iPhone X vs. iPhone 8: Which should you buy?

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iPhone X concept
iPhone 8 or iPhone X?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s the tech conundrum of the year: iPhone X versus iPhone 8. Still sitting on the fence about which new iPhone to buy? With iPhone X preorders starting in just a few hours, it’s decision time.

Is it really worth the hassle of trying to snag a phone that’s more expensive (and likely harder to land on launch day, due to limited supply)? In today’s video, I’m here to answer the question, “Which is better? iPhone 8 or iPhone X?”

iPhone X vs. iPhone 8

I already offered my thoughts on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in my video review, but iPhone 8 versus iPhone X is still an issue troubling some would-be upgraders. So let’s compare some phones.

What’s the difference?

First off, let’s look at what you get with the iPhone X that you’re not going to find with either of Apple’s other 2017 handsets. The two biggest differences are the edge-to-edge Super Retina display and 3D depth-sensing camera.

If these are absolute “must have” features, then you’ll want to pick up the iPhone X.

iPhone X OLED display

I haven’t been able to use one yet. But everything we’ve heard suggests that this phone looks absolutely stunning in terms of image quality, thanks to its OLED display.

It’ll be sharper and more vibrant than previous iPhone displays, with a 458 pixel per inch count compared to the 326 ppi of the iPhone 8. On top of that, the iPhone X boasts the largest display of any iPhone, even though its form factor is smaller than that of the iPhone 8 Plus.

It’s also more efficient because, unlike LCD screens, it only has to light up individual pixels when they’re needed. If you’re looking at dark images, not every part of the screen needs to be illuminated, as is the case with an LCD screen.

What does that mean to you? Simply put, that the iPhone X screen should sap less of your battery power, which means more time in between charges.

iPhone X Face ID

Face ID, meanwhile, has been touted by Apple as its most secure biometrics system ever. So secure that even Craig Federighi can’t get into it.

Touch ID carries a 1 in 50,000 chance that a random person could unlock it. Those are long odds. But Face ID obliterates them. Apple claims Face ID means only a 1 in 1,000,000 chance that a random person could unlock your phone using their face.

Plus, Face ID eliminates some of the annoying aspects of Touch ID, like not being able to use it with wet fingers or when you’re wearing gloves.

And then there are animojis that iPhone X’s advanced camera system enables. Yes, they seem like a bit of a gimmick, but I’m sure everyone will be having animated animal versions of themselves for the first few months. Which won’t be annoying. At all.

What specs do iPhone X and iPhone 8 share?

iPhone 8 mockup
Although the iPhone 8 and X share a lot of features, there’s still enough to set them apart.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Well, iPhone 8/8 Plus and iPhone X both pack Apple’s True Tone technology, adopted from the iPad Pro, which automatically adjusts color temperature based on surrounding ambient light to make content more comfortable. I love this feature. I think it really helps with reading articles and blogs. It makes the screen look a little bit richer and less harsh on my eyes.

A11 Bionic chip

Both 2017 iPhone lines also run on Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip. Its CPU runs up to 70 percent faster than the A10 Fusion in the iPhone 7, with a three-core GPU up to 30 percent faster.

iPhone X and iPhone 8 camera

When it comes to cameras, both the iPhone X and iPhone 8 come with a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera with a f/1.8 aperture. The iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X add a secondary 12-megapixel telephoto lens for optical zoom and Apple’s new Portrait Lighting. However, only the iPhone X offers dual optical image stabilization.

In addition, both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, and 1080p video at 240 fps for slower … slo-mo.

Qi wireless charging

Both phones also boast Apple’s new wireless charging capabilities — a first for the iPhone — using the Qi wireless charging standard. Finally, both phones run iOS 11, which gives you a whole new range of software capabilities.

iPhone 8 vs. iPhone X: Which will I go for?

I really want the iPhone X’s sexy new bezel-less design with the edge-to-edge display and extra-crispy pixels per inch. Even if the new gestures seem a bit odd.

If you’ve just picked up an iPhone 7 or you’re not too bothered about the fastest and latest handsets, I’d be tempted to say stick with last year’s model rather than buying an iPhone 8. The iPhone 7 is fine for now, and it will likely to see its price plummet in the months to come, so you could upgrade later.

If you want a new phone now, I’d say jump straight to the iPhone X rather than buying an iPhone 8.

On paper, a lot of the two phones’ features look the same, but the extra ones — most notably that beautiful redesign — give the iPhone X the edge. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are great phones, but they don’t offer much that’s substantially different from the iPhone 7.

Ultimately, everyone will make up their own mind. But that’s what I’m thinking right now.