iPhone 8 and 8 Plus: What You Need to Know

How Apple Math Makes 8 Much Closer to X

Announced at the same time as the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus might seem a little overshadowed by their fancy new sibling. Sure they don't have all the fancy features of the iPhone X, but to say the 8 and 8 Plus aren't very good iPhones and can't hold their own is wrong.

The Coolest New Features of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Coming just one year after the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, it would be easy to assume the upgrade to the 8 and 8 Plus would be minor, even if it it a welcome one. From a slight distance, you could even mistake the 8 for the 7, but under the screen there are serious improvements.

iPhone 8 Processors

First among these improvements is the cutting-edge, 64-bit, multicore A11 Bionic processor and an all-new Graphics Processing Unit. These chips deliver major horsepower for computing- and graphics-intensive tasks. The iPhone 7 series was built around powerful chips, but the A11 Bionic is 25 percent to 70 percent faster than the 7's A10 Fusion chip, according to Apple. How fast? In some cases, the A11 is faster than the computer you're probably using to read this review.

The 8’s GPU is about 30 percent faster than the one in the 7 series. That GPU is used for the camera and Apple's implementation of augmented reality. The camera on the iPhone 8 seems superficially the same as on the 7—it takes 12-megapixel images and captures 4K video—but the 8's improvements aren't captured by those specs.

iPhone 8 Cameras

The 8's camera system lets 83 percent more light into its sensor, resulting in better low-light pictures and more true-to-life colors. On the iPhone 8 Plus, this enables a new Portrait mode, in which the camera senses light and depth as you compose a photo and dynamically adjusts to create the best-looking image.

Video recording is nicely boosted, too: The 8 series can capture 4K video at up to 60 frames per second (up from 30 frames per second on the 7) and slow-motion, 240-frame-per-second video in 1080p (compared to 120 frames per second on the 7).

Augmented Reality

The iPhone 8's GPU is also essential to its Augmented Reality features. Augmented Reality, or AR, combines live data from the Internet with images of the real-world in front go you (like seeing Pokemon seemingly in your living room in Pokemon Go).

AR requires a sensitive camera to make sure it works wherever you are and in whatever conditions, as well as a powerful GPU for combining data, live images, and digital animations. The extra horsepower under the iPhone 8's hood and intelligence built into its cameras make the 8 well suited to AR.

iPhone 8 Design and Wireless Charging

iPhone on wireless charger

While the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus look like recent versions of the iPhone, they are different. Gone is the aluminum back, replaced with an all-new glass back. And, despite what skeptics might claim, it's not to help Apple get more money from broken glass panels. It's for delivering power.

Thanks to its glass back, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus allow for inductive charging (often referred to as wireless charging despite, you know, needing a wire). With it, you can forget plugging in your iPhone to charge it. Just place the iPhone on a wireless charging mat and power flows from a wall outlet through the charging mat into the phone's battery. Based on the widely used Qi standard, it should eventually be easy to charge the iPhone 8 at home or on-the-go in airports and other locations.

If your charging mat is connected to power through USB-C, the fast-charging feature gives the iPhone 8 a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Takeaway

  • Glass back allows for inductive charging
  • Much faster, and more power efficient CPU and GPU
  • Camera improved for truer-to-live color capture and allows more light
  • Video camera captures 4K at 60 frames per second

What Happened to the iPhone 7S?

Never one to shy away from breaking tradition, Apple's skipped the old naming convention that's existed for nearly 6 years. In the past, Apple has the iPhone 4 then the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5, then 5S. All the way up until 2016.

So, following that logic, the iPhone 8 should be called the iPhone 7S. Instead, Apple decided to skip an 'S' and go right to the next model. Either way, don't go looking for an iPhone 7S; you'll never find it.

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