Opinion: You’re better off with the iPhone 7 Plus, not the iPhone 8

Thinking of getting the new Apple iPhone 8? Maybe the iPhone 7 Plus makes better sense to your wallet

Hang on, this isn’t another opinion piece persuading you to making the switch to Android.

In fact, it’s the opposite; stay with Apple, just think twice before you invest in the new Apple iPhone 8.

Apple surprised us with the release of not two but three new phones. We have the flashy anniversary model, the iPhone X, which has gotten everyone’s attention. It’s the one we want, but at jaw-dropping prices of S$1688 down south, approx RM5250 (and S$1888 for the 256GB model, approx RM5880), it’s clear that most of us will be looking to the iPhone 8 (S$1148, approx RM3500) and iPhone 8 Plus (S$1308, approx RM4000) for the sake of the eco-system and iOS continuity.

And that’s the problem. Apple’s left the majority of us looking to a phone that simply does not do enough justify its own high price range. Hear us out.

The Good Stuff

We begin with the positives, to which there are plenty.

Since the days of the good old iPhone 4, Apple’s focus has shifted from innovation to refinement and perfection of existing technologies. It’s rarely the first to the race, but when it does finally join in, the market truly kickstarts.

One of the races its finally entering is that of wireless charging, surely a welcome edition for many resisting the lure of Android for the past three years since it was introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S6. It makes the iPhone 8 the most complete iPhone there is, despite the glass back that is bound to crack – a problem no one seems to be able to solve.

We also get real power under the hood. This is proper power. We say this about most new phones, say the 4GB of RAM on the Galaxy S8 or the 6GB of RAM on the Note 8, but RAM and these numbers only tell half the story. The rest is told with the efficiency of processing, and the iPhone 8’s A11 Bionix core (which is the same one you get in the iPhone X) means serious business, with stats that completely eliminate the competition.

That’s some properly impressive specs that justify the iPhone 8 as a legitimate step forward, future-proofed for years to come.

Plenty has been done on the inside to ready the iPhone 8 for a market that has changed a lot in the past year, and now let’s take a look at all the things it’s missing. 

It looks four years old

In a year of bezzleless designs, new materials and radical redesigning, it seems almost unacceptable that Apple has recycled the same template its used since the iPhone 6. To put it simply, iPhones have looked identical since 2014. Put it face down on a table and people won’t be able to tell what phone you have, they won’t look twice.

It’s not as if Apple’s nailed a design to last through the ages either. The iPhone 8 now has a screen that covers just over 60% of its face, and a forehead and chin much like Megamind’s (remember that movie?).

Put it next to any current Android flagship – the S8, Essential, LG V30, even the iPhone X for that matter – and you’ll realise just how dated its design is. While it doesn’t have to be as radical a shift as the iPhone X, could they really not have managed make any aesthetical changes? 

It's still LCD, not OLED

This isn’t entirely Apple’s fault – the old-fashioned LCD panel on the iPhone 8 is part of the reason the already expensive phone doesn’t cost even more.

Interestingly, Apple’s arch nemesis Samsung is selling OLED panels to Apple at high prices – reason for the iPhone X’s tear-jerking price tag. Sensibly, Apple’s second-tier iPhone 8 can’t afford to get any more expensive, so we’re left with LCD.

This is particularly disappointing though. Most flagships are shifting towards OLED, in all its WQHD+ glory. The iPhone X, Galaxy S8 and LG V30 prove just how beautiful it is.

An LCD panel also means that the iPhone 8 can’t display 1080p content, so whatever Apple was saying about 4K video recording, you’re not going to enjoy it, as video output remains closer to 720p as it was on the iPhone 7.

Again, it’s not Apple’s fault. Competition has truly pushed it to a tight spot and evident in this year’s released, it does look like Apple’s feeling the heat. LCD is a huge omission that sets the iPhone 8 way behind the competition.