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The iPhone X may be expensive, but you’ll regret cheaping out with an iPhone 8

At Apple’s latest event this September, the company unveiled the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus in all their so-called glory. Tim Cook stood proudly as he scanned through a gallery of photos highlighting the historical changes of the iPhone. He used the term “innovation” to prepare us for what was supposed to be a revolutionary duo of devices, but ultimately fell flat. Even with the heavier price tag, I was already swayed to purchase the iPhone X because – both under the hood and aesthetically — the iPhone 8 models are just like their predecessors.

As renders of the iPhone X began to leak, along with the $1,000 price tag, I was already writing it off as a phone for the elite — similar to the $17,000 4k gold Apple Watch. I was content with choosing the in-between device. But when Apple debuted its promotional video for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, I was utterly confused. Aside from the semi-new color variants, it was the same old familiar design. I automatically had flashbacks to the iPhone 4 with its glass back. It was tough to process how, with an iPhone X in the mix, the iPhone 8 or its companion were even necessary.

It was tough to process how, with an iPhone X in the mix, the iPhone 8 or its companion were even necessary.

I’m as loyal an Apple fan as you can get, but this year, it was tough to look past the features the company considers so new when presenting the next-generation of iPhones. At the keynote, Apple waxed lyrical about everything from the Retina HD display to the cameras and speakers. But when comparing the 8 and 8 Plus to last year’s iPhones, and the ones before them, the correct term is improved.

Both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 lineup have a 4.7 and 5.7-inch Retina HD display, respectively, as well as 12MP rear cameras and 7 MP front-facing cameras. The Plus versions also boast dual cameras, and even though the 8 Plus has its fancy, new beta Portrait Lighting feature – 7 Plus users still have Portrait Mode. They’re also both 3D Touch enabled, hold 3GB of RAM, measure in at almost exactly the same dimensions, and all that’s “new” about the stereo speakers is that they’re 25 percent louder with deeper bass.

The biggest differences between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 models are the True Tone display, a far more powerful processor, and the ability to charge wirelessly — all of which are included on the iPhone X. If I’m going to invest money and commit to a device, I’d prefer it to have an edge on those that came before it.

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Apple iPhone 6 Image used with permission by copyright holder

Since its first big debut, the iPhone has kept to its traditional and recognizable style. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus represented a new direction, but since 2014 iPhone designs have barely changed — aside from software. Meanwhile Android smartphones have been experimenting with bezel-less screens and pushing the boundaries of display quality.

I found myself bored and searching for an iPhone that would look different than what I’ve had in the past — which ultimately led me to the iPhone 7 Plus, strictly because of its size. When both the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8 launched, I was envious of the edge to edge displays before the iPhone X was even confirmed to have a similar look. It made me see my iPhone differently, realizing the thick bezels – included on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus — feel dated and obsolete.

It’s hard to escape the feeling that the iPhone 8 is just a glorified iPhone 7 with improved color resolution, a smaller battery, and a better processor. The 8 Plus adds a Portrait Lighting feature you’ll probably only use every so often. No one is going to ask you what phone that is when you take it out of your pocket. No one is going to want to get a closer look. Because the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are just so familiar-looking.

If you think the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus look dated now, imagine how they’ll look in a year or two.

When comparing the iPhone X to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, it’s undeniable they carry almost the exact same features. But the gorgeous, edge-to-edge, OLED screen on the X looks modern and sleek — proving that Apple is starting to switch up the iPhone look to keep up with the times. The aesthetic pushes the X far past the 8 and 8 Plus.

We got to spend a little time with the iPhone X and our hands-on review mentions the 5.8-inch OLED display is extremely vibrant, with brighter icons than ever. Since I probably don’t stare at anything as much as my smartphone, high-quality is always better. With HDR and Dolby Vision support, the iPhone X will help to support my binge-watching habits.

The new bezel-less display allows the iPhone X to pack a 5.8-inch screen into a body that’s similar in size to the iPhone 8 which only has a 4.7-inch screen. A screen that’s also an inferior IPS LCD panel with a much lower resolution. Even with rumored delays into 2018, the design and screen alone are worth the wait. You’re paying more for a phone that actually delivers more, literally.

Even though facial recognition might have its kinks to work out, the TrueDepth camera is another distinguishing feature from the other iPhones and every other smartphone out there. It’s a huge step up from the constantly evolving home button, which went from being a physical button to Touch ID to utilizing a taptic engine. It’s also the direction most smartphones are clearly heading in – with Samsung debuting its ‘Iris Scanner’ last year.

wait for iphone x airpower
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you still think the iPhone 8 Plus is the better option, take the smaller battery into consideration. The iPhone X houses a 2,761mAh battery, in comparison to the 8 Plus’ 2,691mAh battery. Even its predecessor — the iPhone 7 Plus – packed a 2,900mAh battery. As for wireless charging and fast charging, they’re the same on the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X. You’re going to have to buy the wireless charging pads, power adapters, and cables no matter what new iPhone you buy, so it may as well be the best one.

There’s been a lot of focus on the $1,000 price tag on the iPhone X, but most people will get it on a contract. Major carriers are charging around $30 per month for the 8, what if you could have the X for an extra ten bucks a month? It’s not hard to justify spending that kind of money for a completely different device that’s genuinely offering something new compared to your old iPhone. If you think the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus look dated now, imagine how they’ll look in a year or two.

We’re not surprised at the reports of disappointing iPhone 8 sales. Apple’s past iPhone launches have attracted huge crowds, whereas this year, there were only a few Apple Stores reporting any lines at all. Customers apparently haven’t been impressed by the limited number of new features and the same old design.

If Apple considers the iPhone X the “future of the smartphone,” and it’s highly likely all iPhones will start to look like the X in the future, why would we be satisfied with a design from 2014? We might as well all take the inevitable plunge now. Don’t waste your money on an iPhone 8, save a little extra and snag the real star of Apple’s show – the iPhone X.

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Brenda Stolyar
Former Digital Trends Contributor
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