Apple’s newest flagship is the iPhone XS. The XS is the successor to 2017’s iPhone X and with it, Apple has discontinued the iPhone X. But the company has kept 2017’s other new iPhone, the iPhone 8 on sale.
The iPhone 8 now moves down Apple’s iPhone lineup to become a mid-tier phone. But just how is the iPhone 8 different from the new iPhone XS? Let’s take a look to find out.
iPhone XS vs iPhone 8 Quick Comparison
|iPhone XS||iPhone 8|
|Display: 5.8-inch OLED display with a 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi||Display: 4.7-inches (1334×750-pixels)|
|Dimensions: 143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7mm||Dimensions: 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm|
|Storage Options: 64, 256, or 512GB||Storage Options: 64, 128GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|RAM: 2GB||RAM: 2GB|
|CPU: A12 Bionic||CPU: A11 Bionic chip|
|Camera: Dual-lens 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilisation, Optical zoom, 4K video||Camera: 12MP rear, 5MP front|
|Water Proof? Yes||Water Proof? Yes|
|Battery Size: 2658mAh||Battery Size: 1821 mAh|
|Price: ||Price: |
The big difference in design is that since the iPhone XS features an all-display front, it lacks the Home button, and thus Touch ID. Instead, iPhone XS has a biometric authentication feature called Face ID. It scans your face to unlock your phone. Apple first introduced Face ID last year with the original iPhone X. Many people we weary of it at the time–they loved Touch ID. But after a year of use, I can say Face ID is far superior.
And while both phones are waterproof, the iPhone XS is rated IP68, which means it can stay submerged for 30 minutes up to two meters deep. The iPhone 8 is rated IP67, which means it can stay submerged for 30 minutes up to one meter deep.
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS has a 5.8in display and features Apple’s biometric authentication system called Face ID. Its steel frame and all-glass back make it an absolutely gorgeous phone.
- iPhone 8 – The iPhone 8, from a design perspective, looks outdated. It’s got a big forehead and chin and sports the old school Touch ID, biometric fingerprint reader. Though it only came out a few years ago, its design looked dated compared to flagship iPhones and Android devices.
The differences between the two iPhones become readily apparent when you talk about display and design. The iPhone XS’s design is virtually all display. Its beautiful 5.8in screen is packed into a physical size making the phone not that much larger than the iPhone 8. The resolution of the iPhone XS’s screen is a massive 2436×1125-pixels at 458ppi. Compare that to the iPhone 8’s 4.7in display with a relatively diminutive 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326ppi–and of course, that’s not an edge-to-edge display like the iPhone XS has. As far as displays and design go, the iPhone XS handily beats the iPhone 8.
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS features a 5.8-inch OLED display with a 2436×1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi. Without a doubt, the iPhone XS’s display wins the day here.
- iPhone 8 –The iPhone 8 features a 4.7in LCD display with bezels that has a 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326ppi, making it inferior to the XS. In other words, the iPhone 8 can’t even compete.
As far as the CPU is concerned, the new XS has a better processor than the iPhone 8. The XS features the A12 Bionic chipset–and upgrade over the 8’s A11 Bionic. The new A12 is a 7nm chip with 6 cores.
The CPU is 15% faster and 40% more energy efficient than the previous A11. The GPU now has 4 cores and is 50% faster. Finally, the Neural engine now has 8 cores for machine learning and is almost 10x faster. Apps launch 30% faster on the XS and Machine Learning runs nine times faster on 1/10th the energy. In other words, the A12 Bionic absolutely flies.
- iPhone XS – the XS features the A12 Bionic chipset. This A12 is a 7nm chip with 6 cores, which is absolutely INSANE. The CPU is almost twice as fast as the A11.
- iPhone 8 – the iPhone 8 features Apple’s A11 Bionic chipset. The A11 isn’t any slouch, but it pales in comparison when it comes to the A12.
Both the iPhone XS and iPhone 8 have the same megapixels in the front and rear cameras, however, the rear camera in the iPhone XS destroys the one found in the iPhone 8. That’s because of its dual-lens system including wide-angle and telephoto cameras. The rear camera in the iPhone X also sports dual optical image stabilization and optical zoom. You do get optical image stabilization on the iPhone 8, but it’s only single, since the iPhone 8 is only a single-lens camera. But make no mistake about it: if you want the best smartphone camera on the market, opt for the iPhone XS over the iPhone 8.
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XS features a 7MP front-facing camera (as does the iPhone 8). But the killer benefit is in the rear camera. The iPhone XS features a dual-lens 12MP rear camera complete with a wide-angle and telephoto lens and dual optical zoom. It also supports advanced photo features like portrait photography.
- iPhone 8 – The main camera on the iPhone 8 is also a single-lens 12MP wide-angle camera. It too features optical image stabilization and 4K video recording. On the front, you also have the same 7MP camera as the XS.
Winner? iPhone XS – No contest. The dual-lens camera setup destroys the single-lens found on the iPhone 8.
As for storage, the XS offers three sizes: 64, 256, or 512GB. The iPhone 8 only comes in 64 or 256GB.
- iPhone XS – 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB
- iPhone 8 – 64GB & 256GB
The iPhone XS has a much larger battery than the iPhone 8. Part of the reason it’s so much larger is that has to power that massive, higher resolution display. Unfortunately, because the iPhone XS display takes up so much of the extra juice, the iPhone XS doesn’t see any massive improvements in battery life in most cases. Here’s how the battery life compares between the two in Talk Time, Standby Time, Internet Use, Video Playback, and Audio Playback:
- Talk time: iPhone XS – 20 hours. iPhone 8 – 14 hours.
- Internet use: iPhone XS – Up to 12 hours. iPhone 8 – Up to 12 hours.
- Video playback: iPhone XS – Up to 14 hours. iPhone 8 – Up to 13 hours.
- Audio playback: iPhone XS – Up to 60 hours. iPhone 8 – Up to 40 hours.
Both devices also feature wireless charging.
- iPhone XS – The iPhone XR’s battery will get you about 14 hours of battery life with mixed usage. It also features wireless charging.
- iPhone 8 – The iPhone 8 uses a slightly smaller battery than the iPhone XS and, thanks to that, it will get you about an hour less of battery life on average than the XS. In this respect, the iPhone XS is definitely superior. However, it still lacks performance compared to larger Android phones.
Winner? iPhone XS – It Has Better Battery Life Than iPhone 8.
|iPhone XS||iPhone 8|
|Price: ||Price: |
- iPhone XS – The 5.8in iPhone XS costs £999 (64GB), £1149 (256GB), or £1349 (512GB)
- iPhone 8 – Unlocked the 4.7in iPhone 8 will cost £599 (64GB) and £749 (256GB).
The iPhone XS is the pinnacle of Apple’s innovation. It has the best camera, the best performance, and the best operating system. It also features the company’s FACE ID and it looks totally stunning. If you want the best of the best, Apple’s iPhone XS is what you go for. There’s no reason to go with the iPhone 8 over the XS other than saving a few pounds.
And then there is the cost. Unlocked the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 costs £599 (64GB) and £749 (256GB). The iPhone XS will be available on September 21 and cost £999 (64GB), £1149 (256GB), or £1349 (512GB). That £400 premium over the iPhone 8 does get you a heck of a lot more: a bigger, more beautiful display, a better camera, more storage, and a jaw-dropping fresh, new design.
Another option worth considering, however, is picking up a newer
Full iPhone XR and iPhone 8 Full Specs
Here are the specs for the iPhone XS:
- Display: 5.8-inch OLED display with a 2436×1125-pixel resolution at 458ppi
- Dimensions: 143.6mm x 70.9mm x 7.7mm
- Weight: 177 grams
- Storage: 64, 256, or 512GB
- Processors: A12 Bionic
- Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video.
- Rear camera: Dual-lens 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilization, Optical zoom, 4K video
- Battery: Up to 12.5 hours battery life mixed usage
- Other: Face ID, NFC, Wireless charging, 3D Touch, IP68 waterproof
- Color options: Silver, Space Gray, and Gold
And here’s the specs for the iPhone 8:
- Display: 4.7-inch display with a 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326ppi
- Dimensions: 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm
- Weight: 148 grams
- Storage: 64 or 256GB
- Processors: A11 Bionic chip
- Front camera: 7 MP photos and 1080p HD video
- Rear camera: 12MP camera, optical image stabilization
- Battery: Up to 12 hours battery life mixed usage
- Other: Touch ID, NFC, Wireless charging, 3D Touch, IP67 waterproof
- Color options: Silver, Gold, and Space Gray
|iPhone XS||iPhone 8|
|Price: ||Price: |
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the iPhone XS better than iPhone 8?
Yes, the iPhone XS is a better phone than the iPhone 8. That’s because the iPhone XS has an all-screen design, a much faster processor, and a much better camera system.
Q: Is it worth buying an iPhone XS in 2021?
If you can buy a used one for very cheap, sure. But note that Apple no longer sells the iPhone XS–so you’ll need to buy it from a third-party reseller or used via sites like eBay.
Q: Why is iPhone Xs being discontinued?
It’s already been discontinued, actually. Apple frequently discontinues their prior-year flagship iPhone when they introduce a new flagship iPhone. The iPhone XS, for example, was discontinued when Apple introduced the iPhone 11 Pro.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.