iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Review Roundup: Powerful Devices With Great Cameras Set Stage for iPhone X

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus reviews are out, providing us with a closer look at two of Apple’s latest smartphones ahead of their Friday launch.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus via The Verge


The devices represent Apple’s first glass-backed iPhones since the iPhone 4s in 2011. Most reviews complimented the glossier design, although there were naturally some concerns about glass being more prone to shattering.

And not everyone was sold on the new look.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Geoffrey A. Fowler:

The glass might remind you of the iPhone 4, one of the most iconic Apple designs. But I’m not sold. The iPhone 7’s glossy black finish gives it a contiguous surface, like a pebble smoothed by the ocean. The iPhone 8 shows seams where the glass touches the aluminum band, making it feel a little like a knockoff. And there’s no denying it looks dated compared with the curved glass on rival Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which takes the screen all the way to the edge.

Apple stressed that the glass on iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus has a strengthening layer that is 50 percent deeper, but we’ll have to wait for drop tests to see how the devices hold up from both ordinary and extreme heights.



The switch away from aluminum was necessary to facilitate wireless charging, an overdue feature many Android smartphones have had for years.

Wired senior writer David Pierce:

Wireless charging makes the iPhone feel less like a Tamagotchi needing constant feeding, and more like a digital sidekick that’s always ready to go. Pick it up when you need it, put it down when you don’t; whenever you’re not using your phone, it’s charging. Android users have known this feeling for years, but a lot of iPhone users are going to love it now.

TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino focused on the new cameras, which he said are “killer” and the best reason to upgrade this year yet again. He was particularly impressed with Apple’s new Portrait Lighting effects, which he described as the marquee feature of the iPhone 8 Plus.

The studio and contour options are going to be flooding social networks and phones internet-wide as soon as people get their hands on their iPhone 8 Pluses. The stage lighting takes a bit more effort, but when you nail it and the software is able to do its job by accurately detecting hair and head shapes, it really stuns. It can produce images that feel professional and would take dozens of lights and pieces of equipment to pull off.

One of the new Portrait Lighting effects is called Stage Light, which spotlights the subject’s face against a deep black background. But, as seen below, the results aren’t always perfect.

Original photo on left with Stage Light on right via TechCrunch


CNET photographer James Martin tested the iPhone 8 Plus camera by shooting more than 2,000 photos in San Francisco, and he was thoroughly impressed with everything from detailed textures to low-light performance.

With the new sensor, HDR delivered better details in highlights and shadows. HDR is always on, signaling Apple’s deeper commitment to computational photography with the iPhone 8 Plus. That’s different than the iPhone 7 Plus, which gave you the option to set HDR to auto, off or on.

Martin added that even his high-end DSLR can’t achieve the kind of exposure he achieved with the iPhone 8 Plus.

Shot on iPhone 8 Plus via James Martin/CNET


In terms of performance, The Verge‘s Nilay Patel said the A11 Bionic chip’s increased processing power “feels like headroom for the future,” and not something you immediately notice compared to the iPhone 7 in particular.

I didn’t notice a huge performance boost over the iPhone 7 while doing basic things like browsing the web, watching videos, and taking photos. I played a few games and everything seemed fast and fluid, of course. Apple sells iPhones for years after they’re released — the iPhone 6S is still in the lineup! — so a lot of this extra power just feels like headroom for the future, not something you immediately sense when upgrading from a previous model.

Should You Upgrade?

It depends on who you ask.

While most reviews recommend waiting for the iPhone X, particularly if you currently own an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are still respectable and more affordable updates with faster A11 Bionic chips, True Tone displays, improved cameras, wireless charging, and more.

Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber said the devices are “excellent year-over-year upgrades” compared to their iPhone 7 counterparts.

These are solid year-over-year updates — at least as impressive as the iPhone 7 was over the iPhone 6S. If they hadn’t debuted alongside the iPhone X we’d be arguing about whether these are the most impressive new iPhone models since the iPhone 6.

The Verge‘s Nilay Patel was much less impressed, noting that he “can’t think of a single compelling reason to upgrade from an iPhone 7.”

After spending a week with the 8, I can’t think of a single compelling reason to upgrade from an iPhone 7. The 7 is still extremely fast, offers virtually the same design in a lighter package with a bigger battery, and will get almost every feature of the 8 with iOS 11. If you really want Qi wireless charging, you can get a slim $15 case that supports it. And if you’re dying for Portrait Lighting, there are tons of photo apps in the App Store that offer similar effects. Of course, if you’re upgrading from anything older than an iPhone 7, the improvements in the camera and the overall speed of the phone are going to really impress you.

Engadget‘s Chris Velazco:

The iPhone X will continue to suck the air out of the room for the foreseeable future, but one thing has become clear after my week of testing: They might not have the X’s style, but the 8 and 8 Plus are truly excellent phones that won’t let Apple die-hards and new customers down.

Business Insider‘s Steve Kovach:

My advice is to ask yourself how much you’re willing to pay. If you don’t mind giving up some of the futuristic features in the iPhone X, then the iPhone 8 models will give you the same power and performance and most of the same features of iOS 11 for hundreds of dollars less.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Geoffrey A. Fowler:

That is what is frustrating about the iPhone 8: In the past, Apple rarely raised prices when it made a better phone with more storage. This time, it releases an incremental update and charges $50 more. It’s the first time the most basic new iPhone costs $700.

The virtues I see in the iPhone 8 are niche: I’m glad you don’t have to spend $1,000 to get an improved camera and processor and even wireless charging, if that matters to you. But Apple’s confusing iPhone family now includes three pairs of practically identical phones: the regular and Plus versions of the iPhone 8, 7 and 6s. Don’t buy the spendiest one.

More Reviews: The Loop, iNews, Financial Post, The Independent, The Washington Post, 9to5Mac, Associated Press, and BuzzFeed News

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
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Review: The iPhone 8 is a look into the augmented future of photography

 This is a camera review. There are a number of updates that should appeal in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, but the one question most upgraders are going to be asking is how good is the camera? The camera system in the iPhone is becoming the central focus of its technological advancements. And it’s not just about pictures anymore. With augmented reality and computer vision emerging as… Read More

How Qi wireless charging works, and why it hasn’t taken over yet

The Qi wireless charging standard from the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) is having a relatively good year. Now is a good time for a bird’s-eye view of the technology—how it works, what it’s for, and what its prospects are. This is also a good time because millions of Apple ecosystem users are about to get their first sampling of Qi when the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus launch this Friday.

Qi has appeared in phones of various stripes for more than five years, and many people are already using it. The basic tech has been used for consumer products like razors and toothbrushes for a while, plus a variety of non-consumer tools.

Even if you haven’t used Qi, you may have seen Qi wireless charge pads at airports. In 2014, Verizon installed Qi wireless charging stations in several US terminals, from JFK to LAX. You’ll find them in plenty of other places, too, including devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the US version of the LG G6.

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Pi Charger Uses Qi Standard to Extend Wireless Charging Reach Beyond Current Mats

With the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple added inductive wireless charging support to its mobile devices for the first time. While the feature brought Apple’s phones up to speed with existing Qi-compatible charging standards, the announcement fell short of some expectations that this year Apple would introduce technology allowing iPhones to be powered wirelessly at a distance, rather than having to use a charging mat.

However, Pi is a California-based startup that aims to break from that limitation with the Pi Charger – a cone-shaped tabletop device that combines Qi-based resonant induction with a special beam-forming algorithm that allows it to charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction.



The Pi might not reach the distances claimed by Energous’ WattUp technology, which uses radio frequencies to charge devices from up to 15 feet away, but it does offer more flexibility than existing pads that devices must be directly placed upon.

In a demo at TechCrunch‘s Disrupt event, the company showed that up to four Qi-compatible devices can be placed within a foot of a Pi and they will start charging. Devices can be located anywhere within a 12-inch sphere of influence around the charging hub and in different orientations. The closer the device to the Pi, the faster it charges, with a gradual drop-off in charging speed the further away the phone is.

“Magnetic fields are the best way to send meaningful energy to phones, tablets, and other portable electronics,” said Lixin Shi, Pi’s CTO and co-founder. “The hard part was figuring out how to make magnetic charging more flexible, multi-device, and extend its useful range. It took us over a year to complete the mathematical proof that makes it all possible.”

The team behind Pi said they’ve yet to settle on an exact price for the charger, but they expect it to ship for under $200 sometime in 2018. As for Apple, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it has partnered with Energous to work on bringing a truly wire-free, over-the-air charging technology to its consumer devices, but we’ll likely have to wait for at least another year to see the possible fruits of those labors.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tags: wireless charging, Qi, Pi
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‘infltr’ Photo Editing App Now Lets You Edit Photos Taken in Apple’s Portrait Mode

Photo editing app infltr received an update on Monday that allows users to apply customizable filters to images and Live Photos containing depth information, or pictures taken in Apple’s dual-camera Portrait Mode.

In version 2.10 of infltr (short for “infinite filters”), users who capture a photo on an iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X using Portrait Mode are now able to toggle between the foreground and background to make separate edits to the two layers. infltr’s developers describe it like so:

On top of the colour information red, blue, green and alpha which makes a classic photo, if the photo is captured with depth enabled, an extra layer of information can be seen as a 3D map of the captured scene.


This depth layer is leveraged by infltr to let you edit the background and foreground of your photos differently. This is extremely powerful and integrates seamlessly within infltr’s editor, allowing you to get more creative and highlight the region of your image that matters the most to you.

infltr offers more than 7 million possible filters thanks to a color gradient mapping algorithm, and lets users choose a filter before they take a picture or record video. Moving a finger in any direction over the screen causes the photo filter to change its hue, while double-tapping shuffles the filter for a random pot-luck effect.

infltr can be used to edit photos, videos, animated GIFs, and DSLR shots in HD without a loss in resolution, using over 10 included adjustment and transform tools. Users can also apply infltr filters to the live camera feed while in iMessage.



As well as the ability to edit Portrait Mode photos, the latest update brings support for iOS 11, including the ability to edit photos stored in the new Files app, support for Drag and Drop, an improved iMessage app, new album management options, and the ability to revert filtered photos to their original version from the Camera Roll.

infltr costs $1.99 and can be downloaded for iPad and iPhone (with Apple Watch support) from the App Store [Direct Link], although Apple is still offering users of its official Apple Store app special redeem codes to download infltr for free until October 1 [Direct Link]. The infltr offer can be found in the Discover section on the main store screen.

Related Roundups: iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X
Tag: infltr
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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an iPhone 8 With Presidio Ultra Case From Speck

We’ve teamed up with Speck for a very special giveaway that includes one of Apple’s brand new 256GB iPhone 8 models in Silver and a Presidio Ultra Case designed by Speck to go along with it.



Speck is offering a wide range of cases for the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus at prices starting at $39.95, but the Presidio Ultra is Speck’s most protective iPhone case.



The Presidio Ultra has four layers of protection, including a removable Impactium Ultra bumper that offers up extra drop protection on demand. On its own, the Presidio case offers drop protection up to 10 feet, but that extends to 15 feet with the bumper.



Speck’s Presidio Ultra case also offers coverage of all ports and it’s resistant to both dirt and dust. It comes in a range of fashionable colors, including black, pink/purple, gray/red, and gray/teal.



The Presidio Ultra case is available for the iPhone 8 for $49.95 and the iPhone 8 Plus for $54.95. It can be purchased soon from the Speck website.

Apple’s iPhone 8, though it looks similar to the iPhone 7, is a major upgrade with several new features. Along with a glass body that has a new pearlescent silver finish and support for Qi wireless charging, the iPhone 8 offers up a much faster A11 chip, camera improvements, and better support for augmented reality apps through the introduction of a new accelerometer and gyroscope.

We have one iPhone 8 and Presidio Ultra Case in Gray/Teal to give away to a lucky MacRumors reader. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (September 18) at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time through 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on September 22. The winner will be chosen randomly on September 22 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before a new winner is chosen.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
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iPhone 8 and iPhone X Don’t Support T-Mobile’s Upcoming 600 MHz LTE Network

Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are not compatible with LTE Band 71, aka T-Mobile’s new 600 MHz spectrum the company plans on rolling out in the United States as soon as this year.

All new iPhone models in the United States support FDD-LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, and 66, and TD-LTE bands 4, 38, 39, 40, and 41, according to the Tech Specs page for the devices.

Support for additional bands can’t be added retroactively, so Apple’s devices will not work with LTE Band 71 until support is added to future iPhones.



T-Mobile purchased the 600 MHz spectrum in an FCC auction in April of 2017. Shortly after, T-Mobile announced plans to use the spectrum to deliver 5G coverage starting in 2019, but later said it would use the spectrum to improve its network in rural America starting this year.

Unfortunately, by the time T-Mobile purchased the spectrum and announced plans for rapid implementation, the LTE chips and the hardware for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X were likely already secured, giving Apple no time to build in support for a newly announced LTE band.



T-Mobile in August activated the first 600 MHz LTE site in Cheyenne, Wyoming and has said it will deploy the spectrum at a “record-shattering pace” with plans to roll out 600 MHz sites in Wyoming, Northwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, Western North Dakota, Maine, Coastal North Carolina, Central Pennsylvania, Central Virginia, and Eastern Washington, but whether T-Mobile will hit that goal and get 600 MHz support in those locations by the end of 2017 remains to be seen.

As Peter Cohen points out, deploying the 600 MHz network is a complicated, time-consuming process that will span several years, so most iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X users won’t be heavily affected by the lack of support for the new LTE band at this time.

Like every other carrier, T-Mobile is entirely dependent on a nationwide industry of independent cellular tower owners, operators and technicians to get their hardware deployed. Even if T-Mobile had unlimited funds to get a 600 MHz network up and running, there simply aren’t enough people in the industry who can climb the towers, install the new hardware, test it and get it working for them. What we’re talking about is a huge infrastructure effort that goes way beyond just flipping a switch and turning it on.

T-Mobile says Band 71 adds increased building penetration and covers greater distances. When used in metro areas, it improves in-building coverage, and in rural areas, it improves the company’s LTE footprint.

There are no existing devices that support T-Mobile’s new spectrum at this time. Like Apple’s newest devices, for example, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and new Galaxy Note 8 do not offer support. T-Mobile has said that LG and Samsung will launch devices compatible with the spectrum by the end of the year, and LG’s upcoming LG V30 will be one of the first devices to support it.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X
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Kuo: Apple Watch Series 3 Demand Higher Than Expected as iPhone X Anticipation Cannibalizes iPhone 8 Pre-Orders

Demand for Apple’s high-end flagship iPhone X is “very likely” to cannibalize iPhone 8 pre-orders, predicts KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a note sent out to investors this morning.

iPhone pre-orders traditionally sell out in September due to high demand, but this year, many models of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus were available for launch day delivery through the weekend, and continue to remain readily available for launch day pickup in Apple retail stores.



Kuo, like many of us, believes this is because many customers are awaiting the iPhone X. KGI is “positive on demand” for iPhone X and believes the market will be conservative on iPhone 8 and its suppliers in the near term. High demand for iPhone X, which does not launch until November, could impact Apple’s fourth-quarter earnings results.

Historically, it takes 3-6 weeks or more to ship new iPhone models after they are available for preorder, due to initial tight supply and robust demand. However, our latest review indicates it will take less than 1-2 weeks for the iPhone 8. We believe this is because there is a strong likelihood that iPhone X demand will cannibalize iPhone 8 pre-orders

As for the Apple Watch Series 3, Kuo says demand for the LTE version of the device was “significantly stronger” than expected, perhaps due to the “low premium of $70” over the non-LTE version of the watch.

He believes pre-order weighting of the GPS + Cellular version of the Apple Watch to be 80 to 90 percent over the non-LTE version, though that prediction does seem somewhat questionable given the limited number of countries where the LTE version of the device was available for purchase.

Before the media event, we forecasted the production weighting of the GPS + Cellular version would be 30-40%. However, the pre-order website shows shipments of this version are taking much longer than those of the GPS version (3-4 weeks, from shipments launch day of September 22). We estimate the preorder weighting of the GPS + Cellular version is 80-90%.

Apple Watch Series 3 models equipped with LTE began selling out within 15 minutes of when pre-orders became available for the device on Friday, September 15. It will now take a good three to four weeks to get one of the LTE Apple Watch models, with no in-store pickup available at this time.

The first iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 3 orders will begin arriving to customers on September 22, the official launch date for the devices.

Apple plans to begin accepting pre-orders for the radically redesigned iPhone X on October 27 ahead of a November 3 launch date.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 3, watchOS 4, iPhone 8
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