Updated: May 16
There is now good availability for all Apple’s new iPhones. But despite the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X sharing many of the same features, there is a massive 40% price difference between the cheapest and most expensive models. So what are the big differences between them and which should you buy? If any…
Displays – The Past Vs The Future
The obvious starting point when comparing the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X is their displays…
iPhone X – 5.8-inch 19.5:9 aspect ratio True Tone OLED, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi), 82.9% screen-to-body ratio
iPhone 8 – 4.7-inch 16:9 aspect ratio True Tone LCD, 1334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi), 65.6% screen-to-body ratio
iPhone 8 Plus – 5.5-inch 16:9 aspect ratio True Tone LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi), 67.7% screen-to-body ratio
The big news here is twofold: while the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus retain the same sizes and core screen technology as their predecessors, the iPhone X is Apple’s first smartphone to both use OLED and switch to the longer and narrower 19.5:9 aspect ratio (widely adopted by Android rivals ).
In terms of internal storage, you’ll find 64GB and 256 GB flavors, which is ample room for apps, games, music, movies, and any other media you might want to store offline. But the playing field isn’t entirely even.
The iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus have 3GB of RAM compared to the iPhone 8’s 2GB. That won’t be especially noticeable day to day, but depending on how aggressively you juggle apps and browser tabs, it might impact on your multitasking.
The iPhone 8 has by far the smallest battery at 1,821mAh, but we’re pleased to report that it actually lasts slightly longer than its predecessor, the iPhone 7, thanks to that more efficient processor. If stamina is important to you, then the iPhone 8 Plus has a slight edge over the iPhone X, and both will generally outlast their smaller sibling. All three iPhones support Qi wireless charging and all three support fast charging with the right kit, which is sadly not supplied in the box.
Both iPhone 8 devices retain the circular, fingerprint-scanning, Touch ID, home button that has become one of the iPhone’s most recognizable features. That is in stark contrast with the iPhone X, which replaces the home button with an on-screen “software bar” across the bottom of the screen. Swipe up from the bottom to get to the home screen, and it disappears when it’s not in use. It doesn’t support Touch ID, meaning the iPhone X can’t be unlocked with a fingerprint.
Apple says a custom neural network crunched through more than 1 billion images to develop True Depth’s image recognition software, and the machine learning-powered system can perform up to 600 billion operations per second.
It’ll capture the unique contours and shape of your face over time, so it will still recognize you if you change your hairstyle or grow a beard. Further, Apple claims that it’s much more secure than Touch ID — the company stated the chances a random person could use their fingerprint to unlock your iPhone is 1 in 50,000, but that the odds of the same thing happening with Face ID are 1 in 1,000,000.
The iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus feature a combination of aluminum and glass that’s durable, IP67 water-resistant, and shock-proof, and both eschew a 3.5mm audio jack in favor of a Lightning port, volume rocker, and power button. (On the iPhone X, Siri has been remapped from the home button to the sleep/wake button.)
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus make do with more conventional 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, respectively. The iPhone 8 has a 1,334 x 750-pixel resolution (326ppi), and the iPhone 8 Plus has a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution (401 ppi). They have LCD IPS screens, which don’t match up to the iPhone X’s OLED vibrancy.
The iPhone X’s primary shooter consists of two sensors, one wide-angle 12-megapixel lens with an f/1.8 aperture and a telephoto 12-megapixel lens with an f/2.4 aperture. Both have optical image stabilization (OIS) that counteracts the jerkiness of your hands and footsteps. The iPhone 8 Plus has the same setup, but the telephoto 12-megapixel lens has an f/2.8 aperture, and only the primary wide-angle lens features OIS. Both support Portrait Lighting, an enhanced version of the iPhone 7’s Portrait Mode. With Portrait Lighting enabled, you can switch between settings like Contour Light, Natural Light, Stage Light, Stage Light Mono, and Studio Light to fine-tune the iPhone’s DSLR-like bokeh effect.
But how much faster are these iPhones than what went before?
Apple boasts the A11 chipset has a 25% faster CPU and 30% faster GPU (graphics) than the A10 in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. But the big news is the A11 is also 70% faster when multitasking – and given we spend all our time jumping between apps, that’s big news. In synthetic benchmarking terms.
Animoji, An animated emoji feature, taps the iPhone X’s depth-tracking camera to generate custom animated messages that use your voice and reflect your emotions. Facial expressions like eyebrow raises, smirks, frowns, smiles, and nods are mapped onto emoji and sent with a voice message. Face ID, the iPhone X’s stand-in for Touch ID, ties your phone’s lock screen to your likeness. The front scanners record your facial structure so that when you glance in the iPhone X’s general direction, it unlocks instantly.
Most other features are the same on all three iPhones. ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality framework for AR-enabled experiences, benefits from the A11 Bionic chip. The CPU handles world tracking, scene recognition, and keeps graphics at a steady 60fps, while a dedicated image signal processor adjusts for lighting conditions in real time.
With the iPhone X, I’d argue Apple has overtaken Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 to claim the second spot in the smartphone camera leagues. Then again Google has extended the lead it established with the Pixel with the Pixel 2 – particularly in low light and for dynamic range – so that remains the go-to option if camera quality is paramount.
The iPhone X may be more capable than the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, but it’s also a lot more expensive. The iPhone X started at $1,000 for 64GB in silver, and space grey, though you can find it for closer to $800 now if you shop around.
The iPhone 8 is now $600 for 64GB in silver, gold, and space gray colors, while the iPhone 8 Plus starts from $700 and comes with the same storage options and color choices.