non-Plus iPhone to date, while the iPhone 8 Plus crosses the 200g mark. The additional weight could be noticeable if you used an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus without a case, but if you’re someone who changes your situation quite frequently, you are probably used to the overall weight fluctuating slightly and therefore are unlikely to notice those differences. Still, it’s interesting to find a business obsessed with ‘thin and light’ move in the opposite direction with two of its marquee merchandise.

If showing the world you have the latest and greatest iPhone (we told you to forget about the iPhone X, then remember?) Is important to you, hiding your iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus in a non-transparent situation wouldn’t be the best idea. From five (not counting the Product Red) colour options in the previous generation – Rose Gold, Gold, Silver, Black, and Jet Black – we are down to three – Gold, Silver, and Space Grey.

IPhone 8 (left) and iPhone 8 Plus in Silver and Gold colours respectively

The Gold finish on the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus looks like an amalgamation of those Rose Gold and Gold colours seen previously. Silver is essentially white, and Space Grey is black. The latter is the only option that’s black on the front, while another two have white bezels, like in previous years. Colours are largely a personal choice, although we need to say we will miss the Jet Black finish, despite its well-documented tendency to become scuffed up.

The nearly-all-glass body means that all iPhone models offer exceptional grip, and are unlikely to slip out of your hands. In the 2 weeks that we spent with all the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus, we didn’t observe any scratches or scuff marks resulting from being placed into and removed from pockets, or being stored with different items in our bag.

In the box you receive Lightning EarPods, a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter, a USB Type-A to Lightning cable, and a 5W charger (more about this later), besides the phone itself, and a few literature. There’s no Type-C to Lightning cable, which means you can’t directly connect Apple’s flagship phone to its flagship laptops without buying additional cables or dongles out of Apple or third parties.

There’s no change in the size of these displays on the iPhone 8 or the iPhone 8 Plus compared to their predecessors, and, indeed, the displays have the same resolution, brightness, and contrast ratios also. OLED and HDR support are earmarked for the iPhone X, so the sole improvement here is the addition of Authentic Tone functionality.

According to Apple, True Tone technology “uses an advanced four‑channel ambient light sensor to subtly adjust the white balance onscreen to match the colour temperature of the light around you.” If this seems like a heap of jargon, we’re here to help. In simple terms, like recent iPad Pro models, additional sensors present in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus can discover the quality of light around you, along with the phone can tweak the display’s white balance to match. This is designed to reduce eye strain and make objects on screen look “as natural as on a printed page”.

In regard to real-world experience, possibly the most significant word in the previous paragraph is “subtly”. The existence of True Tone – a setting that is switched on by default, but can be switched off if you truly care about colour accuracy – is unlikely to be noticed by most users. The result is nowhere as dramatic as turning on Night Shift, which alters the tone of the display and cuts blue light emission to reduce eye strain in a very visible way, and was introduced in iOS 9.3. Most users probably even won’t notice (which, as Apple will tell you, is a fantastic thing) True Tone’s impact until they watch their phone side by side with one which doesn’t possess the setting enabled.

IOS 11 even warns you that turning auto brightness off might have an impact on battery life.

IPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus performance and software

While the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus might not look quite different from the outside, there are big changes on the inside. All three new iPhone models – fine, we promise no reminders that the iPhone X exists after this – are powered by Apple’s brand new A11 Bionic chip. In our review of the iPhone 7 along with iPhone 7 Plus we noticed how Apple has established itself as a pioneer in the mobile SoC space, and the way the two phones were streets ahead of the competition in terms of raw performance at the time of their release. The iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus continue this tradition, and in some ways kick things up a notch higher.

The Apple A10 Fusion inside the previous-generation iPhone models was a quad-core chip with two high-performance cores and two energy-efficient ones, but just one pair could be active at a time. The A11 Bionic, on the other hand, contains six cores – four efficient cores that are up to 70 percent faster than ones on the A10, and 2 performance cores that are up to 25 percent quicker – making it Apple’s first hexa-core chip. More importantly, the A11 is capable of running all six at the same time.

This means the Apple A11 Bionic absolutely smokes the opposition, especially when it comes to multi-threaded tasks that could scale to multiple cores. In the Geekbench multi-core evaluation, for example, the iPhone 8 Plus scored more than 55 percent higher compared to OnePlus 5, the phone that had scored the highest before now, and around 75 percent higher than the iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, its Geekbench multi-core rating of 10,386 is higher than that of several laptops on the market.

For the first time, an iOS device comes with an Apple-designed GPU. Given the CPU performance lead that Apple established with the A-series by moving chip design in-house, we’ll be closely watching what the company has to offer in this section. The A11 Bionic includes a new Apple‑designed three‑core integrated GPU that delivers a ‘paltry’ 30 percent performance gain over the A10 Fusion.

All this power means that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus can handle everything you throw at them with ease. Everyday tasks are eloquent, and everything feels really eloquent, especially on the smaller iPhone. We experienced a couple of niggles during the initial days of the review period, but the iOS 11.0.1 update seems to have addressed all of them. We’ve covered iOS 11 in depth elsewhere on Gadgets 360, thus we won’t repeat ourselves here, but talk about a couple of other interesting new features instead.

Possibly the first thing that you will notice when setting up your new iPhone is that you finally have the option to use Quick Start to, well, quickly set up your device. Simply hold your brand new iPhone (or iPad running iOS 11) next to a different recent iOS device, and then ‘pairing’ the two, a number of your settings like your Apple ID are automatically transferred to the new one. It will even ‘inherit’ your old device’s passcode. Bear in mind that this step just copies a number of the settings from the old device to the new one – you still have to choose whether you want to restore data and apps from an iCloud/ iTunes backup or place this device up as new. In our experience, Quick Start saved a few steps during the installation procedure, along with the post-restore experience was not that different compared to some ‘regular’ restore from an iCloud backup. We still had to input passwords and set up email accounts, and so on, in third-party programs.

While older iOS devices do support ARKit – Apple’s framework for augmented reality games and programs – the latest iPhone models really shine when it comes to bridging the digital and physical worlds. Apple claims the cameras to the new iPhone models are “individually calibrated” with new gyroscopes and accelerometers to enable more precise motion tracking than the older iPhone models. The A11 Bionic chip is faster at things like world tracking and scene recognition, and the new image signal processor (ISP) is capable of real-time lighting estimation when using AR programs.

Regrettably, iOS 11 does little to improve the experience of using first-party apps in India: Apple Maps is still practically useless here and doesn’t even have basic navigation features, even as Apple is adding lane guidance and much more in different regions. This means other apps’ attributes like Calendar’s ‘time to leave’ alarms for meetings don’t work either. There is also no sign of Apple Pay, also as rival Samsung’s payment service can be used at virtually every point of sale in the country.

Though Apple doesn’t officially state the amount of RAM which iOS devices ship with, third-party teardowns and grade programs have shown that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have 2GB and 3GB of RAM respectively, figures that are identical to those of their predecessors. What is new, and a welcome change, is the total amount of storage that you get on the foundation model.

At this point you get 64GB of storage on the entry-level iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (compared to 32GB earlier), and the only step up is to 256GB. What this signifies is that not only has Apple reduced the amount of colours the latest iPhone models are available in from five (ignoring Product Red) to three, but the number of storage variants has also gone down from three to two, reducing the total number of SKUs across the lineup by a whopping 30 (5x3x2) to a more manageable 12 (3x2x2).

The entry price of the flagship iPhone lineup has gone up as well – $50 in the US and Rs. 4,000 if you compare the iPhone 8 launch price with this equivalent iPhone 7 a year ago, though it’s worth reminding our readers that MRP of the 32GB iPhone 7 was decreased to Rs. 56,100 after launch, so in ways the Rs. 64,000 price tag of this 64GB iPhone 8 is Rs. Apple claims that the increase was necessary as its input prices have gone up, a claim which could have some merit as global RAM and flash storage prices have been on the rise recently. Rival Samsung has also established its flagship smartphones at higher price points this season, therefore Apple is certainly not alone in this respect.

The iPhone 7 along with iPhone 7 Plus equally had stereo speakers, as do the newest models. Apple says that the new speakers are up to 25 percent more rapid and deliver deeper bass, a claim we all discovered to be accurate during our testing. Like their predecessors, the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus are IP67 rated for water and dust resistance, which means they may be submerged in depths of 1 metre or less for up to 30 minutes, however, like before, Apple’s warranty won’t cover liquid harm.

The glass back of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is not just a design element, it enables an important feature: wireless charging. Apple has adopted the Qi industry standard of wireless charging, which means that though the new iPhone models do not ship with a wireless charger, it is possible to pick up one of the numerous third-party Qi-compatible ones out there. The likes of Samsung have supported this norm for a while, so we finally live in a world in which the exact same charger may top up both your iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8.

If you are new to the world of wireless charging, you want to remember a few points: first, it’s not really ‘wireless’. Most wireless charging mechanisms involve a plate of any kind where you can just place your phone and have it begin charging without plugging in any wires, however the plate itself has to be attached to an outlet via a wire or an adapter. Second, though there have been improvements in the technology lately, wireless charging is still painfully slow.

Apple gave us a 7.5W Belkin wireless charger to test this feature on the new iPhone models with, and it took 24 minutes to transfer the battery on the iPhone 8 Plus from 20 percent to 30 percent. Apple’s bundled 5W wired adapter billed the same phone from 20 percent to 36 percent in the same time. IPhone models have affirmed quicker charging – using an iPad’s 10W charger, such as – for a while, so it’s baffling why Apple continues to ship this type of low-power charger in the box.

The iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus support much faster charging using USB Type-C, but you will have to obtain an expensive power adapter that is compatible with the USB Type-C Power Delivery specification and also a Type-C to Lightning cable just to use this feature. If you presently have a current (or previous generation) Apple MacBook, you can use its charger, however you will still have to obtain the cable. Using our MacBook Pro’s 78W charger along with a third-party Type-C to Lightning cable, we can top the battery up in our iPhone 8 Plus from 20 percent to 51 percent in the exact same 24 minutes. Having said that, forking out almost Rs. 70,000 on a phone and then being expected to invest even more to enable what should be standard functionality is classic Apple up-selling that rightly upsets many.

In terms of battery life, the experience using the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus was similar to this with their predecessors: that the prior will just about handle a day of usage if you don’t do lots of heavy lifting, while the latter will easily get through a day with some juice to spare. In our HD video loop test, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus clocked nearly 8.5 hours and 9.5 hours respectively.

IPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus cameras

From tiny, grainy images in which we can hardly recognise ourselves to ones which can be printed onto a billboard, and movies that view a theatrical release, the phone camera has come a long way in a relatively short period of time.

For most of this journey, Apple has enjoyed the status of having the best camera phone on the market, and the company has obtained plenty of pride in calling the iPhone the most popular camera in the world. But as we’ve noted in our current iPhone reviews, this has not necessarily been true for the last couple of generations. Samsung, HTC, and Google (with the HTC-made Pixel) have caught up with – and in some scenarios even surpassed – the iPhone’s camera performance, which signifies the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus will need to really up their game to regain the crown. With tight control of hardware in addition to software, Apple seems to have done just that.

While the camera specifications remain the same in terms of megapixel counts and aperture sizes, Apple states that the 12-megapixel primary camera has a bigger and faster sensor, a new color filter, and heavier pixels. As noted earlier, the A11 Bionic chip includes a brand new Apple-designed image signal processor, which, among other things, aims to provide faster autofocus in low light and better HDR photos.

All this is backed by enhancements in the OS level. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus encourage the brand new High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF) and High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) container for storing photos and videos respectively, which, Apple says, decrease the amount of space taken by your media by up to 50 percent. This, obviously, means that you are able to save more photos and videos on your device and in the cloud. HEVC also enables new capabilities like shooting 4K video at 60fps and 1080p at 240fps.

If you install an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus as a new device, they will save media in the new formats by default. Technically, HEIF is a brand new file format, along with your images are no longer stored as JPGs on your phone. But for the most part, you do not need to worry about this. When you share photos and videos using others using programs like Facebook, they will automatically be converted to JPG or H.264 respectively, so everyone can watch them. If You Would like, you can have your phone use JPG/ H.264 by default by going to Settings > Camera > Customize and

Choosing Most Compatible, though you will miss out to the space savings and the ability to take 4K/60fps and 1080p/240fps. If you restore your iPhone in an iOS 10 backup, it might have the Most Compatible option chosen by default, which means you will not observe the additional video shooting modes. You can safely switch to High Efficiency without any issues if you so desire (we advise that you do).

With all that work Put in, how do the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus fare in terms of camera performance in the actual world? In daylight, we noticed that the new iPhone models capture the most accurate colours and much more details than the likes of this Galaxy Note 8 and HTC U11.

Low-light performance Is considerably improved compared to that of the iPhone 7 and also iPhone 7 Plus, and with great reason. This is one area in which Apple had fallen considerably behind its competitors. While the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus still don’t quite catch as much detail because the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and HTC U11 in low-light conditions, their sensors still manage to do a lot better than previously. At times, noise is visible once you zoom in, but the majority of people will be perfectly happy with the results.

Overall, we believe The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now at par with the likes of the HTC U11 and Galaxy Note 8, but not significantly greater than either in any one factor of still photography other than capturing the most precise colors (which obviously matters a lot). The camera performance of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus is identical, though the latter obviously has the ability to use up to 2x optical zoom due to its additional telephoto lens.

The headline camera Feature of this iPhone 7 Plus has been its Portrait Mode, which was allowed in a software update that shipped after the phone’s launch. The iPhone 8 Plus retains and considerably improves with this feature, and some of the portraits that we took with it were simply stunning. “DSLR-like” is a marketing term frequently employed by companies to market their phones, but in this case, it would not be an exaggeration.

A new attribute called Portrait Lighting lets you tweak the light onto your face and in the background after you’ve taken a portrait or in real time while composing your frame, but with mixed results. Like the original Portrait Mode, how it performs dependson a lot on the background, the matter, as well as the lighting in the frame. Apple is labelling this feature as ‘beta’ and just like Portrait Mode, it should get better in the future thanks to machine learning.

The iPhone was already our favourite phone for shooting videos with, and also the If you take a great deal of videos with your phone, you do not need to look past the iPhone 8/ iPhone 8 Plus, with the latter supporting 2x optical zoom in video mode also. We’re not into selfies but if you are, the front camera to the new iPhone models packs enough punch to keep you happy.

Best photos are taken with the flash turned away, but we realise most folks leave it to the default ‘auto’ option, which means it inevitably triggers in low-light conditions. Apple states the iPhone 8 along with iPhone 8 Plus are fitted with “a brand new quad LED True Tone Flash with Slow Sync” and we tested it against other top-end phones. In our evaluations, we discovered that though Apple’s flash did not shine the brightest, it did provide the maximum uniform lighting given the right conditions, without flooding a particular object or spot with light. Apple’s implementation of the ‘selfie flash’ in which the display becomes the flash also came out trumps during our tests.
You will find several Changes to the Camera app also. You may no more toggle HDR from within the program – it’s set to Auto by default (and is designed to kick in once the ISP feels it’s needed), however you do have the option to turn it off entirely from going to Settings > Camera. Apple has also added several new filters to the app for article (and live) processing of photos, if third-party programs like Instagram are not your thing.

Verdict
Still here? Good, let’s wrap this thing up. Though many have argued that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus feel like ‘S’ updates, our experience demonstrates that in many ways they offer more improvements than the jump in the iPhone 6s to iPhone 7 cycle. The camera enhancements are significant, bringing Apple back in the exact same level as the best in the business in some scenarios, while maintaining, or even extending, its direct in others.

64,000 and Rs. 73,000 respectively for the 64GB variants, with a Rs. 13,000 premium on both if you wish to get the 256GB variants. Though there are a few different options in this price bracket, the only other phones worth considering at this price point are Samsung’s flagships Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 or the Galaxy S8 along with the HTC U11, which can be marginally cheaper. If you don’t care about the OS, you can pick any one of these devices and safely call yourself the owner of this best smartphone in the world – software and the ruling’s S-Pen aside, there’s very little to pick between those phones.
In a world in which you Can buy a smartphone that’s pretty great on all counts for about a quarter of these prices, we believe flagship smartphones continue to offer you an experience that is unmatched, though the amount of people who really need this kind of refinement has to be examined.

If you already possess An iPhone and money is no object, you can upgrade to the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus and also be extremely happy, but you’d probably need to wait for the iPhone X for even larger bragging rights.

The cameras will be The best cause of owners of recent iPhone models to update, and the A11 Bionic chip and wireless charging are welcome additions. However, if you’ve got an iPhone 7 (Plus) or even an iPhone 6s (Plus), you have a phone that is already fast enough for most jobs. Yes, the newest iPhone models will have an advantage when it comes to running ARKit apps, but there are no “must-have” uses instances for AR right now. Wireless charging is a convenience which will one day be fast enough to be practical for many occasions, but that day isn’t here yet. And if you really want, there are many ways and means of getting it to work with your existing iPhone as well, like by getting a situation that supports wireless charging.

If you already possess An iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, you can probably skip the iPhone 8 line (unless having the latest and greatest camera is really important to you), and wait to see what Apple does with its lineup next year: maybe the X design language and features will become available at a more accessible price? We’d give the identical advice to iPhone 6s line owners who are delighted with their phone – if it ain’t broke, do not go broke buying an upgrade only for the sake of it. But if you have a previous-generation iPhone that is starting to feel long in the tooth, you will experience significant gains in all departments by upgrading to the new iPhone models.

So who would be the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus for, especially in the actual world where the possibility of the iPhone X looms large? If you have zero interest in the iPhone X’s design, if you can not get your head around the idea of the ‘notch’, or can’t afford the phone’s crazy price tag, then you can safely consider its siblings without thinking that you’re ‘settling’ to an inferior phone. Yes, you will miss out on what looks like a stunning OLED display and other additions like optical image stabilisation on the telephoto lens, however there are plenty of question marks around the iPhone X right now – is Face ID great enough to substitute Touch ID? How will the ‘elite’ be incorporated into your favourite applications?

We will not have answers To these questions until we get the chance to test the iPhone X closer to its release in November. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus might seem ‘boring’ in Charging, and much longer, either one of them could happily be your Designated driver for the next few years – or until your mind is turned

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