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iPhone X vs. iPhone 8: Which iPhone is best?

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As part of
Apple’s
current trio of flagship
phones
(at least until the 2018 models come out), the iPhone X and iPhone 8 are both sturdily designed, premium devices that’ll satisfy any
iOS
user.

And while the iPhone X is considered the best iPhone right now — especially with its sleek bezel-less design and dual rear-cameras — it actually might not be the perfect one for you. After all, it costs a lot more than the iPhone 8, even though the latter offers much of the same features.

If you’re trying to decide between these two, we’ve outlined some of the things you should consider like price, camera features and more, before you decide to take the plunge. (And if you’re deciding between the iPhone X and
iPhone 8 Plus
, check out our comparison here.)


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Is the iPhone X’s steep price worth it?

The most obvious question you’re going to have to ask yourself when deciding between these two iPhones is how much are you willing to spend. The iPhone X is more expensive than the iPhone 8 by at least $300, £300 and AU$500 — and that’s nothing to brush off.

iPhone X and iPhone 8 pricing

iPhone X iPhone 8
US $999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB) $699 (64GB), $849 (256GB)
UK £999 (64GB), £1,149 (256GB) £699 (64GB), £849 (256GB)
Australia AU$1,579 (64GB), AU$1,829 (256GB) AU$1,079 (64GB), AU$1,329 (256GB)

Only you can determine if the extra cost is worth it, but to put it in perspective: for the iPhone X you’re coughing up that money for a second rear-camera, a larger bezel-less display and the ability to unlock the phone with your face. Other than that however, the guts are essentially the same — including the same A11 Bionic processor. You’ll also get wireless charging (if you have a wireless charging mat) and water resistance on both iPhones.

With that extra money you’ll save getting the iPhone 8, you can purchase AppleCare+ to extend your coverage in case you damage or break your iPhone’s screen, a pair of AirPods headphones and a silicone iPhone case for a little over the same price.

iPhone design and face mapping

With a design similar to past iterations, the iPhone 8 feels very familiar. Depending on your preference, that can be either comforting to you or stale. Due to its smaller size, I find the iPhone 8 easier to place in my pocket or purse, as well as hold and navigate with one hand. It also feels less fragile to me, though I wonder if that has anything to do with the iPhone X’s $1,000 price tag making me scared to death to drop it. The iPhone 8 also has a taptic home button that you can easily tap to return home and double tap to call up recent apps.

Creating an Animoji.


CNET

The iPhone X, meanwhile, is nearly bezel-less and gets rid of the Touch ID button at the bottom (instead, it integrates swiping gestures for navigation). It has an OLED “Super Retina HD Display,” which is Apple’s marketing term to denote a sharper screen and a higher pixel density.

But perhaps what’s most polarizing about the iPhone is its black notch that sits on the top of its taller display. That notch houses interesting features like a depth-sensing front-facing camera for Face ID, digital payments authorization and the ability to map your facial movements with animated emojis. But unlike other Android phones you can’t hide it, and it’ll always be there. On some occasions, like watching video, the notch blocks part of the video.

With these considerations, think about how all these factors will affect your overall user experience. If you carry your phone in your pocket a lot and find that a home key makes your iPhone more intuitive and easier to use, the iPhone 8 will be great. If you’re gung-ho about adopting new things and don’t mind the notch (TBH, most of us got used to it), the iPhone X should work for you.

iPhone X sports dual rear cameras

With its single 12-megapixel rear camera, the iPhone 8 is no slouch when it comes to taking vibrant and sharp photos. This is especially true compared to 2016’s
iPhone 7
, thanks to the 8’s improved sensors and image signal processor.

However, the iPhone X’s dual-camera setup make it the superior phone in this aspect. Though its one wide-angle camera is the exact same one on the iPhone 8, its other telephoto camera is used for clear optical zooming and bokeh-style portrait pictures. Apple loaded lighting tools you can tweak to add more drama to your portraits. It also has optical image stabilization on both lenses. Lastly, if you take a bunch of selfies, the iPhone X’s front-facing camera captures portrait photos too, though pictures don’t look as smooth as portraits taken with the rear cameras. The iPhone 8 doesn’t have this feature.

With all elements in play, the iPhone X captures slightly more detail and
sharpness
for zoomed in shots, especially in dim lighting. Also, when recording zoomed-in video, the iPhone X’s dual-OIS setup is especially beneficial, as videos are noticeably more stable compared to digital zoom.

iPhone 8’s battery lasts longer surprisingly

Though you’d expect the iPhone X to be the better performer in all our tests, the iPhone 8 actually has a longer battery life than the iPhone X during our battery drain tests. For continuous video playback on Airplane mode, the iPhone X lasted 11.5 hours while the iPhone 8 lasted 13.5 hours. Depending on your needs, this difference may not be much of a deal breaker, but it’s something to consider.

iphone-8-iphone-x-5874iphone-8-iphone-x-5874

James Martin/CNET

The takeaway

The iPhone X remains objectively the best iPhone, and you can get a lot of uses (not to mention fun) out of its Portrait mode camera, Animoji face tracking and elegant design. If you get the iPhone X now, you’ll also be readying yourself with many features future iPhones will likely have. (Though again, keep in mind that Apple will very likely announce new iPhones in September.)

But if you want to stave off having to use those features, not to mention saving $300, £300 and AU$500 while you’re at it, get the iPhone 8. It’s a reliable, intuitive iPhone that’ll be a no-brainer to use. 

iPhone X and iPhone 8 specs

iPhone X iPhone 8
Display size, resolution 5.8-inch; 2,436×1,125 pixels 4.7-inch; 1,334×750 pixels
Pixel density 458 ppi 326 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.7×2.79×0.30 in 5.45×2.65×0.29 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 143.6×70.9×7.7 mm 138.4×67.3×7.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.14 oz; 174 g 5.22 oz; 148 g
Mobile software iOS 11 iOS 11
Camera Dual 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 7-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K
Processor Apple A11 Bionic Apple A11 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB
RAM 3GB 2GB
Expandable storage None None
Battery 2,716mAh (Apple doesn’t confirm this) 1,821mAh (Apple doesn’t confirm this)
Fingerprint sensor None (Face ID via TrueDepth camera) Home button (Touch ID)
Connector Lightning Lightning
Headphone jack No No
Special features Water resistant (IP67), wireless Qi charge compatible, TrueDepth front-facing camera adds Face ID for payments and enables front-facing AR effects Water resistant (IP67), wireless Qi charge compatible

Apple iPhone X review: All about the best iPhone right now.

Apple iPhone 8 review: The status quo iPhone upgrade.

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