Many individuals prefer buying a new but older version of the iPhone in order to save money. It still works great and you can save hundreds of dollars. Many think of the iPhone 8 this way in 2021.
Now that new-gen iPhones will set you back more than $1,000, you might as well consider saving 50% or more.
But how old is too old? If an older iPhone is no longer being sold by Apple itself does it make sense to still buy one, such as refurbished through Amazon?
Today, we’ll look at the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
They are still in high demand in 2021 and will provide a great mobile experience. iPhones change a bit year to year, but not appreciably to the point where you need to spend lots of money on a new one.
Below we’ll tell you more about these two phones, and find out if the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus could be your next smartphone.
iPhone 8: Overview
When did the iPhone 8 come out?
Apple originally released the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in September 2017. It remained available from Apple through mid-April 2020.
Some people might think that the iPhone 8 is old and outdated because its release date was so long ago.
The iPhone landscape has changed somewhat since Apple originally released the iPhone 8. Bezels have been reduced, the display size has grown, and Apple has moved from Touch ID to Face ID to get more out of the screen.
While some people like these changes, not everyone is a fan of larger devices and Face ID. Apple weighed both sides and decided that Face ID would be the future over Touch ID. Naturally, it’s a bit more modern.
Because everyone is a fan of these changes — the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus remain among the top-10 selling smartphones according to our data.
Even as recently as early 2021, the iPhone 8 was the most in-demand model of the previous iPhones. The iPhone 8 Plus also cracked the top 10.
IPhone 8 Design, Size, and Display
The iPhone 8 was dubbed a “new generation” of iPhone.
This was true. But at the same time, the iPhone 8 shared many of the same design features as the previous model, the iPhone 7.
The front of the phone looked the same. The buttons and ports also mirrored each other.
It wasn’t until you looked at the back of the device that you saw the most noticeable difference. The iPhone 8 had a glass back, which allowed for the addition of wireless charging.
Namely, the iPhone 8 features Qi inductive charging.
Other highlights of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus include an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance. This means the phone can be submerged in 3 feet of water for up to half an hour.
But note that the IP67 rating is for water resistance. It doesn’t necessarily mean waterproof.
If you left the iPhone 8 in your swimming trunks the IP67 rating would be (temporarily) enough to help if the phone if you accidentally took it for a swim.
- Display: 4.7-inch Retina HD display with a resolution of 1334 x 750
- Size: 5.45 (H) x 2.65 (W) x 0.29 (D) (inches)
- Weight: 5.2 ounces
iPhone 8 Plus
- Display: 5.5-inch Retina HD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080
- Size: 6.24 (H) x 3.07 (W) x 0.30 (D) (inches)
- Weight: 7.1 ounces
The display of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus was the Retina HD display from the iPhone 7.
But Apple added True Tone. This meant the iPhone 8 display was better equipped to make automatic adjustments based on ambient lighting.
The iPhone 8 was available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold when launched
A Product Red version (with a black front) was released in April 2018, seven months post-launch.
Storage options included 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.
Features & Specs
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus shared many of the same features. The feature set for each is shown below
- 4.7-inch Retina HD (1344 x 750, 326 ppi)
- 2GB of RAM
- 1,821 mAh battery
iPhone 8 Plus
- 5.5-inch Retina HD (1920 x 1080, 401 ppi)
- 3GB of RAM
- 2,691 mAh battery
Shared features and specs
- Apple A11 Bionic
- 7MP front-facing camera
- Wireless charging
- IP67 rating for water and dust resistance
- Touch ID
- 64GB, 128GB or 256GB
- Space Gray, Silver, Gold, or Product Red
Processor and Performance
When getting an older device, you might fear that the processor will be somewhat inadequate. Saving money to buy an older-model phone is good — but it can come with the trade-off of a slower phone.
With the iPhone 8, you are getting the Apple A11 Bionic chip with 2GB of RAM.
The iPhone 8 Plus has the same Apple A11 chip, but the RAM is improved to 3GB.
The Apple A11 Bionic is a six-core processor. It features four energy-efficient cores and two high-performance cores.
The A11 Bionic also features a motion coprocessor and Neural Engine.
To compare with the iPhone 7, it featured the Apple A10 chip. The iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max have the Apple A12 Bionic chip.
The iPhone X also adopted many of the same internals as the iPhone 8 such as the Apple A11 Bionic chip.
The basic idea is that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus may not be the newest iPhone in the lineup, but the Apple A11 chip is still powerful to handle regular use cases.
With the A11 chip, you can easily:
- make calls
- send texts and emails
- use social media apps
- use the internet
- get pictures and video
Aside from performance and battery life, the camera is an important feature of each device.
The back camera differs on each device. But both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus feature a 7MP camera on the front.
The front-facing camera includes:
- an f/2.2 aperture along with auto-image stabilization
- a Retina flash
- face detection
- the ability to capture 720p video at 240 frames per second, and
- 1080p video at 30 frames per second
The iPhone 8 has a single camera setup on the rear, which consists of:
- a 12MP camera with an f/1.8 aperture
- optical image stabilization, and
- a True Tone flash
The iPhone 8 rear-camera is also capable of capturing 4k video at up to 60 frames per second. It can also capture 1080p video at up to 240 frames per second.
The iPhone 8 Plus features a dual-camera setup on the back with a wide-angle and telephoto lens. The wide-angle lens is 12MP, and the telephoto lens is similar to what there in the iPhone 7.
It was the second lens, the telephoto lens, that allowed for features such as Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting.
The iPhone 8 has gotten good reviews in the tech and smartphone community. Highlights include some of the best HDR performances, an accurate auto-focus, good stabilization, and good color rendering in almost all lighting conditions.
While newer versions of the iPhone receive a higher camera rating, the iPhone 8 score is resectable and you probably won’t be able to tell much difference between an iPhone 8 photo or video and an iPhone 13 photo/video.
iPhone 8 Software
An older model iPhone’s software is also important to check.
It is well-known that Apple will not provide software updates forever. But you want to know if the phone is still getting current updates.
This is still the case with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
When these phones launched in 2017, they were running iOS 11.0.
Today, Apple is still supporting the 8 and 8 Plus with software updates, and the devices are running the most current version of iOS.
Some early models of the iPhone received regular software updates for about three years. Nonetheless, that update time has gotten longer as newer models have been released. For example, the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 both received software updates for about five years.
If that pattern follows, we would expect to see the iPhone 8 get software updates into 2022. After that, your phone is likely to become less useful due to the inability to update certain apps. But it will still be useful for many things nonetheless.
If the phone and feature set meet your current needs it should be worth considering.
iPhone 8: What you’ll get
- Solid overall phone with a strong processor and good camera
- The most recent version of iOS (as of mid-2021)
- Touch ID (as opposed to only Face ID)
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are both solid phones worth considering.
But the key factor is likely to be the price.
Purchasing an iPhone 8 will allow you to save more money relative to getting an iPhone 8 Plus or a newer model.
iPhone 8: What you won’t get
The iPhone 8 is still getting regular iOS updates from Apple, which is a definite benefit.
However, we don’t have a known date as to when that support will end. As mentioned, recent patterns suggest the iPhone 8 could receive updates into 2022. But that estimate is based on previous release patterns and not a timeline offered by Apple itself.
Newer models of the iPhone are always released with more or better features compared to previous models. Of course, this is done to incentivize you to get one.
So, the iPhone 8 will not be able to do everything the new-gen iPhones can do. Of course, if the current feature set of the iPhone 8 meets your personal needs that shouldn’t be an issue. You might miss out on a little bit, but not much.
Battery life is also an important consideration.
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus both had great battery life when new. But all phones will see a decrease in battery life over time.
If the iPhone 8 is new, you should expect some loss in battery life over time. However, if you do get an iPhone 8 it may be useful to replace the battery from the start.
A replacement battery for the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus might run around $60-$80. It’s, of course, optional. As long as you’re not using it for hours without charging, then you won’t need to worry about an overly drained battery.
Turning off data for applications you use infrequently can help as well.
iPhone 8 pricing
The original retail pricing for the iPhone 8 started at $699.
The iPhone 8 Plus started at $799.
Of course, you shouldn’t judge the phone by the release price back in 2017. Instead, you should consider what the phone can be purchased for today, in 2021.
When buying new/refurbished new, the price will vary based on factors like the condition of the device, and the amount of internal storage.
On Amazon (certified refurbished devices), they tend to run in the following ranges:
- iPhone 8: Unlocked, Mint condition – $180 – $420
- iPhone 8 Plus: Unlocked, Mint condition – $250 – $520
Conclusion: Should you buy an iPhone 8 in 2021?
So, should you buy an iPhone 8 in 2021? At TME, we argue the iPhone 8 is still a worthy purchase in 2021.
Up until April 2020, when Apple stopped selling the iPhone 8 in stores, it was the newest iPhone that featured a smaller form factor and a home button.
These have kept the iPhone 8 a popular choice among many. But Apple released the second-generation iPhone SE in April 2020. This likely made the iPhone 8 buying decision a bit more complicated. The iPhone SE (second-generation) is a quality smartphone, but it is also pricier.
The iPhone 8 remains a top-selling device.
On Amazon, the iPhone 8 is searched for 673,000 times per month.
When it comes to buying a phone, be sure to set a budget. Then look for the best (or newest) phone that falls within your budget.
Even if you have money set aside for a new phone priced at retail, you can also consider getting an older model plus an accessory item, such as an Apple Watch.