The cool kids at Three recently invited me to the Three Discovery Store in Islington to give me, and some other bloggers an overview of the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. I generally don’t pay much interest to happenings in the iPhone world. I’ve not owned one since the iPhone 4 – I just couldn’t get on with it. I’ve been a firm Android for many years now. However, I was fascinated to get a better understanding of what is happening in the iPhone world. We were led through this strange, and fascinating land by Stephen from Dr Logic.

Introducing the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 has a 4.7? screen and the iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5? screen, and they come in three colours – Grey, Silver and Gold. The screen has a ‘True Tone’ setting which changes colour of display subtlety to reflect lighting around you. There is also a wider viewing angle meaning you don’t have to view the screen face on. That said it makes it easier for nosy folks on the train can see your screen. It has a glass front and back, and has a special coating to easily wipe away fingerprints and smudges. The glass is stronger with a 50 percent deeper strengthening layer. Ultimately – it’s phone coated in glass. No matter how much strengthening it has – you’ll want to avoid dropping it!

Talking of dropping it – you might get away with dropping it in the bath. The iPhone 8 is splash, water and dirt resistant. Apple don’t recommended to submerge it fully for long periods. Also water damage isn’t covered on the warranty, so if you have it submerged for TOO long, you’re still stuck. However a drop into the toilet, or sink won’t kill it.

Wireless Charging at LAST!

I’m SO pleased that Apple have FINALLY introduced Wireless Charging into the iPhone world. Thankfully, it also supports the main Wireless Charging standard – Qi (pronounced Chee). Wireless Charging is slowly becoming mainstream. When I was in New York a lot of the coffee shops had Qi Charging plates in the tables. IKEA sell furniture with them embedded too, so now Apple are supporting it, it will become more prevalent. It also supports fast charging too – you can have 50% charge from 0% in 30 minutes.

Apple are still keen to push ‘wireless audio’ – there’s no headphone jack. However there is an adaptor in the box to allow headphones to be plugged into the lightning connector. So clearly, they haven’t entirely ‘cut the cord’ – but wireless audio is the future. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus support Bluetooth 5 – however you can’t do ‘dual audio’. This is something that allows music to be streamed to two Bluetooth speakers or headsets simultaneously. Apple would argue you CAN do this with Airplay – which is true. But not all speakers are Airplay compatible.

What about Photography?

In my opinion, the iPhone always seemed to be a little lacking in the photography department. They seem to have upped their game with the cameras on the iPhone 8 this time. It has an improved 12 megapixel rear camera. There is one sensor on the iPhone 8 and then iPhone 8 Plus has dual sensors – I’ll explain more in a bit why that’s important. The sensors have optical stabilisation, which means video records smoothly, even with slightly shakey hands. It supports 4k recording, and the optical stabilisation ensures the final video looks great. A lot of phones use electronic stabilisation, which isn’t brilliant – the video from the iPhone 8 looks great. The flash on the back is a ‘Quad-LED’ which is said to offer a more even flash. It’s not going to light up a dark concert, but low light selfies will look great.

Around the front there is a 7 megapixel camera. There’s no LED flash, they use the ‘Retina Flash’ which makes the screen ‘flash’ a warm white glow as the picture is taken.

If you’re passionate about photography, I’d definitely plump for the iPhone 8 Plus. The dual sensors bring ‘Portrait Mode’ which is a delight. Similar to what you can do on the Huawai P9, you can tweak the pictures after they’ve been taken. However ‘Portrait Mode’ is designed for Portraits only. You can dramatically alter the lighting and composition of a Portrait after they’ve been snapped. Go into a Three Discovery Store and have a play – it’s got to be seen for real. The pictures below don’t really do it justice.

Trying the Portrait Mode on the iPhone 8 Plus

Under the hood

The iPhone 8 is powered by a processor called “A11 Bionic” – it’s faster than the iPhone 7 and has an improved graphics processor so games, photo and video editing are snappier too. It’s hard to compare Apple’s bespoke processors to some of those found in Android devices, however the iPhone 8 flies! The battery in the iPhone 8 is actually SMALLER than the one in the iPhone 7, which is a bit of shock. However Apple say it’s about the same as the 7, which was 2 hours longer than the 6S. Time will tell if this is true! The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come with two storage options, 64Gb and 256Gb. That’s your lot though, there’s no MicroSD storage option.

It was interesting to see how far the iPhone has come since I last owned one. Would I get one? Honestly? I’m not sure – I loved the Portrait Mode on the iPhone 8 Plus. The phones feel great, and they should for the cost. It was certainly good to find out more about them in a ‘non sales’ environment. Whilst the Three Discovery Store is owned and run buy Three UK, it didn’t feel like I was being ‘sold’ data plans. I was learning about the handsets, something you often can’t do.

Thanks to Three for inviting me to the Three Discovery Store Islington to explore the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

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