Updated February 24, 2023 - The iPhone 8 has been out for more than 5 years, but is it still a good buy? With all the upgraded smartphone tech, you might prefer to buy a more recent iPhone model, but the iPhone 8 is still a perfectly good smartphone in 2023.
The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were both released in September 2017 and were manufactured by the tech giant up until 2020. At the time of updating this article in Feb 2023, the iPhone 8 (and later iPhone generations) all still receive the latest iOS updates. In fact, the iPhone 8 received the most recent iOS 16.3.1 update on Feb 13, 2023. However, keep in mind that Apple only supports software updates up to 6 years after the original release of the device, so the iPhone 8 will likely stop receiving updates by 2024.
Now that we have a better sense of how 'outdated' this phone actually is, let's try to find out if the iPhone 8 is still worth it. In our opinion, an iPhone 8 that still works well today is a very worthwhile smartphone for the right user. You're going to save hundreds of dollars on an iPhone that still has the latest iOS software, offers a minimalistic design and provides a few features that you come to expect from recent iPhone models, like wireless charging and portrait mode. If you're looking for a simple phone that can make calls, send texts, download apps and give you a fast, smooth on-screen experience, then the iPhone 8 is still worth it in 2023.
That said, if you need to have better features, upgraded cameras for social media, higher resolutions and faster processors, then you'll probably prefer a later generation like the iPhone XR or iPhone SE (2020). To get a better sense of how the iPhone 8 stacks up in the smartphone market, we're going to look at the main differences between an iPhone 8 and a more modern iPhone, like the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 8 has a 4.7" Retina HD LCD screen, which is ultimately a much smaller screen with older technology than the 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED display screen that you will find on the iPhone 12.
But what does this actually mean: is the iPhone 8 still a good phone despite its older display technology? What will a newer OLED display really give you?
If you ever compare an OLED vs LCD screen side-by-side, you might notice that colors seem more vibrant on the OLED, and that dark colors look, well, darker. And it’s true, OLED screens have a higher dynamic range, which means that these types of screens do, in fact, appear more vibrant, thanks to their ability to display a wider spectrum of colors. You'll also find higher resolutions on later models than the iPhone 8, which simply means that the screen will capture more detail the bigger the picture or the more you zoom in.
But if you’re not especially picky, you may not even notice this difference. Or, you may actually prefer the more neutral colors that LCD screens have. In our opinion, the more neutral colors of LCD screens feel slightly easier on the eyes. And even though LCD may be a slightly older technology, it still results in a really sharp display, especially one that's more than a full 1" smaller measured diagonally.
So yes, the screen on the iPhone 8 still looks great and while we think it's still a worthy piece of technology, those who have become more accustomed to the 5K, high res, larger screens found on recent smartphone models, may not like the minimal display of the iPhone 8.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: newer iPhones models will have longer battery life than the iPhone 8. iPhones have become gradually bigger since the release of the iPhone 8, so naturally they have more room for larger batteries. So, you can expect more recent iPhone models to get you through the day longer on a single charge.
Keeping to our iPhone 8 vs iPhone 12 comparison, Apple reported up to 4 hours more of video playback and 25 hours more of audio playback on the 12 compared to the 8. That said, you're still going to get up to 14 hours of talk time, 12 hours of internet browsing and 13 hours of wireless video playback on the iPhone 8, which isn't bad at all for a phone that's over 5 years old. On top of that, the iPhone 8 offers the same Qi wireless charging and fast-charge capabilities as the iPhone 12.
If you’re a light/medium smartphone user, or spend most of your days in the vicinity of a smartphone charger, the extra battery life of newer iPhones may not be super appealing to you. Or, you may be thinking about settling for the iPhone 8 Plus, which has a much more comparable battery life to the latest iPhone models, offering up to 21 hours of talk time, 14 hours of wireless video playback and 60 hours of audio playback.
Refurbished devices sold on Back Market always have at least 85% maximum charge capacity. Want 100%? Try a brand new battery.
There’s one more important thing to keep in mind if you want to make sure your iPhone 8 purchase is a worthy investment. Save some money by purchasing from a certified refurbished platform like Back Market.
With older iPhone models, you're likely only going to be able to find used iPhones for purchase. While you might be able to save a few dollars buying from used sites like eBay or Amazon, you won't have any guarantees on your phone's performance. That's why you should consider buying refurbished vs used. If you buy a used iPhone 8 that won't connect to your network, properly make calls or send texts, or has any other issues, then your purchase isn't going to be worth it no matter how the iPhone 8 specs compare to recent iPhone models. So make sure you buy from a refurbished site, where smartphones have been properly repaired, cleaned, inspected and tested to ensure that the iPhone 8 performs like the day it came out of the box in 2017.
Back Market is your best option for buying reliable refurbished devices and they back their customers with free standard shipping, a 1-year warranty and 30 days to change your mind.
Back Market also offers a 'sell your phone' service, so you can make a few extra dollars on your old smartphone to help pay for your next iPhone purchase.
If we're being completely honest, buying an older model iPhone isn't going to be everyone's first choice. Smartphone technology has moved fast over the years and there are some pretty compelling features on the newest iPhone models. However, Apple is an expensive brand and not everyone can afford to pay $800+ for the most recent iPhone series. If you're trying to save money, the iPhone 8 can absolutely still be a good phone for you, but you should be honest with yourself about what you expect to get out of this phone.
Do you expect to play the newest games without any lag and for hours on end without a charge? Do you need a phone with a better camera than all your friends and family? So you expect your phone to run smoothly even when you're multitasking between 3 to 5 high data usage apps? Well if your bar is set this high, then the iPhone 8 probably isn't going to be worth it for you. You should also keep in mind that you will probably only receive the newest iOS software updates until 2024. There’s nothing wrong with using an iPhone that is no longer receiving the newest updates, but Apple will probably not offer developer support as time goes on. Additionally, some apps will no longer be able to update, and others may no longer work altogether.
That being said, if you’re looking for a budget iPhone that needs to take care of the basics with a good display and decent processor, the iPhone 8 will still be a good phone for you.