closedownarrowexternal-linklogo-verticalmenu-barsearch Skip to main content
  1. uSwitch.com
  2. Reviews
  3. iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus group review

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus group review

It's Avengers Assemble-time again, as uSwitch Tech comes together for another four-way review.

With impressive camera smarts, new augmented reality features and a glass design, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus promise to be a worthy upgrade on last year's 7 series.

But are the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus just slightly better versions of phones that have come before them? Or do they have anything genuinely new or innovative to make them worth the flagship price tag?

To find out, a selection of the uSwitch Tech team's best and brightest put the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus through its paces. Here's what they thought of it...

Catherine Hiley

Catherine iPhone 8 Plus portrait mode

Lover of loud music. Lifelong Saints FC fan. Disney Princess.

As a die-hard Android fan, I was a little sceptical to say the least about the new iPhone 8. After all, Samsung has really raised the bar this year, bringing us stunning new infinity screens, an intelligent new voice assistant and facial recognition security tech.

Despite this, however, Apple devices are always the ones that win the headlines. And after months of rumours about what this year’s iPhone might look like, I was curious to see if it would really live up to the hype.

I’ll be honest, I was fully prepared not to like it. In fact, I hoped I wouldn’t. Mine is an Android life and I’m happy with it.

But even as I unboxed it, my loyalty to Samsung started to waver a little. Although the phone didn’t look as flashy and futuristic as the all-screen S8, the iPhone 8 Plus has that simple, classic smartphone design that Apple fans love and trust.

It was ridiculously quick and easy to set up. Even with all my Android accounts, Apple was all too happy to welcome me to the iPhone club and let me transfer all my stuff over onto the iPhone 8 Plus without any unnecessary faffing.

Having never used an iPhone before, it did take me a little while to get used to the operating system. But I have to say, it is gloriously clean and simple and easy to use.

But looks aren’t everything. And the iPhone is more than just a pretty face.

For me, the two most important features of any smartphone are the cameras and the battery life. And these are two things that the iPhone 8 Plus truly excels at.

The impressive dual-lens camera definitely rivals Samsung’s Note 8 snapper. It has a stunning Portrait Mode that gives you Instagram-tastic shots every time by blurring the background and bringing the subject of your photo into razor-sharp focus.

In fact, the Natural Light setting in Portrait Mode was so flattering, I can feel my Samsung loyalty faltering. A device that makes me look picture-perfect first thing on a Monday morning is much more than a technological advancement. It’s actually magic. For once, the caption ‘#nofilter’ was not a lie.

Battery-wise, I was prepared to scoff at the iPhone’s inability to get through the day on a single charge. In terms of specs, the iPhone 8 Plus has a battery that is significantly smaller than the ones used to power Samsung’s 2017 flagships.

But size isn’t the be-all and end-all either. And Apple has managed to improve the way the iPhone uses power, so you can get much more out of the smaller battery. It survived each day of heavy use without slipping below the dreaded 10%.

Overall, despite my loyalty to Samsung, I was begrudgingly impressed by the iPhone 8 Plus. I’m still so entrenched in Android that it’d take a lot for me to switch but I’ve got to admit, I’m far more tempted to get an iPhone 8 than I thought I’d be.

Kieren Messenger

Kieren iPhone 8 Plus portrait mode

Apple apostle. Designer toy collector. Vaughan Oliver taught me everything I know.

I’ve never owned a Plus model iPhone, so a week using one was always going to be interesting.

The first thing you realise is just how big the device is. I still can’t get used to that camera bulge and going back to the regular size now feels claustrophobic.

Having owned iPhones since the 3G back in 2008, everything is familiar. But coming from the iPhone 6, the 8 Plus feels different in practically every way.

It’s noticeably faster, has a better camera and Touch ID is quicker, meaning years of muscle memory needs to be relearnt.

Battery life feels about the same, but considering my iPhone 6 has a three-year-old battery, any extra run time is a very welcome novelty at this point.

The new glass surround feels grippier than the older metal backs, but it’s the first iPhone since the 4 that absolutely must have a case. I simply don’t trust myself not to crack the front or back glass at some point.

The True Tone looks odd to begin but soon feels natural, replacing the constant cool blue screen with a warmer, more orange tint.

You don’t realise how ‘off’ some colours have appeared until you toggle the option on and off.

AR kit adds interesting possibilities that’ll only get better as more apps embrace the feature.

The camera is faster once again, with more options to pick from. Having dual zoom modes is interesting, but I haven’t yet been anywhere to make the most of it.

However portrait mode still feels a bit gimmicky, with the stage light mode producing far too many Bohemian Rhapsody-style floating heads.

I’d say if you have the 7 you may want to hold off until next year to update. But it’s a massive upgrade for iPhone 6-owners like myself and anyone with an older iOS device.

It looks and functions the same, but feels like a genuinely new and different phone.

Christine Torlay

Christine iPhone 8 Plus portrait mode

Sufferer of chronic wanderlust. Cosmetics hoarder. Proud Starbucks groupie.

Very rarely does a new phone release fill me with complete excitement. But as an avid iPhone user, the build up to the latest Apple offerings did exactly that. Given that 2017 marked 10 years of the iPhone, I couldn’t wait to see what the technology giant had up their sleeve.

I chose to review the iPhone 8 Plus as opposed to the 8. When comparing the 8 to my iPhone 6, both devices felt very similar to hold and screen size was practically identical. I wanted to try something significantly different to my two-year-old device, so opted for the 8 Plus.

Upon turning the phone on I was presented with the usual set-up and transferring all my apps and pictures from my iPhone 6 was as straightforward as ever. One pretty cool feature I noticed was the ability to transfer everything from my old iPhone to the 8 Plus by simply placing the 6 near to the new device and letting Bluetooth do the rest.

Frustratingly, this was only available to those who’ve updated their phone to the new iOS 11 software. I had tried to download this, but was faced the dreaded error message “Not enough storage available to complete download.”

One of the major new features of the 8 Plus is the revamped Portrait mode on the camera, which enables you to take studio-quality pictures without the technical know-how. Perfect for a complete photography novice like me. Choosing the different modes was extremely easy, with a few swipes giving you access to all five: Natural light, Studio light, Contour light, Stage light and Stage light mono.

My favourite by far was the natural light setting which made my pictures look as if they had been taken on a DSLR camera. The colours were incredibly vivid and my pictures were packed with detail, with the background blurred just enough to really emphasise the subject in the foreground.

Arguably the most controversial feature of the 8 Plus is its glass back. In true Apple fashion, this addition did give the phone an air of luxury, but meant I was a lot more cautious when handling it. Dropping and shattering the front and back really would be an expensive accident!

The glass back does have a crucial USP though; it enables wireless charging. Pretty neat feature, but for someone like me whose handbags are like the bottomless ones that Mary Poppins had, carrying a wire around isn’t really a problem.

All in all, was the iPhone 8 Plus all that I’d hoped it would be? Not exactly, but the new additions are pretty cool. It would be interesting to compare the iPhone X to the 8 Plus when it comes out. Perhaps that’s the device that’s going to blow my socks off!

Jonathan Leggett

Jon-iPhone-8

Vinegary churl. Poptimist. Likes girls' music.

Believe what you read in some quarters and you’d think the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are mere sideshows to the iPhone X’s main event.

With its entirely new, modish design, all-screen front and lack of home button, the iPhone X rips up the rulebook for Apple smartphones. So it's easy to see why someone might think that way.

They'd be wrong, though. Sure, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus stick fairly fast to the iPhone 7’s design template.

Aside from ditching its predecessor’s aluminium construction for a wholly glass back, it doesn’t seem like much has changed.

The large white bezel that is starting to look a mite old-fashioned is present and correct. As is the reassuringly familiar home button.

But don’t be fooled by its tried-and-tested appearance. For starters, the glass feels grippier than the iPhone 7’s sheeny aluminium. So it’s a lot less likely to slip out of your hand. And because the glass is heavier than aluminium, the iPhone 8 has a satisfying heft.

In the week or so we spent with it, we didn’t drop it once. So we can’t confirm how fragile the glass is. But we can report that it came out blemish-free after spending time in my pocket, alongside keys and coins. So that’s one-nil.

It’s noticeable that the front-facing speakers are louder, with a much fuller sound. And battery longevity came in a touch better than our iPhone 7 by lasting the best part of a day and a bit on a full charge.

On the standard-sized 8, the camera is very good but not outstanding. But the 8 Plus really is an imaging tour de force.

Portrait Mode has great new effects that make your snaps look even more wistful. And pretty much without exception, even in dark and light conditions, the snaps we took were rich with detail, with lovely textures.

We really like the cleaner, more modern Control Centre that’s been introduced with iOS 11. It’s handy to be able to customise it for fast access your most-used features and functions. The AR apps and games are fun as well.

So should you plump for iPhone X over iPhone X? Until we see iPhone X we can’t say for sure. But if you want a phone that feels premium, does all the core features brilliantly and won’t cost you just shy of £1,000, iPhone 8 has got your number.

Samantha Williams

iPhone-8-Plus-camera-sample-Samantha

Self-confessed skinflint. Adventure lover. Baker of yummy cakes.

A relatively recent Apple convert, my first iPhone was the 6. And aside from my constant battle with the very limited storage, it’s still going strong today. Nonetheless, I was keen to try out the newest iPhone on the market.

Although it doesn’t look strikingly different to my current iPhone 6, the iPhone 8 definitely feels a lot more refined. Probably because of the brighter screen and the new glass construction.

Although you might think that a glass iPhone is just asking to be smashed, it actually feels a lot sturdier than the 6. In fact, holding my iPhone 6 in one hand and the new 8 in the other, the glass has the clear advantage of being much less slippy and easier to grip.

Whether or not it lives up to the hype of being the ‘most durable glass ever in an iPhone’, only time will tell. But it survived a few days with this clumsy reviewer and all the knocks and tumbles it inevitably took without a single scratch.

The screen is noticeably brighter and more vibrant than my 6. But not only that, it’s also a lot more intuitive. I like to read on the train and at the end of a long day, my eyes were very glad of the True Tone technology, which softens the white according to surrounding light conditions.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 8’s 12-megapixel camera puts my iPhone 6 shooter to shame. With far more detail, brighter colours and greater depth than I could ever achieve on my 6, you can take very professional-looking shots on the iPhone 8 with literally no effort or know-how.

So, although the iPhone 8 doesn’t do anything essential that my 6 can’t manage, it definitely does everything quicker, better and more intuitively. Do I need to replace my 6 with an 8? Probably not. But I definitely want to.

Convinced you need the latest iPhone in your life? We've currently got a fantastic uSwitch exclusive deal that comes with a £100 voucher. Get the iPhone 8 on Three.

Sign up for updates

Join our email list to get the inside line on the latest phones and money-saving offers. And we’ll help you make informed buying decisions with handset reviews and consumer guides too.

Sign up for updates

Join our email list to get the inside line on the latest phones and money-saving offers. And we’ll help you make informed buying decisions with handset reviews and consumer guides too.

back to top