The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey Fowler said this is "not the upgrade you're looking for," and noted that, while there are fun upgrades for portrait photos and augmented reality, the differences aren't enough to justify an upgrade from the iPhone 7. "Apple's confusing iPhone family now includes three pairs of practically identical phones: the regular and Plus versions of the iPhone 8, 7 and 6s. Don't buy the spendiest one," Fowler concludes.
The Verge's Nilay Patel said the iPhone 8 shows that Apple's design has "stood still for four years," and that the "true competitor" to new Android devices from Samsung and LG will be the iPhone X. Patel noted that wireless charging is still slow — though Apple will improve that with a software update — and wasn't particularly impressed with portrait mode with the new camera. "It's an iPhone," Patel concluded.
The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo said the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are "overshadowed by the $1,000 all-screen iPhone X." "The 8s feel like a swan song — or, to put it another way, they represent Apple's platonic ideal of that first iPhone, an ultimate refinement before eternal retirement," Manjoo said, while complimenting the cameras and speedy processing power.
USA Today's Ed Baig's headline reads: "An excellent phone forced to the shadows by the iPhone X," again reiterating that this isn't Apple's most feature-rich iPhone. Instead, that's the iPhone X that will launch in November. Baig praised the "lovely" design and said that while wireless charging is convenient it's "not liberating." Baig summed it up with a few pros (iOS 11, excellent camera) and a con: that the device is between the iPhone X and "other fine iPhones that are cheaper."
TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino said his iPhone 8 review was "a camera review" and that most upgraders should think about that feature most. Panzarino loves the new glass back on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and a few other features including the camera, but, like Baig, says the iPhone 8 is still "living in the shadow of the X." "Had Apple not announced the X when it did, the iPhone 8 would be an easy choice for upgraders and about the same amount of take-it-or-leave-it talk by early adopters that we saw at the launch of the iPhone 7," Panzarino said.
BuzzFeed's Nicole Nguyen headlined her review: "TBH, The iPhone 8 should really be called the 7S," again reflecting much of what other reviewers said. Nguyen said that you don't even need the new iPhones to take advantage of augmented reality, coming in iOS 11, and admitted that she "got a little, er, bored reviewing" the iPhone 8 and found the iPhone 8 Plus more compelling thanks to portrait mode changes. "There's nothing bad about this phone," Nguyen concludes, but said Android users should check out the Galaxy S8 or Note 8 while iPhone users might want to wait for the iPhone X.