iPhone turns 10 this year and so to celebrate Apple released THREE new iPhones! Thisyear they announced the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and a special model iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10, X being the roman numeral ten). While the 8 and 8 Plus were swell, the X definitely stole the show.
iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
Quite honestly, the iPhone 8 models are not really exciting when compared to the iPhone X. They bring a plethora of new features in a design that’s been around since 2014 and that design is definitely starting to show its age. The only discernible difference is the new glass back, which to be fair is actually a visual improvement from aluminum and it also allows for wireless charging. Even with the boring design however,the iPhone 8 is a great phone nonetheless and it brings many compelling features.
The first thing that everyone looks at, the display, has received some minor updates. It’sbiggest feature here is True Tone technology which was previously exclusive to the iPad Pro. The idea of True Tone is that the screen behaves more naturally like a sheet of paper adjusting the white balance and matching it with the color temperature of the surrounding light, so it reduces eyestrain. Other display improvements are simply better color accuracy and better wide viewing angles.
The other biggest change is with the processor. This year, Apple introduced the A11 Bionic chip. Last year’s A10 Fusion chip (on the iPhone 7) was one of the fastest (if not the fastest) processors in all mobile devices and Apple claims that this year’s chip has a25% faster CPU and a 30% faster GPU. If you don’t know what that means, all you really need to know is that this chip’s performance is on par with some laptops, which is mind boggling fast for a smartphone.
However, the biggest improvement has to be with the camera. The larger and faster sensor allows for some interesting features and better photos and video. Portrait mode, a feature where the camera automatically blurs the background of the subject giving a depth-of-field effect, has been vastly improved since last year. Another interesting new feature introduced is called studio lighting. As the name implies, this feature allows to the camera to intelligently use facial recognition to adjust the lighting, shadows, and create spotlight effects in a shot. It essentially imitates what photographers would do
with the lighting but does it digitally with software. This feature is still technically in beta but works well enough to be available for use in iOS 11 already.
The video department also has some great improvements. Slow-mo video can now record 1080p up to 240 fps, giving you cleaner results than ever. However, the biggest improvement here is recording 4K at 60 fps! To give perspective, some DSLR cameras worth thousands of dollars can’t even record at 4K resolution at 60 fps, so it is amazing that a phone camera can achieve this.
Other minor features include a 25% louder front firing speaker, which some reviewers have commented is a noticeable improvement, even providing some bass (which most phone speakers can’t). Also, Apple claims that the iPhone now has the strongest glass on any smartphone, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from putting a case on it though.
This device is in a tight spot though. The truth is, this is the first iPhone to not sell out onrelease or get that much coverage and there are many reasons for this. The previously mentioned boring design is definitely a factor to blame but the biggest reason is also the fact that this iPhone is competing with the flashier iPhone X.
The iPhone X was the star of the show at Apple’s event. It’s the biggest redesign in all iPhone history. This phone is a special edition model for the 10th anniversary of iPhone and Apple claims that this phone is setting the standard for the future of smartphones, so clearly a lot is riding on this device.
Many of the features this device brings are also on the iPhone 8 models, such as wireless charging, some camera features, faster chipset, etc., so all of those are not worth mentioning twice. Of course as expected, this device brings several exclusive features of its own.
The screen is what is most drastically changed here and it is what sets it apart from the other models. To put it simply, the iPhone X is practically entirely screen. Almost all bezels (black or white spaces surrounding the actual display) were removed and by extension so was the home button. This is also the first iPhone to utilize an OLED
display which means that this is also the highest resolution display on an iPhone. All in all, this is both the most different and the best display on an iPhone ever.
This design wasn’t without compromise though. The removal of the home button meansthat Touch ID is now gone with it. However, Apple did give something that they claim is better. They introduced a new feature called Face ID. Next to the display, this is the second biggest feature this phone offers.
As you can guess, Face ID replaces the finger print with your face. Although for some this might sound brand new, face scanners aren’t actually that new. Samsung actually introduced this feature before, but their attempt wasn’t great at all. In fact, it was so bad that a picture of you could fool the phone and unlock it and even Samsung admitted it wasn’t very secure and recommended you used other methods to lock your phone. Apple is late to the game with face scanners, but did it so much better. They added multiple types of cameras and sensors to the front which all function to detect depth andget an accurate projection of your face. Detecting depth means that a flat image of you can’t fool the phone into unlocking it. These sensors even use invisible infrared light to see your face in the dark so it works in any environment—day or night. Using machine learning, the phone is suppose to recognize your changes in appearance as well. So wearing glasses, growing a beard, or applying makeup should technically not throw it off. When demoed, Apple showed that this method of unlocking is also is very quick (just as fast as Touch ID). Apple intends to use Face ID for everything Touch ID was used for and they even claim it is much more secure than a finger print.
Both the front facing and the rear cameras were also redesigned. With the rear camera, Apple added dual-optical image stabilization. This means that both camera sensors actually move slightly, which drastically reduces shakiness in video. Also, portrait mode has been added to the front sensor as well.
Finally the part that most people don’t enjoy hearing: the price. The iPhone 8 models start at $699 and the iPhone 8 Plus models start at $799. The iPhone X, however, startsat $999, which is a record breaking high price for a smartphone. Before you pull out the pitchforks, it should be noted that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 (recently came out) costs $960, so Apple’s high cost is still “technically” competitive with the competition.
So if you’re on the verge of deciding what iPhone to get, then it’s likely price alone decided that for you. If you want the flashiest device out there and don’t mind the cost, then the iPhone X will definitely offer the best features in the prettiest package. However, if you’re looking for a phone that most reviewers agree is great phone but just doesn’t look that exciting and you don’t want to drop over a grand on a smartphone, then the iPhone 8 is probable the better buy.