Pros / The iPhone 8 has the best-performing processor on the market.
Cons / It doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio jack.
Verdict / At first glance, the iPhone 8 isn't very different from the iPhone 7, but its new A11 Bionic processor makes it the best-performing smartphone on the market.
When you hold the iPhone 8, you won't find much about it that's different from the iPhone 7, even with its all-glass body. It's slightly heavier and bigger, but not significantly. The iOS 11 also looks and acts like the iOS 10 on the iPhone 7. In addition, both feature an IP67 water-resistance rating and a 12MP camera with a 1.8 aperture. The iPhone 8's biggest improvement is its blazing fast A11 Bionic chip processor – with six-cores, the processor outperforms all other smartphones, save for the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, which feature the same processor. This make any of these new iPhones a worthy upgrade for Apple users and may even be enough to entice Android fans.
As mentioned, the biggest change in the iPhone's design is the glass casing. This was, of course, received with a lot of skepticism, since glass isn't exactly famous for being durable, especially on Apple’s products. However, Apple argues that it's the most durable glass ever made for smartphones. Our sister site, Tom's Guide, performed drop tests on the iPhone 8 Plus, which showed that the glass is more durable than that used on previous iPhones, but it’s certainly not impervious to damage. They dropped the phone from heights over 6 feet onto wood, and it didn't cause any damage. It only cracked when dropped onto concrete, thought the damage was minor.
We gave the iPhone 8 an A for usability. If you've used previous iPhones, there's no learning curve. Even users new to the Apple iOS shouldn't find it difficult to navigate, as the company’s products are famous of being user-friendly. That said, the 8 doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio jack, which is a sticking point for users who prefer the traditional wired connection for audio over wireless options. If you want to use headphones, it can be a headache working around the lack of an input, especially if you don't use or don't prefer Bluetooth headphones.
The iPhone 8 features an excellent 12MP camera with a 1.8 aperture and a digital zoom up to 5x, and it received an A+ in our tests for image quality. Besides size, the camera is the biggest difference between the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus, with the latter having a 10x zoom, wide-angle and telephoto cameras, portrait mode, and portrait lighting. In other words, while both phones take very good pictures and video, the 8 Plus is the better choice if you like to get artistic with your pictures and video.
Both iPhones have the same 7MP FaceTime camera. It's capable of recording 1080p HD video, comes with retina flash and has a 2.2 aperture. That said, the image quality, though still great, is not much different from the iPhone 7’s.
The best argument for the iPhone 8 is its A11 Bionic processor, which outperforms every other smartphone processor on the market. The processor, which has four efficiency cores and two performance cores, simply dominates in every performance test. We performed nine benchmark tests, and the A11 Bionic processor was impressive in each one.
In the 3DMark Ice Storm test, the A11 scored a 61,443. By comparison, the iPhone 7's A10 processor, which was previously the fastest in that test, scored a 36,711, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 scored a 36,415.
In addition, the iPhone 8 scored a 4,283 in the 3DMark Sling Shot test, while the iPhone 7 scored a 2,406 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 scored a 3,510. In the AnTuTu benchmark, the A11's score was 61,146 higher than the Galaxy S8’s. This trend continues with each benchmark test. Basically, if you can't stand a slow smartphone, the iPhone 8's A11 processor is the best option.
We gave the iPhone 8’s battery an A- for overall performance. Our sister site, Tom's Guide, performed battery benchmark tests with the iPhone 8, and it ran for nine hours and 54 minutes. This was nearly an hour longer than the iPhone 7, which is impressive since the battery is smaller and has less capacity. While it isn’t the best battery life compared to other smartphones, it's certainly very good, especially considering how fast its processor is.
The next biggest improvement the iPhone 8 makes over previous models is its wireless charging and rapid charging features. Samsung’s phones have used wireless charging for years, so it's nice to see the iPhone catch up – this feature is made possible by the phone’s new all-glass body. Because it has rapid charging, the iPhone 8 can charge to 50 percent in 30 minutes.
Only a few smartphones feature the latest Bluetooth 5.0, and the iPhone 8 is one of them. This update to Bluetooth technology makes big strides, providing a longer range, faster data transfer speeds and bigger bandwidth. This all translates to a better audio experience and Bluetooth performance overall.
The iPhone 8 is water-resistant with an IP67 rating. That means it can handle being dunked under 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't cover liquid damage in the warranty. So, despite the water-resistance rating, you won't get a replacement if you drop it in the toilet and it stops working.
As you would expect with an iPhone, the latest iteration is very easy to use, features the best camera and has an excellent display. Of course, these are all things we said about the iPhone 7. However, while the iPhone 8 doesn't seem to be very different from its predecessor at first glance, its new A11 processor makes it a powerhouse capable of handling the most demanding mobile apps. And when you consider its new wireless charging feature and rapid charging, this smartphone is easily one of the best options on the market.
Contributing Reviewer: Jeph Preece