It’s hard to describe the iPhone 8 as anything other than a minor upgrade. The ‘8’ branding is really just a way for Apple to justify the iPhone X (10) name. I was due an upgrade from my network, so I decided to upgrade from my two year old iPhone 6S to the iPhone 8. After a week of use, below are my thoughts.
The glass back is a welcome return. I never had a problem with the aluminium back of the 6S, but the 8 has a much more premium feel to it. It also has more grip than the aluminium. One thing to note is that it does collect fingerprints very easily, or at least the space gray version does.
The usual bump in processor is also welcome. I was glad to see that the 8 got the same A11 processor as the X. What that means to the average user is that apps will open quicker, battery will last longer and the phone will feel a lot more fluid in general use. It provides a noticeable boost over the A9 on my 6S, but shouldn’t be taken as a single reason on it’s own to upgrade - the 6S is still plenty fast.
The camera is also noticeably better, particularly in dealing with high and low light, but as with the processor, you have to go fairly far back in the timeline of iPhone releases to find a bad camera.
The speakers have surprised me. They are considerably louder and produce a much clearer sound than before. I often end up finishing a podcast using the speakers after arriving home from work, and this is no issue now, even if the phone is in another room.
The not so good
One step forward with the speakers, one step back with the headphone jack, or lack thereof. Now, I know I’m a year too late, but there’s no getting around the fact that the removal of the headphone jack is just one big pain in the a***. I’m using the lightning to headphone dongle for both my earphones and the AUX in my car which is everything that you would expect - annoying. It was the one single reason that I was reluctant to upgrade from my 6S. On the balance, I think the positives of the 8 outweigh this negative, but if you plan on upgrading from an iPhone 6S or older, prepare for this annoyance.
The design of the phone is nice but it is starting to look dated. This is give or take the same design of the three year old iPhone 6, which is an eternity in the tech world. It’s fine for now, but as we make our way through the X and beyond, it’s not going to age very well.
That leads me to my final point about the 8. It’s going to forever be the phone living in the shadow of the iPhone X, but that’s fine. The iPhone 8 is a great phone with a proven design and some great updates. If you can bear to live without a headphone jack, or the absolute latest hardware from Apple, the iPhone 8 is the perfect choice.