Apple's iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now officially on sale, but there's a good chance you still don't really know what the company's offering here.
Apple rushed through its announcement of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus such that you may well have missed out on the key new features. We're guessing it was either too excited about the new iPhone X that would be announced next, or hoping you wouldn't notice that the iPhone 8 is probably the least exciting new iPhone we've ever seen.
You could argue that the iPhone 7 was already a brilliant phone, and therefore little was required in the way of an update. However, key new features in the iPhone 8 merely play catch up with its rivals, with the closest thing to a groundbreaking feature a new Portrait Lighting mode - and only on the iPhone 8 Plus.
A small number of iPhone 8 devices are reportedly suffering from pops and crackles during phone calls. Apple has commented on the situation:
"We are aware of the issue which is affecting customers in a small number of cases. Our team is at work on a fix, which will be included in an upcoming software release," Apple told Business Insider.
The new features in iPhone 8 can be summarised as follows:
- New glass (front and rear) that is more durable than on any other smartphone
- Support for Qi wireless charging (charging pad not included)
- 25 percent louder stereo speakers
- A11 Bionic chip
- New 64- and 256GB storage options
- In-beta Portrait Lighting mode (iPhone 8 Plus only)
- Optimised for augmented reality
You'll also like: iPhone 8 vs iPhone 8 Plus - what's the difference?
When is the iPhone 8 release date?
They will ship with iOS 11, the final version of which became available to older devices from 19 September. Read our full iPhone 8 review.
How much does the iPhone 8 cost in the UK?
Both iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in 64- and 256GB storage capacities, with the iPhone 8 priced at £699 and £849 respectively, and the iPhone 8 Plus at £799 and £949 respectively - check out our guide to where to buy the 8 and 8 Plus for the best deals.
That's more expensive than the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, for which prices started at £599 and £719. This may have something to do with the fact the amount of storage you get as standard has now doubled to 64GB.
Both models will be available in Gold, Silver or Space Grey, with Apple dropping the Rose Gold option.
iPhone 8 new features and specifications
|Specification||iPhone 8||iPhone 8 Plus|
|Operating system||iOS 11||iOS 11|
|Available colours||Gold, Silver, Space Grey||Gold, Silver, Space Grey|
|Display||4.7in Retina HD (1334x750, 326ppi) IPS||5.5in Retina HD (1920x1080, 401ppi) IPS|
|Processor||Apple A11 Bionic, M11 co-processor||Apple A11 Bionic, M11 co-processor|
|Primary camera||12Mp, f/1.8, 5x digital zoom, quad-LED flash||12Mp wide-angle, f/1.8 + 12Mp telephoto, f/2.8, optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, Portrait Lighting, quad-LED flash|
|Front camera||7Mp FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video||7Mp FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video|
|Video recording||4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps||4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps|
|Fingerprint scanner||TouchID built into Home button||TouchID built into Home button|
The iPhone 8 is faster than the iPhone 7 and with some improvements to photography, as well as louder audio and wireless charging, but there's really no obvious need to rush out to upgrade. This is more than likely intentional, to draw attention to the iPhone X while keeping a slightly more affordable iPhone option for the masses.
The design has changed only slightly, with 'super-tough' glass now covering the back as well as the front - Apple says it is the "most durable glass ever seen on a smartphone". The frame is 7000-series aluminium, and though it's beginning to look tired the iPhone still looks good.
YouTuber JerryRigEverything has done some durability tests and concluded that the iPhone 8's glass is no more resistant to scratches than the iPhone 7. Plus, he says that the Sapphire glass covering the camera isn't as tough as real sapphire.
Similarly, PhoneBuff put the iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8 in an industrial drop test machine. You can watch the video (skip to around 90 seconds in) and you'll see the glass backs on both phones smash on the first drop.
Even if you pay extra for AppleCare+, you'll have to pay an excess of £79 to get a cracked rear glass fixed. And if Apple deems it not covered under warranty, the repair price is over £350.
So if you do buy an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, you'll want to protect it with a good case.
iPhone 8 keeps the 4.7- and 5.5in displays of its predecessors, albeit now with True Tone (which adjusts the white balance to match surrounding light for a more natural experience), and the insistence on USB-C audio.
Well-known teardown specialists iFixit have already dissected an iPhone 8 and have given it a 6-out-of-10 score for repairability. Internals are somewhat similar to the iPhone 7, but it's unknown at this stage how durable that glass rear back will be:
While all its rivals are opting for full-screen Quad-HD displays, the iPhone 8 has a standard aspect ratio with only an HD resolution (the Plus model is full-HD). It's still a great screen, clear and sharp with excellent colours and brightness, but it's now ancient tech in comparison to competitors.
There is an interesting new in-beta feature for the camera called Portrait Lighting, enabling you to mess around with lighting effects on portraits during and after the shot, but it's supported only on the iPhone 8 Plus.
The camera itself has been improved on both models, though the dual-camera is still reserved for the Plus model. The cameras now have larger and faster sensors, deeper pixels and a new colour filter, and both sensors on the iPhone 8 Plus' dual-camera feature OIS (previously seen only in the Galaxy Note 8).
DXOMark has extensively tested the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus cameras and concluded that the 8 Plus has the best cameras of any phone in existence, which could make it worth the money if you're thinking of upgrading. Results for the iPhone 8 are also extremely good, just two points behind the iPhone 8 Plus at 92 (out of 100).
In terms of performance battery life is around the same as it was on the iPhone 7, though it now additionally supports wireless charging (currently possible at 5W, but with iOS 11.2 it will support 7.5W). But the Apple A11 Bionic hexa-core chip promises improvements over the previous A10 and is claimed to be the most powerful processor in a smartphone. (We'll confirm when we are able to test this in our lab.)
Apple says it has two performance cores that are 25 percent faster than A10, four efficiency cores that are 70 percent faster than A10, and a second-gen controller that is 70 percent faster for multithread workloads. Graphics are also 30 percent faster, thanks to a new Apple-designed processor.
With the iPhone 8 support for augmented reality (AR) is said to be deeply integrated to both the hardware and software. More apps are being built for AR all the time, and will enable you to do things such as see stats about players live at a sports event, or superimpose a map on top of the sky showing you exactly what you're looking at.
At the launch event Apple demoed The Machines, an iOS exclusive from Directive Games coming later this month. It's one of the world's first multiplayer games to be played completely in AR, and it was easy to see how the experience made the player really feel as though they were part of the game.
Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017 & 2018