iPhone 8 Review

By Phil Villarreal


Apple's iPhone 8 Plus is no one's idea of a fallback phone. Despite muted fan reaction compared to previous releases, the phone is a knockout that improves on the impressive groundwork laid by its predecessors, overcoming nagging shortcomings of the past while pressing forward to realms yet undefined. Whip out iPhone 8 Plus and expect jealous glances.


Cynics will whine that Apple hasn't made many design innovations since the advent of the 6 and 6 Plus in 2014, that the addition of wireless charging is an effort to play catch-up with its Samsung rivals and that the looming release of the iPhone X rendered the 8 Plus obsolete as soon as it hit the market.


All that cynicism melts away the second you get your hands on the device. While the 8 Plus may not be a colossal leap forward, it's a combination of incremental improvements that form to craft the collective impressive step that will tempt both update-hungry annual Apple updaters and Android afficionados alike.


The advents of the bionic chip and AR, upgrades to 3D Touch, improved cameras, speakers and battery life all team up to form a superphone that manages to make the excellent iPhone 7 Plus seem like a feature-poor relic from yesteryear.


At the top of the list of enhancements is the 12MP camera. Equipped with a bigger, speedier sensor and enhanced video stabilization to smooth out your shakes, the camera is designed to snag sexy sunsets, low-light portraits, fast-paced action stills and shimmering color, all in either snapshots, Harry Potter-style Live Photos or video that can run at a 60fps clip at 1080p resolution. A cadre of settings allows you to adjust your shot to your vision, whether it be intentionally blurry-background stage lighting, natural lighting or a studio look. Photo geeks will adore the seemingly infinite post-production tweaks and pre and mid-shoot adjustments available to those willing to experiment.


The battery life is said to have been improved by 25 percent or so, but my experience found it dwarfing the endurance of both a 7 Plus and Galaxy Note 8 by several hours. Fast-charging from either the lightning port or more convenient wireless charging means you'll spend lest time attached to a wall or computer dock.


The video and sound the phone pumps out make the phone more of a draw as a gaming and video watching outlet. Combined with that boosted battery life, you feel less guilty maxing out your data plan while messing around on commutes or office waits. Game developers are taking the AR enhancements and running, pumping out a steady stream of amusements that let you interact with avatars and objects layered over real-world scenes. Here's hoping a future update integrates virtual reality to the level of competitors.


On top of all that, the phone is more resistant to water and drops. Although a case is still recommended, those who prefer taking their phone around naked will better enjoy the new all-glass casing. Even should you cloak your precious investment with a case, the wireless charging still works just as well.


Bursting with practical upgrades that emerge the more you use the device, the iPhone 8 Plus is no placeholder or silver medalist. Built to impress, withstand accidental abuse, snap brilliant shots and handle all your diverse needs without flashing that annoying "low battery" notification, the 8 Plus nails it at just about every level. 


Apple provided loaner device.