Apple announced three new iPhones this month: the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus, and the high-end iPhone X.
Those three phones start at $699, $799, and $999, respectively.
Based on the relatively diminutive launch-day lines for the iPhone 8, it seems likely that most people are waiting for the release of Apple’s high-end iPhone X, which debuts November 3.
That said, there are several reasons it’s worth considering an iPhone 8 instead of holding out for the iPhone X:
1. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are powered by the same brains as the iPhone X.
This is probably the most important reason to consider the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus over the iPhone X: Functionally, they’re all identical.
All of these phones are powered by Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip, a neural engine, and the M11 motion coprocessor. The only difference is how the phones use these features: The iPhone X uses the A11 chip and neural engine for its new face-detection system Face ID, which the iPhone 8 does not have.
2. Touch ID is a proven entity. Face ID is not.
Ever since the release of iPhone 5S in 2013, Touch ID has changed the way we use our phones — from unlocking the device, to storing passwords, to using our fingerprints to pay for goods via Apple Pay.
Touch ID is a known, proven entity. Face ID, which will replace Touch ID on the iPhone X, is less known.
Apple makes some bold statements about Face ID. The company claims it’s less prone to being tricked than Touch ID. They claim it can also work in the dark, or recognize changes to your face — like if you grow a beard, or wear glasses, or change your hair, or put on a kooky outfit. But we still don’t know how Face ID will actually work in the wild when millions of people are using it. Simply put, technology is not infallible, and it’s impossible to predict what could go wrong with this unlocking method. (Thankfully, the passcode backup still exists.)
By choosing an iPhone 8, however, you choose to forgo the guinea-pig era for Face ID.
3. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus support fast charging and wireless charging for the first time — just like the iPhone X.
All of these phones support the Qi wireless charging standard as well as fast-charging.
The downside is, you’ll have to buy extra accessories if you choose either new charging method. Apple offers several different Qi wireless charging pads you can buy (its own AirPower solution won’t be out until 2018, unfortunately), and you’ll need to buy anywhere from $25 to $75 worth of equipment — a Lightning-to-USB-C cable and a USB-C Power Delivery-compatible charger, specifically — if you want to use fast-charging for your iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or iPhone X.
Again, this is one more expense to consider when thinking about the iPhone 8 versus the $1,000-to-start iPhone X.
4. The iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X have nearly-identical rear cameras.
If you care at all about photography, the rear cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X are nearly identical. The iPhone 8 is also a great shooter, but the larger 8 Plus adds a second telephoto lens so you can zoom in without losing image quality.
The only difference between the rear cameras on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X is that the iPhone X has optical-image stabilization for both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses, for sharper images, especially in low-light settings; the iPhone 8 Plus only has OIS for the wide-angle lens, like the iPhone 7 Plus before it.
5. The front-facing cameras on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X are also identical — save for a few extra features.
On paper, the FaceTime HD cameras of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are functionally identical to the front-facing camera inside the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system. All of these phones take 7-megapixel photos, have a ƒ/2.2 aperture, and film video in 1080p.
The only difference is the iPhone X got a few “exclusive” software camera features: Portrait Mode on the front-facing camera (in addition to the back); Portrait Lighting, which lets you remove backgrounds in your selfies for a dramatic effect; and Animoji, where you can send animated emoji to your friends that mimic your facial expressions and even speak using your voice.
6. The iPhone 8 doesn’t have that hideous “notch” at the top of the phone.
The TrueDepth camera system on the iPhone X is the lone interruption on that phone’s edge-to-edge display. The “notch,” as many are calling it, is pretty hideous, unfortunately.
Thankfully, there’s no notch on the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus.
7. The iPhone X is more expensive than the iPhone 8.
The iPhone 8 starts at $700, while the larger iPhone 8 Plus starts at $800.
The iPhone X, on the other hand, starts at $1,000.
It’s simple math: You can save at least $200 by going with an iPhone 8, which, keep in mind, is still a brand-new phone from Apple.
8. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, your old cases will fit.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have near-identical dimensions to their predecessors, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, respectively. The new phones are slightly heavier, and there are slight differences in the new phones’ height, length and depth, but all of the differences are less than a millimeter each, which means your old iPhone 7 cases will still fit.
The iPhone X has completely different dimensions from past iPhones, so your old cases won’t work with this phone — one more expense to consider when buying this already-expensive phone.
9. You’ll actually be able to find it.
Since everyone is so focused on the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 is actually easy to find and buy — even today! Meanwhile, iPhone X will likely be in high demand and short supply, meaning lots of people will probably be waiting weeks and months for their phones to arrive while you’re sitting pretty with your iPhone 8, which has arguably all of the biggest advantages of the iPhone X, with a more reasonable price tag.