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Why I ordered an iPhone 8 Plus instead of the iPhone X

Key Points
  • I purchased an iPhone 8 Plus instead of the iPhone X.
  • I might regret it later, but I like that it ships this month and still offers compelling features.
  • I also like that I can buy it SIM-free.

I decided to order an Apple iPhone 8 Plus, which is a lot like the current iPhone, instead of the totally redesigned and highly anticipated iPhone X.

I might regret it in a few months, but let me explain why I decided to go with one of Apple's more traditional iPhones this year.

It'll arrive sooner


The iPhone 8 Plus will be on my doorstep on Friday and, as someone with little patience, that's months earlier than the iPhone X. Orders for Apple's iPhone X don't open until October and the phone won't begin shipping until November. That's if you're lucky enough to order it before stock runs out.

My guess is that, even if I woke up early enough when Apple's site was crashing, I wouldn't be able to get the 256GB model I wanted without having to wait a few additional weeks or months for it to ship.

Plenty of upgrades


A lot of the top-level features in the iPhone X, like wireless charging, the faster A11 Bionic processor, iOS 11 and the new rear cameras, are all included on the iPhone 8 Plus. It also packs the True Tone tech from the iPad Pro, which adjusts the color temperature of the screen depending on your environment, making it easier to see and read.

I like the home button


The iPhone X won't have a home button -- instead, you'll have to learn new gestures to replace what you do with the home button today.

I like the home button. I was driving over the weekend, for example, and liked that I could just place my finger on it to unlock the phone and then quickly switch Spotify playlists before returning to Google Maps. The swipe and face-recognition unlock functions on the iPhone X might make that more difficult.

Cheaper and more flexible


The 8 Plus is quite a bit cheaper — $949 for 256GB of storage vs $1,149 for the 256GB iPhone X.

Also, Apple sells the 8 Plus SIM-free, which means I can take it to the carrier of my choice or travel internationally and rent a SIM card for a week instead of paying high roaming fees. I don't see that option for the iPhone X just yet, which means that model might launch even later than November, as has been the case in some earlier iPhone launches.

I reserve the right to regret


There are features in the iPhone X I'll probably miss. The display stretches across the entire screen and is supposed to be brighter and clearer than current iPhone screens. This is probably the one reason I'll regret my decision, since I love big screens and don't like a big phone hogging space in my pocket. (The iPhone 8 Plus is less than an inch taller, though, so I think I can deal with it.)

Also, the advanced front-facing camera that enables "portrait-style" selfie shots sounds fun, though I doubt I'd actually use it that often. In addition, I'm kind of tired of the current iPhone design, which hasn't drastically changed since the iPhone 6 made its debut in 2014.

But there are enough features in the iPhone 8 Plus that I'll be happy enough. Also, I might be able to avoid any hiccups related to the first-generation of an entirely new phone. At least with the 8 Plus, I know I won't run into potential issues related to a new form factor or special new screen.

Maybe when the wait for the iPhone X dies down — whenever that might be — I'll consider a midyear upgrade. Until then, I'm happy to know I have an iPhone 8 Plus coming on Friday.

New Apple iPhones start shipping tomorrow