Apple iPhone 8 Plus review: Should one wait for the X?

*Excellent cameras*Extreme performance*Fluid operating system
*Excellent cameras*Extreme performance*Fluid operating system
Apple is the most sought after name when it comes to smartphones and laptops. Year after year Apple tries to woo its customers with brilliant machinery and excellent operating systems on these platforms. This year they did something different at their yearly event where they launched not two, but three models of their smartphone – the Apple iPhone 8, 8 Plus and the X(ten). The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are available in the market, however one would need to wait for the X variant for another month or so. We got the Apple iPhone 8 Plus to tinker with and this is what we could make of it.

Design and Display
Apple has always had a distinct design, which many other Chinese manufacturers have followed. Aesthetically, the Apple iPhone 8 Plus is built on the same lines as the iPhone 7 Plus. However, when you look closely there are few changes on the iPhone 8 Plus’s body when compared to the previous gen. For starters, the back also features strengthened glass; and thanks to this the smartphone can charge wirelessly.

The Apple iPhone 8 Plus is available in three colour variants: gold, space grey and silver. We used the gold version, which seemed a bit inspired from the rose gold we have seen in the earlier models. Other things included in the aluminium plus glass form factor are the twin cameras located at the rear with dual tone flash light with the Apple logo in the middle with iPhone written at the bottom.
The right side of the phone has the ringer off and the volume buttons, while the left side of the phone has the power key and single nano SIM tray. The bottom of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus has dual vents with the loudspeaker and microphone hidden within. Here, one also gets the lightening power connector, which doubles up as the headphone jack.

A 5.5-inch retina HD touchscreen display dominates the front of this mobile that has the signature Apple circular home button under it, the front selfie camera, and ear speaker at the top. The display sports Full HD 1080P resolution at 401 ppi with great viewing angles, same as what was found on the iPhone 7 Plus. However, in the iPhone 8 the company has added True Tone technology that was first seen on the iPad Pro. This technology balances the on screen colours per the surroundings, so you always get accurate colour. Moreover, the touchscreen also supports HDR now.

We played quite a few HD movies and games on it. In all of them the colours were vivid and seemed a notch better than the iPhone 7 Plus. Same was the case with YouTube videos. Other features of the touch screen of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus include 3D touch, 625 cd/m square brightness and fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating (which does work, mostly). Like the previous gen the iPhone 8 Plus is also water and dust resistant.

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Performance and Camera
Now here is where the Apple iPhone 8 Plus has changed the most. Under the hood, the users get the latest A11 Bionic chip that has two high performance cores that are 25% faster than the A10 and four high efficiency cores that are 70% faster than the ones found on A10. Apple usually does not reveal the RAM in the specs, but testing websites and benchmarks have revealed that the Apple iPhone 8 Plus has just 3GB RAM. Wait what? That is half of what the latest Android smartphones have.

However, that does not mean that the performance is not up to the mark. Even with less RAM the Apple iPhone 8 Plus manages to blast past the rest. Thanks to the new iOS 11 (which by the way comes pre-installed) everything on the new iPhone looks very fluid and we did not face any sort of lag during our review. Other tech-specs include 256 GB as storage, 802.11ac WI-FI, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 and an Apple 3-core GPU that the company claims, is 30% faster than the previous gen.

And yes, the new iPhones support wireless QI charging thanks to its all glass rear. This will not be as fast as the wired charging, but does make for effortless night charge on the stand. Apple is not making any wireless chargers, yet. However, users can pick one up from makers like Belkin.

In the Apple iPhone 8 Plus the company has introduced better dual 12 MP rear cameras with optical image stabilisation. One is wide-angle and the other one is telephoto. Together they can capture the best HDR imagery available on smartphone. If we compare it to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, the pictures clicked on the iPhone 8 Plus seem to be slightly better during the day time. However, Samsung wins during the night.

A portrait mode is available on the Apple iPhone 8 Plus which lets users choose from various effects, at the time of the click or afterwards, like studio light, stage light and contour. Each has a professional edge to it, which was only possible with some third-party apps or with Adobe Photoshop. We enjoyed this mode a lot however, beware it is not fully developed and you might not get the desired results on some occasions.

This portrait mode is not available on the front selfie camera, as the mode needs a twin camera setup to work, which will be available on the Apple iPhone X. Talking about the front camera, the one on the Apple iPhone 8 Plus has 7 MP sensor with auto HDR. The results from the front camera were superb and by far the best we have seen coming from any iPhone.

As for the video recording, the rear camera system can record 4K videos at 30 and 60 FPS. While the front one can shoot in Full HD. Both did not disappoint as we got sharp, better than life moving pictures in both 4K rear and Full HD modes. Apple is also using better video compression formats so that the 4K video recording is not so much of a storage hog.

iOS 11 is the biggest change when it comes to the new iPhones. You can check some neat changes that the Apple has brought in the new OS here. Few that we were loved include, the new pull up control centre. This now can be customised and users can add more commonly used features to it. Siri has also been upgraded and one can now type to the AI to get an answer. Over that Siri can now take dictation in Hindi. Screen recording and File manager are good new additions, too. The new iOS also supports 11 Indian languages including Telagu and Kannada.

The Apple iPhone 8 Plus is AR (augmented reality) ready. AR Apps and games are slowly trickling down to the App store, out of which we played YuME and Flat Pack. These do get you off your behind as to fully play an AR game one must stand. We enjoyed the experience, but would we go back to it again and again? Probably not. On the benchmarks the Apple iPhone 8 Plus did extremely well. On Antutu the iPhone 8 Plus got 2,18,949 marks and Geekbench multi-core test it scored 10,068 point. This shows how efficient the Apple system is; for even with less RAM the iPhone 8 Plus scored more than Android devices with 6 GB RAM.

A sore point with all iPhones is its battery. However, Apple does claim that the new iPhones can stay alive for additional 2 hours over the previous gen. Putting it to the test we squeezed 19.5 hours of work time (nominal use on 4G network and scattered Wi-Fi use). When it comes to calling, the Apple iPhone 8 Plus is fabulous on most occasions. There was a bit of crackling heard few times, which Apple has confirmed to fix in the coming updates. Audio is brilliant thanks to the dual stereo setup, where the ear speakers also becomes the loudspeaker (especially when watching a movie or playing a game).


Throughout the review of the Apple iPhone 8 Plus we kept asking ourselves, does it makes sense to ditch the iPhone 7 Plus and skip to this one? The answer was apparent, it can wait. Since we already know that the better iPhone – the Apple iPhone X (ten) is around the corner. With the price tag of Rs 86,000 (256 GB version), one can add couple of thousands and go for the uber-hot iPhone X. Nevertheless, if you are using iPhone 6S/6S Plus or lesser, picking up the iPhone 8 Plus does make a lot of sense.