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For the first time, Apple has not just two sizes of its newest iPhone, but two distinctly different iPhones. There’s the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus, which keep the same form-factor we know and love, Retina display, Home button, and all. And then there’s the new hotness, the bleeding-edge iPhone X, with an OLED display and a TrueDepth camera that unlocks the phone when you look at it.
The iPhone 8 Plus is the bigger phone physically, even though the iPhone X’s display is actually larger when measured diagonally.
The iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen, but it’s surrounded by a bezel with the FaceTime camera on the forehead and the traditional Home button on the chin.
The biggest difference between these iPhones is the display. The iPhone 8 Plus sports the same Retina display as it has in prior generations, an LCD that in the Plus size is full HD at 1920×1080.
Inside, the differences aren’t so stark. Both phones pack the same processor, Apple’s 64-bit A11 Bionic system-on-a-chip with an embedded M11 motion coprocessor. Both also have a dedicated neural engine to let AI processing happen on the device.
If battery life is the most important to you, the iPhone 8 Plus with its physically bigger battery should eke out a little more life during Internet use and video streaming, although Apple estimates about the same battery life for talk time and audio playback. We’ve found similar results in our own testing, too.
The iPhone 8 Plus still has an edge over the regular iPhone 8 when it comes to camera features. But the iPhone X has the same dual-lens camera on the back as the iPhone 8 Plus, and the same video recording features too.
The iPhone X is all screen, which means it doesn’t have a Home button, which means it doesn’t have Touch ID. Instead, Apple uses Face ID to unlock the phone as well as to authorize Apple Pay payments. Third-party apps can also support Face ID to log in, just as they can also use Touch ID.
This probably isn’t a surprise, but the iPhone X costs more. After all, the TrueDepth camera is brand-new to Apple, and the edge-to-edge OLED screen must be more expensive and difficult to manufacture.
Both iPhones are technically available now, but the epilogue to this story is this: The iPhone 8 Plus is a lot easier to find. Although wait times are getting shorter, the iPhone X is in high demand and short supply, and will probably continue to be somewhat scarce in stores, being first-generation technology and all. If you try to buy an iPhone X at the Apple store today, you’re faced with a 1 to 2 week wait time. If you’re shopping with a holiday purchase in mind, you’ll find more deals and sales involving the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 (as well as previous years’ models) than the iPhone X, too.
After spending ample time using both the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X, it’s hard to pick a clear winner: Both devices offer a top-notch user experience and pack high-end features. You truly can’t go wrong with either device. It all comes down to which features are the most important to you.