The smartphone in your pocket is on its last leg and you’ve been waiting all year for the next wave of iPhones to launch so you can make a much needed upgrade. The iPhone 8 finally hits stores tomorrow, and the reviews are in. So, what’s the verdict? It’s great! …wait, no… it sucks! Wait… it’s actually really good!
Hmmm… okay, this is getting confusing.
Who to believe?
The New York Times calls the iPhone 8 “a worthy refinement,” the Wall Street Journal says it’s “not the upgrade you’re looking for,” the Verge says it’s “the default option,” while Engadget calls them “great choices.” Confused yet? Most of my friends are and they’ve been calling me like crazy asking what I think.
Here’s the deal: Apple PR only handed out a certain number of “first hands-on” phones to journalists and they didn’t let me review it this year. So, I sucked it up and bought one. I’ll let you know what I think after I spend some time with it. Until then, here’s my advice: It’s a great phone… but…
The good stuff:
Let’s just get the good stuff out of the way right off the bat: The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are super fast, with an all-new top-of-the-line processor, and slightly redesigned case to allow for wireless charging (yay!). The new True Tone display helps make the screen look better in all kinds of different lighting conditions. The camera is better than ever, and the phone ships with Apple’s latest iOS update, iOS 11.
The “but” is the iPhone X.
Any other year, the iPhone 8 would have been branded an iPhone 7S, with a suite of new features that are more evolutionary than revolutionary. It’s the kind of upgrade we expect. Nothing more, nothing less. Sure, it looks a lot like the iPhone 7 (which looked a lot like the iPhone 6 and 6s) but that wouldn’t stop people from jumping at the chance to own one.
This year, however, the iPhone X makes the 8 look like the bastard stepchild it pretty much is. The X’s edge-to-edge-to-edge display, Snapchat-like animated emoji, and new Face ID security feature makes it the iPhone I want next, and likely you will too. It’s kind of sad that now within the Apple world itself there’s a feeling of the have’s and have-nots, and I don’t want to spend $700+ on a “less than” new phone. But the price tag of the X is crazy too. Sigh.
Price Reminder: The iPhone 8 starts at $699 and the iPhone 8 Plus at $799 for 64GB. The iPhone X starts at $999. The X phones ship Nov. 3.
So what now?
If you don’t see your iPhone as a status symbol, and a screen that spills into all corners isn’t on the top of your wish list, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are amazing phones — especially if you’re walking around with a cracked 5 or battery-beleaguered 6.
They have the exact same processor as the iPhone X, which means you’re not sacrificing performance, and the home button (and Touch ID!) is so familiar at this point that it might be really hard to leave them behind. You’re not going miss out on much if you decide to stick with 8 and skip X, and you’ll probably even avoid the inevitable growing pains of the new Face ID unlock system.
If you just need a new iPhone you won’t have to replace for a while, the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus likely will serve you well and save you a few bucks too. It won’t turn nearly as many heads, but it’s a familiar friend with plenty of power to get your through any task.
Want the latest and absolute greatest, with a touch of “wow!”? Well, that’s when the iPhone X starts to look a lot more appealing.
More soon, when I actually get to spend more time with them both!