The iPhone X may be hogging headlines, but Apple's other new smartphones provide substantial improvements over previous models – and they're available now
At a Glance
1. Opulent new glass and aluminum design | 2. Upgraded camera and amazing portraits | 3. Full support for wireless charging | 4. Apple's most powerful CPU yet
If you can't wait for an iPhone X, Apple's got two other new smartphones to tempt you: the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and the slightly larger 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. And both provide some serious bang for their buck.
They introduce a luxurious glass front and back design, with new space grey, gold and silver finishes, their improved Retina HD displays are designed to deliver deeper, richer colours, and the camera has been upgraded with a bigger, faster sensor and, in the case of the iPhone 8 Plus, its dual rear cameras with Portrait mode makes professional-grade portraits a snap.
Add in wireless charging and a brand new processor – Apple's most powerful yet, designed with emerging technologies like augmented reality in mind – and you've got a substantial step up over previous iPhones.
A luxe new look
Apple's phones have always been pretty, but none have been as elegant as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Glass plates cover the front and back, held in place by a smooth, rounded, colour-matched aluminum band. The result is a phone that not only looks but also feels like a premium handset. And all this prettiness doesn't impact durability; the glass is the toughest Apple has ever used in an iPhone, and microscopic seals still protect against invasive dust and water.
Aside from screen size, this is where the biggest differences between the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are found. Both phones have bigger, quicker 12-MP sensors that capture more light for better performance in dusky, low-light settings, as well as optical image stabilization to reduce fuzziness caused by shaky hands. But the iPhone 8 Plus also sports a dual-lens rear camera that allows for increased optical zoom, plus a Portrait mode that makes subjects appear to pop out from subtly blurred backgrounds. Portrait mode is nothing new for the 8 Plus, but what is new is that it has the new Portrait Lighting feature that will be in the iPhone X as well. It’s still in beta right now, but the feature basically gives you several presets that mimic professional lighting effects such as Natural, Coutour, Studio and, the most dramatic of them all, Stage Lighting, which takes your portrait ond puts it on a completely black background.
Retina HD made better
Technologies like True Tone – a system that adjusts displayed whites according to the ambient lighting around you – help to ensure the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus's Retina HD displays look great no matter where you happen to be. In addition, images are more vivid than ever, thanks to a broad colour gamut and what Apple claims to be "the best colour accuracy in the industry."
A new way to charge
Apple has fully embraced wireless charging for all its new mobile products, including the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. That means all you need do is set your phone on a compatible wireless charging mat to power up. Apple's first mat – called AirPower – will be available next year, but its phones work with several leading third-party mats should you want to start charging sans cables now.
Apple's most advanced processor yet
The A11 Bionic processor that powers iPhone 8 and 8 Plus is a raging beast confined to a tiny silicon chip. The CPU is 25% quicker than its predecessor, the A10, and three new GPU cores provide a 30% boost to graphics. Simply put, these phones are quick. And, amazingly, the CPU is as efficient as ever, doling out ample cycles for apps that need them while conserving energy in those that don't.
Display: The iPhone 8's 1334x750 (326 ppi) and iPhone 8 Plus's 1920x1080 (401 ppi) Retina HD displays are Apple's most vibrant yet.
Camera: A 12-MP image sensor and optical image stabilization help ensure crystal clear shots. The iPhone 8 Plus delivers superior optical zoom with its dual -lens rear camera.
Processor: The new six-core A11 Bionic CPU crushes games and is built to handle emerging technologies like augmented reality.
Battery: 1,821mAh (iPhone 8), 2,675 mAh (iPhone 8 Plus); or up to 12 to 13 hours of Internet use, depending on conditions.
Storage: Both models come in two capacities – 64 GB and 256 GB – to meet users' varying needs.