Apple iPhone 8 vs iPhone 7: Should you upgrade?

Does the core iPhone update pack enough benefits for the swap?

After all of these months of waiting, it turns out that the iPhone X is actually the newly revitalised "iPhone 8" that we've been clamoring for 'til now.

So what, then, is the actual iPhone 8? Well, it certainly looks a lot like an iPhone 7, at least from the front. But the glass backing shows one new wrinkle, and it's joined by others that might not be obvious to the naked eye. The iPhone 8 packs perks, as every new iPhone does. That's no great surprise.

But if you just bought the iPhone 7 within the last year and you're still pretty happy with Apple's last standard flagship, do you really need to make the yearly leap again? Here's what we recommend so far, based on the specs and our iPhone 8 hands-on.

iPhone 8 vs iPhone 7: specs

Design: Glass is back

Remember the slick glass backing of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s? Yeah, we loved that – and now it's back and looking mighty fine here.

For the most part, the overall iPhone 7 look hasn't changed here. From the front it's identical. From the sides, about the same. But that glass backing is certainly alluring, whether it's in silver, gold, or space grey. The iPhone 8 is a hair thicker because of the glass, but it should still fit your old accessories.

So, while it's not quite the dramatic shift that we're seeing with the iPhone X, it is undoubtedly a bigger boost to refinement than we've seen in any of the other post-iPhone 6 riffs on this theme.

Screen: No big shifts

Owners of both the iPhone 7 and 8 might feel some serious screen envy when the iPhone X comes out in November, thanks to its all-face, 5.8in OLED screen. Add in HDR video support and impeccable contrast, and it should be one of the best displays found on a phone today.

But what about the iPhone 8? Unfortunately, Apple hasn't made any major strides with this one. It's still a 4.7in LCD panel, and frustratingly, it's still at 750p resolution. That's hardly terrible, and in real-world use it's solidly crisp – but any other flagship phone on the market today hits a bare minimum of 1080p, and you can see a bit of fuzziness when put head to head with those handsets.

The iPhone 8 screen does get the True Tone technology from Apple's recent iPads, which adapts the colours to your ambient lighting – that'll be a nice boost. It promises better contrast and a wider colour gamut, too, but not true HDR support. Overall, these are small benefits, and the end result should still be a pretty good phone screen – but not a truly great one.