Apple iPhone 8 full review
The iPhone 8, unveiled in September 2017, is the 4.7in edition of Apple's newest smartphone generation, and while it lacks the more drastic design changes of the soon-to-launch iPhone X it boasts a range of new features and spec upgrades. The Samsung Galaxy S8, meanwhile, came out in March 2017 and has been one of the dominant Android handsets on the market ever since.
We decided to put the 8 and the S8 head-to-head, and help you decide which offers the best combination of design, features, tech specs and value for money. If we are able to help you reach a decision, we've got articles rounding up the best iPhone 8 deals and the best Samsung Galaxy S8 deals. And for a comparison with the latest Samsung phone, see iPhone 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S9.
Whenever we discuss the iPhone 8's design, we find ourselves talking about the past. This is because it is, essentially, a backward-looking design, one that is in many ways unchanged from the iPhone 6 launched in 2014.
Changes have been gradually added over those years, such as the Home button switching from a moving to a solid-state component in 2016, and the new glass back this year. But it's all moved at a rather glacial rate.
The S8 is another matter altogether. Our colleagues on TechAdvisor said it "makes its predecessor [the Galaxy S7], and other phones, look dated". It has minimal bezels, with a screen-to-body ratio of more than 93 percent and a pressure-sensitive Home button built into the screen.
The 8 is smaller than the S8, although the S8 has a significantly bigger screen (5.8in to the iPhone's 4.7in) so this is to be expected. Samsung's phone is about 10mm longer, 1mm wider and 0.7mm thicker. The iPhone is also 7g lighter - hardly noticeable.
(Note that the iPhone 8 is very slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor the iPhone 7, so if that's your priority you might like to consider saving some money and getting last year's model.)
- iPhone 8: 138.4mm x 67.3mm 7.3mm; 148g
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 148.9mm x 68.1mm x 8.0mm; 155g
Note that the iPhone 8, like the 7-generation headsets last year, hasn't got a headphone port. On the plus side, it comes with a pair of Lightning headphones and an adaptor so you can use older headphones with it. The S8, on the other hand, does have a headphone port.
iPhone 8 in pictures
Here are some pictures of the two phone so you can make up your own mind about their aesthetic qualities.
Samsung Galaxy S8 in pictures
The iPhone 8 is available in four colours: Gold, Silver, Space Grey and a (PRODUCT)RED version. (The gold option is quite pink, so be warned!)
The Galaxy S8 is available in five colours: Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue and Maple Gold. But you may not be able to find them all in the UK. Only black, grey and silver were launched here initially, and gold still isn't available if you buy through Samsung.
As high-end phones both of these devices have an impressive feature set. It's a struggle to cover everything, but here are the highlights.
The iPhone 8 and S8 each offer wireless charging. (In both cases, however, you'll have to buy the charger separately.)
The 8 is compatible with Qi-certified charging accessories, and Apple has pledged to bring out its own AirPower charging kit next year. The S8 works with Qi and AirFuel Inductive standards.
Siri vs Bixby
In terms of voice/AI assistants, the iPhone gets Siri. We're quite fond of Siri and it's always getting better, but users have their fair share of issues with it. It's probably fair to say that Siri - and Apple - despite their efforts in this direction are not presently at the cutting edge of AI.
Samsung has Bixby, the company's take on the more ambitious Google Assistant type of helper. The idea is you can talk to it without worrying what you can and can't say: it will understand context. But much of the functionality is available via Google Assistant (which is on the phone) and it's compatible with a smaller range of apps. We think Google Now is a much better alternative and probably always will be.
Apple has historically tended to be behind its smartphone rivals when it comes to waterproofing. The iPhone 8 is rated IP67 (dust-proof, and capable of submersion in liquid up 1m), while the S8 goes one better with an IP68 rating (the same on dust, but able to go deeper than 1m in liquid).
Still, both devices should be fine with the occasional accidental dip.
This is the name of a photographic feature that Apple brought in with the iPhone 6s. When you take a still photo - assuming this feature is switched on - it will also capture a few seconds before and after the shutter is pressed. This means you get a short candid video that animates when you hard-press the screen while viewing a Live Photo.
It's a fun, if mostly quite gimmicky, feature which we explain in more depth in How to take Live Photos on iPhone.
Talking of clever photo features, this is what Samsung has to offer. Despite not having twin lenses on its rear camera, the S8 still lets you refocus photos after you take them, and can produce arty bokeh effects like the iPhone 8 Plus's Portrait Mode. (These features are not available on the iPhone 8.)
Note that Selective Focus is entirely software-based and therefore not quite as convincing as the real thing when produced by glassware. But it's nice to have the option.
Both of the smartphones are highly specced with an array of premium components under the hood. Let's look more closely.
- iPhone 8: A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, Neural Engine, Embedded M11 motion coprocessor
- Samsung Galaxy S8: Exynos 9 8895, octa-core (four 2.5GHz M2 Mongoose cores, four 1.7GHz Cortex-A53 cores), Mali-G71 MP20 GPU
- iPhone 8: 2GB RAM
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 4GB RAM
- iPhone 8: 64GB or 256GB built-in storage
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 64GB built-in storage; Micro-SD card slot (up to 256GB)
- iPhone 8: 4.7-inch (diagonal) 'Retina HD' widescreen LCD Multi-Touch display, 1334 x 750 at 326ppi, 1400:1 contrast ratio, 625 cd/m2 max brightness, True Tone, 3D Touch
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 5.8in Super AMOLED display, 2960 × 1440 at 572ppi
- iPhone 8: 12Mp camera, f/1.8 aperture, Digital zoom up to 5x, OIS, six-element lens, quad-LED True Tone flash with slow sync, Panorama (up to 63Mp), 4K video recording at 24fps/30fps/60fps
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 12Mp camera, f/1.7 aperture, OIS, 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 240fps
- iPhone 8: 7Mp (f/2.2) camera, 1080p HD video recording, Retina Flash
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 8Mp camera, autofocus
Dust- and water-resistance
- iPhone 8: IP67
- Samsung Galaxy S8: IP68
- iPhone 8: 1,821mAh capacity. Claimed battery life up to 14 hours talk time (wireless), 12 hours internet use. Fast-charge capable: claimed speed of up to 50% charge in 30 minutes (using high-wattage charging equipment). Wireless charging: Qi standard
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 3,000mAh capacity. Supports wireless charging: AirFuel Inductive and Qi standards
Ports & connectivity
- iPhone 8: Lightning, 802.11ac Wi‑Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
- Samsung Galaxy S8: USB-C, 802.11ac Wi‑Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
- iPhone 8: iOS 11
- Samsung Galaxy S8: Android 7.0 Nougat (Oreo update may be rolled out soon, but date not known)
- iPhone 8: 138.4mm x 67.3mm 7.3mm; 148g
- Samsung Galaxy S8: 148.9mm × 68.1mm × 8.0mm; 155g
Both handsets are available to buy now. The iPhone 8 went on sale on 22 Sept 2017, while the Galaxy S8 was launched on 28 April 2017.
The iPhone 8 costs £699 with 64GB of storage, or £849 with 256GB.
The Galaxy S8 costs £689. It always comes with 64GB of storage (although remember you can supplement this with removable storage).
Alternatively, take a look at our roundup of the best Samsung Galaxy S8 deals.