iPhone 8 Plus preview

Apple unveiled the exciting but extremely expensive iPhone X on 12 Sept, but before it got to that the company also revealed 2017's more prosaic smartphone update: the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

In our iPhone 8 Plus first-look preview we weigh up the design, features, specs and pricing of Apple's new phablet to help you decide if it's the best phone for you.

Design & build quality

The iPhone 8 Plus is an incremental update to the 7 Plus (as opposed to the dramatically redesigned iPhone X unveiled on the same night) and therefore has largely the same design as the 7, 6s and 6-generation handsets. It's a classic design but one's that's now three years old and starting to feel a little dated.

There have been some small (and not-so-small) tweaks to the design in that time; like the 7 handsets, for instance, the 8 Plus does not have a headphone port and features a buzzing, solid-state Home button instead of the clicking version seen in previous years. This year's biggest design change is the glass front and back, which mean it supports wireless charging - which we'll discuss more in a bit.

Nevertheless if you're looking for radical new designs, this isn't the device for you. But there are other upgrades worth having, we think.

iPhone 8 Plus review: Design

Colour options

While we're on the subject of visual design, the 8 Plus is available in only three colours: silver, gold and Space Grey. Far less than the iPhone 7-generation handsets, which at one point were available in six finishes.

Note that Apple appears to have 'split the difference' between the gold and (no longer offered) Rose Gold colour finishes: gold now appears to have a little more pink, a little more copper, than it used to.

New features

The 8 Plus doesn't get Face ID, but it does get another of the iPhone X's upgrades - and it's something that, in a less exciting year, would have been heralded as a flagship feature:

Wireless charging

The iPhone 8 Plus has the same glass-back design as the iPhone X, which means it's compatible with wireless charging accessories: instead of having to plug it in, you just put the phone on a pad and let it charge.

Our understanding is that any charger that's certified as Qi-compatible will work with the new generation of iPhones, while Apple will release its own AirPower charging pad range in 2018.

Tech specs

Let's take a look at the tech specs inside that chassis.

Processor

A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, Neural Engine, Embedded M11 motion coprocessor

RAM

Not officially disclosed; believed to be 3GB RAM

Storage

64GB or 256GB

Display

5.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Retina HD LCD Multi-Touch display with IPS technology; 1920x1080 resolution at 401 ppi; 1300:1 contrast ratio; 625 cd/m2 max brightness; True Tone; 3D Touch

Rear-facing camera

Dual lens: 12Mp wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) and telephoto (ƒ/2.8) cameras; optical zoom; digital zoom up to 10x; optical image stabilisation; Quad-LED True Tone flash with slow sync; 4K video recording at 24fps, 30fps or 60fps; slo‑mo video 1080p at 120fps or 240fps; Portrait mode; Portrait Lighting (beta); panorama (up to 63Mp)

iPhone 8 Plus review: Camera

Front-facing camera

7Mp camera; 1080p HD video recording; Retina Flash; ƒ/2.2 aperture

Audio

Stereo speaker

Water resistance

Rated IP67 water- and dust-resistant under IEC standard 60529

iPhone 8 Plus review: Water resistance

Battery

Claimed battery life: up to 13 hours of internet use. Fast-charge capable: up to 50 percent charge in 30 minutes.

Connectivity & other features

802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO; Bluetooth 5.0; NFC; Touch ID; barometer; accelerometer

Dimensions

158.4mm x 78.1mm x 7.5mm; 202g

Release date

The iPhone 8 Plus was announced on 12 Sept (along with the 8 and the X) and is now available to buy from Apple.

Price & where to buy

The iPhone 8 Plus costs £799 with 64GB of storage or £949 with 256GB. You can browse the various options on Apple's website.

Those looking to buy the iPhone 8 Plus on contract may wish to try Carphone Warehouse, EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three. Find out more and compare prices in our where to buy the iPhone 8 Plus article.

OUR VERDICT

The iPhone X got all the headlines but in many ways the iPhone 8 Plus is a more appealing upgrade. You get many of the X's features: wireless charging (thanks to the glass back), the A11 Bionic chip, Portrait Lighting. And you don't lose the Home button, which means you don't need to relearn the interface and you can carry on using Touch ID. It's also cheaper - and you can buy it right now.

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