iPhone 8 hands-on review

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

Our Apple iPhone 8 hands-on review will give you true insight into what the latest iPhone has to offer. There are marked and highly noticeable improvements that have been made since the conception of the iPhone 7, so the iPhone 8 will certainly be in high demand.

True Tone display

The iPhone 8 delivers the desired wow factor through its 4.7” True Tone Retina HD display. It is not so much the resolution (750 x 1334 pixels / 326 pixels per inch) but the wider colour gamut and more accurate colour production that stunned us, making it stand out next to other smartphones.

The clever technology that is working in the background includes a sensor that detects the colour temperature of the ambient light. With this information, the iPhone 8 automatically adjusts the white balance, which results in a viewing experience that is as satisfying as flicking through a high-quality magazine.

Augmented Reality

The iPhone 8 pulls the user into new dimensions altogether, through Augmented Reality (AR) apps and games. Augmented Reality merges the real world, as seen by the camera, with an overlay of graphics and sounds. AR works really well on the iPhone 8 with apps that let you digitally redesign or decorate a room by changing the furniture or colour of the walls. We tried out the free Ikea app and this puts the whole Ikea catalogue at your disposal, with 3D scaled furniture from chairs to coffee tables.

Other AR apps allow you to try on a digital tattoo to see how it might look, before you commit to needle and ink. AR games on the iPhone 8 go well beyond the Pokémon Go fad, allowing you to physically move around the gaming action. Further realism is added with the sound level, produced by 25% louder stereo speakers, reaching a crescendo as you move in closer to AR objects.

The A11 Bionic chip is behind the iPhone 8 AR experience and this has a Neural Engine that makes up to 600 billion operations per second. The A11 Bionic chip has two 25% quicker performance cores, four 70% quicker efficiency cores and three 30% faster graphics cores.

iPhone 8 camera

The photographic results that we captured with the 12MP wide angle lens are some of the best we have ever seen. The iPhone 8 achieves this with an Apple designed ISP (Image Signal Processor) that optimises the image prior to it being taken. The ISP detects the lighting conditions, motion and people in the scene in order to optimise the results. The negative effects of shaky hands are taken care of with Optical Image Stabilisation for photos and video.

We found that this worked superbly when shooting video while walking around the scene. HDR is faster than before and set as on as the default. Using HDR makes a real difference to the results as two images are captured and merged together. The point of this is that one image captures the detail in the dark elements of the scene, while the other captures the detail of the light elements. This is something that a camera cannot capture well by taking just one image.

We also noticed that low light photos looked much better. This is because 40% more uniform illumination is created by the Quad LED True Tone Flash. The Slow Sync feature uses a short strobe pulse and slow shutter speed to ensure that the foreground is brighter and the background is well exposed.

For selfies or video calling there is a 7MP FaceTime HD camera with its own Retina Flash. Storing photos and videos on an iPhone in the past could lead to full memory issues. This isn’t going to be the case on the iPhone 8 though as Apple has pre-loaded HEIF and HEVC photo and video compression software. The result is that photos and videos retain the same quality but only take up half of the file size.

iPhone 8 durability and design

The iPhone 8 feels very different in the hand and this is because both the front and back are now made out of glass. The extremely durable glass has its strength derived through the glass being fixed to a steel laser-welded foundation. The two pieces of glass sandwich a 7000 Series aerospace grade aluminium frame and the precision is so accurate that the iPhone 8 offers IP67 certified water resistance.

The iPhone 8 design includes a battery that will typically last for more than 24 hours. Tests highlight that the battery can offer up to 13 hours of video playback or 12 hours internet use or up to 40 hours music playback. New for the iPhone 8 is support for (Qi) wireless charging and fast charging, where 50% charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes. To make use of these charging technologies, owners will need to respectively purchase a wireless charging matt or a fast charger.

There are two final elements that stand out on the Apple iPhone 8. The Control Centre that has a new and more visually appealing design, while a more expressive Siri offers the choice of either a male or female voice.

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