iPhone XS vs iPhone 8 | The Major Differences Compared…

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 09/03/19 •  8 min read

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 XSiPhone 8

Display: 5.8-inch OLED display with a 2436x1125-pixel resolution at 458ppiDisplay: 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 512GBStorage Options: 64, 128GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM: 2GBRAM: 2GB
CPU: A12 BionicCPU: A11 Bionic chip
Camera: Dual-lens 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras, Dual optical image stabilisation, Optical zoom, 4K videoCamera: 12MP rear, 5MP front
Water Proof? YesWater Proof? Yes 
Battery Size: 2658mAhBattery Size: 1821 mAh
Price: 
Price: 

Design

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.

Winner? iPhone XS – It’s a work of art compared to the 8.

Displays

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.

Winner? iPhone XS – Its Display Is Bigger And More Beautiful.

CPU/Processor

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.

Winner? iPhone XS – It’s 50% More Powerful Than iPhone 8.

Camera

iPhone XS
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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.

Winner? iPhone XS – No contest. The dual-lens camera setup destroys the single-lens found on the iPhone 8.

Storage Options

As for storage, the XS offers three sizes: 64, 256, or 512GB. The iPhone 8 only comes in 64 or 256GB.

Battery Life

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:

Both devices also feature wireless charging.

Winner? iPhone XS – It Has Better Battery Life Than iPhone 8.

Price

Verdict?

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.

Check ALL the latest and best deals for the iPhone XS here.

Another option worth considering, however, is picking up a newer refurbished iPhone – something like the iPhone X or iPhone XR, which you can get for 40% less than retail via Gazelle, our #1 pick for refurbished iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and iMacs.

Full iPhone XR and iPhone 8 Full Specs

Here are the specs for the iPhone XS:

And here’s the specs for the iPhone 8:

iphone 8 vs iphone xs
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Michael Grothaus

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.
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