This year, what would be the ‘S’ cycle in Apple’s naming scheme, they decided to not call this year’s iPhones the 7S and 7S Plus but instead the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (even though they’re not the eighth iPhone to be released).

And this year bring iterative upgrades just like last year and the year before. But the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are being overshadowed by the iPhone X which is the iPhone that everyone wants but can’t actually afford.

I’ve been using the iPhone 8 Plus for about a week and it’s it overall a great iPhone but that’s about it.

Design & Hardware

The iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch Retina HD Display and a has a resolution of 1920-by-1080 at 401ppi. The phone also comes with True Tone which first debuted on the iPad Pro. This is so the phone’s screen will change depending on the amount of light there is in the area you’re in. Videos and games look great on the phone’s screen.

The iPhone 8 Plus has a similar design to 2016’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with an aluminum design. But new this year is the addition of a glass back which allows for wireless charging (including support for the Qi standard). Wireless charging on the iPhone 8 Plus does work as advertised but it is much slower than charging via cable.

Apple has redesigned the speakers on the iPhone 8 Plus, so they’re up to 25% louder than previous models. The speakers work well, but they’re still not as great as a phone with stereo front-facing speakers.

Just like last year’s model, the iPhone 8 Plus is water, splash and dust resistant. So you won’t have to worry about getting your phone a little wet. As for battery life, the iPhone 8 Plus was able to last all day without needing to charge up in the middle of the day.

The lightning port is still present on the iPhone 8 Plus and the 3.5mm headphone jack is still gone. The iPhone 8 Plus is being powered by the A11 Bionic chip and an Apple-designed GPU. During my testing, I never had any issues with the device slowing down, it was always super quick.

The iPhone 8 Plus comes in three colours, Space Gray, Gold, and Silver. And in two storage options, 64GB and 256GB. I tested out the Gold and 256GB model.

The iPhone 8 Plus costs $1,059 CAD for the 64GB model and $1,269 CAD for the 256GB model. The iPhone 8 on the other hand, costs $929 CAD for the 64GB model and $1,139 CAD for the 256GB model.

Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are available from Apple’s website.

Software

The iPhone 8 Plus is running iOS 11 which brings some major and minor improvements to the platform. I’ve gone into detail about iOS 11 in my review but that was heavily focused on iOS 11 for the iPad.

iOS 11 is a slight improvement over previous versions and brings things like a more natural sounding Siri, a new Files app and more. In iOS 11, the Control Center has been given a redesign. It now takes up the whole screen and can now be customized. iOS 11 also allows you to record your screen without the need for a computer.

The App Store in iOS 11 has also been changed, it has a completely new design with a new Today tab that highlights new apps and the teams behind those apps.

Another big feature of iOS 11 is the addition of AR. Essentially, you’ll be able to run augmented reality apps and games using your iOS devices. AR is probably my favourite feature of iOS 11, it’s one that I’ve had the most fun with. From planning mini-golf or shooting hoops to virtually designing a room using the IKEA Place app.

Some AR apps and games I’ve enjoyed playing with include:

  • IKEA Place
  • Mammoth Mini-Golf
  • Stack AR
  • AR Basketball

Camera

The camera has always been a strong point of iPhones and the iPhone 8 Plus is no different. Just like the iPhone 7 Plus last year, the iPhone 8 Plus also has a dual-camera setup both 12-megapixels and one is wide-angle and one telephoto.

With the iPhone 8 Plus’ dual cameras, you’re able to optically zoom up to 2x or digital zoom up to 10x. You can record videup to 4K video at 24, 30 or 60 fps, as well as 1080p video at 30 or 60 fps.

Photos and video on the iPhone 8 Plus look great. The camera had no trouble in any type of situation, even in low-light.

The iPhone 8 Plus’ can also take slow-mo video at 1080p at 120 or 240 fps. You can also take time-lapse video on the iPhone 8 Plus. The front-facing camera on the iPhone 8 Plus is 7-megapixels and record up to 1080p HD video.

With the iPhone 7 Plus last year, Apple also introduced a Portrait camera mode that would allow users to be able to take photos with a Bokeh effect. Now with the iPhone 8 Plus, Apple has improved upon their Portrait mode with the addition of Portrait Lighting (which is currently in beta). It allows you to change the lighting effects of your subject.

Taking using the Portrait Lighting feature – Stage Light Mono.

There are five types of lighting to choose from:

  • Natural Light. Your subject’s face in sharp focus against a blurred background.
  • Studio Light. A clean look with your subject’s face brightly lit.
  • Contour Light. Dramatic shadows with highlights and lowlights.
  • Stage Light. Your subject’s face spotlit against a deep black background.
  • Stage Light Mono. Like Stage, but in classic black-and-white.

You’re also able to adjust the Portrait Lighting effect after you’ve already taken the photo. For the most part, the Portrait Lighting works but there were one or two instances where there were some artifacts around my subject and it didn’t look as great.

Final Thoughts

The iPhone 8 Plus is a great phone and is well worth it for those who want an iPhone but don’t want to spend as much as an iPhone X. However, I wouldn’t say the iPhone 8 Plus is worth it to upgrade if you have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, so there are only small differences between the phones.

Pros

  • Glass design is a nice touch
  • Wireless charging
  • Great camera
  • Super quick
  • Solid battery life
  • AR works well on the iPhone 8 Plus

Cons

  • Looks boring and outdated compared to the iPhone X
  • Portrait Lighting needs some work
  • Not as water-resistant as other flagship phones
  • iOS 11 only brings minor improvements

8point5_CT_Review

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