The iPhone 8+ is still a fantastic smartphone, and one to consider if you can’t afford the X.
Hey everyone, Jimmy with Jim’s Review Room. I know the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus might look identical to last years… and maybe the year before, but if you’re in need of a phone, maybe your contract is up, maybe you don’t want to pay $1000 for the iPhone X, this review is for you. Being completely unbiased throughout this review, I will be comparing the iPhone 8 Plus with its biggest competitor, the Samsung S8+. And when I mean unbiased, I’m doing real-world tests, documenting my experiences and showing you what I encountered. I personally paid for this at the retail price of $799. All iPhone 8’s now come with at least 64 gigabytes of internal storage, double over last year’s and matching the Android competitors. As always, I’ll place my affiliate links up above. Check out those links as they’ll give you the most updated prices, in real time. You never know when these things might drop in price.
Going over the physical features, let’s put up the comparison screen and see how these look. The iPhone 8 Plus is one of the few flagships, maybe the only flagship with those big bezels and the smallest screen. Not sure how the new Pixel XL 2 looks, but for now, for $800, we do have this disadvantage. Looking at last year’s iPhone 7 Plus, they are nearly identical, a difference of a fraction. But why a slight increase in size and mass, it’s because iPhones now come with an all-glass back instead of aluminum, to make way for the new wireless charging feature. But more about my battery test later. With the new glass back, like the Samsung phones, if you drop the phone, not only can the screen break, but also the rear.
One thing I also wanted to mention, and this is me coming from a Samsung S8+ and Note 8 which I recently reviewed. The iPhone 8 Plus is quite wide, and the height to width ratio on Samsung phones do feel more ergonomic. I personally have medium sized hands and although the iPhone is perfectly usable, the other options out there feels easier to manage.
The iPhone 8 series returns with the IPX67 rating. The 7 designates the iPhone is able to be submerged under water up to 1 meter or 3.3 feet, for up to 30 minutes. I had dunked this underwater in our test bucket and the iPhone still works perfectly fine.
Although the iPhone 8+ looks pretty much identical aesthetically, it’s what’s underneath that matters this time around. Indeed, there’s speakers on the bottom, which do get blocked when holding the phone horizontally, but your earpiece for phone calls also emits audio. This time around with the iPhone 8+, volume has increased by 25%. In real-world tests, it sounded loud enough, it wasn’t anything stellar, but.. not having to cup my hand on the bottom when watching videos helps tremendously. I did love this feature.
Moving on, the display is identical to last years as well, same specs which I’ll have on screen for you.
And I know, it doesn’t sound exciting at all, but.. When viewing images on the iPhone, I feel as though the iPhone 8 Plus gives off a more natural and more realistic look. On the contrary, I very much appreciate the Samsung phone, even though they might not 100% accurate in my opinion. For example, at times it can be too saturated and with skin tones, some people look more tan than they are, but when you’re not comparing side by side, the Samsung does make every scene pop with vibrancy. You can be the judge on which one you would prefer. Some like color accuracy, some like the wow factor. The proof is in the picture below. Let me know in the comment section.
The biggest difference between the iPhone 8plus and iPhone 7 plus display is support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 which the likes of Netflix and Hulu are introducing in their streaming services. With my experience of the iPhone 8 Plus and watching verified HDR10 or Dolby Vision content on Netflix, the differences don’t seem to be drastic. At times, the Samsung appeared to show more detail, at times, the HDR content looked richer in content. I still have my iPhone 7 from last year and as you see on screen, the color temperatures are slightly different, but nothing really pops or shines to make the newest phone on the market stand out, granted it has the HDR technology built in.
Looking at screen brightness, iPhone 8 Plus has 625nits while Samsung has around 1000nits. The higher the number, the easier it is to see in sunlight. In person, there is a difference, but a difference not as significant as I would have thought. As seen on screen, this shot is taken outdoors in direct sunlight. Although Apple has the lower number on paper, it’s still very much readable in person. Also, factory defaults from Apple do typically offer bigger text over the S8+. As a side note, True-Tone was off during these shots. Looking at the phone indoors, it’s a bit more noticeable that the Samsung is the brighter option, but either phone, especially the iPhone was still very much usable.
Last but not least, True-Tone is new on the iPhone 8 series. The screen’s color temperature changes to warm if you’re in a warmer lit room, and goes cooler in more fluorescent or daytime environments.
Touching base on camera performance. New are dual-lenses on the rear. You have your normal wide shots like this… and by tapping on 1x and going in 2 times, you get shots like this without the need of using digital zoom which degrades your photos. With the right lighting, any camera looks great. The iPhone looks phenomenal. But what’s different about my reviews, my tests, I take a mix of photos that keep in mind the average consumer. It’s about snapping the moments that are important to you, and many moments where there’s not perfect lighting or composition. With that being said, Apple provides a more neutral and natural tone. It gets the job done and if you’re looking for an even and balanced tone, this is for you, but after coming from the Samsung phones, I get much more appetizing shots, much more vibrant images, sharper details and images that most average consumers say wow at first glance.
I also noticed in low-light performance, there was more fiddling around to get the right balance from bright to dark situations. With my S8+ on this particular night with my family, I whip out my Samsung, point it, shoot it and be done. With the iPhone, I get blow out, and on the second try, I would have to tap the screen to select the light source to compensate, then the images would come out looking equivalent.
Now, one thing I must hand to the iPhone 8 Plus, the front-facing camera looks a hell of a lot better. Much more natural, better light balancing, and I don’t get the weird big body and little-head syndrome that I do with some of the competitors out there, specifically Samsung. Also, the Auto-focusing system is one of the best. It’s not as fast as Samsung, but fast enough for folks to enjoy using the camera.
Jumping over to battery performance. Wireless charging is now available using Qi-Chargers. What I can confirm is the wireless charging is powered by up to 5 watts at the moment, with a software update down the road, you’re going to get 7.5watts that should help speed up the process. Looking at the traditional way of recharging, that’s through a physical wire, Apple’s Fast charging is crazy fast at least on paper. Oddly, Apple does NOT supply a fast charger on any one of their new iPhones, and this includes the $1000 iPhone X. You would have to purchase the separate wall adapter AND, the wire.
With the 87 watt model, you can get 50% of battery life back in 30 minutes which is very impressive. With my testing with the wall adapter included in the retail packages, the same adaptor you will receive as well, around 20 minutes in, I was able to get 14% on the iPhone and 22% on the Samsung. At an hour, 39% on the iPhone, 68% on the Samsung. And last, after about an hour and 40 minutes, the Samsung finished charging while Apple had roughly 73% completed. Going all the way, the iPhone 8 Plus didn’t finish recharging until 3 hours in.
Last but not least is performance. There’s no question the iPhone 8’s are fast. I’ll place the specs below for your reference. But with the new processor dubbed the A11 Bionic chip. It’s going to perform. It’s the same processor they’re using in their iPhone 10 so you’re not missing out. Features new with iOs 11, in general, is the use of AR gaming. With the camera on the rear, we can place objects and games in the real world and play around them. With our interactive movements, I gotta say, the more mundane games are a bit more entertaining and fun, but the more interactive games, they offer an additional level of immersion. I really liked it.
But for the average consumer, in real-world use, I never saw a hiccup in performance, apps are as always super smooth to load, web browsing doesn’t stutter, and one of the biggest reasons why folks go to Apple, is it’s super lean highly efficient operating system and features.
So in the end here, being 100% unbiased and proving, showing you as much of the testing that I did, what do you guys think? When taking everything into account and comparing my experiences to help you make a decision, the proof is in the pudding you can say. I want to be sure that’s clear, there are no biases in this review. Please share this review to a friend if you want to show the pros and cons of the iPhone 8 Plus, you might be able to convince them if Apple or Samsung is the way to go, and if you haven’t already. You guys take care, and I’ll see you on the next one.
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