The iPhone 8 Plus versus iPhone X game isn’t as simple as it seems. Sure, the iPhone X is the coolest smartphone of the year. But is that enough?
I have a confession to make.
Last Friday, I was very close to buying an iPhone 8 Plus to replace my year-old iPhone 7 Plus instead of waiting for Apple’s iPhone X to launch. Although I didn’t, I could still make this choice in the coming weeks.
This possible decision has absolutely nothing to do with price. As I already explained, there’s not much of a monthly price difference between the two handsets. The reasons I’m now at least considering buying an iPhone 8 Plus boil down to a few points, which you can read about below.
1. The Missing Home Button
Apple loves removing established technology from its iPhones. In recent years, this has included the dismissal of the 30-pin dock connector on the iPhone 5 and the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7.
Neither of these changes bothered me because it was evident both technologies had run their course, while the replacements (Lightning and wireless) had more to offer.
Removing the iconic home button on the iPhone X feels different to me. Last year with the iPhone 7/7 Plus, Apple made a significant change with how the home button operated. Instead of physical parts, the input used a capacitive mechanism. The recently released iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus also use this technology.
For months, rumors had suggested Apple would build off of this technology and introduce an embedded home button on what would become the iPhone X. Later, we heard production issues had forced Apple to adjust these plans.
Since then, blogger John Gruber has come out and said it was always Apple’s intention to ditch Touch ID (and the home button) and replace it with Face ID on the iPhone X. I don’t buy this explanation given how much Apple had pushed the capacitive mechanism just over 52 weeks ago.
Besides, if Face ID was the plan all along, why did Apple keep Touch ID on the 2017 iPads and MacBook Pro with Touch Bar?
2. Face ID
Speaking of Face ID, I do question whether this is the practical way to go.
Apple claims it has performed thousands of tests on the new technology used to log in, authenticate contactless payments, and unlock apps. Those tests, however, can’t replace the real world test that’s starting on Nov. 3 when thousands of new users will be using the system.
Will Face ID perform as expected? What happens if it doesn’t?
3. The Notch
Ever since Apple introduced the iPhone X on Sept. 12, I’ve often been asked to comment on the “notch.”
Located at the top of the iPhone X, the notch has the practical use of housing the device’s new TrueDepth camera system. Unfortunately, it also has the distinction of being the only interruption on the phone’s otherwise brilliant edge-to-edge display.
Sure, the notch may grow on me. Still, I have this growing suspicion we won’t be seeing it on future iOS devices. Is it worth carrying it around for 12 months? I’m still not sure.
4. Worried About Being a Guinea Pig ... Again
There’s a certain degree of uncertainty when it comes to new technology. As a tech blogger, I have no choice but to embrace this. As a consumer, I wonder whether the iPhone X represents a bridge too far.
Back in 2015, I was very excited when the first Apple Watch arrived. One year, later, however, it became clear that first Apple Watch users were little more than paying beta testers.
Don’t believe me? Then why did Cupertino ditch the original Apple Watch and replaced it with the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2?
Comparing the first Apple Watch to the iPhone X isn’t a perfect comparison, I know.
Nonetheless, Apple expects us to pay upwards to $1,200 for a new smartphone. At that price, we’d be fools not to at least question whether the uncertainties over the new technologies on the iPhone X are worth our time and energies.
You Need to Decide
In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether to buy the iPhone 8 Plus now or wait around until Oct. 27 when pre-orders for the iPhone X begin. Your choice should ultimately come down to whether you willing to put up with a few snafus to carry around the coolest phone to launch in 2017.
If you aren’t willing to do this, you’ll be happy to know the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X are much more similar than you might have been led to believe. Both use the new A11 Bionic chip, have 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, and support wireless charging. Both are also splash, water, and dust resistant.
I’m fairly certain I’ll be holding out and buying an iPhone X at 12:01 a.m. PDT on Oct. 27. A big part of this likely decision is my work. More readers are interested in hearing about the iPhone X than the iPhone 8 Plus, so it’s better for me to buy the former.
For non-tech bloggers, the choice isn’t as simple. Luckily, you still have time to make your decision. As a reminder, customers will be able to order iPhone X beginning Friday, Oct. 27, with availability beginning Friday, Nov. 3, in:
- Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK, the US and US Virgin Islands.
Have you made your iPhone decision yet? Let us know below.