A bigger number being added to the end of an iPhone usually signals a radical change in design — so we were surprised when it turned out that the changes Apple was making for the iPhone 8 Plus were mostly internal. With so little having changed on the exterior of the device, if you’re rocking the iPhone 7 Plus, you need to know if upgrading to an iPhone 8 Plus is worth your time and money. And if you’re gazing into Apple’s walled garden for the first time, you need to know whether Apple’s latest Plus model is worth choosing over the iPhone 7 Plus.
That’s why we’ve put together a comparison of the two models, to highlight where changes have been made, and where the strengths and weaknesses of each handset lie. For a more in-depth review, don’t forget to check out our comprehensive reviews for both the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 7 Plus.
|iPhone 8 Plus
||iPhone 7 Plus
|Size||158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm (6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches)||158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)|
|Weight||202 grams (7.13 ounces)||188 grams (6.63 ounces)|
|Screen||5.5-inch IPS LCD Retina HD display||5.5-inch IPS LCD Retina HD display|
|Resolution||1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi)||1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi)|
|OS||iOS 11||iOS 11|
|Storage||64GB, 256GB||32GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|NFC support||Yes (Apple Pay only)||Yes (Apple Pay only)|
|Processor||A11 Bionic with 64-bit architecture, M11 motion co-processor||A10 Fusion with 64-bit architecture, M10 motion co-processor|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi||4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi|
|Camera||Dual 12MP rear (both with OIS), 7MP FaceTime HD front||Dual 12MP rear (both with OIS), 7MP FaceTime HD front|
|Video||Up to 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps||Up to 4K at 30fps, 720p at 240fps|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 5.0||Yes, version 4.2|
|Other sensors||Barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor||Barometer, 3-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor|
|Water resistant||Yes, IP67 rated||Yes, IP67 rated|
|Battery||2,675mAh21 hours of talk time, 13 hours of internet, 14 hours of video playback, and up to 60 hours of audio playback
Fast charging offers up to 50 percent charge in 30 minutes, wireless charging (Qi standard)
|2,900mAh21 hours of talk time, 13 hours of internet, 14 hours of video playback, and up to 60 hours of audio playback|
|Marketplace||Apple App Store||Apple App Store|
|Colors||Gold, Space Gray, Silver||Jet Black, Black, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold, Red|
|Availability||AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Apple||AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Apple|
|DT review||Hands-on review||4 out of 5 stars|
Being a straight upgrade for the iPhone 7 Plus, it should be obvious that the processor in the iPhone 8 Plus is superior. Apple has included the new A11 Bionic chip in the 8 Plus, and benchmark tests on the iPhone 8 have already shown the A11 to be superior to the A10 Fusion chip running in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. In those tests, the new A11 chip scored 25-percent higher on single-core tests, and an amazing 80-percent better on multi-core. But despite the results, the iPhone 7 Plus is no slouch when it comes to power. The A10 is more than capable of keeping up with the Snapdragon 835 in the Galaxy S8, and besting the Snapdragon 821 in the LG G6.
Apple has always kept information on iPhone RAM fairly close to the chest, but it’s currently assumed that the iPhone 8 Plus will be packing 3GB of RAM — the same amount as the 7 Plus. If that seems small (the Galaxy Note 8 has 6GB of RAM), keep in mind that Apple has always tailored its hardware’s capabilities to its software in a manner not possible with Android, which has given the company a larger bang for its buck when it comes to hardware.
Neither the 8 Plus or the 7 Plus offers a MicroSD card slot (as per tradition), and the iPhone 8 Plus drops the 32GB model in favor of 64GB and 256GB configurations. The 7 Plus offers more flexibility when it comes to memory, however, by giving buyers 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB options. And since 32GB is a rather small amount these days, buyers may feel forced to fork out the extra dollars for one of the upgraded sizes. Since neither model has a 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth will be of key interest to any prospective buyer. The iPhone 8 Plus comes with Bluetooth 5.0 (and the range and speed improvements that it offers), while the 7 Plus comes with Bluetooth 4.2. Both handsets have NFC for use with Apple Pay, so there are no worries there.
It’s obvious that the winner in this category was always going to be the iPhone 8 Plus. Apple’s upgraded A11 Bionic processor is leaps and bounds above the old A10 Fusion. But it’s important to note that the iPhone 7 Plus is no weakling. As we previously mentioned, it’s still capable of trading blows with the top flagships from other brands. But in this fight, a faster processor and better memory options carry the day.
Winner: iPhone 8 Plus
DISPLAY, DESIGN, AND DURABILITY
If you’ve seen both of these phones, you’ll already know there’s very little in this. The 8 Plus is very similar in design to the 7 Plus, with the addition of a glass back on the iPhone 8 Plus as the only real cosmetic difference between the two phones. Unfortunately, this older design is really starting to show. With the Note 8, LG G6, and other smartphones that have blazed forward with a bezel-less design, having such a large forehead and chin on what should be Apple’s latest flagship is something of a let down. The iPhone X shows Apple’s intent to change, but for now, the design of the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus is somewhat of a disappointment, despite the attractive glass back on the 8 Plus.
Display-wise, the two models are again neck and neck. Both the 7 Plus and the 8 Plus have a 5.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080-pixel display, with a pixel-per-inch measurement of 401. While a far cry from the iPhone X’s ppi of 458, 401 isn’t a bad number, and Apple’s Retina display is as bright and crisp as ever. The iPhone 8 Plus also makes use of Apple’s True Tone technology, which will automatically compensate for the surrounding lighting and adjust the white balance of your display, thus keeping colors within their correct bounds. How good this technology will be remains to be seen, however.
Both models have the IP67 dust and water resistance that Apple brought in with the last iteration, and while we’ve yet to properly test the iPhone 8 Plus’ durability, it can be assumed that the two models are unlikely to differ much in terms of real-world resistance to water and dust. The glass back on the iPhone 8 Plus does bring up questions of long-term durability, though. The aluminum back on the iPhone 7 Plus may not have been perfect, but it was never going to shatter. Much like the glass backing on the Galaxy S8, you might want to consider a protective case for your iPhone 8 Plus, which brings the two models back to a tie for this round.
BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING
Strangely for an upgraded model, the iPhone 8 Plus is rumored to come with a smaller battery than the 7 Plus. It’s said to tout a 2,675mAh battery, which is slightly smaller than the 2,900mAh battery on the 7 Plus. Thankfully for Apple, the improved efficiency of the A11 core should mean that the battery life of the iPhone 8 Plus matches or exceeds the life of the iPhone 7 Plus. What does this mean in real-world terms? According to Apple’s own breakdown, the iPhone 8 Plus should be able to match the 7 Plus when it comes to battery life, providing 21 hours of talk time, 13 hours of internet, 14 hours of video playback, and up to 60 hours of audio playback.
Thanks to the addition of fast charging, the 8 Plus is able to recharge up to 50 percent of its battery with a mere 30 minutes of charging, which is a lot speedier than the 7 Plus. The biggest change here is the addition of Qi wireless charging on the iPhone 8 Plus, now possible given glass back. Wireless charging has been a long-awaited feature, and now that it’s here, expect to see a boost in the visibility of wireless charging as a whole. Starbucks added wireless charging pads years ago, and we’re excited to see who else will jump aboard now that Apple has officially backed Qi charging. The addition of both wireless and fast charging is a huge boost for the iPhone 8 Plus, and helps it easily win this round.
Winner: iPhone 8 Plus
The iPhone 7 Plus has been our pick for the best smartphone camera for a long time, so the 8 Plus has its work cut out for it. We’re happy to report, however, that early reports on the iPhone 8 Plus camera are positive, so we’re confident that Apple’s newest model will likely be our new best friend when it comes to snapping picks.
In terms of hardware, there’s little difference between the two cameras — and since the camera on the iPhone 7 Plus was such a stunner, this is a good thing. Both rock 12-megapixel dual cameras on the rear, with one lens being a wide-angle with a f/1.8 aperture and the other being a f/2.8 telephoto. Both models have optical image stabilization, as well as optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, thanks to the aforementioned telephoto lens. The iPhone 8 Plus does pull ahead with the introduction of Portrait Lighting, which amounts to an enhanced version of the Portrait Mode introduced in the iPhone 7.
Furthermore, 4K video recording has similarly been improved, with the 8 Plus being capable of capturing 4K video at 24, 30, and 60 frames per second. The iPhone 7 Plus was only able to do so at 30 fps. Video capture is still much the same, but the 8 Plus is also now able to capture slow motion footage at 240 fps in 1080p — something the 7 Plus was only able to do in 720p.
The improvements to the iPhone 8 Plus’s camera are clearly that — improvements, rather than any kind of overhaul. But considering how good the camera was on the iPhone 7 Plus, any improvements coming with the iPhone 8 Plus can only be a good thing, and those improvements ensure that the iPhone 8 Plus wins this category’s crown.
Winner: iPhone 8 Plus
This is probably the closest category to call. The iPhone 8 Plus will launch with iOS 11, and thanks to Apple’s update policy, the iPhone 7 Plus will be updated to iOS 11 as well. Logic dictates that the newer device built to work with the newer software will be superior here, but Apple’s devices are so well optimized that it can take many successive updates before the needs of an iOS update surpass an older iPhone’s means. In real terms, you’re unlikely to notice much difference between the software performance on the iPhone 8 Plus and 7 Plus. Since the technological differences between the two devices are negligible, this category has to be a tie.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The iPhone 8 Plus ships September 22 (pre-orders are ongoing). Prices in Apple’s online store start at $799, which will net you an unlocked 64GB model, and go up to $949, which will land you an unlocked 256GB model. The iPhone 7 Plus is currently available — the 32GB models start at $669, while the 128GB models runs $769.
If money is no object, and you simply want the best iPhone you can buy, then the iPhone 8 Plus is your best bet (at least until the iPhone X arrives). But with prices getting perilously close to the vaunted $1,000 broken by the iPhone X, it’s hard to see how the addition of wireless charging, an improved camera, and a new processor can beat the pure value for money that the iPhone 7 Plus offers. For $30 less than the base 64GB iPhone 8 Plus, you can get a 128GB iPhone 7 Plus with specs that challenge (and often beat) most of the current flagships on the market.
It’s value that makes the iPhone 7 Plus the winner of this category.
Winner: iPhone 7 Plus
OVERALL WINNER: IPHONE 8 PLUS
The iPhone 7 Plus puts up a brave fight, but in the battle between predecessor and successor, there can only be one winner. The iPhone 8 Plus offers multiple improvements over its last-gen counterpart, including some awesome additions to an already great camera. It also comes with wireless charging and makes use of fast charging, along with Apple’s latest-and-greatest processor. It’s not perfectly clear-cut, however, and most of the things that the iPhone 8 Plus does, the iPhone 7 Plus will do just as well. While the iPhone 8 Plus is the overall winner here, the iPhone 7 Plus put up one heck of a fight, and still has the legs and the power to trade punches with most other flagships currently on the market.
If you’re looking to upgrade your pre-iPhone 7 Plus phone and money is no object, then you should definitely consider the iPhone 8 Plus. The additions over the iPhone 7 Plus make it an absolute must-buy for you, and you’ll be getting power and utility that’ll last you for years. If money is tight, then you might want to consider the amount of value the iPhone 7 Plus provides, especially given the device delivers the same incredible camera, world-beating performance, and Apple polish. Similarly, upgrading from the iPhone 7 Plus is a tough call. If you really want it, go ahead — it’s not as if we could have stopped you anyway. But if you’re not feeling the need to replace your 7 Plus, then you can be happy to skip the 8 Plus for now.