Review: Apple iPhone 8 a worthy upgrade

There's an agonising decision for many New Zealanders this week and it has nothing to do with the election.

Yet, there is a similarity. The choice is between the reassuringly familiar or the radically different.

Luckily, we are only talking iPhones. I've had the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus to play with for a week so here are my deeply intellectual thoughts on the issue of whether to buy now or wait for the iPhone X.

Why buy an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus?

If you're stuck with anything less than an iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 models will feel like a massive upgrade. Take away the bezel-less OLED display and Face ID and you've pretty much got an iPhone X for a lot less money.

For those who like smaller phones,the iPhone 8 is slightly smaller and slimmer than the iPhone X. It is ever so slightlier heavier though than an iPhone 7 because of the durable glass finish.

The glass is not for looks. It allows for wireless charging and you'll be pleased to know, if you're a bit of a phone dropper, that this feature also works with a case on.

Apple is using the Qi wireless charging standard for the iPhones.
Apple is using the Qi wireless charging standard for the iPhones. Photo credit: Supplied
The iPhone 8, comes with iOS 11, which is a significant update.
It has a 25 percent boost in speaker volume compared to the iPhone 7's stereo speakers and rocks True Tone technology, a nifty feature also found in the iPad Pros, which reacts to environmental light and ensures a correct colour balance at all times.
There's also support for Dolby Vision and HDR10 for higher dynamic range (HDR) - something fast being added to the likes of Netflix and iTunes.
Thanks to the A11 bionic chip, the iPhone 8 and slightly more expensive iPhone 8 Plus are getting nearly the same performance as the vastly more expensive iPhone X.
Taking video and photos will be even better than before with the new Apple designed Image Signal Processor. Apple claims this brings better pixel processing, faster low-light auto focus and noise reduction.
I've just noticed that my portraits now look passable thanks to the new Portrait Lighting feature on the iPhone 8 Plus. It takes advantage of the the dual camera system to alter the way light is perceived in a Portrait Mode photo. There are five different effects from natural to the really dramatic stage light. 
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been optimised for augmented reality which allows app developers to virtual objects in the real world.

Reasons to wait for an iPhone X

You want to be super cool with the latest, swankiest device (I've just realised my choice of the words "super cool" make me exactly the opposite) and you have deep pockets.

You long to unlock your phone with your face or put your expressions on an Animoji (animal emjoji) and send to your loved ones or your boss.

You despise the home button as a useless waste of finger space. 

The iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display but that's not enough for you, life is better without bezels, bigger is beautiful, a big display signals ... Ok, I'll stop now.

The truth is there's a lot for Apple fans to like about all the new phones.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are available this Friday from Vodafone, Two Degrees and Spark and Apple resellers.

The 256GB models cost $1549 for the iPhone 8 and $1749 for the iPhone 8 Plus.

An iPhone X in a couple of months time will set you back a few hundred more.

Choose wisely fellow Kiwi.