iPhone 8 Review

The iPhone 8 benefits from a £100/$100 price cut in 2018, but does that make the last of the 'small' iPhones worth a purchase?

Sections

Verdict

The design might now be dated but the phone still offers nice visuals, great performance and a solid camera.

Pros

  • Great camera
  • Blazingly fast
  • Colourful display
  • Wireless charging is a nice extra

Cons

  • Dated design
  • Battery life could be better
  • That huge bezel

Key Features

  • Review Price: £599
  • 4.7-inch HD True Tone display
  • A11 Bionic
  • 2GB RAM
  • 12-megapixel f/1.8 camera with OIS
  • 8-megapixel selfie camera
  • iOS 11 (upgradeable to iOS 12)
  • TouchID
  • 64GB or 256GB storage
  • Lightning EarPods

What is the iPhone 8?

The iPhone 8 serves as a momentous device in the story of Apple’s smartphones. It’s the last of its kind, the last to use Apple’s old design language, launched alongside the then subversive iPhone X. Since then Apple has retired the hardware framework used by the iPhone 8 entirely, with 2018’s most ‘basic’ iPhone taking the form of the wholly new iPhone XR.

Despite the shift in design for this year’s lineup, there’s still plenty of value in 2017’s iPhone 8, more so now perhaps than ever, as its price continues to fall. Today you can pick one up from Apple for £599/$599 and for some, the fact that its the last ‘small’ iPhone is reason enough alone to pick one up. Not to mention it benefits from the speed improvements that the latest iOS 12 brings to the table.

iPhone 8 price

The most basic iPhone 8 configuration costs £599/$599, while the larger capacity 256GB model sells for £749/$749.

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Related: iPhone Black Friday deals

iPhone 8 release date

The iPhone 8 launched at the tail end of 2017 and despite now being a year old, it’s still sold directly from Apple, along with availability from a number of carriers and other retailers. Check out our iPhone 8 deals page to nab the best price right now.

iPhone 8 – Design

The iPhone 8 represents the most refined take on the design Apple first offered up with the iPhone 6, back in 2014. It’s a conventional candy bar touchscreen device with rounded corners and curved edges, although the materials at play here are a little different from that of its progenitor. More in line with most other flagship phones from the last couple of years, the iPhone 8 swaps a metal build for a glass-backed design, while a band of aluminium now runs the phone’s edge, where you’ll find the volume rocker, antennas and lock switch.

Moving to a glass back isn’t solely for aesthetics but it certainly doesn’t hurt them. For one the phone looks and feels more balanced, and although it adds a little weight, it also improves grip, which is no bad thing. The added grams are less welcome on the Plus model but here, it feels just right.

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iPhone 8 back

My one slight annoyance with the glass design is that it doesn’t quite blend into the aluminium rim as it did in previous models. There’s a notable lip between the end of the glass and the start of the metal, and my fingernail often gets caught in it. It’s a minor design quirk, however.

The obvious downside with glass is its fragility. The worry here is that a drop that wouldn’t have left any lasting damage on the iPhone 7 will leave the 8 with a seriously cracked rear. For instance, even though the Samsung Galaxy S8 is supposed to benefit from tough Gorilla Glass 5, my device ended life as a glittering mess of glass shards after a 2ft drop onto a wooden floor.

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I applaud Apple for switching to glass, but my overall view of the iPhone 8’s design is that it feels dull, predictable and quite some way behind Android flagships. The trend to trim the bezel surrounding the display – which provides more screen in a smaller body – can be found on the iPhone X and Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup but the iPhone 8 still sports a sizeable bezel and fairly small screen.

At least Apple has ensured the iPhone 8 is still IP67-rated for water-resistance, a feature that’s fast-becoming a prerequisite on flagship phones. It also retains the exceptional Taptic engine that provides thoroughly satisfying nudges and buzzes throughout the operating system.

Related: Best iPhone 8 deals

iPhone 8 side front

Apple’s handsets remain my preferred choice when it comes to the colourways available. There are three colour options for the iPhone 8 – not the five of the iPhone 7 or XR – but the gold is easily my favourite. This replaces the former gold option and Rose Gold; it’s an amalgamation of both. The glass on the rear of the device possesses a soft, almost ‘creamy’ quality, while the sides are a less vivid pink. It’s appealing, but not all in the Trusted Reviews’ office share this view. If gold isn’t your thing then the iPhone 8 is available in Space Grey and silver too.

It’s been a year since Apple killed the headphone jack, and to absolutely no-one’s surprise, it hasn’t made a return here. Having lived with the iPhone 7, I’d already become used to either picking up some wireless headphones or remembering to take the dongle – but it’s hardly ideal.

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iPhone 8 – Screen

At 4.7-inches, with a barely over-720p resolution, the display on the iPhone 8 doesn’t whip up much excitement. However, there is actually plenty to like here, and the few changes Apple has made do make a noticeable difference in use.

The main upgrade is True Tone, which first debuted on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It’s a clever feature that dynamically alters the display’s white balance depending on the environment you’re in. It’s like the Night Shift mode in iOS, but on a hardware level. It sounds minimal, but it really does work to soften the blue tones in the display, with the end result making it more comfortable on the eyes.

Apple is also now supporting the Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats, so you can play back HDR movies from iTunes and supported content from Netflix. Unlike the iPhone X, which Apple claims has a ‘True HDR’ screen, the iPhone 8 doesn’t. Still, watching Mad Max in HDR does look noticeably better than on the iPhone 7.

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iPhone 8

The rest of the display specs remain the same as before. It’s still an IPS LCD panel; if you want the perfect blacks and more vivid colours of OLED, you’ll have to plump for an iPhone X, iPhone XS, XS Max or an Android device.

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The resolution can make photos look slightly grainy but it remains one of my favourite displays for colour reproduction, and the support for the DCI-P3 wide colour gamut makes a huge difference in supported content. It also excels for use in super-sunny conditions – an area in which OLEDs often suffer.