Apple iPhone 8 review

GSMArena team, 02 October 2017.

Display

The regular iPhone screen specs haven't changed for years. It's still a 4.7" unit of 750 x 1334px resolution and 326ppi. It's a LED-backlit IPS LCD screen with an RGB matrix; it supports 3D Touch and wide color gamut.

Apple iPhone 8 review

Before we continue with the new display capabilities, let's clarify something about the screen's HDR compliance listed over at Apple's official specs page. From a purely technical standpoint, neither the iPhone 8 or the iPhone 8 Plus have HDR displays. That is to say, they do not cover some of the various color and contrast requirements to be certified for HDR10, Dolby Vision and the like. In contrast, the iPhone X does have official certification. However, on both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus specs page, Apple states: "Supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 content" under video playback.

Apple makes that claim since even without full HDR capabilities, the panels in the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus do manage to render some of the extended visual features of HDR content. So, it's not exactly certifiable HDR grade quality. Then again, HDR has kind of a broad definition, to begin with. The thing that will matter most from a user standpoint is that Apple has already convinced Netflix to grant the two iPhones access to its HDR library. And since it is currently, more or less the definitive source for HDR video, on a practical level, there isn't much to complain about here.

The other major new improvement comes with the addition of True Tone - it's a white balance adjustment enabled by the newly added four-channel ambient light sensor. Once turned on, the True Tone algorithm will correct the white balance according to the ambient light and thus make the picture more comfortable and easier on the eyes. That's completely different from the blue-light filter called Night Shift.

The color correction coming from the True Tone adjustment is noticeable when you compare a True Tone-enabled iPhone with a regular unit. It's not a big difference but arguably better regarding both image quality and reduced eye strain.

We did our usual measurements on the iPhone 8 screen with True Tone turned on and we got very accurate levels of color rendering. The screen has an average deltaE of 1.1, while the maximum deviation of 2.5 is in the reds. All measured colors are well below deltaE of 4, which means the screen has excellent calibration.

Disabling the True Tone adjustment brought the average deltaE up to 1.6, with the maximum deviation of 3.6 registered in the whites.

So, True Tone or not, the iPhone 8's display is very well calibrated, for flagship-grade color rendering.

Pulling the brightness slider all the way up allows for a maximum brightness of 530 nits. The black levels are about average, and the iPhone 8 delivered upwards of the suggested screen contrast of 1400:1. You can achieve even higher brightness levels of 640 nits if you are under bright sunlight - it's an automatic adjustment to boost the screen legibility outdoors.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone) 0.397 554 1395
Apple iPhone 8 (Standard) 0.399 566 1419
Apple iPhone 8 (Max Auto) 0.468 640 1368
Apple iPhone 7 0.35 561 1603
Apple iPhone 7 (max auto) 0.40 656 1640
Apple iPhone 6s 0.36 536 1481
Apple iPhone 6 0.61 740 1213
Samsung Galaxy S8 0 440
Samsung Galaxy S8 Max auto 0 618
Nokia 8 0.382 703 1840
Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact 0.515 640 1243
Xiaomi Mi 6 0.462 603 1305
Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423
OnePlus 5 0 435

We should note that Apple buried the auto brightness toggle deep in the accessibility settings and it may take a while to locate.

In our sunlight legibility test the Apple iPhone 8, just like the 8 Plus, posted an excellent contrast ratio beating most other LCD panel we have tested to date and on par with quite a few AMOLEDs out there. It matched the iPhone 7, and it's improved since the iPhone 6s.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    3.24
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

Battery life

The iPhone 8 is equipped with a non-removable Li-Po 1,821mAh battery, which is about 7% smaller than the one of the iPhone 7. But there is a new energy-efficient Apple A11 Bionic chip, which combined with the new battery and optimized iOS 11, should offer same battery life as before.

And in case you need your phone by the end of its charge, the Low-Power mode, which you can enable manually, should prolong your iPhone 8 battery life once the charge drops below 20%.

The iPhone 8 ships with a regular 5V/1A charger plug that replenish 30% of a dead battery in 30 mins. If you own a 29W (or more) MacBook USB-C charger, you will be able to fast charge 50% of an empty battery in half an hour.

The fast charging is compliant with the USB-C Power Delivery standard, so you can use any supported plug, or laptop, or even PC. You just need to buy an original Lightning-to-USB-C cable, which costs about $25.

We also tested the iPhone 8 on a Qi-compatible Samsung wireless fast charger - it recharged 25% in 30 mins.

The iPhone 8 posted balanced scores across the board - it can do about 12 and a half hours of 3G calls, 12 hours of web browsing on a single charge, or you can watch videos for about 10 and a half hours. The standby endurance turned out above average and thus the overall good but overall, unremarkable endurance rating of 66 hours (a few hours more than the iPhone 7).

Apple iPhone 8 review

Our endurance rating estimates how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the iPhone 8 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Connectivity

Some of the Apple iPhone 8 models come with the latest Qualcomm modem with support for fast LTE Cat. 16 (up to 1Gbps down, 150Mbps up), while others have the latest Intel baseband with LTE Cat. 12 (up to 600Mbps down, 150Mbps up). No matter which model is intended for your market, the LTE will cap at Cat. 12 meaning 600Mbps uplink. Whether this was done for the sake of fairness or not, that's what it is. All models cover an impressively wide range of LTE bands. Regular 2G and 3G connectivity is all duly covered as well with a multitude of supported network bands.

The iPhone 8 also supports the latest Voice over LTE (VoLTE), HD Voice and Wi-Fi calling protocols, but those are carrier-dependent features.

Naturally, the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 standards are supported as well.

There is also support for NFC and thanks to iOS 11's new Core NFC API, the reader's functionality works for NFC tag reading besides Apple Pay. The iPhone 8 supports reading any NDEF formatted tag but only within an app, which can read and take action. This last requirement makes us doubtful whether this also means the iPhones will now be able to make use of the NFC-assisted pairing to various wireless peripherals and accessories, which Android users have been enjoying for ages. Unfortunately, we didn't have one handy to try it out, but we'll update this section when we grab hold of more info.

The iPhone 8 uses a proprietary Lightning connector for wired data transfers, charging, and audio. There is limited USB Host support - you can attach some certified accessories or access your digital camera storage via proprietary adapters sold separately. You can pair a Bluetooth keyboard to the phone should you need this sort of peripheral.

Apple iPhone 8 review

Now that there is no 3.5mm audio jack on board the phone, you can use the provided Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter to continue using your favorite pair of wired headphones with the iPhone. Or go for wireless headphones.