Ever since I got back from Apple’s big iPhone event last week, I’ve been asked some form of the following question:
“Is the iPhone X that good? Or should I get the iPhone 8?”
It’s the right question to ask, but a difficult one to answer.
For the first time in the 10-year history of the iPhone, the latest model feels a bit dated.
The iPhone 8 may launch in a few days, but everyone is going to be gawking at the iPhone X in a few weeks.
It reminds me of the distracted boyfriend meme. You’re the guy in the middle. The iPhone 8 is the woman on the right. The iPhone X is the woman you’re checking out.
The iPhone 8 is a great phone, but it has a curious place in Apple’s new iPhone lineup that I can’t quite figure out. You can now get an iPhone (the SE) for $US349 at the low end, and the cutting-edge $US999 iPhone X at the very high end. Then there’s the iPhone 8, which is a short step below the X, with the same processor, similar rear cameras (on the 8 Plus), and other benefits like wireless charging. The 8 starts at $US699.
So, what’s the point of the iPhone 8? Why even release it if there’s something even more incredible right around the corner?
I think it all comes down to price.
I’ve always advised people to buy the best phone they can within their budget. If $US999 works for you, then wait for the iPhone X. I spent a few minutes with the X last week, and can already tell it will be worth it.
Things get trickier after that. The iPhone 8 marks the fourth year that Apple has used the same basic design for the iPhone. That was great in 2014, but this year we’ve seen stunning designs coming out of Samsung, LG, and Essential that in many ways leapfrog Apple’s standard. The iPhone X is a radical departure that looks and feels like a modern smartphone.
The iPhone 8 forces you to pay a premium price for something that feels routine. But it also has the same impressive processor as the iPhone X, so you’ll get a lot of the same performance benefits, which is better if you want your phone to last a few years.
And the iPhone 7 is still a great option. It may lack a lot of the refinement found in the iPhone 8, but you’re getting almost the same camera and other essential features like water resistance. I doubt many people will notice a huge difference between the 7 and the 8.
So here’s my advice.
Get the iPhone X if you can stomach the price. It should feel like a huge upgrade even if you have the iPhone 7 now. Otherwise, get the iPhone 8 if you have the 6s or earlier. The camera and overall performance boost alone will be worth it. And if you want a real bargain, get the iPhone 7 for $US549. It’s the best value in Apple’s iPhone lineup.