Call Quality

In an unexpected upset, Apple really drops the ball with click-ridden voice-calls


It feels like for the vast majority of phones we review, we can breeze right through the call-quality tests; so long as nothing goes horribly wrong, there's usually not a ton to say. So we're a little surprised to find ourselves thinking so hard about the iPhone 8, after running into some unexpected issues with its voice-call performance.

While engaging with callers, we often observed an intermittent clicking sound coming from the phone's earpiece. This artifact doesn't seem to be emanating from the distant end of the call, and only popped up when testing the iPhone 8 (and 8 Plus, which we'll be addressing separately).

UPDATE (October 4, 2017): Apple has released the iOS 11.0.2 update that fixes the clicking sounds some users experienced during voice calls.

Battery Life

Long-overdue support for some major battery features are welcome additions to the iPhone family

With this new handset being roughly the same shape and size as last year's model, we weren't expecting any huge changes when it comes to battery capacity – and indeed, Apple tells shoppers that the iPhone 8 should give them similar battery life as compared to the iPhone 7.

In our custom tests, though, we found the iPhone 8 actually can stretch things a little further than the iPhone 7, and we clocked the new handset giving us a little under an extra hour of screen-on time. Perhaps some of that boost is due to the presence of the new 10nm A11 chip, but whatever the cause, we're happy to have it.

That's the out-of-the-box power story for the iPhone 8, but the really interesting stuff starts happening when we pair the phone with some optional accessories.

For the first time this year, the iPhone supports fast charging, albeit not with the power adapter included with the handset. Instead, if you pair the phone with a high-output USB Type-C power adapter, as you might have from your Apple laptop, and connect it to the iPhone 8 over a Lightning cable, you can recharge your phone at an accelerated rate. We haven't put this combination to the test yet ourselves, but it's definitely something we'll be looking into.

The other big news is the arrival of wireless charging, with support for systems based on the Qi standard. Luckily, that's pretty ubiquitous in wireless charging circles, and while you can pick up a new charging pad just for your iPhone 8, there's a good chance that the phone will work just fine with existing hardware you may have lying around.

We tried this capability out with a Samsung wireless charger, and the iPhone 8 performed flawlessly. Of special note was just how quickly the phone was able to recognize the charger and begin refueling; sometimes Android phones can take a beat after being set down on a pad before they signal that recharging has begun, while the iPhone 8 seemed to instantly get things started. And if you were concerned, we also tried using wireless charging with a case on the phone, and didn't run into any problems whatsoever.

All this considered, from a power standpoint the iPhone 8 is easily the most impressive smartphone Apple's yet to deliver, and these new features go a long way towards catching Apple up with the power tech the rest of the smartphone world has already been enjoying.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 8 8h 37 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone 7 7h 46 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S8 8h 22 min (Excellent)
LG G6 6h 9 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Apple iPhone 8 148
Apple iPhone 7 141
Samsung Galaxy S8 100
LG G6 97

Conclusion



In a lot respects, the iPhone 8 should feel like a slam dunk: it takes the already winning formula of the iPhone 7, delivers a handful of solid upgrades, and even implements some all-new features. And if we're looking at the phone on its own, it's hard to argue that it's not pretty successful. Performance reaches as-of-yet untouched new heights, a stellar camera picks up some minor tweaks while not breaking anything in the process, and the arrival of wireless charging could well emerge as this phone's big sleeper-hit feature.

Not everything about this phone is such a cut-and-dry win, though. The return of a glass back panel may look alright, but we've dropped enough phones to be wary anytime a manufacturer adds more breakage-prone glass to their lineup. And while it may just be case of some bad luck with bum hardware, or a software glitch that's soon to be fixed, we're still a little annoyed about that clicking sound while making voice calls.

But we really can't talk about the iPhone 8 without looking at Apple's complete 2017 lineup. Sure, there's a new iPhone Plus as well, and just like last year, that invites shoppers to choose between a compact phone, or one with a big screen and extra zoom-lens camera.

That's already complicated iPhone shopping, and now we've got a new specter looming over the iPhone 8's release in the shape of the iPhone X. This new model isn't just a new size option, or one that delivers an extra feature or two: assuming shoppers respond favorably, this looks like the new direction of iPhones going forward, involving unfamiliar new ways to interact with your handset.

Maybe without really meaning to, Apple turned the tried-and-true base-level iPhone into what's looking increasingly like a model besieged by compromise. Will it inevitably come to be seen as the iPhone for iPhone fans who are afraid of change? For those who are clinging a little too hard to the past, rather than taking Apple's hand and stepping forward into the future?

The iPhone 8 is a fantastic, compact, powerful smartphone. But it may also be a phone that's playing catch-up more than it's really innovating, and that could well come back to haunt it.

In the end, assuming you're properly educated on all of Apple's 2017 iPhone options, you shouldn't feel bad about going with the iPhone 8. But maybe don't be afraid to try something new, even if that means stepping outside your comfort zone a little.



Pros

  • Unbeatable performance
  • Great-sounding speakers
  • Effortlessly beautiful camera
  • Wireless + fast charging support
  • Very welcome base-level storage boost

Cons

  • Extra glass causes durability concerns
  • Fewer color options
  • Presence of more and more higher-end iPhone models makes this one feel like a compromise

PhoneArena Rating:

9.2

User Rating:

9.0
4 Reviews

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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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