The Apple iPhone 8 Plus might have lost a bit of its thunder to the Apple iPhone X, but given that the former is already on sale, with the latter at least a month away, this is the top flagship phone for the Indian festival season. The Apple iPhone 8 series is an upgrade on the Apple iPhone 7 series, but has a new number because of the design change in the form of a glass back. But is there more to this phone? Well, here is our review.
The Apple iPhone 8 Plus has the same design features as the earlier version, except for the glass back. This feature is more necessity that design, as the new wireless charging option won’t work on a metal back. The rest of the phone looks and feels the same, though it is a bit heavier thanks to the glass back. The display is better, but not radically different.
What is good in iPhone 8 Plus?
I have used the Apple iPhone 7 Plus for most of the last year. And as is tradition, the phone had started becoming a big sluggish, as if to announce that a new software update was imminent. However, a few minutes of using the iPhone 8 Plus and I was convinced that this was the fastest iPhone I have ever used. It’s really powerful under the hood and made to take on the challenges of a dual camera, AR kit apps and 4K video recording.
The phone handles everything with ease and despite getting a bit warm at times, has no issues with performance. With iOS 11 making multitasking more natural on the iPhone, the A11 Bionic chip flourishes. With the dual camera for instance, clicking photos with bokeh, which needs a lot of processing in the back-end, is instant. So are the new camera modes that use these two cameras. Also, long 4K shoots don’t seem to bother this phone at all.
The Apple iPhone 8 Plus has the best smartphone camera at the moment. Just click a few pictures indoors, outdoors, of the sky, of red hibiscus flowers and, of course, portraits if you are not convinced. No other camera even comes close in terms of clarity, detail and just the range of colours on offer. And the portrait mode has become much better; after all this is the second iPhone to sport the hardware feature. The natural lite mode in portraits is great, so is the studio lighting. But I was not all that impressed by stage lighting options. This is also clearly the best video camera on a smartphone, doing an awesome job of shooting 4K at 30fps. As someone who has abandoned his DSLR for a smartphone, I would buy this phone just as my primary camera. The smartphone has still not been able to pip the DSLR, but the iPhone 8 Plus sure comes close.
There are a bunch of other things that make this phone special. For one, it has the best speakers in any smartphone. Apple has strangely not touted this feature much, but the audio quality is almost as good as the iPad Pro and that is quite an achievement. The iOS 11 update brings a lot of cool features to the phone, like the notification lock when the phone detects you could be driving as well as the True Tone display which is better on the eye, but takes some getting used to. Also, there is wireless charging on this phone for the first time. Given that a wireless BoostUp charger from Belkin won’t cost you more than what an Apple wall charger would, it might be a good idea to invest in one for the home.
What is not that good in Apple iPhone 8 Plus?
While Apple has announced the iPhone X, I would have loved one big innovation—other than the wireless charger—in the iPhone 8 Plus too. That would have made this a much better phone that it is now. But perhaps that would also have reduced the differentiator in context of the iPhone X.
The battery life on the iPhone 8 Plus is the same as the iPhone 7 Plus, which is good considering that the new phone has a lot of new features, a brighter screen and better camera. But is it good enough? Well, not in my books. I think the time has come for all flagship phones to offer a battery that will last at least a day; by that I mean 24 hours of juice. If a flagship can’t achieve this, then it means the biggest pain point of the user still has no solution.
I found the iPhone 8 Plus getting a bit warm at times. I guess this is more when it is struggling to latch on to a network, which is like all the time in the Indian context. Also, I suggest you keep the screen brightness at 50%, as this also helps cool down the phone.
So, should you buy the it?
Yes, as I said I would buy this phone just for its camera. In fact, the sheer dependability and performance of this phone is good enough to make it a top contender in the premium segment. However, if you are
already using an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, the jump might not make much sense. Also, if price is not really a consideration, then it might make better sense to wait for the iPhone X. Till then this is the best phone you can buy.