There’s undoubtedly a lot of hype for Apple’s new iPhone X, but if you’re looking to save some money and get the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus instead, then you’re probably interested in how it compares to the previous generation model and whether it’s worth the upgrade.

While they look similar at first glance, some distinguishing features set the two models apart. In this piece, we’ll dispel some confusion by going over some of the most significant changes between the previous-generation iPhone 7/7 Plus and the new iPhone 8/8 Plus.

Under the hood

Starting with the obvious, it’s a new iPhone, and that means it gets an entirely new chipset. Just like the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus each boast the all-new six-core A11 Bionic chip powerhouse and the upgraded M11 motion co-processor. These are a step up from the A10 Fusion chip and M10 motion co-processors, and they’re still 64-bit just like their predecessors.

According to Apple, the A11 Bionic chip is split into both high and low-efficiency cores just like the A10 Fusion was, and will deliver anywhere from 25-70% more performance depending on which cores are being used. More importantly, it does all of this while being more power efficient.

The GPU behind the A11 Bionic chip also serves as an excellent performance upgrade, which Apple dubs 30% faster than the previous generation chip. This is important for apps and games that utilize Apple’s new augmented reality APIs.

Additionally, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus each offer something new called the Neural Engine, which is a separate chipset aimed at helping your iPhone process machine learning and related algorithms. Since artificial intelligence is a big player in this refresh, the Neural Engine is crucial for future app development.

Camera

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus get a slight camera bump (no pun intended) over their predecessors too. While it’s still a 12-megapixel sensor, the technology behind the camera is augmented to help improve your shots. Among some of the new capabilities that come in this year’s iPhone refresh are:

  • An all-new quad-LED True Tone flash system with Slow Sync
  • Support for Portrait Lighting (iPhone 8 Plus – dual cameras required)
  • 4K video recording now supports both 24 and 60 fps, in addition to 30 fps
  • 1080p slo-mo video recording now supports 240 fps, in addition to 120 fps
  • Upgraded image signal processing improves low-light performance

Because photography is a large part of any iPhone owner’s life, these updates are sure to make both your mobile photos and videos stand out from the rest.

Wireless capabilities

Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus support the latest Bluetooth 5.0 standard, which is a bump up from Bluetooth 4.2 in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 Plus.

The upgraded Bluetooth capabilities mean less power usage, twice the bandwidth, and up to four times the range you’re used to with the previous-generation handset. Moreover, Bluetooth 5.0 is more reliable and secure than the previous standard. These capabilities are only fully utilized if your Bluetooth accessories support Bluetooth 5.0 too, but accessories shouldn’t take too long to adopt the new standard.

The new handsets also pick up support for Galileo and QZSS in addition to GPS and GLONASS, which means location services on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus can better serve you in different parts of the world.

Battery and charging

All of Apple’s iPhones are charged with Lightning cables; and yes, one is still included in the box of Apple’s latest handsets. Nevertheless, there are some major differences in charging capabilities you need to be aware of.

Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus support Quick Charge, letting you charge from 0-50% in under 30 minutes. This capability requires a Power Delivery-supported adapter, such as the one that comes with the latest USB-C-based MacBooks or MacBook Pros. Unfortunately, the AC adapter that comes in the box of your new iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus doesn’t support Quick Charge, nor does the Lightning cable that comes included. You would need to purchase the Quick Charge-compatible AC adapter and USB-C to Lightning cable separately.

You could even drop the cables altogether, as iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus both support wireless charging via Qi-supported chargers. At first, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will support a slower 5-watt charging speed via Qi, but Apple plans to enable support for 7.5-watt charging via Qi in a future software update.

For the most part, battery life should remain about the same as last year’s handsets.

Storage

Perhaps one of the last major key points to mention if you’re upgrading to the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus from last year’s model is that the new handsets have new storage options.

While the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus supported 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options previously, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will only support 64GB and 256GB storage options at launch.

Notably, Apple is no longer selling 256GB models of the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus in a push to get people to buy the newer handset, but anyone buying the low-end handset will find 64GB is an excellent storage upgrade from 32GB.

Nevertheless, the new 4K video recording capabilities and the size of AR-enabled apps and games are sure to eat your storage space up quickly so you might opt for the larger storage option to prevent your device from filling up.

Miscellaneous differences

Although everything outlined above makes up the meat and potatoes of the biggest differences between last year’s and this year’s handsets, there are some other various differences that we’d like to point out to you as well:

  • iPhone 8/8 Plus support Dolby Vision and HDR10 content
  • iPhone 8/8 Plus have a glass backplate instead of an aluminum backplate
  • True-tone Retina HD display adjusts the white balance relative to your ambient lighting
  • iPhone 8/8 Plus are slightly larger/heavier than their predecessors (but not by much)
  • New speaker system delivers up to 25% more bass than iPhone 7/7 Plus

What the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus don’t have

Because the iPhone X is sure to be the center of attention for iPhone users to come, I think it’s also important to note what the iPhone X has that iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus do not; this includes:

  • 5.8-inch edge-to-edge OLED-based Super Retina Display (2436×1125 @ 458 PPI) with 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and support for HDR
  • Support for Face ID (facial recognition) via Apple’s TrueDepth camera system
  • Dual-optical image stabilization for video recording
  • Front camera support for Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji
  • Redesigned UI with new gestures to support the “notch” at the top of the screen

Wrapping up

Should you get the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus if you have the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus currently? My opinion is no, because the iPhone 7/7 Plus still has plenty of life in it. Then again, everyone has their own subjective opinion of the value behind the minor spec bumps and whether their own hard-earned money should go toward the 8/8 Plus or the X.

Both the 8 and 8 Plus are an upgrade from their respective predecessors, but the iPhone X will be my upgrade choice this year because it has so many great features in comparison to what feels like Apple’s “S” upgrade in disguise.

To learn more about the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, check out their detailed tech specs.

Based off all the differences, have you made a choice in what iPhone you’ll be getting this year? Share in the comments below!

  • The Blank

    Next time you write an article that is looking for a definitive answer, please give a real answer and stance. Journalists always revert to the “it’s up to you” answer to be safe and not get flamed online. The title said you were going to choose, and you did not. You should have stated if it was worth it or not, then defend the stance. Not post facts about the phone then say it’s up to you.

  • Siri Tim Cook Holness

    iPhone 8 isn’t worth it the X is

    • That’s my take on it.

    • Thanks for stating a personal opinion as if it was a fact 🙂

    • nova12

      Yeah I have a 7 and after the keynote, decided I’d hold out for another year. But the more I look at the X, I’m wavering a little. But no interest in the 8.

    • Jess Estadt

      iPhone 7 to 8 isn’t worth it. All glass being the only difference. The X isn’t worth it either. You’re paying an extra $300 just for face Id and higher resolution. Might as well wait until next year when the models they come out when they will look similar to the X but you pay the normal price. Don’t see why they wouldn’t make all of them edge to edge display and have the same features in the future. They aren’t gonna downplay it.

      • I agree with you. Just one features and $300 more unnecessary.

  • UC_Reds

    I was thinking the same exact thing. My take is that if you are coming from a 6s plus to an 8 plus then there will be enough difference to be satisfied with the upgrade. However, there is little difference between the 7 plus and 8 plus so you have to think about getting the iPhone X. It’s a big leap in price so comes down to if you want to pay the difference to get the X if you are an iPhone 7 plus owner. If you are on a payment plan, it should be an easier decision to get the X @256gb. I don’t mention the 7 or 8 regular size cause there doesn’t seem to be a buzz about that model at all.

    • Icebox766

      I’m on a 6s+ and the question is 8+ or X. With the 256GB models, there’s a $200 difference in cost. To me the main issue favoring the X is the slightly bigger, better resolution screen with a smaller form factor. The + never has been comfortable in a pants pocket, and that’s an issue every summer.

      Face ID is a turn off, with Touch ID I can grab my phone from the jacket pocket or bag that it’s in and have the phone unlocked when I first see it. And unlocked with Touch ID means home screen visible and ready to go. From the demos, unlocked with FaceID still requires an additional swipe up to be ready to go. That sucks.

  • Daniel Amir

    In the storage part, the second paragraph. iPhone 7 and iPhone (7) Plus not 8.

  • 919263

    People are trying to fix their flooded homes… who the F_ck has $1000 to burn on an iPhone…. oohh wait may be these prople…. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ab03969820eb3f3d0d2a68216b6bd5666c1c65e43c3d62d0d48744c450f6c298.jpg

    • Mark S

      Well people who don’t insist on living in flood prone areas year after year after year do. Because they don’t have to waste their money buying boards to nail over their windows, and taking a week or two off of work to flee their home. They also don’t have to waste their money continuously remodeling their homes from storm damage and replacing other belongings. Not them I’m defending overpriced electronics.

      • 919263

        So you recognized your picture even thought you cannot see your face..?? Was the belt the dead giveaway…?

      • Micke på taket

        Damn son ,, youre like a communist.. Damn , nasty.

    • Rowan09

      Which people the whole US?

    • Chris Roach

      I live on top of a hill in London, England. If my house ever floods from the weather I will stick my head up my ass like in your lovely picture.

  • malhal

    The guy who destroys phones on youtube shows the 8 doesn’t bend like the 7 does so stays watertight, might be worth considering.

  • ExposedHen

    In the “What the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus don’t have” section, the first bullet point should be 5.8″, not 8″.

  • DMC0

    Well… I’m still using 6S, and I don’t see any bigger reasons to upgrade to 8.
    Of course, Apple care to change my mind – not by giving me some extra changes with 7 or 8, but slowing down my 6s by new ios11. Opening folder with icons or simply gesture? not anymore, we give you extra 3 seconds to wait for this. Or buy our new product.

    Ehh..

  • Cones1r

    Throw up the X!!!! I’m like my 7 plus but I’ve been waiting for the X to get released so I could get one.

  • The King

    I still don’t see any difference to the X other than being similar to the S7 and running off their iOS software. Maybe the chip is better, but does that matter if their battery life isn’t better? And how do you give people fast charging and expect people to buy it? Give it out the box? Apple has been very money hungry for the accessories attachment attraction lately. As much as I really hope the X to be different, I honestly think Sammy took it with the S8 this year. Might as well still keep the iPhone 6 plus or run with the 7.

    • You don’t see all the differences between the iPhone X and the iPhone 8? It’s quite different.

      • To be fair, the X really isn’t that different (unless you’re talking appearance only). Hardware wise, It has a different screen, the faceID scanner, a different metal enclosure and an additional OIS for the back camera. That’s it. The rest of the internals are the same as the iPhone 8.

      • It does different things, and works in many different ways. I think you’re understating that. In my opinion, even the user experience will be totally different. I’ll obviously have to try it to know for sure, but it will be a while before then.

      • I guess what annoys me is that other than the experiences that you mentioned, it’s not that big of a difference. Again, it’s the screen design, FaceID, minor camera improvements and a different type of metal.

        For Apple to position it as a HUGE leap forward and call it the X instead of something like the 7S Pro and to charge hundreds extra for it just feels a bit weird (I can remember mocking Microsoft for doing the same stunt not too long ago). Again, in some ways it’s actually a step back. Personally I like not having part of my screen obscured and I love the experience of being able to use the extended landscape layouts on the plus phone and all reports so far say that it’s not supported on the X, landscape home screen is also reportedly not supported, authenticating multiple people with biometrics is not supported, reachability (and by extension the ability to use your phone one handed) is not supported, etc. So if it’s all that or being able to send my friends animated poop emoji I think I’ll stick with the non-X devices for now.

      • Rowan09

        It costs significantly more for OLED screens, it’s rumored that LCD cost them 45-65 and OLED cost anywhere from 140-165/ unit. Just check after market screen for Galaxy devices.

      • Rowan09

        Plus the the front camera is completely different as you stated because of the Facial scan. I mean you named what makes any phone different with a radial new design, so it is different. I get what you’re saying though.

      • Actually the front camera is the same. Both the 8 and X feature 7 MP 2.2 aperture cameras. The difference between them is all of the other sensors the X includes like the dot map projector and flood light eliminator etc.

      • Rowan09

        That’s what I referring to.

      • The King

        The 7 and 8 are the same thing, just the typical S like upgrades and a glass back/front (again). The X is a step in the right direction of Samsung and other companies that have been for awhile now. Apple has now finally done (not better still) a higher screen resolution, though not close to what it is on most phones. They still think retina is a good idea? And you want to charge 1K for a phone that other phones are doing for cheaper? The note 8 is 940 and is giving all that stuff with a free memory card and wireless charger too. That comes with the phone after Samsung’s own rebate. X seems to have no real new thing but Face ID, which is cool. It’s a nice option for people, but me personally, it’s not. when I’m in my car, I’m not holding the phone up to my face, I’m just using my finger scanner. No battery increase, again? 2 hours? Apple does 1 step forward and 3 backwards and not many people wanted a face ID. It just seems weird that Apple went crazy about the finger print scanner being so safe, but the face ID seems less safe if someone just holds your phone to your face. And I clearly mean law enforcement. I really did want to like the iPhone but hopefully they draw me next year. Hope others like the X though.

  • Charlie

    Yes for sure. It was a bad upgrade from iPhone 6s to 7, the phone wasn’t much faster and the receiption was much worse thanks to the chip. The worst upgrade I have ever done

  • Kim Olsson

    Im bummed out the 8 doesnt have the Portrait Lighting-feature, its obviously possible to cram into the case (looking at you X). So this’ll be the first year I wont upgrade since I cant stand the size of plus-version, nor the price tag ofr the X.

  • I did read in some specs that it only supports 240fps at 720p, not 1080p. Which one is correct?
    Cheers