Typically, Apple launches a major iPhone upgrade every other year, with a less momentous "S" model coming in off-years. However, this year the tech giant threw us a curve ball at its annual mobile hardware event by skipping the S-naming scheme completely and announcing three new smartphones — the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X, the latter being the first to break the $1,000 pricing barrier.
But is a shiny new iPhone worthy of a dent in your bank account if you already have the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus?
We think it's worth upgrading your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus to the new bezel-less iPhone X, but only if you can afford its steep price. The new iPhone X is a gorgeous, powerful smartphone with an impressive display, waterproof body, and killer cameras. If you don't shatter its display or glass backing, it should easily last you two years.
The iPhone 8, on the other hand, just isn't worthy of your wallet if you already have an iPhone 7. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus don't offer any significant upgrades over their predecessors. There are just not that many noteworthy differences in terms of performance or features.
As you're probably aware, the iPhone 7 sports a rehashed design of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. The biggest external differences being the elimination of antenna lines on the phone's rear and, of course, the headphone jack. It sports an aluminum back that comes in silver, gold, rose gold, red, and matte or glossy black.
Externally, the iPhone 8 isn't all that different from the iPhone 7. It does ditch the aluminum body for a glass back to allow for wireless charging. Besides that, the smartphone still has the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays — depending on if you get the Plus variant or not — and both are still waterproof. There's a new gold color option for the iPhone 8 that'll perfectly match the new Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones, too.
Last year, there were significant camera improvements from the iPhone 6S to the iPhone 7, but you won't notice that much difference shooting on an iPhone 8 over an iPhone 7, especially if you have the dual-camera iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus' rear camera is larger and uses a 12 MP sensor (the 7 and 7 Plus also use a 12 MP sensor), and all four models have impressive low-light performance, built-in image stabilization for both cameras, and a bright LED flash. The new cameras do provide faster auto-focus and sharper photos with greater noise reduction. Videos can also be captured at double the frame rate as the iPhone 7.
The improved cameras will also help with future AR apps. In fact, Apple said the iPhone 8 is the first iPhone created for augmented reality because it's equipped with new gyroscopes and accelerometers. An example would be you pointing your iPhone's camera at a baseball game, and on your iPhone screen a pin would float above players' heads with their names, so you can check stats and see who's on base.
You probably won't notice that much of a difference in everyday performance, given how fast the iPhone 7 already is. The iPhone 8 is equipped with the same amount of RAM as last year's models, although it features a speedier six-core A11 Bionic processor. The iPhone 8 has 2 GB of RAM, while the Plus has 3 GB because it uses more memory for graphics on the bigger display. As for battery life, Apple has yet to say how many hours of battery life the iPhone 8 will get. During our testing with last year's models, we found that the iPhone 7 could easily make it through a day of normal use, while the iPhone 7 Plus came close to two days of moderate use on a single charge. The iPhone X has two additional hours of battery life over the iPhone 7.
The iPhone 8 costs $699 for 64 GB of storage and $849 for 256 GB, while the iPhone 8 Plus costs $799 and $949 for the same size configurations. The iPhone 7 received a price drop and now costs $549 for 32 GB and $649 for 128 GB. Lastly, the iPhone 7 Plus is $669 for 32 GB and $549 for 128 GB.
Unless you're itching to get your paws on the new gold color or want to play AR apps, we really don't see the need to upgrade your iPhone 7 to the newer iPhone 8. We recommend saving up for the more expensive iPhone X, or just waiting it out another year for the next iPhone cycle. The iPhone 8 can be preordered on September 15, and it'll be available for purchase on September 22.
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