iPhone 8 review: is this Apple iPhone still worth buying in 2022?

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

iPhone 8 review
(Image credit: franz12 / Shutterstock.com)
T3 Verdict

The iPhone 8 could still be worth buying if you're an Apple fan and you're on a very tight budget, but you can't expect the most up-to-date features or a modern design. You should also bear in mind that 2022 could be the last year this phone will receive new updates.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Good camera

  • +

    Decent battery life

  • +

    Ergonomic design

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Large bezels look dated

  • -

    Fast charging costs extra

  • -

    Only 60Hz refresh rate

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This iPhone 8 review aims to answer the question 'is the iPhone 8 worth buying in 2022?' - in short, maybe. However, it was discontinued in 2020 so you'll only be able to find refurbished or second hand models.

The Apple iPhone 8 has been on the market for almost five years, so it's been a long time since this was the new kid on the block. Since its launch, there have been loads of new Apple handsets including the iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and most recently, the iPhone 13.

I'll start off by saying that if you want an iPhone but you're on a budget then going for an older generation is a no-brainer but you will have to manage your expectations quite a lot. 

If you're not completely set on Apple then it might be worth checking out T3's guide to the best cheap phones because even the most affordable Android devices are getting better and better each year. 

Should I buy the iPhone 8 in 2022?

First things first, Apple has discontinued the iPhone 8 so you'll have to buy a refurbished model if you do choose to go ahead and get one. That's better for the environment and better for your wallet so that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

You should also know that while the iPhone 8 is still receiving updates to its operating system and security, judging on past generations, 2022 could well be the last year of that, so from 2023 onwards you can expect problems to start cropping up and it could start to slow down. 

Answering the question 'should you buy the iPhone 8 in 2022?' is a hard one because you can pick it up dead cheap right now but you could end up in a pickle when Apple stops rolling out iOS updates.

So what are your other options? If you want a budget Apple handset then the iPhone SE (2020) could be the better choice although you will have to pay a little more for it. 

iPhone 8 vs iPhone SE (2020)

The iPhone 8 looks a little dated now because it still has a camera notch interrupting the screen, a physical button on the front and the bezels are a lot thicker than you'll see on the best phones you can buy this year. The iPhone SE (2020) looks very similar though, so they're pretty much on par when it comes to design. 

Both phones also have a 4.7-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels, as well as a 1,821mAh battery, so they are neck and neck in those areas.

Another likeness is in their camera systems. Both devices have a decent 12MP rear camera and a 7MP front camera. The iPhone SE (2020) will have better camera features though so while photos won't look that different, you can expect the SE to be a step ahead in the final result. 

Under the hood, the iPhone 8 packs Apple's A11 Bionic chipset, it's inevitably going to be less powerful than the iPhone SE (2020) which has an A13 CPU. Day-to-day, you won't see that much of a difference but if you start throwing more demanding tasks at it, the newer phone is sure to be a clear winner.  

What you can take from this is that the iPhone 8 and iPhone SE (2020) are very similar phones, but because the iPhone SE (2020) is newer with slightly updated hardware, it's definitely the better buy in 2022. You will have to pay just a little bit more for it but it'll be worth it to get more years of updates from Apple. Take a look at the widget below to see where you can pick one up. 

iPhone 8 review: 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). 

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 that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone X offer. That makes the iPhone 8 feel a bit more dated than its competitors that were launched around the same time.

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.

iPhone 8 review: 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).

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.

iPhone 8 review: performance and battery

The iPhone 8 comes packing Apple's A11 Bionic hexa-core (that's six cores) processor. At the time it was the most powerful processor Apple had ever put in an iPhone but now it's been left behind.

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). 

Apple also simplified storage options, now the iPhone 8 comes 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

iPhone 8 review: camera system

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:

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.

iPhone 8 review: 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.

iPhone 8 review: 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 

All of our tests are done in a real-world environment – not in a lab. You can find out more about how we test at T3 here.

Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

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 seven 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 driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.

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