Getting a new iPhone this year doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, though. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are the other new smartphones announced at Apple’s event, and while they’re still expensive (but not as fancy as the iPhone X), they offer a redesigned all-glass back, an improved camera, slightly faster hardware, and a longer-lasting battery.
How does the iPhone X, Apple’s most powerful iPhone yet, compare to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus?
Check out our iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus specs comparison for all the crucial differences you need to know about.
When it comes to raw performance, the iPhone X and both iPhone 8 devices are more evenly matched than you might expect.
All three pack Apple’s new 64-bit, A11 Bionic chip, a powerful new processor consisting of six individual cores — two high-power cores and four power-efficient cores — that balance battery life with performance. An Apple-designed regulator chip doles out tasks to the CPU’s individual cores, resulting in better battery across email, music, and apps that don’t require a lot of processing power.
The processor works in tandem with an Apple-designed three-core GPU that accelerates the iPhone’s machine learning algorithms. Overall, Apple says the A11 Bionic is up to to 70 percent faster than the A10 Fusion (the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus’ system-on-a-chip) in everyday tasks, and up 30 percent faster in graphics-heavy games and apps.
Neither phones mess around when it comes to internal storage. Both the iPhone X and iPhone 8 are available in 64GB and 256 GB flavors, which is ample room for apps, games, music, movies, and any other media you might want to store offline.
But the playing field isn’t entirely even. iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus likely have 3GB of RAM (unconfirmed) compared to the iPhone 8’s 2GB. That won’t be especially noticeable day-to-day, but depending on how aggressively you juggle apps and browser tabs, it might cut down on the number tasks that relaunch in the background.
Winner: iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus
Display, design, and durability
The most obvious differences between the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X are aesthetic. From the front, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus look almost nothing like the iPhone X.
The iPhone X’s 5.8-inch OLED screen has a resolution of 2,436 x 1,125-pixel (with a pixel density of 458 pixels-per-inch); Apple calls it a Super Retina HD screen. The individual pixels in screen brighten or darken as needed, producing an image with superior contrast and color accuracy. Apple’s True Tone technology automatically adjusts the white balance to surrounding lighting conditions, and a prominent “notch” toward the top accommodates the iPhone X’s front camera, earpiece, and depth-sensing sensors.
The X is also the first iPhone to support high dynamic range (HDR). Videos utilize Dolby Vision and HDR10 in their native color spaces, which generally translates to brighter, more vibrant, and true-to-life picture than non-HDR content and screens are capable of delivering.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus make do with a more conventional 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, respectively. The iPhone 8 has a 1,334-by-750 pixel resolution (326ppi), and the iPhone 8 Plus has a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution (401 ppi). They have LCD IPS screens, which doesn’t quite match up to the iPhone X’s OLED vibrancy. Both the 8 and 8 Plus ditch the iPhone X’s edge-to-edge design for a thicker, traditional bezels. So despite the iPhone 8 Plus have a smaller 5.5-inch screen size, it’s actually a bigger phone overall compared to the 5.8-inch iPhone X.
Both iPhone 8 devices retain the circular, fingerprint-scanning home button that’s become one of the iPhone’s most recognizable features. That’s in stark contrast with the iPhone X, which replaces the home button with an on-screen “software bar” across the bottom of the screen. Swipe up from the bottom to get to the home screen, and it disappears when it’s not in use. It doesn’t support Touch ID, meaning the iPhone X can’t be unlocked with a fingerprint.
It can be unlocked with a face, however. The iPhone X packs a special depth-sensing sensor module consisting of a light transmitter, a light receiver, a proximity sensor, and an ambient light sensor that records depth data. This combined with data from the front camera builds a complete 3D image. It’s called True Depth, and it’s the technological underpinning of the iPhone X’s FaceID, iOS 11’s Animoji, and a new feature that prevents the phone from locking when you’re looking at it.
Apple says a custom neural network crunched through more than than 1 billion images to develop True Depth’s image recognition software, and the machine learning-powered system can perform up to 600 billion operations per second. It’ll capture the unique contours and shape of your face over time, so it’ll still recognize you if you change your hair style or grow a beard. Furthermore, Apple claims that it’s much more secure than Touch ID — the company stated the chances a random person could use their fingerprint to unlock your iPhone is 1 in 50,000, but that the odds of the same thing happening with Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000.
The iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus feature a combination of aluminum and glass that’s durable, IP67 water-resistant, and shock-proof, and both eschew a 3.5mm audio jack in favor of a Lightning port, volume rocker, and power button. (On the iPhone X, Siri has been remapped from the home button to the sleep/wake button.)
Winner: iPhone X
Battery life and charging
The iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus are nearly an even match when it comes to battery life, though the iPhone 8 will last less longer.
Apple doesn’t typically disclose battery capacity, but filings with China’s TENNA agency show that the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have 1,821 mAh and 2,675 mAh batteries, respectively. For comparison, the iPhone 7 comes with a 1,960 mAh battery and the iPhone 7 Plus has a 2,900 mAh battery.
But thanks to the A11 Bionic processor’s energy-efficient cores and other optimizations, battery life is actually improved over last year’s 7 and 7 Plus. The company claims that the iPhone 8 lasts longer than the iPhone 7, or about 21 hours of talk time and 14 hours of talk time. The iPhone X matches the 21 hours of talk time. The iPhone 8 Plus has slightly better overall battery life than the iPhone X, but it’s a marginal improvement.
None of the three iPhones have a leg up in the charging department as they all support wireless charging, specifically the Qi standard — placed on a compatible dock, they charge without the need for a plugged-in Lightning cable. You’ll have to by a third-party charger to take advantage of this, as you won’t find one in the box. Apple’s own wireless charging mat won’t be available until 2018.
Both phones have fast charging. Thanks to a high-speed wall adapter included with all three, the new iPhones can charge up to 50 percent in 30 minutes.
Winner: iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
iphone x vs. iphone 8
The iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus both have dual-camera setups, and they are almost equally matched.
The iPhone X’s primary shooter consists of two sensors, one wide-angle 12-megapixel lens with a f/1.8 aperture and a telephoto 12-megapixel lens with a f/2.4 aperture. Both have optical image stabilization (OIS) that counteracts the jerkiness of your hands and footsteps. The iPhone 8 Plus has the same set up, but the telephoto 12-megapixel lens has a f/2.8 aperture, and only the primary wide-angle lens features OIS. Both support Portrait Lighting, an enhanced version of the iPhone 7’s Portrait Mode. With Portrait Lighting enabled, you can switch between settings like Contour Light, Natural Light, Stage Light, Stage Light Mono, and Studio Light to fine-tune the iPhone’s DSLR-like bokeh effect.
The iPhone 8 trades down for a single 12-megapixel rear shooter. Still, Apple says it’s improved over the 12-megapixel camera in the iPhone 7.
The new iPhones can shoot in resolutions up to 4K at 60 frames per second (up from 30 frames per second on the iPhone 7) and 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) at 240fps (from 60fps).
It’s more of the same on the selfie side of things. All three iPhones have a 7-megapixel camera that can shoot up to 1080p at 30fps. But the iPhone X has far more handy features it can do with the depth-sensing cameras on the front.
Winner: iPhone X
iphone x vs. iphone 8
Despite the fact the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus all ship with the same software on-board — Apple’s iOS 11 — the iPhone X has a few extras.
Animoji, an animated emoji feature, taps the iPhone X’s depth-tracking camera to generate custom animated messages that use your voice and reflect your emotions. Facial expressions like eyebrow raises, smirks, frowns, smiles, and nods are mapped onto emoji and sent with a voice message. Face ID, the iPhone X’s stand-in for Touch ID, ties your phone’s lock screen to your likeness. The front scanners record your facial structure so that when you glance in the iPhone X’s general direction, it unlocks instantly.
iOS 11’s other features are a bit more egalitarian. ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality framework for AR-enabled experiences, benefits from the A11 Bionic chip. The CPU handles world tracking, scene recognition, and keeps graphics at a steady 60fps, while a dedicated image signal processor adjusts for lighting conditions in real time.
There’s plenty new to explore in iOS 11. You can create PDFs from webpages in Safari, and use the iPhone’s keyboard one-handed. There’s a new screenshot tool that lets you mark up your snapshots with a variety of different stylus styles and fonts. And you can now type to a more natural-sounding Siri. You can read more about all the new features in our iOS 11 guide.
Winner: iPhone X
Price and availability
The iPhone X may be more capable than the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, but it’s also a lot more expensive. The iPhone X starts at $1,000 for 64GB in silver, and space grey. Pre-orders start on October 27, with availability beginning November 3.
The iPhone 8 is $700 for 64GB in silver, gold, and space grey colors, or $50 more than the iPhone 7. The iPhone 8 Plus costs $800 and comes with the same storage options and color choices. Both go on sale September 15, with availability beginning September 22.
|iPhone X||iPhone 8||iPhone 8 Plus|
|64GB||$1,000, or $49.91 a month with the iPhone Upgrade Program||$700, or $34.50 a month with the iPhone Upgrade Program||$800, or $39.50 a month with the iPhone Upgrade Program|
|256GB||$1,150, or $56.16 a month with the iPhone Upgrade Program||$850, or $40.75 a month with the iPhone Upgrade Program||$950, or $45.75 a month with the iPhone Upgrade Program|
Overall winner: iPhone 8
The iPhone X might be expensive, but it’s a quantum leap forward for the world’s most valuable technology company. It’s the first Apple-made smartphone with an edge-to-edge OLED screen and a depth-sensing camera. It’s the first to do away with the iPhone maker’s iconic physical home button. And it’s the first with wireless charging. But it’s also the first with a $1,000 price tag. The iPhone X may have new bells and whistles, but they’ll cost you can arm and a leg.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus may not have the iPhone X’s vibrant screen, or three-dimensional facial scanning, but you are paying up to $300 less. Rumors suggest the iPhone X will also be in short supply, so you may have to wait even longer to get your hands on it.
It basically comes down to this: If you’re satisfied with a speedier processor, wireless charging, and a longer-lasting battery, you’ll be perfectly happy with the iPhone 8. If any of the iPhone X’s features seriously appeal to you, though, you might want to consider springing for it. But your wallet won’t thank you.