Camera

Without totally revamping its hardware, Apple still manages to deliver an impressively powerful camera


Pick up a spec-sheet for the iPhone 8's camera and you might find yourself doing a double-take; “isn't this the same camera we had on the iPhone 7?” And that's a fair reaction, given that a lot of the hardware details, from the 12MP resolution, to an f/1.8 aperture, have carried over from last year.

But Apple's rarely a company to disappoint when it comes to the cameras on its phones, and while the iPhone 8 isn't a revolutionary step forward in terms of imaging hardware, it does deliver some real improvements. Resolution may stay at 12MP, but the camera sensor itself is larger this year, resulting in bigger, more light-sensitive pixels. They also exhibit improved isolation from each other, for enhanced image fidelity, and new camera data-processing systems are intended to give boosts to things like HDR performance and auto-focus speed.


Beyond that, we also see video options extend to some new high-end frame-rate/resolution combos, and all this camera hardware scores optimizations for use with Apple's augmented-reality ARKit framework.

So what kind of results does the iPhone 8's camera actually get? Let's take a look.

Image quality


Well, shock of shocks: the camera on the iPhone 8 takes some really, really nice-looking photos. Whether you're shooting in broad daylight or under the stars, the versatile camera makes taking great-looking shots as easy as tapping the shutter. Colors tend to look true to life, and focusing on a close-up macro subject is as easy as taking a landscape shot.

While noise will pop up in very low-light conditions, and obviously past a certain point you're not going to be able to see much at all without the camera's flash, the iPhone 8's sensor does an admirable job of pulling in as much light as it can find – and putting it to good use.

Maybe the only weak spots of the phone's camera performance came when it was drawing in just too much light – and specifically, from off-camera light sources, bleeding into the shot. You can avoid that just by framing your pics a little differently, and we can't say it detracts too much from the overall imaging experience.

The 7MP front-facer is understandably not quite as versatile as the main camera, and its performance across shooting conditions reflected that. It's still quite decent, and works in a pinch, but the low-light performance especially can't hold a candle to the rear camera.



Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Apple iPhone 8 1.16
1.91
No data
No data
Apple iPhone 7 1.13
1.49
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy S8 1.2
1.3
281
261
LG G6 1.7
2.7
522
530

Video recording


The iPhone 8's strong camera showing continues into its video performance, which this year scores upgrades in the form of higher frame-rate/resolution options. Those are nice to have, but be aware that you'll have to record your video with high-efficiency (lower-compatibility) settings engaged to take advantage of all available modes.

No matter how you're shooting, though, videos look stellar, and the camera easily handles varying lighting conditions. You won't have to worry about shifting subjects as the camera seamlessly reacquires focus and adjusts exposure as needs demand. And while audio quality during videos isn't out-of-the-park fantastic, it is more than serviceable, and you should have no problems hearing your subject or your own narration even while filming in noisy outdoor environments.

Multimedia

While Apple's loudness claims are debatable, this stellar sound quality isn't

We doubt a lot of iPhone fans pick up the smartphone just because these models have some better-than-average speakers, but that high-quality sound reproduction is a definite plus. Compared to the iPhone 7, Apple says that this new hardware is capable of output that's up to 25 percent louder.


Well, that “up to” language may be the key there, and in our controlled speaker test we didn't measure a huge change since last year – we actually saw volume levels that were slightly lower, though the difference is small enough to be negligible. That said, our qualitative assessment is that the speakers on the iPhone 8 sound really great, and even if you don't see the full scope of Apple's supposed improvements in every single listening circumstance, this is still one of the best phones around on which to listen to music.

That's the case with the speakers at least, where Apple's combination of a bottom-edge main speaker and front-facing earpiece speaker add up to a winning stereo pair. The situation with headphones is as frustrating now as it was last year, with Apple showing no signs of backing down from its decision to scrap the classic analog headphone jack. The iPhone 8 lands with another pair of Lightning-equipped EarPods, and while they still sound really good, we hate feeling so locked-in to using them.

To be fair, Apple continues to ship its phones with an analog adapter you can pop in the Lightning port to continue using your old headphones, but carrying that around feels like you're dealing with a ticking clock, counting down until you lose the tiny dongle. We know – Apple's almost certainly never going to back down from its controversial stance – so just make sure you're aware of what you're getting into.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 8 0.995
Apple iPhone 7 0.991
Samsung Galaxy S8 0.75
LG G6 0.78
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 8 77.9
Apple iPhone 7 78.1
Samsung Galaxy S8 78
LG G6 74


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185 Comments

3. scarface21173

Posts: 702; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Can't believe 9.2 it's the same phone as last years iphone 7 with wireless charging. Still running 1080p screen. Total and utter shambles.

24. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

What can you fault it for at this point besides being boring ? It’s a pretty complete package. I won’t be upgrading to the new phones for the record.

27. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

The iPhone 8 running a 750p display it is even worse.

63. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

and yet its widely considered top 2 or 3 displays on the market somehow.

88. srgonu

Posts: 566; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

And not listed in cons

199. aBoss

Posts: 164; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

iPhone 8 big bezels, single camera, slow charging, no headphone jack,etc and iPhonearena.com gotta give it 9.2 its because ratings like this the iSheep get crap smh NOTE 8 = KING (besides it not having a removable battery)

201. Sloiz

Posts: 25; Member since: Jul 21, 2017

To run this display I dont even know if puting new A11 chip in phone is nacessary.

4. max1c

Posts: 103; Member since: Oct 11, 2014

Worse phone than the GS8 get's a better mark. wtf?

9. Wickedsamaritan

Posts: 88; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

Was it 2013 or 2014 ? Please someone remind me The Samsung galaxy s4 came with a 1080P Super Amoled screen .. few years later Apple still releases an HD screen phone.. that to me is a negative 20.. Most Bias tech Site Period!

11. hmd74

Posts: 542; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Wireless and Fast charging are now PROS? then why we don't see them in PROS list of Android phones you review?

48. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Because.......iPhone! Nothing left to say.

194. sgodsell

Posts: 7593; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Fast/quick charging with the new iPhone 8/X you have to buy extra hardware. Whereas other smartphones with fast/quick charging, include the charger in the box. Apple doesn't. So you have nothing left to say? Really?

204. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

You failed to comprehend my statement. I was actually taking a jab at PhoneArena for not listing those features in the Pros list for Android phones. Do you even sarcasm bro??

106. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

So, when the iPhone lacked Wireless and Fast charging, it wasn't mentioned as CONS in iPhone 7 review, but now that the iPhone 8 has them, they're now labeled as PROS in the review... I'm impressed.

205. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

It's PhoneArena. They are known for doing such stuff.

17. blkkobra

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Not sure what qualifies this phone for such a high score. Even my IPhone friends who have received their pre-orders are "meh" about this phone. The main improvements have been on other manufacturers' devices for years. And the call quality issue alone should have been a big drawback that would've put any other device under a "8.5" score. Given how locked down the phone is and how apple has control over everything that goes into the design, shouldn't reviewers be more critical of such mistakes than less?

21. blkkobra

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

And on a site where other device manufacturers(sony, asus, etc) are getting points taken off for "dated designs" you would think running the exact same design for, now, a fourth year in a row would result in the same "cons". It just makes no logical sense to me.

52. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

I agree with you, for the most part. Reviewers should also discuss the iPhones' animation lag even though they are running those beastly A-series chips, bloatware-free simplistic software on a 750-1080p screen, and the OS being coded using C++, which is claimed to be better than java (in most aspects), of which the latter is used for coding Android.

87. blkkobra

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Right! I understand the reasoning behind keeping the screens the same size/resolution to make things easier for app developers, but you would think that having relatively the same hardware for four years would create much more exponential improvements in the software space. Especially given that the processing power has only gone up. I feel like there's no one at Apple that can match Steve Jobs with his eye for innovation. The iPhone has stagnated and lagged behind the times so long that I feel they're customers are just used to it. Aside from the custom processors, there's really no appeal for technophiles to even consider the iPhone anymore. The raw performance enhancements seem to be going to waste over the last few years.

23. dnomadic

Posts: 443; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

True Rating – 8.5 (Good Phone but formula has been superseded by more modern phones that include Headphone jacks, higher resolution screens, better designs, greater features, flexibility…...) the most powerful, daring, and potentially controversial iPhones ever Powerful, yes!! Daring – By sticking to essentially an unchanged OS and a “ran to the ground” design? Nothing New here!! Same tired resolution and small screen Extremely expensive for a 4.7 inch 720p screen NO Freaking Headphone Jack, if true tone is a quality of life plus, this is a DEFINITE Negative. You can’t tell me you have not ran in to issue with this at least once. As a wired user it was the number one reason I sold my Iphone 7. Camera is good but still not S8 Note 8 quality regardless of what DXO was paid to make you believe. That being said Video is unmatched by any other smartphone (not the smoothest, but overall the best). Here’s a good one --- Fast charging, but not out of the box! How’s that for quality of life. And we know real battery life, which includes a lot of gaming for many, will be well short of the S8 That was the case for me with 7 plus versus my S8 Plus… I also see this repeated in other test. Wireless fast charging is a plus??? News Flash - Back is more expensive than front to repair? CRAZY, this is just what I read.

29. Iodine

Posts: 1504; Member since: Jun 19, 2014

Yep it’s a monster ! Another review showing a noticeably better battery life ! That’s important. Just wondering how much those 2 hours more will turn out to be in iPhone X.

30. shemeer

Posts: 21; Member since: Sep 07, 2017

what idiotic camera review your's???? please upload full resolution photos

35. ShadowSnypa786

Posts: 624; Member since: Jan 06, 2017

There were your badpoints: Extra glass causes durability concerns Voice-call quality needs work Fewer color options Presence of more and more higher-end iPhone models makes this one feel like a compromise. Should have included: No SD Card Slot, Low resolution display especially for a flagship costing device, No FPS sensor, No headphone jack. In the Note 8 review you said screen brightness could do with a little kick and that was a bad point but its brightness can go upto 1200 nits which is higher than the Iphone 8's so maybe you could have included that too in the Iphone 8 conclusion.

58. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

The iPhone 8 has an FPS sensor.

37. Modest_Moze

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

Design: It looks like an iPhone 7!!!

38. qolamreza

Posts: 61; Member since: Jul 01, 2015

Do want help for more cons iphonearena? Fast charging with no brick and cable in box Hd display in 2017 for 700$ Bezels in 2017 like it's iphone 3g or something Same design (not design language like sony) for 4 generation

40. legiloca

Posts: 1676; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

Huge Facepalm ugh. This deserves an 8 to me. You can’t put a 9.2 on a phone that hasn’t even broke the 5 inch display barrier, 1st generation wireless charging, needs extra dough for u to acquire Fast Charging, and of course the price, oh btw with that price you can get yourself 2 Axon 7’s or maybe the OP 3T. Skip this one, or just maybe get yourself a 6S Plus

41. notfair

Posts: 767; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

I think "fast charging support" is misleading because it's not coming out of the box, you have to buy a separate cable and charger and it costs a lot.

47. Nexus4lifes

Posts: 300; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

a 4.7 inch 720p display gets 9.2 in 2017???? just pure shame on this reviewer.

51. CLmaster

Posts: 98; Member since: Sep 06, 2014

WHAT? I'm sorry but this is ridiculous. It's a good phone, I already tried it at bestbuy, but it can't ever be a 9.2 I hate it when people start talking about brands like their life depends on it (Samsung VS Apple) but this review is absurd and confirms what people say about this page and Apple. THIS IS THE 4TH YEAR OF THE SAME DESIGN AND ABSURD SCREEN RESOLUTION. For today's standards the design is trash. It is outdated. That's the reality. To rate this iPhone wannabe flagship higher than Samsung's actual flagship which is definitely a better product overall shows extreme bias. The iPhone X may be a 9.2 or more, but this is fanboyism.

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

iPhone 8
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 1821 mAh(14h talk time)

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