iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8: Which is the better buy?

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8: Which is the better buy?



Back in 2017 we saw Apple unveil the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X — the most feature packed (and at the time, most expensive) iPhones yet. A followup to the previous year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the 2016 lineup has since been phased out, replaced by the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as the cheapest iPhones currently available from Apple.

It’s now been over 3 years since the iPhone 7 was released and Apple’s iPhone train has kept on moving. In 2018, we saw the launch of the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max, followed by the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max in 2019. These newer iPhone models are packed to the brim with the latest advancements in mobile technology, but yet the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 remain some of the most popular iPhones sold in the Swappa marketplace.

If you’re a bargain shopper looking for a cheap iPhone but can’t decide between the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 — Swappa is here to help. In this post we’ll be comparing the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, going over all the difference in features — as well as prices. By the end you should be able to figure out which is the best for you: the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8. Let’s dive in.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8: what’s the difference?

iPhone 7 (right), iPhone 8 (left)

Screen size and home button

Looking at the two side-by-side, you’d be hard-pressed to find any noticeable physical differences between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, at least on the front where both the front facing camera placement, screen size (4.7-inches), and home buttons are identical. Everything on the front is virtually the same, that is, until you flip them over…

Build quality (metal vs glass)

The biggest design change when moving from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 8 is the newer all-glass back. This became standard on iPhones after the 8 and it’s not just for looks. The glass back allows for wireless charging, but as you might have guessed, comes at the cost of durability. Apple says the iPhone 8’s back is some type of reinforced glass that’s “the most durable glass ever made in a smartphone.”

Despite Apple’s claims, there’s simply no denying that the iPhone 8 is much more fragile than the previous all-metal iPhone 7 design and as a result, it’s more susceptible to costly repairs. You know, because glass and hard surfaces have never been the best of friends.

Image credit: CNET

Although wireless charging can be convenient, it may not be a “must-have” feature for users already accustomed to traditional (and quicker) wired charging. Wireless charging is much slower and because the phone has to lay flat on a charging pad to remain charged, you can’t pick up the phone and use it while it’s charging. All-in-all, it’s not really that convenient now, is it?

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 size

Other than that, the exterior of the iPhone 8 is nearly identical to the iPhone 7. Camera placement, home button (fingerprint sensor), and screen size all remain the same throughout. Actual dimensions are extremely close, with the the iPhone 8 being just ever so slightly larger than the 7, and a little heavier (once again thanks to that glass back). It’s virtually indistinguishable by the human eye, but if you’re looking to compare the exact sizes of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8, here are the dimensions of each:

  • iPhone 7 size: 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm, 138g
  • iPhone 8 size: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm, 148g

Processor

The iPhone 8 comes equipped with Apple’s latest A11 Bionic processor. According to Apple, the two high performance cores in the iPhone 8 are about 25% faster than the iPhone 7’s A10 Fusion, with the A11’s GPU also seeing a 30% increase in performance. Of course, any improvement is certainly welcomed, but it may not be worth throwing down extra money solely for the A11 chipset, especially if you don’t find yourself playing a lot of 3D graphics intensive games on your iPhone.

In real world use, playing with the two side-by-side, you likely won’t notice much (if any) performance differences between the iPhone 8’s A11 and the iPhone 7’s older A10 chip. This is my own personal experience as someone who recently upgraded their iPhone 7 to an iPhone with the newer A11 chip (iPhone X). In my opinion, performance was nearly identical while using social media and other apps on the device. This alleged increase in speed (if any) wasn’t much to write home about and most casual users likely won’t notice any notable differences.

Storage

Back in 2018, both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 were being sold from Apple. In order to help differentiate the two, they tried to make it easier on consumers by equipping them with different storage capacities. The iPhone 7 came in 32GB and 128GB storage configurations, while the iPhone 8 filled in the gaps by offering higher capacity 64GB and 256GB models.

While the iPhone 7 originally offered a 256GB model, Apple discontinued that model with the release of the iPhone 8. Today, anyone looking for this specific model will have to search for used or refurbished models. Don’t worry, the current price for an unlocked iPhone 7 256GB is $154+ on Swappa. That’s quite the value.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 specs

iPhone 7iPhone 8
Display4.7-inch LCD (1334×750)4.7-inch LCD (1334×750)
Rear camera12MP, f/1.8, OIS12MP, f/1.8, OIS (Slow Sync)
ProcessorA10A11
RAM2GB2GB
Storage32/128/256GB (discontinued)64/256GB
Battery1960mAh1821mAh w/ fast charge
Water resistanceIP67IP67
Size (dimensions)138.3×67.1×7.1mm138.4×67.3×7.3mm
Weight138g148g

All in all, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 have much more in common than they do any tangible differences, making the 8 feel more like an iPhone 7S than a true sequel. As for water resistance, each sport an IP67 rating, making the iPhone 7 the more affordable option for snapping pics poolside.

You’ll also find both handsets are equipped with the same display resolution, size and technology. The one benefit the iPhone 8 display has over the iPhone is the addition of Apple’s True Tone technology that filters out blue light, and makes it easier on the eyes when viewing your phone during bedtime.

Camera comparison

Image credit: AppleInsider

Despite specs showing the same 12MP rear, and 7MP front facing cameras on both devices, Apple claims the iPhone 8 uses an improved image sensor over the iPhone 7. From what we’ve seen, side-by-side photo comparisons yield similar results in image quality with only minor differences.

The iPhone 8 still has the advantage over the iPhone 7, doing a slightly better job at handling lower lighting conditions thanks to improved flash photos and dynamic range. iPhone 8 photos also carry a warmer hue to them, something that has become an iPhone staple. Sharpness in full-on daylight photos was close, but the iPhone 8 has a slight edge here. Still, if you don’t find yourself shooting in challenging environments (or rarely snapping photos at all), it’s possible the iPhone 7 may suffice. For camera enthusiasts and social media junkies, you’ll definitely want to go with the iPhone 8’s improved sensor and image quality.

It’s also worth noting that the iPhone 7 and 8 both have access to AR Kit (augmented reality) that arrived in the iOS 12 software update.

Battery life

Oddly enough, the iPhone 8 features a slightly smaller battery than the iPhone 7. This likely had to do with Apple wanting to keep the same overall size while compensating for the iPhone 8’s thicker back glass. However, don’t expect the slightly smaller iPhone 8 battery to have a negative impact on battery life. Apple claims the iPhone 8’s more power efficient A11 will help deliver similar battery life to the iPhone 7.

So while battery life is mostly the same, the iPhone 8 does have Apple’s new fast charging feature, allowing the phone to reach 50% battery in 30 minutes when plugged in. This will allow you to charge the iPhone 8 much faster than the iPhone 7, which in theory could allow you to top off faster when time is of the essence, delivering more battery life in a shorter amount of time. In this sort of roundabout way, the iPhone 8 gets the win here.

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8: Price

The biggest difference between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 is the price. Now that you have a better idea of how each device compares to one another, you’re in a much better position to decide whether or not those “upgrades” are worth the hit to your wallet.

iPhone 7 pricesUnlockedVerizonAT&TT-MobileSprint
iPhone 7 (32GB)$120+$125+$115+$130+$125+
iPhone 7 (128GB)$133+$135+$128+$139+$145+
iPhone 7 (256GB)$154+$149+$140+$149+$210+
iPhone 8 pricesUnlockedVerizonAT&TT-MobileSprint
iPhone 8 (64GB)$200+$206+$205+$208+$220+
iPhone 8 (256GB)$230+$240+$249+$274+$310+

Looking over the current iPhone 7 vs iPhone 8 prices on Swappa, we’re able to see the current going rate for each model and compare them against each other. On average, you can get the highest capacity iPhone 7 (256GB) for around $50 less than the cheapest iPhone 8 (64GB). This can be really helpful for those who need as much storage space as possible for games, photos, and 4K videos.

Even when comparing the two highest storage configurations, the differences in price difference grows further, with the iPhone 7 (256GB) going for $100 less than the iPhone 8 (256GB). Not a bad deal, especially when you consider how similar the two models are. The only question is how much those savings mean to you?

Should you buy the iPhone 7 or iPhone 8?

With the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 sharing such similar hardware, it’s hard to think of many reasons why someone would go with the more expensive 8. Those coming from an iPhone 6S may want to hop on the iPhone 8, which has more advanced features and represents a higher leap in technology than the iPhone 7, even if they come at a slightly higher premium.

Those coming from iPhone SE, iPhone 6 or any other phone that finally needs to be retired — the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus should be enough of an upgrade to warrant a purchase. It’s by far the best pick for those on a budget looking for the best cheap iPhone money can buy. This also makes it a great pick for kids or new smartphone users looking to get into Apple’s ecosystem (iMessage, FaceTime, etc.).

Whichever iPhone you finally decide to pick up, Swappa is the perfect place to find the right iPhone for you. With a huge selection of gently used iPhones, accessories, and our Used Phone Protection Plan, Swappa can ease both your mind (and your wallet) when it comes time to upgrade your old phone. To compare prices of every iPhone currently available on the Swappa marketplace, you can check out the iPhone Price page, or you can shop our entire selection of iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models by clicking the buttons below.