iPhone 8 review: Hands on with the middle child of Apple's new family

The 'cheap' iPhone 8 may not have mass appeal but it offers enough to satisfy a select group of people

True to form, Apple recently unveiled a range of next-level handsets that introduce step changes to the phones that have come before.

At its annual event, this time held in Cupertino, Apple took the covers off the much-rumoured iPhone 8, and its larger sibling, the iPhone 8 Plus. Both handsets come with design improvements, power boosts and wireless charging, all designed to tempt you into upgrading, or even switching from Android - but should you?

iPhone 8 review: Key specifications and release date

Screen4.7in, IPS display, 1,334 x 750 resolution at 326ppi, True Tone technology
CPU64-bit 6-core Apple A11 Bionic processor with M11 co-processor and "Neural engine"
Storage64GB or 256GB storage
CameraSingle 12MP f/1.8 rear-facing camera with OIS, 7MP f/2.2 front-facing camera
SoftwareiOS 11
PricePrice: 699 (64GB); 849 (256GB)
OtherWireless charging, No 3.5mm headphone jack, Dust- and water-resistant to IP67
Pre-orders15 September 2017
Release Date22 September

iPhone 8 review: Design, key features, and first impressions

The iPhone 8 is a difficult middle child of Apple's new family. It offers a number of improvements over the iPhone 7 but falls short of some of the features of its larger sibling, and pales in comparison to Apple's iPhone X.

The 12-megapixel rear-facing camera now comes with a faster and larger sensor which Apple claims "delivers advanced pixel processing, wide colour capture, faster autofocus in low light and better HDR photos." The iPhone 8 combines a glass back and front with an aluminium bezel as well as a wireless charging panel on the rear.

Its 4.7in display uses Apple's True Tone technology to make the screen blend in more with its surroundings, giving it more natural "paper-like" appearance and the iPhone 8 runs on Apple's advanced hexa-core A11 Bionic chip, its neural networks having been "custom tuned" for the augmented reality features built into iOS 11.

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Like with the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, the glass design makes the iPhone 8 feel luxurious and the AR capabilities have to be seen to be believed, although the smaller screen doesn't quite do it justice in comparison with its sibling handsets.

iPhone 8 review: Early verdict

Despite the improvements, the iPhone 8 lacks any real punch. None of the features listed above are unique to the iPhone 8, for instance. Yes, they're a step up from the iPhone 7 and, yes, they certainly leave older models and some rivals in the dust, but all are available on the iPhone 8 Plus, which additionally comes with a number of USPs.

That's not to say the iPhone 8 doesn't have appeal. If you prefer smaller handsets and don't want the tiny iPhone SE, the 4.7in phone fits comfortably in your hand and the improvements, albeit small, are noticeable when compared to the iPhone 7. It's also much lighter (145g) than the iPhone 8 Plus, which tips the scales at an incredibly heavy (for a phone) 202g.

With the release of the 999 iPhone X, and the fact the iPhone 8 Plus now starts at 799, the iPhone 8 sits at the lower end of Apple's range making it feel better value for money with its high-end specs but (relatively) low-end price. It may be a false economy to think that 699 is "cheap" but if size and form factor matter to you when looking for top specs, the iPhone 8 has a lot to offer.

Image source: Victoria Woollaston

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