The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are being overshadowed by the imminent launch of the iPhone X. While the iPhone X introduces a new and exciting design, it also costs $1,000 and lacks a Touch ID sensor, which it replaces with new facial recognition technology. Also, fans of the plus-sized iPhones may find the X’s screen to be too small. Because of this, some may not be in the market for the X, and the 8 or 8 Plus may be the better option. I found myself in this group: I like large phones, and the X is really just too small, so I picked up an 8 Plus to go with the Airpods I had been using for a few weeks. So far, my experience has been incredible.
The 8 Plus has very subtle design differences from the last few iPhones. It features a glass back, which feels premium and nice to hold, but also worries me due to how breakable it is. The only other major design difference is a change in colors. I opted to go for the Space Grey model, as I like how the black front looks far more than the white one. While the design is old and outdated, it has not bothered me much in everyday use. It definitely lacks the “cool factor” though, if you are looking for that in a phone.
What has really changed on the iPhone 8 Plus, however, is all on the inside. Wireless charging is finally here, and to my surprise, is an openly used standard. Fast charging is finally here as well, even though the fast charger doesn’t come in the box. The A11 bionic CPU is blazingly quick, causing general responsiveness to be incredible and high performance apps to not skip a beat. The dual camera setup on the back takes great photos, and the high frame rate video is amazing.
The thing that always surprises me about iOS when I haven’t used it extensively for a while is how high the overall app quality is. Even apps made by Google seem to have an extra level of smoothness on iOS compared to those on Android devices. Even though the apps do the same things, it makes me feel like there is a more unified experience available to me, which I can appreciate in my everyday usage. The iPhone 8 Plus, with its fairly large screen, allows me to take full advantage of this experience.
Speaking of the screen, True Tone made its way to the new iPhones from the iPad Pro line. True Tone adjusts the display automatically to have color better suited to the light you are in. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but in practice, it is very nice to have. The screen often has less blue light, which makes it look more accurate to the lighting of the room and makes it easier on the eyes. It is not a must-have feature, but it is very nice to have.
Battery life has been superb. My usage pattern seems to kill the battery of Android devices fairly quickly, but not with the 8 Plus. I have been getting to 25% at about 12 a.m., with the phone being taken off the charger around 9 a.m.the day before. It lasts me all day, something that I cannot say about many other phones I’ve used.
Not everything is amazing. iOS 11 remains pretty buggy, but one can hope that the 11.1 update on the horizon will fix some of the issues. Speaking of iOS 11, it still lacks many of the customization features I like to use on Android. Even simple things, like moving icons to where I want is still not possible. For me, this is not a deal breaker and I can live with it. For others, it may not be so livable. I also wish the notifications were in a better spot; Android definitely has a superior notification management system.
The iPhone 8 Plus still has no headphone jack. This used to be a problem for me, until I started using Airpods, the independent wireless earbuds. They are pretty expensive, but they work so well. I never lose connection, even walking around NYC. I only have to charge the charging case they are stored in once a week. And most importantly, they integrate perfectly with my iPhone. I open the case, put them in my ears, double tap the right one, and music starts to play right where I left off. No connecting in settings, no waiting to turn on, nothing. I also love that I have the ability to use just one in mono if I want to listen to music while doing work with someone, for example.
Overall, the combination of the iPhone 8 Plus and Airpods is an expensive and amazing duo that have provided me with a top-notch smartphone and music listening experience. I can highly recommend both devices to anyone looking to upgrade their iPhone or switch over from Android, and to anyone looking to add amazing convenience to their music listening.