iPhone 8 vs iPhone 7: Should you upgrade?

iPhone 8 vs iPhone 7: Should you upgrade?

If you were expecting Apple to replace the iPhone 7 with the iPhone 7S, then think again. At a special event in Cupertino, Apple  unveiled the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the successors to last year’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Should you be getting your wallet ready to upgrade? Let’s take a look at what Apple has added this year.

Related: iOS 11 review

iPhone 8 iPhone 7
Screen 4.7-inch LCD 4.7-inch LCD
Display 1334×750 (326ppi)
1334×750 (326ppi)
Aspect ratio 16:9 16:9
Rear camera 12MP, f/1.8, OIS 12MP, f/1.8, OIS
Front camera 7MP, f/2.2 7MP, f/2.2
Chipset Apple A11 Bionic
Apple A10 Fusion
RAM Not stated 2GB
Storage 64/256GB
32GB/128GB/256GB
Battery Not stated 1960 mAh
Waterproof? IP67 IP67
Fingerprint scanner? Yes Yes
Face/Iris scanner? No No
Headphone jack? No No
Data port Lightning Lightning
Wireless charging? Qi No
MicroSD slot? No No
Dimensions 67.3×138.4×7.3mm
67.3×138.4×7.3mm
Weight 148g 138g

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 Design: What’s the difference?

Apple played it safe with the iPhone 7 last year, deciding to keep the overall form-factor and size the same as both the iPhone 6S and 6. And again this time around there isn’t a whole lot different – all the big changes seem to have gone into the iPhone X. Instead, the iPhone 8 looks very familiar. It has rounded sides and a Touch ID button below the display.

Related: iOS 11 problems and how to fix them

The biggest visible difference is the glass back, which replaces the 7000-series aluminium used in the iPhone 7. Apple has switched to glass so it can implement wireless charging into these new phones.

Buy Now: iPhone 8 on O2 (10GB) – £150 upfront, £39/month

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Apple introduced an IP67 water-resistance rating with the iPhone 7, and it’s good to see that that’s still here, but the iPhone and iPhone 8 Plus still both lack a headphone jack. To combat this Apple includes both a Lightning-to-3.5mm dongle and a pair of Lightning EarPods in the box.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 Specs: Which phone is more powerful?

Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were, predictably, the fastest iPhones ever, thanks to the A10 Fusion quad-core CPU, 2/3GB RAM and a six-core GPU. They were, and still are, some of the fastest and smoothest phones out there, easily running any app or game in the App Store.

Inside the iPhone 8, there’s an A11 Bionic chip, which is built using the same 10nm manufacturing process as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, for improved operational efficiency, and 2GB RAM (3GB in the 8 Plus). Apple says the Bionic is 25% faster than the A10, and it has the first Apple-designed GPU that’s built especially for Metal 2.

In our tests and after using both phones, the iPhone 8 is faster. It almost doubles the scores in benchmarking apps like Geekbench 4 and feels super fluid in everything that you do. But, the iPhone 7 is still very fast and there isn’t many apps available that really take advantage of this extra power. Even the intensive AR apps we tried out worked well on both phones, which is great if you don’t want to upgrade but annoying if you do.

In terms of display, the iPhone 8 is very similar to the iPhone 7. Both are available with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch IPS LCD panels with a Retina resolution. If you’re after something a little different, the iPhone X has a near-bezel-free OLED display.

What the iPhone 8 does add is True Tone. This alters the temperature of the display depending on your environment and makes it much easier to view in the dark. The iPhone 8 can also play back HDR/Dolby Vision content from Netflix and iTunes, for added contrast and brightness.

The iPhone 7’s 12-megapixel f/1.8 camera was good, but it was quickly surpassed by the Google Pixel and then the Galaxy S8 and HTC U11. 

For the iPhone 8, Apple has made a bevy of small changes across the board. It’s still 12MP f/1.8 on the regular iPhone 8, and there’s a dual-sensor 12MP camera on the Plus, but it now has better pixel processing, faster autofocus and hardware noise reduction.

Pictures from the iPhone 8 are great, with better saturation and much richer colours. They’re not quite as good as the Pixel 2, but this is one area you will notice if you decide to upgrade.

The iPhone 8 Plus has a new Portrait Lighting mode that’ll launch in beta, and this adds a so-called ‘professional lighting’ look to your pictures.

Buy the iPhone 8 now – O2 (3GB data), £37pm, £125 upfront

When we reviewed the iPhone 7 our biggest criticism was the poor battery life. We struggled to make it past the end of the working day without reaching for the Lightning cable. The 7 Plus didn’t have the same problems, thankfully.

The battery on the iPhone 8 is actually smaller than the 7, but optimisations for the new CPU does make it last longer. We’ve managed to get about day without reaching for the charger.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 Price: Which phone offers better value for money?

When it first went on sale in late 2016, the iPhone 7 started off at £599 for 32GB of storage and £699 for 128GB. If you wanted the bigger iPhone 7 Plus then you’d be splurging £699 for the 32GB and £799 for the bigger 128GB model.

The iPhone 8 kicks off at $699/£699 for 64GB and $799/£799 for 128GB. While the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799/£799 for 64GB and $899/£899 for 128GB.

Buy Now: iPhone 8 on Vodafone (1GB) – £125 upfront, £36/month
Buy Now: iPhone 8 on O2 (10GB) – £150 upfront, £39/month
Buy Now: iPhone 8 on EE (16GB) – £0 upfront, £47.99/month

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 summary: What’s the difference?

Design: All the phones are IP67 rated and lack a headphone jack, but the iPhone 8 has a glass back for wireless charging. Both come in 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes.

Specs: The 10nm A11 chip powers the iPhone 8, though RAM has yet to be determined. The iPhone 7 has an A10 Fusion chip and 2/3GB RAM.

Price: The iPhone 8 kicks off at $699/£699 for 32GB and $799/£799 for 128GB. The iPhone 8 Plus starts at $799/£799 for 64GB and $899/£899 for 128GB. That should relate to similar pricing to the iPhone 7’s.

Buy Now: iPhone 8 / 8 Plus for £699 – lowest price ever

Related: iPhone 9

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8: verdict

The iPhone 8 isn’t a huge upgrade and we don’t think there’s much here to entice those who picked up an iPhone 7. The camera is better, as is the screen, but they’re all quite small updates.

Let us know your thoughts on the iPhone 8 via Facebook or Twitter.