Apple iPhone 8 Plus Review

Introduction


Three years ago, Apple changed the face of its smartphone lineup not just with a new, larger size for the iPhone, but by introducing a second extra-large option for users who craved bigger screens still: the iPhone Plus. And for a while, that's basically what you were buying when you picked up an iPhone Plus: a regular iPhone but with a bigger screen.

But even from the start, there were hints that Apple wanted to differentiate its smartphone models based on more than just device size, and we were already seeing feature disparity between the two iPhones, as the Plus picked up optical stabilization for its camera. While seemingly minor, the idea of the Plus model as the home for advanced camera tech took root, and when the iPhone 7 Plus picked up dual rear cameras last year, it was clear that from here on out we'd be shopping for iPhones based not just on what size we preferred, but what we wanted to be able to do with the phone.

This year that decision is complicated further by the introduction of a third, wildly new iPhone model: the iPhone X. While it does represent another bigger-screen-yet option, it's far more than just that, experimenting with a controversial new design and advanced tech like Face ID.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus Review
While some shoppers will say, “the more the better,” and eagerly flock to the iPhone X (as they once did to the iPhone Plus) as Apple's highest-end option, where does that leave the iPhone 8 Plus? It's still bigger than the iPhone 8, more expensive, and features an upgraded camera. And unlike the iPhone X, it has the benefit of being available right now, rather than forcing shoppers to wait another month.

So who should be buying an iPhone Plus this year? Well, let's take a look at what you can expect from the phone's hardware, and Apple's latest software, as we start breaking things down and answering that question.

In the box:


Design

Heavier and ever so slightly larger than last year, the real big deal is the new glass back

Apple iPhone 8 Plus Review

For a year where we're skipping the iPhone's “S” iteration and moving right to another full number, you might think that Apple's hardware was in for a major makeover. But as is maybe only befitting for a lineup that's as interesting and challenging as this year's, that's only partially true.

At least compared to the iPhone 7 Plus, the 8 Plus is not introducing a bold new design. In terms of looks and layout, this new iPhone Plus doesn't stray very far from the pattern established last year. What changes we see in shape in size are extremely minor, and the iPhone 8 Plus's external dimensions, though admittedly larger than last year, are only bigger to the tune of a few fractions of a single millimeter. Slightly more pronounced expansion occurs when we look at the weight of these phones, with the iPhone 8 Plus expanding from 188 to 202 grams. Still, even that growth isn't more than the mass of a few coins, and this year's iPhone Plus doesn't really feel larger or heavier in any way you're likely to subjectively notice.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus Review
Apple iPhone 8 Plus Review
Apple iPhone 8 Plus Review
But measurements only tell half the story, and with the iPhone 8 Plus we see Apple adopt a new glass back for its smartphones. While that may help empower the phone to take advantage of wireless charging, it could be a move that has a few shoppers thinking twice, as it also feels more damage-prone than the old design.

Apple's gone back and forth over just what degree of options it gives its users, and while some years can be very one-size-fits-all, others run the risk of overwhelming shoppers with choices. Perhaps the company was afraid it was leaning a little too far in the latter direction, after the iPhone 7 Plus was available in your choice of five colors. With the 8 Plus, Apple's reining things back in, and culling that selection down to just space gray (ie, black), silver, and gold. And considering the scratched-up mess many of those Jet Black iPhones turned into, perhaps we're better off without the option.

Waterproofing is back, just like we got on the iPhone 7 Plus, and we're glad to see that even with the new materials this time around, protecting the hardware against accidental water damage is still a priority.

While the size and shape of the 8 Plus aren't anything too far removed from what Apple's given us before, this handset falls victim to the same consequence of shifting design trends that stopped us from being as excited about phones like the HTC U11 as we might have been just one year in the past. With the arrival of extra-wide-aspect-ratio phones like the LG V30 or Samsung Galaxy Note 8, traditional phablets like the iPhone 8 Plus are starting to feel “fat,” or being too wide for the amount of screen real estate they offer.

Apple's admittedly doing something about that by moving to the new design of the iPhone X, but that doesn't do anything to help the 8 Plus. The smaller iPhone 8 is still petite enough to not conjure up the same emotions, but the Plus is ultimately left in an uncomfortable middle ground that's starting to feel less and less attractive.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Dimensions

6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Dimensions

6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches

162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm

Weight

6.88 oz (195 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Dimensions

6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches

158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Dimensions

6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Dimensions

6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches

162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm

Weight

6.88 oz (195 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Sharp and colorful is great, but we miss the exceptionally high brightness of last year

Apple iPhone 8 Plus Review

Apple's best, newest screen tech is reserved for the iPhone X, with its AMOLED panel and HDR-video support. But even as it keeps the same screen size, shape, and resolution as the iPhone 7 Plus, the 8 Plus still manages to squeeze in a little new hottness.

This year, that means True Tone – the same system we saw Apple deploy with the iPad Pro – coming to the iPhone. As Apple helpfully demos while you set up the iPhone 8 Plus, True Tone uses the phone's sensors to match screen color temperature with ambient lighting conditions. While that won't have any major impact on how you use your phone, it's exactly the kind of little “quality of life” improvement that Apple loves to highlight.

One important consideration to keep in mind if you're perusing the iPhone 8 Plus spec sheet is Apple's mention that the phone supports playback of HDR-enhanced video content. While that's true, of Apple's new iPhones only the iPhone X has a screen that's capable of actually reproducing that high-dynamic range video. So while HDR footage will play on the 8 Plus – and will look great, just like standard video on this big screen – it just can't offer quite the same experience as it would on the iPhone X.

Like we've come to expect from iPhone displays, the screen on the iPhone 8 Plus is bright and versatile, but this time around the Plus and regular iPhone aren't quite as evenly matched. Last year, the 7 models were both capable of some similarly bright output, but with this new generation of hardware, the screen on the 8 Plus isn't nearly as bright as its smaller sibling. The levels are still high enough as to be brighter than the majority of smartphones out there – so it's hard to be too, too upset – but it's still a confusing step back from the lofty heights we know Apple's capable of achieving.

Color reproduction is very good, and only the slightest hint of colors leaning towards the cyan side detracts from its accuracy.



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107 Comments

1. mahima

Posts: 697; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

lol!! i don't khow how iphone always stays on top in pa battery test...while every other sites i visit tells another story

3. cmdacos

Posts: 3661; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Oh you know exactly why ;) Same reason there are false maximum brightness scores across devices.

7. Bankz

Posts: 2444; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

*clears throat* lmao, how those the iphone 8 score a 9.2? even a dedicated iphone fanboy like me can't believe my eyes. The stale design alone is enough to take a full 1 point from the iphone 8. Meanwhile the X is another story altogether though.

22. IT-Engineer

Posts: 425; Member since: Feb 26, 2015

I do agree with you, the X is a very good looking phone. But again this is ipa, magic happens!!

28. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

The iPhone X has the same design to. Its just reduced bezels and a 0.3" larger display.

80. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1456; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

87. yalokiy

Posts: 842; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Exactly! At least two more cons: - same boring design - no 3.5mm jack

103. JC557

Posts: 1913; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Well it seems to have made improvements with battery life, speakers, the display is using slightly newer tech that's more subtle and a new processor that helps things move right along smoothly while being more efficient. Google/ Android needs to take note on how to get an OS running properly without any f**king drain from the phone just sitting there after a fresh restart.

73. othmanusse

Posts: 9; Member since: Jul 29, 2015

because this is iPhoneArena

6. Cat97

Posts: 1617; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

According to this site's battery test, you pick up the phone in the morning, start up the screen and never let it go from your hand until like 11 hours later when the battery dies, watching videos, playing games and surfing the web all this time :))

17. sgodsell

Posts: 6592; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

This year it's a pro for the iPhone 8's to have wireless charging. Yet all the other years, for all the other smartphones on this site that had wireless charging, never had a pro for wireless charging. So why does Apple get a pro for wireless charging now? You also list lot of storage as a pro. Yet many other smartphones have lots of expandable storage. If you buy the 64 GB version's, then you certainly don't have lots of storage. What about a ton of a low resolution LCD display. The 8 plus only has a full HD display, compared to other flagships. Yet you rated that iPhone 8 the same score of 9.2, and it only has a HD display. Wouldn't that be a con. Clearly your site is easily bought.

88. iDroidPhony

Posts: 59; Member since: Sep 21, 2016

Most say this is iPhoneArena therefore iPhone is the reference for all phones reviewed in this site.

13. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

Here is what is funny. It was brought to the attention of Victor with links to Youtube videos showing PA's test is wrong. Victor says, those test are a joke because and I quote, "PhoneArena uses a scientific method which adjust the phones brightness equally to 200NITS". How many people who buy phones, even adjust the brightness at all? Most just use the default. So any method that changes any variable makes your method a joke just like anyone else. Fact, many people will manually adjust the brightness up or down, but they are not the majority and no one has a way to pic a specific brightness level. People adjust based on what looks good to them. PA claims and I quote, " all phone tests are done with the phone at factory settings" That is a false, because Victor own statement says they use a scientific method to "set the brightness to 200NITS". The fact is, Samsung phones at least the S and Note even with the brightness set to 100% and with the resolution set to 1440p, the phone still has better battery-life based on side by side test on real world using. This is based on most test showing 2 hours of web, 2 hours of gaming and 1-2 hours of recording. Any and all drop, speed and charging test should all be looked at with the proverbial grain of salt, because all test can be made to make any phone you want look good or bad. Every test so far basically proves that the iPhone is only called a "flagship" because it is the only phone they make.

35. xeroxchap

Posts: 68; Member since: Oct 11, 2016

uncle_gadget ...Exactly.....

58. Scarambay unregistered

Uncle_gadget, you are a dumbf**k. Different phones have different brightness levels. At 50% brightness one phone might be 250 nits, and another might be 500 nits. So for a fair test, all tests are done at a standardized brightness. You are too dumb to realize that, and go on to spew bulls**t. Your ass must be jealous of all the s**t that comes out of your mouth.

26. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 886; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Butt hurt android fans in ...nvm that was over an hour ago. On a side note, they are right, the 8 and the X are complete junk.

27. Jimrod

Posts: 1602; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I don't know why other phones always do so well in other battery tests because my friends with Android phones always seem to have crap battery life compared to my iPhone SE. The only one better had a Sony (not sure which one). We can literally be around each other all day doing the same things and the Galaxy/HTC guys seem to struggle far more. That's my "real world" experience. So seems it varies and isn't just PA with different results.

33. uncle_gadget

Posts: 1050; Member since: Sep 20, 2017

"Your friends". First off, you are not with "your friends" 100% of the day and can gauge their actual battery life on daily usage. Next, you can't gauge anyones usage based on such a small circle of people. Battery life will vary for s slew of reasons. But Apple for example not including a fast charger in the box, forcing you to pay 3 times the normal cost of solutions from other oems that are better and faster because they want to make money off dumb people and no one speaks against them speaks volumes of how stupid Apple fans are in general.

43. bucky

Posts: 3765; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

love how you resort to calling people names based on phone choice. Second, what kills android phone battery life are 2 things: standby time because the OS is still horrible for managing itself in the background and also Samsung phones typically slowdown with junk after the first 2 months. They need to be restarted regularly.

54. Jimrod

Posts: 1602; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Agreed on both those points, iPhones can drain fairly quickly when you're using them for something intensive (I guess most devices do) but standby time is exceptional and that's somewhere I see Android devices lacking. I've got an old iPad 2 from 2012 I can literally leave on for weeks and the battery goes down about 1 or 2 % per day, oddly the iPad Air2 I got to "replace" it drains a little faster. My friend's S8 is already bugging her with lag after 6 months, she actually said exactly that to me yesterday, she's not a technical person particularly but notices it - maybe I should make a video comparing it to my iPhone SE to show people some "reality", no doubt she's using it wrong... To quote Steve Jobs. ;)

77. Macready

Posts: 1787; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

The S8 hasn't even been out yet for 6 months... No magical new lag on any of the 3 S8's in this house and I'm the only one technical enough to look after my own phone. ;-) This whole "lag worse over time" thing is mystifying to me to begin with. My old S2 feels faster now than when it was released 6.5 years ago...

78. Jimrod

Posts: 1602; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Well it must be even worse than I thought then if it’s not even 6 months, I haven’t used it, just going by what she said, I’ll see her at the weekend and video it as evidence for you people that think I’m making things up, I don’t have an agenda unlike the Apple hate brigade on this site.

61. ShadowSnypa786

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 06, 2017

Yeah maybe Samsungs slow down but as you said Android and Android isnt just Samsung. Huaweis with their machine learning doesnt slow down so dont Pixel phones. Some of the best devices out there with the best battery life are Androids with their 4000mah batteries. Samsungs have had higher resolutions for years now and still manage to have better battery life in day to day usage,

49. Jimrod

Posts: 1602; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Yeah, in another thread you called me a fanboy, take a look in the mirror there, you seem to be a little mad bro. Very obviously an Android fanboy, riled by everything Apple and their users. This is an Apple review, you seem to hate them, do your blood pressure a favour and stay out if people with the device in question upset you. From the quantity and length of your posts I'm beginning to think you're TechieXP, better grammar aside. You seem to have completely missed the part where I've said we can "literally be around each other all day long", very similar usage yet they're complaining about battery by 6pm or whenever. I know because I take the piss out of them and their "amazing Android phones", we talk about it a lot, they're openly Android fans which is fine, they never seem to be able to answer about their poor battery life or even lag on a six month old S8! :\ I'm actually considering the next Pixel if it's good, I don't find anything interesting about the new Apple phones, I'm not a fanboy, I just use what works for me. I'd have preferred the "X" to be more SE sized as that would have been far better suited to less bezel and a larger screen, with very little competition.

31. plasteek

Posts: 265; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

You know fakearena right?

81. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 356; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Exactly. Also I really wonder are these statements from same website? iPhone 8 Plus review: "Slightly more pronounced expansion occurs when we look at the weight of these phones, with the iPhone 8 Plus expanding from 188 to 202 grams. Still, even that growth isn't more than the mass of a few coins, and this year's iPhone Plus doesn't really feel larger or heavier in any way you're likely to subjectively notice." Galaxy Note 8 review: "Another thing to keep in mind is that this is a heavy phone. The Note 8 comes in just shy of 200g. That's heavier than either of those GS8 brothers, as well as heavier than the Note 7" According to PA, Note 8 at 195gms is heavy device. Even though it being a bigger device with bigger display, bigger battery & SPen And iphone 8 Plus at 202Gms is not more than a few coins. Hypocrisy is out of this world really :(

2. Nexus4lifes

Posts: 285; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

iphonearena - come on just 9.2? might be apple should upgrade your payscale by next year iphone release - then they can release the same phone and get a 9.9999 score...

10. Bankz

Posts: 2444; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

PA are not doing their iphonearena label any favors tbh

16. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3083; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

They will save the score for the iPhone X. Just wait.

4. PhoneInQuestion

Posts: 496; Member since: Aug 20, 2017

Technically we're hearing about even worse battery life on the standard iPhone 8 and somehow that gets the same score. If you insist on giving this one the same score, think about all the disadvantages of the base model before giving both a 9.2/10. Hell, last year all I seen are iPhone Pluses in hand, it's clear which one likely wins in battery life.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

iPhone 8 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2691 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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