What is the iPhone 8 Plus?
Editors note: We’ve not yet had our iPhone 8 Plus for enough time to fully form a complete verdict and score yet, so this is a review-in-progress. Expect to see a final verdict soon, though.
That’s not because it’s a bad phone, but because Apple superseded the iPhone 8 about 10 minutes after it was announced by showing off the OLED-toting, bezel-free iPhone X. The “future of the smartphone”, according to Apple, is coming – but that’s not the iPhone 8 Plus.
The iPhone 8 Plus is instead a steady, safe update. There are nice upgrades to the screen, camera and processor, although nothing to really make you say “wow”. It’s an iPhone 7S Plus in all but name.
iPhone 8 Plus price
The iPhone 8 Plus starts at £799/$799 for 64GB and £949/$949 for 256GB. That’s cheaper than the iPhone X – which will start at £999/$999 when it ships in November – but it’s a higher starting price than the iPhone 7 Plus (£719/$749, 32GB).
iPhone 8 Plus release date
Apple’s latest Plus phablet is available now from various networks and the Apple Store. To get the best price, check out our iPhone 8 deals page.
iPhone 8 Plus – Design
The single biggest disappointment with the iPhone 8 Plus is its design. This is now the fourth time – iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and 8 – that Apple has stuck with basically the same look for its phones, and considering it was easily the least attractive iPhone three years ago, it’s certainly fallen behind the Android pack now.
To be honest, the iPhone 8 Plus is comfortably my favourite iteration of the design, but that seems like faint praise at this stage. The aluminium back has been replaced with what Apple is calling the “most durable glass ever” and it feels so much better for it. It’s heavier, grippier, and doesn’t feel likely that it’s going to fly out of my hand every time I pick it up.
Apple has always been masterful at fit and finish, and the way the glass slightly curves at the edges and blends into the familiar 7000-series aluminium rim is very impressive. It’s still IP67 rated for water-resistance too – something that’s become even more popular in the phone market recently and was also seen on the iPhone 7.
Related: iPhone X – Everything you need to know
Apple remains the best at colouring its phones too, especially with the new gold hue. This could be one the most controversial iPhone colours ever, but I like it a lot. It’s a blend of the lighter rose gold and the harsher gold from the iPhone 7, but the addition of the glass gives it a creamy, almost retro ’70s vibe that’s hard to really get across in pictures. The dull silver option is here too, and Space Grey, which is slightly lighter than the Jet Black from last year.
The biggest problem with the ageing design of the iPhone 8 Plus is just the sheer size of it. The 5.5-inch display used here is small compared to the 6.3-inch screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the 6-incher on the LG V30, but the phone itself is far larger than both of those in every dimension. It’s cumbersome to hold, too wide and feels old-fashioned. It looks like a phone from 2014, and the huge bezel around the display doesn’t help things.
It’s clear that Apple can design a stunning phone – just look at the iPhone X – and I understand that the company will be pushing that as its future direction, but realistically the iPhone 8 Plus is still a £799 phone. That’s more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S8, and it needs to compete.