Mobile devices

Published on December 2nd, 2017 | by Vikram Srikumar


Upgrade to iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 8 Plus?

Can’t decide whether to upgrade to an iPhone 7 Plus or 8 Plus? Are the new features such as wireless and fast charging worth the extra outlay for a new or used 8?

Is Apple’s latest Plus model worth switching to or is the 7 enough?

Apple’s latest iPhone launched in September with the 8 and 8 Plus taking over from the 7 and 7 Plus. As ever the question for existing iPhone and iPhone Plus owners, and maybe Android users considering changing to iOS, is whether the new phone is worth upgrading to or will its predecessor suffice? Or, for those already using the 7 Plus, is the new 8 Plus worth an upgrade?

For those who prefer the larger screened iPhone Plus over the 4.7 inch standard model the main news is the 8 Plus is very similar in body size to the 7 with an identically-sized 5.5 inch screen.

In with the new and the old

As is the case with most iPhone releases, Apple continues to sell the superseded model new so the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are still on sale in the Apple Store and other outlets along with most network providers offering them on a new contract or as an upgrade.

The iPhone 7 has reduced in price with the advent of the new 8; model for model it’s around £150 cheaper than its new stablemate. Further savings on the 7 can be made on the used market, but if it’s the new 8 you’ve really set your heart on some used examples of the iPhone 8 Plus are already available from specialist used smartphone sellers.

What does the 8 Plus offer over the 7 Plus?

So is it worth spending more on a new or used iPhone 8? That will depend on whether you consider the new features make it worth the extra outlay.

  • Screen – while the screen size, resolution and basic specifications remains the same on the new 8 Plus, Apple’s True Tone technology has been added. This adjusts colour tone based on ambient lighting conditions in the interests of screen legibility in bright conditions and comfortable viewing in lower light by making the display easier on the eyes.
  • Body – the basic design hasn’t altered so at first glance a 7 Plus looks similar to an 8, but closer inspection reveals a new, all glass body compared to the aluminium rear of the older model. Opinion is divided as to whether it looks better, but it serves a specific practical purpose.
  • Wireless charging – and that practical purpose is wireless charging; the iPhone 8 offers the option of doing without a cable battery charger but a material such as glass has to be used to allow wireless charging.
    When the battery runs low the phone is simply laid on a charging tray; these are appearing in more public places and you can buy them for use at home and in the office and some cars incorporate a wireless charging facility.
    Being able to power your iPhone up cordlessly is slower than using a wired charger, and there’s the extra cost of the wireless tray as there isn’t one in the box.
  • Fast charging – the iPhone 8 offers fast charging but this will also add to the cost as the supplied charger and cable doesn’t support fast charging; a special version has to be purchased separately.
  • Camera – the twin lens camera, featuring only on the Plus and not the standard iPhone 8, features a new sensor on the 8 Plus that allows more light in so improving low light photography and overall image quality.
    Gains in image quality are mainly noticeable when photos from the 7 Plus and 8 Plus are compared side by side; the 7 Plus still boasts a very good camera.
  • More power – each iPhone release usually features a more powerful processing chip than the model before, and the 8 is no exception.
    The new chip is dubbed ‘A11 Bionic’ by Apple and makes the 8 Plus lightning fast although for many users the 7 still packs a punch. In many ways chip technology has accelerated beyond what many users really need, although Apple claim the new processor is a contributory factor in the 8 Plus camera’s improved image quality.
  • Sound boost – the stereo loudspeakers have been upgraded on the 8 to improve sound quality although you still wouldn’t likely use them for prolonged music listening. Games and some spoken word videos are fine though.
  • Colours – the iPhone 8 actually offers two fewer colour options than the 7; along with Space Grey and Silver is a new version of Gold – a shade combining the ‘Gold’ and ‘Rose Gold’ of previous iPhones. The 7 offers five colours: Black, Jet Black, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold.
  • Weight – the iPhone 8 Plus is 10g heavier than its predecessor probably due to the all-glass body.
  • Bluetooth – the newer model features the Bluetooth 5.0 standard as opposed to 4.2 so reception should be improved.
  • Battery life – Apple say battery life should be about the same on the 8 Plus compared to the 7.

Still no headphone socket

There’s still no headphone socket on the iPhone 8 and its waterproof to the same IP67 standard as the 7 which means it’ll withstand around half an hours immersion in up to 1 metre of water.

What to go for?

Many reviewers consider the new iPhone 8 more of an incremental upgrade over the 7 as opposed to an all-new revolutionary release, but certain aspects of the new phone may tempt you to spend a bit more whether new or used. Either way you have the choice of two excellent smartphones.

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