iPhone X vs 8 Plus vs 8

Karen Haslam looks at how Ap­ple’s lat­est hand­sets com­pare

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Ap­ple launched three new iPhones in 2017: the 8, 8 Plus, and the X (pro­nounced iPhone ten). If you are think­ing about up­grad­ing your phone, you are likely to be won­der­ing which one will suit you best. Over the fol­low­ing pages we com­pare each of the models, so you can find the hand­set that’s right for you.


The cost of these three iPhones is prob­a­bly the big­gest di­vider and it may well be your bud­get that is the de­cid­ing fac­tor. How­ever, note that while there are huge dis­crep­an­cies be­tween the prices if you buy your hand­set di­rectly from Ap­ple, if you are spread­ing pay­ments over a two-year pe­riod with your mo­bile net­work the dif­fer­ence may only be a few pounds a

month. Also note that there is less dif­fer­ence in price be­tween the 256GB ver­sion of one hand­set and the 64GB ver­sion of the next model up. For ex­am­ple, the 256GB 8 Plus costs just £50 less than the 64GB iPhone X. So the choice is re­ally be­tween flag­ship phone and the ex­tra space.

iPhone X: £999 (64GB), £1,149 (256GB)

iPhone 8 Plus: £799 (64GB), £949 (256GB) iPhone 8: £699 (64GB), £849 (256GB)


The iPhone 8 is small­est and thinnest of the three hand­set, but only slightly. If your choice was go­ing to be based on the size and shape of the iPhone, then there is very lit­tle dif­fer­ence here. When it comes to weight, the dif­fer­ence is greater, how­ever.

iPhone X: 143.6x70.9x7.7mm, 174g iPhone 8 Plus: 158.4x78.1x7.5mm, 202g iPhone 8: 138.4x67.3x7.3mm, 148g


If it’s a small iPhone you are look­ing for then there is not re­ally a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence here. It’s cer­tainly not worth dis­qual­i­fy­ing the iPhone X over a few mil­lime­tres in size, and with just 26g be­tween them, the X is hardly go­ing to feel hefty in com­par­i­son to the frac­tion­ally lighter iPhone 8.

If you re­ally want a small iPhone then there is an­other iPhone you could con­sider. The SE is Ap­ple’s small­est hand­set:

iPhone SE: 123.8x58.6x7.6mm, 113g


The iPhone X and 8 may be al­most iden­ti­cal when it comes to size and weight, but there is one very big dif­fer­ence: the size of the screen.

iPhone X: 5.8in Su­per Retina HD dis­play iPhone 8 Plus: 5.5in Retina HD dis­play iPhone 8: 4.7in Retina HD dis­play

When it comes to screen size it looks like there is one clear win­ner here, the iPhone X. How­ever that 5.8in di­ag­o­nal mea­sure­ment is de­cep­tive. If you mea­sure the screen’s height and width the re­sults are:

iPhone X: 62x135mm iPhone 8 Plus: 69x122mm Phone 8: 59x105mm

So, there is a world of dif­fer­ence be­tween the iPhone 8 and the X screen, but in terms of the 8 Plus, there is just an ex­tra 13mm in height on one phone and an ex­tra 7mm in width on the other.

If, how­ever, you ex­clude the iPhone X notch (the area at the top of the dis­play that houses the Face ID cam­era) from that mea­sure­ment, then the screen is more ac­cu­rately 62mm across by 130mm down (so 8mm longer than the 8 Plus). But it’s still big­ger than the 8 Plus screen, and given that the hand­set is it­self smaller, that is some­thing to cel­e­brate. Also for many the 8 Plus is just too big and cum­ber­some to hold com­fort­ably. The choice isn’t re­ally about screen size, but rather it is about how much of a sac­ri­fice you are pre­pared to make to get a larger screen.


When it comes to pick­ing a phone you should ask your­self whether you want an iPhone screen

that is longer, or an iPhone screen that is wider. Also, will you be us­ing your iPhone to watch movies and TV shows filmed in 16:9 as­pect ra­tio, be­cause where the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are 16:9 screens, the iPhone X screen is a 19.5:9 screen and as a re­sult you may end up choos­ing to watch movies in a let­ter box for­mat rather than crop el­e­ments.

Dis­play qual­ity

There is one other thing to say about the dis­play on the iPhone X – it’s an OLED screen that Ap­ple is call­ing a Su­per Retina dis­play.

iPhone X: TrueTone, 2436x1125-pixel res­o­lu­tion at 458ppi, with 1,000,000:1 con­trast ra­tio

iPhone 8 Plus: Retina Dis­play, 1920x1080 pixel res­o­lu­tion at 401ppi, and a 1300:1 con­trast ra­tio

iPhone 8: Retina Dis­play, 1334x750-pixel res­o­lu­tion at 326ppi, and a 1400:1 con­trast ra­tio

This is the first time an iPhone has been avail­able with an OLED screen. OLEDs have a lot of ex­cel­lent fea­tures in­clud­ing ab­so­lute blacks – hence that 1,000,000:1 con­trast ra­tio – and a wider view­ing an­gle.

When we used the iPhone X we were im­pressed. Colours were bold and bright, and the whites more true to life, also per­haps a shade more yel­low than on the iPhone 8 Plus, which seemed have a bluer tint. In com­par­i­son to the 8 Plus dark ar­eas were brighter and clearer. This is thanks to the other fea­ture of the screen – HDR (high dy­namic range) – which ex­pands the range of both con­trast and colour. When we watched dark

scenes in movies there was a lot more clar­ity on the X than on the other iPhone models.

The prob­lem with OLEDs is they can suf­fer from screen-burn – a ‘ghost’ im­age that re­mains on the screen (some­thing plagu­ing the Google Pixel 2), colour shift­ing can also be a prob­lem. Ap­ple says that it has taken steps to guard against this.


The OLED screen on the iPhone X is a sight to be­hold, es­pe­cially thanks to the in­cor­po­ra­tion of HDR. But we feel the di­men­sions of the screen are the wrong as­pect ra­tio to re­ally en­joy movies, which is where HDR would be of most ben­e­fit. We are also slightly ap­pre­hen­sive about some of the is­sues OLEDs are known for.


When it comes down to pro­ces­sor there is re­ally not a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence be­tween the three phones as each phone uses Ap­ple’s A11 Bionic sys­tem-on-chip. In fact, when it came to bench­mark tests, we found that the Geek­bench scores were prac­ti­cally iden­ti­cal although we ac­tu­ally found that the 8 Plus and 8 scored slightly higher than the iPhone X when we tested them.


With multi-core scores around the 10,100 mark – al­most twice what the iPhone 7 Plus scored – and more than the com­pe­ti­tion (the Sam­sung Galaxy Note 8 scores around 6,471 while the Google Pixel 2 scores 6224) – we think that which ever iPhone you choose the pro­ces­sor speed will not dis­ap­point.


All three phones have a 12Mp rear-fac­ing cam­era, but there are some key dif­fer­ences.

The iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus have two cam­eras on the back. That’s a ƒ/1.8 aper­ture widean­gle and ƒ/2.4 aper­ture tele­photo cam­era that com­bine to cre­ate the stun­ning por­trait shots with the blurred back­ground that those phones can take. The iPhone X and 8 Plus also have an op­ti­cal zoom and can dig­i­tal zoom up to 10x.

The iPhone 8 just has the one 12Mp cam­era on the back with a ƒ/1.8 aper­ture, so it can’t take the fancy por­trait shots, and it’s dig­i­tal zoom goes to 5x.

An­other dif­fer­ence is the fact that the rear-fac­ing lenses on the iPhone X both have op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion (OIS), which should equal bet­ter low light, while only the wide-an­gle lense on the 8 Plus has this.

In our photo tests we found that macro pho­tos taken with the iPhone X were bet­ter than those on the 8 Plus, and the ad­di­tional OIS is prob­a­bly the rea­son for that.

There is also new tech­nol­ogy in the A11 Bionic pro­ces­sor that al­lows Ap­ple to go a step fur­ther with this por­trait pho­tog­ra­phy in the iPhone X and 8 Plus. The ‘Neu­ral En­gine’ in the im­age sig­nal pro­ces­sor can al­low you to change the light­ing con­di­tions af­ter tak­ing the pho­to­graph.

Por­trait Light­ing op­tions in­clude Nat­u­ral Light, Stu­dio Light, Con­tour Light, Stage Light, and Stage Light Mono. The lat­ter two op­tions black out the back­ground while the other op­tions change how the light ap­pears to fall on your face. Right now the fea­ture is in beta – and it doesn’t al­ways give the best re­sults, but its a fun way to en­hance the al­ready good por­trait style shots. If you take a lot of pic­tures of peo­ple and would like to cre­ate the bokeh ef­fect then we think you’d love this fea­ture of the iPhone X. If you don’t know what the bokeh ef­fect is we’d prob­a­bly sug­gest you don’t re­ally need it.

Turn­ing to the cam­era on the front of the iPhones. The selfie/FaceTime cam­era on the front of the X is dif­fer­ent to that found on the 8 and 8 Plus.

On the iPhone 8 models you will find a 7Mp FaceTime HD cam­era with Retina Flash (the same as on the iPhone Plus) but on the iPhone X there is a 7Mp TrueDepth front cam­era with Por­trait mode and Por­trait Light­ing. This TrueDepth cam­era is what makes Face ID pos­si­ble – as we will ex­plain later. In terms of tak­ing pho­tos, the TrueDepth cam­era on the front of the iPhone X can take what Ap­ple is call­ing Por­trait Mode Self­ies. In other words, the front-fac­ing

cam­era can take pho­tos with a sharp fore­ground and an art­fully blurred back­ground to cre­ate the same bokeh ef­fect that the two cam­eras on the back of the iPhone X and Plus can achieve.


When it comes to cam­eras the X gives you the ex­tra im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion and Por­trait Mode Self­ies. The 8 Plus is more than ad­e­quate if you don’t want to spend your days tak­ing self­ies (and we can’t help but think that the peo­ple who do that are all us­ing Snapchat any­way). How­ever, the cam­era in the iPhone 8 is still great, so, if you aren’t both­ered by the ad­di­tion of the rear-fac­ing Por­trait Mode, the iPhone 8 is more than ad­e­quate.

The miss­ing Home But­ton

There is one huge dif­fer­ence be­tween the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and it may be the thing that

turns you off the iPhone X al­to­gether. The trade-off for get­ting the big­ger screen on the iPhone 8 is the demise of the Home But­ton. Yes, the trade­mark Home But­ton, which was per­haps as part of a de­sign of the iPhone as the click wheel was on the iPod, has gone.

The re­moval of the Home But­ton means that Ap­ple needed to make some changes to the iPhone in­ter­face. So if you were to buy an iPhone X you would have to learn a new way to nav­i­gate the in­ter­face. You may adapt to this quickly, or you may find your­self frus­trated. It de­pends on how will­ing you are to em­brace change, and how in­tu­itive the new way of in­ter­fac­ing with the iPhone is.

We have this ar­ti­cle that ex­plains how to use the new iPhone X, and all the new ges­tures that you will have to learn. When we used the iPhone X for a short time we found we quickly ad­justed to the new ges­tures.


We found that it was a lot eas­ier to get used to the dif­fer­ent ges­tures on the iPhone X than we ex­pected, but we still feel that the Home but­ton was more in­tu­itive and it is frus­trat­ing to feel that you have to per­form ex­tra steps to do things that pre­vi­ously only took one but­ton press.

Face ID vs Touch ID

There is an­other change as a re­sult of the miss­ing Home But­ton. Touch ID, Ap­ple’s fin­ger­print recog­ni­tion sys­tem for se­cur­ing your phone so that only you could open it, and al­low­ing you to pay for things us­ing Ap­ple Pay, has been re­placed with Face ID.

We feel a bit sad about the loss of Touch ID on the iPhone X. We liked the sim­plic­ity of be­ing able to un­lock our phone just by touch­ing the Home But­ton, and we en­joyed be­ing able to use our iPhone to pay for things in shops. With Face ID you will un­lock your phone by look­ing at it.

There is a lot of con­cern buzzing around the web about the re­li­a­bil­ity of Face ID and how se­cure it is.

Since the iPhone X launched there have been var­i­ous cases of peo­ple be­ing able to un­lock some­one else’s iPhone X – nor­mally iden­ti­cal twins or fam­ily mem­bers, but there have also been tales of peo­ple un­lock­ing iPhone X models with masks. .

Ap­ple says that Face ID is more se­cure than Touch ID. Ac­cord­ing to Ap­ple, there is only a one in a mil­lion chance that Face ID would al­low some­one else to un­lock your iPhone – that some­one would have to be your dop­pel­gänger. In essence, Face ID is se­cure from a crim­i­nal since they are un­likely to look like you, but if it’s your sib­ling you want to keep se­crets from then you might not be so lucky.

Ap­ple also rec­om­mends that chil­dren un­der the age of 13 shouldn’t use Face ID as their faces are still de­vel­op­ing and “dis­tinct fa­cial fea­tures may not have fully de­vel­oped”.

Touch ID, on the other hand, has a one in 50,000 chance of be­ing cracked by some­one else’s fin­ger­print. (It strikes us that it would be eas­ier to find some­one who looked like some­one else than to find some­one with a sim­i­lar fin­ger­print if you were in­tent on hack­ing into their phone though).

We found Face ID worked very well, although ini­tially we found it failed to rec­og­nize us on a few oc­ca­sions. How­ever, the ini­tial fail­ings were due to Face ID learn­ing us, and as it be­came ac­cus­tomed to rec­og­niz­ing us in var­i­ous light­ing and with or

with­out glasses and the like, it hap­pily un­locked the iPhone when­ever re­quired.

One last thing to note here – when it comes to se­cu­rity the dif­fer­ence be­tween Face ID and Touch ID is re­ally ir­rel­e­vant be­cause any­one can un­lock your iPhone if they have your pass­code. So if you don’t have a se­cure pass­code – that’s a pass­code that isn’t 000000 or 123456 – then you might as well leave your iPhone un­locked.


There are some ben­e­fits to Face ID. You never feel like you are hav­ing to un­lock your phone, and log­ging onto ser­vices that would have pre­vi­ously used Touch ID, now work with Face ID, so ac­cess­ing your bank­ing app on your phone can be quicker, if your iPhone X rec­og­nizes it’s you. But it can be frus­trat­ing to use it when af­ter your iPhone rec­og­nizes you it is still nec­es­sary to press the Side but­ton to ac­ti­vate a pay­ment.


Those are the main dif­fer­ences that will prob­a­bly make the big­gest dif­fer­ence to you. But there are a few more dif­fer­ences be­tween the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X in terms of spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

There are also a few things that are iden­ti­cal as we will out­line below.

Colour choices

iPhone X: Space Grey/Sil­ver iPhone 8 Plus: Gold/Sil­ver/Space Grey iPhone 8: Gold/Sil­ver/Space Grey


iPhone X: 64GB/256GB iPhone 8 Plus: 64GB/256GB iPhone 8: 64GB/256GB

Wa­ter re­sis­tance

iPhone X: Rated IP67 un­der IEC stan­dard 60529

iPhone 8 Plus: Rated IP67 un­der IEC stan­dard 60529 iPhone 8: Rated IP67 un­der IEC stan­dard 60529

Pro­ces­sor chip

iPhone X: A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit ar­chi­tec­ture, M11 mo­tion co­pro­ces­sor

iPhone 8 Plus: A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit ar­chi­tec­ture, M11 mo­tion co­pro­ces­sor

iPhone 8: A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit ar­chi­tec­ture, M11 mo­tion co­pro­ces­sor

Bat­tery life

iPhone X: Lasts up to 2 hours longer than iPhone 7

iPhone 8 Plus: Lasts about the same as iPhone 7 iPhone 8: Lasts about the same as iPhone 7

Wire­less charg­ing

iPhone X: Wire­less charg­ing (works with Qi charg­ers) iPhone 8 Plus: Wire­less charg­ing (works with Qi charg­ers) iPhone 8: Wire­less charg­ing (works with Qi charg­ers)

We’ve skipped over wire­less charg­ing which is a new fea­ture for the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X. We aren’t con­vinced about how im­por­tant a fea­ture it is, but if it is

some­thing you are at­tracted to, it’s worth em­pha­sis­ing that the fea­ture is avail­able on both the iPhone 8 and X so it’s not a rea­son to choose one phone over the other.

Buy­ing ad­vice

There are a few fea­tures that the iPhone X has that we’d love, such as the Por­trait Mode Self­ies and the im­proved Por­trait Mode on the rear cam­era. The big­ger screen on the smaller hand­set sounds great, but we feel it’s a lit­tle

spoiled by the notch and the fact that it’s not ac­tu­ally any wider than that on the iPhone 8.

In ad­di­tion, the re­moval of the Home But­ton means that not only do you need to re­learn the in­ter­face, but you can no longer use Touch ID. We find this very off­putting, how­ever, we are sus­pi­cious that it is some­thing we will all have to learn to live with, be­cause the like­li­hood is that fu­ture iPhones will adopt this edge-toedge screen and Face ID.

Right now though, we’d say go ahead and buy the iPhone 8 Plus if you want to use the im­proved Por­trait Mode, or just stick with the cheaper iPhone 8 and en­joy the Home But­ton while you still can. That’s un­less you want to be one of an elite us­ing the new iPhone X and all the brag­ging rights that that en­tails. And we know quite a few peo­ple who fit into that cat­e­gory.


iPhone X

iPhone 8 Plus and 8

iPhone X

iPhone 8 Plus and 8

iPhone X, Ap­ple Watch and AirPods us­ing an AirPower charg­ing matt

iPhone 8 Plus

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