iPhone 8 review: is this Apple iPhone still worth buying today?

Is the Apple iPhone 8 still a good buy today? Let's find out in T3's iPhone 8 review

iPhone 8 review
T3 Verdict

The iPhone 8 is the perfect update to the iPhone 7. Battery life is better, as is the camera, and, unlike the iPhone 8 Plus, it's significantly cheaper than the upcoming iPhone X. It's difficult to get excited about, however.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great camera

  • +

    Decent battery life

  • +

    Ergonomic design

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Large bezels look dated

  • -

    Fast charging costs extra

  • -

    Difficult to get excited about

The Apple iPhone 8 has been on the market for almost four years and in that time there have been a few other Apple handsets to hit the market, including the iPhone 11, iPhone SE (2020) and iPhone 12.

Even today the phone is still a superbly capable handset and despite the newer options offering better specs than the iPhone 8, they are a lot more pricey. The iPhone 8 is now retailing for some truly bargain-basement price points so the big question that is raised a lot right now is "should you get the iPhone 8?"

Well, that is what T3' Apple iPhone 8 review is here to help you decide. Here T3 breaks down each part of the handset's experience and tells you exactly what it is like to use, as well as bring you the very cheapest deals on it, too.

Familiar Design

The iPhone 8 measures 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm. That's fractionally larger than the iPhone 7, but it should still fit inside an iPhone 7 case. It carries over the 4.7-inch screen (more on that later). 

That really puts the iPhone 8 in a league of its own, as there are no Android flagships with such a compact screen.

The size makes it a pleasure to hold and use one-handed, which could be the killer reason to buy the iPhone 8 over anything else.

Clearly, you don't get the bezel-less displays which the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone X offer. That makes the iPhone 8 feel a bit more dated than its competitors.

As we've already mentioned, the iPhone 8's design isn't a massive departure from the iPhone 6 and 7 aesthetic. That's not necessarily a bad thing, they're great looking phones.

iPhone 8 review

The aluminium unibody design has been replaced by a glass back (evoking the spirit of the iconic iPhone 4). This allows for wireless charging and should improve the wireless performance (that's what other manufacturers like HTC have claimed in the past).

The glass back feels great, although, not quite as premium as the almost-ceramic metal case.

It has a grippy coating that makes it feel more secure in your hands compared to other glass-backed phones. This is also helped by the extra weight, 148g vs 138g of the iPhone 7.

We reviewed the white and silver model, which doesn't show any fingerprints, and we've also been using it without a case and haven't noticed any scratches yet.

The camera lens still protrudes from the rear casing.

Just like the iPhone 7 there's no headphone port. It's time to jump onboard the wireless bandwagon.

The stereo speakers are now louder. It's a clear improvement ove ther previous iPhones, but lack bass for proper music listening. They do create a pleasingly wide soundstage.

The iPhone 8 is water resistant, with the same IP67 rating. That means it should survive in 1 metre of water for up to 30 minutes. 

iPhone 8 review

And finally on design - Apple have changed the colourways available. The iPhone 8 comes in Silver, Gold, and Black.

The Gold is the standout here. It's much truer to real rose gold than the pink of Apple's old rose gold. The old iPhone Rose Gold is now discontinued.

A True Tone Screen

The iPhone 8 features a 4.7-inch 750 x 1334 IPS LCD display which has a pixel density of 326 PPI.

That's the same number of pixels as the iPhone 7 (and the three year old iPhone 6). That's quite surprising, as we were expecting a bump in resolution considering some other rivals, now pack QHD screens (570 PPI for the Samsung Galaxy S8).

If you hold them together side by side the difference is noticeable, but in reality, you won't be disappointed by the iPhone 8's resolution - it's plenty sharp enough.

What Apple has focused on improving is the brightness and colour representation.

iPhone 8 review

Apple has added True Tone technology to the display. This monitors the ambient light around the handset, and calibrates the screen to perfect it under your current lighting conditions. This was first seen in the iPad Pro.

It results in bold colours and beautiful contrast, without out looking over-processed, like some competitors.

Unrivaled specs and improved battery life

The iPhone 8 comes packing Apple's new and speedy A11 Bionic hexa-core (that's six cores) processor. It's the most powerful processor Apple has ever put in an iPhone.

Now day-to-day it's difficult to notice this increase in power. Tearing through different apps, playing music, watching video, and checking emails are all uninterrupted by the hardware (as is usual for a new phone). What's super impressive is how instantly apps are ready when multitasking between numerous jobs, but that's something iPhones have always been good at.

Where the added processing power will really become apparent is when running the more intensive apps (which use AR Kit, for example). 

Hopefully, it'll also stay quick for a lot longer, as well.

Apple also simplified storage options, now the iPhone 8 comes with with 64GB, or 256GB. 

iPhone 8 review

Apple claimed the iPhone 8's battery life was comparable to the iPhone 7, but we found it performed very well, far exceeding our expectations.

Obviously, we're not talking a two-day battery life here, but we found it comfortably lasted a day with mixed usage.

We've also got two new ways to charge the iPhone 8 - wirelessly and quickly (and yes, those are mutually exclusive).

The new glass-backed design means that you can set the iPhone 8 down on a wireless charging pad and it'll instantly start sucking up juice.

It's the universal 'Qi' standard as well, so you won't need a special Apple wireless charger for this to work.

It's a nice touch and convenient, but at the moment it's rather slow. We found it very useful on a recent road trip which a Qi-enabled car, however.

Also onboard is fast charging, but you'll need to buy an additional USB-C to Lightning cable and fast charger to unlock this.

iPhone 8 review

Single camera excellence 

Ah, the camera - now this is where it gets interesting.

On paper the iPhone 8's camera looks unchanged from the iPhone 7. You get the 12 megapixel f/1.8 lens setup as you did with the previous generation, but this year the sensor is larger and the software smarter.

The result is a big improvement, with the camera now capable of taking some stunning shots with great detail and contrast.

It's still not quite as reliable as the trusty Google Pixel or HTC U11, but it's narrowed the gap significantly.

Check out these iPhone 8 image samples:

Image 1 of 18

Image 1 of 18

It's still a shame you can't get Apple's dual camera system on the smaller phone, because I constantly feel like I'm missing Portrait Mode and Optical Zoom.

The 7MP front facing camera is excellent, as is the 4K video at 60fps.

T3 Verdict

The iPhone 8 is an excellent smartphone. The battery life is decent, the camera improved, and the addition of wireless charging adds convenience.

We like the glass-backed design as well, and, thanks to the small screen it's one of the most ergonomic phones we've ever used.

There's one X-shaped problem.

The iPhone 8 is overshadowed by the more exciting, more expensive brother, and if you're looking for the latest, greatest iPhone ever released, you're going to want the iPhone X.

Of course, the iPhone 8 is considerably cheaper than the £999 iPhone X, coming in a £699. And that's where our problem with the iPhone 8 lies, it's now the 'cheap' iPhone...

iPhone 8 specs

Dimensions: 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
Display: 4.7 inches, 750 x 1334 pixels pixels
Processor: Apple A11 Bionic / 2GB RAM
Storage: 64 / 256GB
Battery: 1821 mAh
Camera: 12MP sensor, f/1.8, OIS, quad-LED (dual tone) flash

Liked this? Check out the iPhone 8's rivals in out best smartphone guide 

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over six years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's not decorating his new home, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or making sure his Instagram account looks perfect.