- The iPhone X will reportedly be in short supply through the end of 2017.
- The less expensive iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are already available in stores.
- After waiting two months to buy the iPhone X, a few different factors made me realize the iPhone 8 Plus is actually the better option.
Apple loyalists have never had more choices when shopping for a new iPhone.
There’s the iPhone X — billed as the future of smartphones — and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Those three options alone offer a handful of subtle differences for smartphone shoppers to choose between. Add to the mix the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 6s, which are now available at a lower price, and it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you.
Since 2015, I’ve used Apple’s iPhone upgrade program to get a new phone every year — I’ve already written about why I think it’s the smartest way to buy a new iPhone, even if you aren’t a tech enthusiast — so I can rule out getting the iPhone 7 or 6s. Those aren’t available through the upgrade program.
Carrier discounts don’t entice me, because the offers come with strings attached, and I like to keep my phone separate from my wireless service.
When Apple announced the new smart phone options in September, it seemed obvious that I should wait for the iPhone X. I was shocked when friends started buying the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. I couldn’t understand why anyone would spend so much money on a brand new phone when they could wait two months to get the “future” of smartphones.
Apple started sending emails this week nudging customers to get a jump start on the iPhone X pre-order process by downloading the Apple store app. Given reports of limited supplies, it might take a while to get a new iPhone X. The sooner you add your name to the list, the sooner you’ll get your device.
I downloaded the app and got as far as selecting my preferred version of the iPhone X. Thanks to Google photos and Amazon Music, I don’t need a ton of storage space, so the 64 GB is more than enough. Next up was choosing a color. And that’s when I started to second guess my decision.
The iPhone X design doesn’t speak to me
As I was comparing the space gray to the silver (so similar, and yet so different), my eyes kept zeroing in on one thing: That really ugly notch at the top.
I know I’m not alone in disliking the notch. It’s a tiny detail, and a superficial one, but it bugs me in the same way the notch at the top of my iPhone 7 Plus’s screen protector always jumps out at me. I just don’t like it. And since this is an expensive gadget I’ll use many times a day, I might as well like the way it looks.
Apple’s website describes the iPhone X as a smartphone “so immersive the device itself disappears into the experience.” I think they may have to keep trying on that one.
It’s not just the cost of the iPhone X that’s more expensive
Starting price for the iPhone X is $999, while the iPhone 8 Plus is $799. Using the upgrade program, that’s a monthly cost of $49.91 for the X and $39.50 for the 8 Plus. Not a huge difference, but it does add up.
It’s not just the extra cost of the phone that I’d have to pay for if I go with the iPhone X. There are other costs as well:
- $18 in extra New York City sales tax
- $78 for a new screen protector and case (assuming I don’t buy this one), plus tax
- $50 extra for Apple Care Plus
As it stands now, I can reuse my iPhone 7 Plus case and extra screen protector if I go with the iPhone 8 Plus. And Apple Care is only $149, as compared to $199 for the iPhone X.
All in, it’s almost $350 cheaper for me to choose the iPhone 8 Plus over the X.
The bigger iPhone 8 Plus works better for how I use my phone
I use my phone like a tablet, so I like the massive size of the 7 Plus. I’m not particularly interested in getting a smaller phone, even if the screen is technically bigger. The ratio of the screen size on the 8 Plus is better for the way I use my phone, so I might actually end up disliking the “bigger” iPhone X screen anyway.
Most aspects of the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus are the same, as Business Insider’s Dave Smith pointed out. “This is probably the most important reason to consider the iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus over the iPhone X: Functionally, they’re all identical,” he wrote.
All three phones have the same “brains,” operating system, and wireless charging option. The cameras are basically the same on the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus. The differences are minimal when you compare the specs.
Ultimately, when choosing your next iPhone, it comes down to deciding what your priorities are and how you use the phone. There’s really no one-size-fits-all solution.
When it comes time to upgrade next year, maybe I’ll be ready to switch to whatever comes after the iPhone X. For this year, I’ll stick with the iPhone 8 Plus — just wish it hadn’t taken me two months to realize it.