Almost everyone and their cat has an opinion about the iPhone. There is a group of people who fell hook, line and sinker for the Apple “cult” and can’t really find any fault with it. And there are those who seem to firmly believe that the iPhone is an overrated and overpriced device. To use a cliché – you can hate or love it but can’t seem to ignore it.

This year’s annual “Apple day” saw three phones being unveiled. While the iPhone X has become the talk of the tech town, the other two models – iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have received a relatively muted response. Apple has taken a massive gamble for sure by launching what seems like a superior device (iPhone X) along with what are being harshly labelled as two “also rans”. It could be a classic case of brand cannibalization.

The thing with Apple is that it’s so-called also ran device – in this case the iPhone 8 – still generates more curiosity than 90% of other mobile phones. We played around with the iPhone 8 for a few days and here’s what we think of the device:

Design and display
There is still a huge amount of expectations about seeing “something new” every time Apple launches a device. With the iPhone 8, there’s nothing new at the front as it looks exactly like the iPhone 7. The real difference lies at the back. The iPhone 8 boasts of a glass back panel that facilitates the standout feature of the latest lineup from Apple — the wireless charging. Apple claims to have used the “most durable glass ever in a smartphone” but that definitely doesn’t mean that it is shatterproof. The glass back panel has helped Apple to do away with the horizontal antenna strips running at both top and bottom of the back panel. The back houses the usual shiny Apple logo in the center and the iPhone branding at the bottom. The rear camera and the flash are placed at the right-hand corner.

Apple has also revamped the colour options for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. They are available in space grey, silver and gold variants. What the glass back panel does here is that it makes the iPhone 8 exhibit dual tone colours. For instance, the Gold variant tilts more towards the champagne-gold while the Space Grey is closer to the Black colour we saw on the iPhone 7. We got the silver colour variant of the iPhone 8 to review, which is basically white with silver aluminum touches.

The new iPhones are also slightly heavier and thicker than last year’s versions but it’s something you would notice. Apart from this, the iPhone 8 is pretty much the iPhone we saw last year.

The all-new iPhone 8 is IP67 rated, meaning that it is dust and water resistant. It is claimed to survive in 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. It still comes without the headphone jack, a much-debated feature that people have now gotten used to. The bottom edge houses the lightening port in the centre with two speaker grilles placed on either side. The power button and the SIM tray is available on the right edge, while the ringer off and volume keys are placed on the left. Just like the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 too has the Taptik, pressure sensitive button, instead of the hard press home key at the bottom of the screen at the front.

The front of the device is dominated by a 4.7-inch 1,335 x 750 pixels resolution Retina display (326ppi) — same as we saw in the iPhone 7. Even though specification wise, it is low compared to the QHD offered by Samsung for its flagship smartphones, it is just as good. The only new addition in this year’s flagship handset is the True Tone technology, which was earlier introduced in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. True Tone tweaks the colour temperature of the display to adapt the its color and intensity in sync with your environment.

The overall design is very similar to the previous generation iPhone, but once you pick up the handset you do know the difference. It does give the sense of old wine in a new bottle but the wine does taste different.

Performance and camera
Under the hood is where Apple has worked to distinguish the iPhone 8 from the previous generation model. The iPhone 8 is powered by Apple’s new hexa-core A11 Bionic processor coupled with 2GB RAM. Apple has yet again, changed the storage variants available for the iPhones. They are now available in 64GB and 256GB variant shifting the base storage variant from 32GB to 64GB. Those cribbing about low storage space can say goodbye to their woes as Apple has ensured for an average user there’s abundant space.

Apple has enhanced the sound experience too. The iPhone features redesigned stereo speakers that are claimed to be up to 25% louder and deliver deeper bass. But just like the iPhone 7, the ear speaker acts like a loudspeaker and together with the loudspeaker at the bottom, the user’s get stereo sound experience. In our experience, the sound output turned out to crisp and sharp.

Wireless charging, which was made possible thanks to the glass back, is powered by the Qi standard, which is in most phones that offer wireless charging. Apple is also soon going to launch AirPower mat that will let you charge up to three compatible devices wirelessly, without requiring them to be rooted in one spot.

The iPhone 8 comes with the all new iOS 11 that offers a lot of new features. Even though it might appear to be same as before, there are a lot of small changes.

With iOS 11, Apple has brought Augmented Reality to users. We tested out a couple of apps and the what impressed us the most was the app named InkHunter, which lets you ‘try on’ a tattoo before you can decide if you want to get it.

The Control Centre can now be accessed from the bottom of the screen and comes with a complete redesign. Swiping from top will just lock your iPhone now. Even the App Store has undergone a redesign and will feature a new app everyday under the Today tab.

Some new features that will help you in everyday work are document scanning support in the Notes, new file system, screen recording,

The iPhone 8’s performance was impressive but that came as no surprise as Apple is renowned for making phones that deliver. There was no problem in multi-app switching and performance was smooth, quick and lag free. The iOS 11 plays a critical role in enhancing the performance of the device. This might not be the Michael Jordan of iPhones, it still is a Kobe Bryant.

The call quality was good even in areas where signal was weak. During our testing, we found the network reception satisfactory. Calls were handled smoothly where network coverage was a bit of an issue.

As for the benchmarks, the iPhone 8 scored 64,658 and 2,02,835 on 3DMark and AnTuTu respectively. In terms of battery, the iPhone 8 claims output as the iPhone 7 – up to 14 hours of talk time and up to 12 hours of internet usage, which is pretty accurate as the iPhone lasts long enough to do your everyday things without worrying about charging it. However, it definitely varies from usage to usage.

Moving on to the camera, the iPhone 8 offers a 12MP f/1.8 rear camera with up to 4K resolution video capture. It comes with features such as Optical Image Stabilization, Live Photos, True Tone Flash, Panorama (up to 63MP). There’s a 7MP Facetime HD camera with image stabilization included as well. Even though the camera specifications are the same as the iPhone 7, the sensors have been enhanced meaning better image quality.

iPhone is known to deliver great camera performance and the iPhone 8 is no different in this aspect.

The images captured by the iPhone 8 had zero shutter lag and were super detailed, more for natural light as compared to low-light. The colour reproduction was remarkably accurate and true to life. The images turned out well exposed. Even the selfie camera is better than most handsets you’ll find as it is does come with the beautification features.

As for the video, there’s a considerable upgrade as the iPhone 8 can now record 4K at 60 frames per second and slo-mo videos of 1080p at 240 frames per second, up from 120fps on the iPhone 7.

In a nutshell, the iPhone 8 has excellent cameras and captures stellar images.

The iPhone 8 comes in two storage variants 64GB and 256GB, which are priced at Rs 64,000 and Rs 77,000. A price point where it has stiff competition from the likes of Samsung Galaxy S8 and HTC U11. But, the main question about the latest iPhones is that whether you should buy the iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus or wait for the iPhone X. After using the iPhone 8 we can safely say that this is a solid smartphone. However, if you’ve an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, chances are the iPhone 8 might not impress you. Those who have the iPhone 6S or less, we feel that the iPhone 8 is an impressive upgrade. It has a lot going for it – a powerful processor, better display, enhanced camera and wireless charging.