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i Master Yoda was first introduced to the world as the ageing grand master of the extinct Jedi order in the second Star Wars movie — the Empire Strikes back. Short, diminutive and oh so wise, the aged Yoda was revealed to be one of the most powerful beings in the Galaxy. In their 10th year of existence the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus face a similar predicament. Their design is old — ageing rapidly outclassed by a new breed of bezel-less all screen phones — just like Yoda was deemed to be old and feeble by younger force adepts like Count Dooku, Anakin Skywalker and even Palpatine who was revealed to be the evil Darth Sidious. The iPhone this year is facing a barrage of competition from the forces of Android phones. In front of phones like the Galaxy S8 and the Mi Mix 2, they look outdated and feeble. But even in their old age the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are no slouch. They remain one of the most powerful beings of their kind with a successor like Luke Skywalker aka the iPhone X waiting in the wings. If anything, reviews out of stateside have provided incredible insight towards how much Apple has upped the ante with the iPhone 8. For Apple this represents the ultimate refinement of the iPhone design language it embarked upon in 2014 with the iPhone 6. It is Yoda on the cusp of a terminal decline, but ever so powerful, ever so wise and just masterful like a Philharmonic symphony. 

The Good 

If one had to address the elephant in the room, then it would be resoundingly its design. In 3 years, the iPhone hasn't changed much visually from the outside. The obvious good thing here is familiarity. Everyone will be used to the size and design intricacies. The iPhone 8 represents the ultimate refinement of the design that was first introduced at the flint centre back in 2014 with the iPhone 6. By this I mean there is now a very strong glass back which makes the phone nicer to hold, hides all the antenna machinery that was earlier visible as a blemish, allows for wireless charging and generally adds to the visual appeal of the phone. Apple has also refined the chamfers around the rear camera lens', on the iPhone 8 Plus especially the gold and space grey models it looks nicer with a dual tone element. 

The iPhone 8 models arguably age better than even Yoda and they still look classy. Apple remains one of the few hardware makers who make premium smartphones with LCD displays. The addition of the True Tone technology makes the panel on the iPhone even better and clearly Apple uses the best LCD displays around. These are very nice displays which showcase true to life colours with great brightness levels and good viewing angles. Be it watching Star Trek Discovery on Netflix or typing long emails, this is a fabulous screen which is further elevated by the gentle tactile feedback provided by Apple's 3D Touch technology and Taptic motor which is by far the best haptic feedback system found on a smartphone. You can touch and feel each and every pixel on an iPhone screen something that cannot be said for an Android smartphone. 

Yoda was considered to be the most powerful force adept in the galaxy even in his old age. If anything with his experience and wisdom he was even more powerful. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are no different, with the help of the new A11 Bionic chipset, they are by far the most powerful smartphones in the world. In fact, before the iPhone 8 models came along, the iPhone 7 Plus was arguably the fastest smartphone in the world and now Apple's lead has only increased. The iPhone 8 is crushingly fast in everything it does. It executes every command with utter ease without breaking a sweat and if benchmarks like GeekBench are referenced, shocking revelations come to light. The iPhone 8 is faster than the 2016 MacBook Pro 13-inch which has an Intel Core i5 processor. Suffice to say the iPhone 8 is perhaps the most powerful smartphone that's ever been made. It also blitzkriegs games with a new Apple designed GPU. Games like Modern Combat 3 look more like games on consoles like the PlayStation 4 than something on mobile and while doing so the phone doesn't break a sweat. If you remember Yoda's duel with Count Dooku, you'd remember with how much ease the ageing Jedi Master battled the dark lord of the Sith. It may look old but it has a lot of legs. 

Of course, so much fire power is reserved for the fact that Apple is betting big on augmented reality and the iPhone 8 has hardware elements like cameras and processors to handle these use cases. If one plays around with AR apps on the App Store, you realise how smoothly the new iPhones manage to perform, leaving an Android phone like the Asus ZenFone AR, behind in dust. 

The cameras on the new iPhones are also something special. DxOMark shortly rated them as the best smartphone cameras till the Google Pixel 2 was announced. That being said, these cameras are huge leaps over what's been there in the last few iPhones despite new features like the portrait mode. 

The colour capture is excellent, with scary levels of accuracy. Apple has reduced the minimum focussing distance to an insane level and well the low light performance has received a much needed boost that now it is on par with a phone like the Pixel. The portrait mode on the larger iPhone 8 Plus is now even better — providing the most accurate bokeh that you'd see on a smartphone. Its zoom is also better. Portrait Lighting is a new feature which leverages the device's Jedi wizardry to give studio lighting effects and these look amazing. Thanks to iOS 11 one can also enable the flash in portrait mode. 

Video takes arguably a bigger leap on the iPhone 8 Plus. It can shoot 4k video at 60 frames per second very well and 1080p video at 240 frames per second. It is astoundingly good at video and arguably is even better at capturing audio with its two microphones. 

Yoda was an astoundingly fit Jedi Master with great fitness and longevity. The impression has been that the iPhone hasn't had the best battery life in the last couple of years, but this year, the iPhone 8 models have superb battery life. Despite smaller batteries than last year these phones easily would last more than a day and at times would even last more than a day and a half in the case of the larger iPhone 8 Plus. 

Even the speakers on these new iPhones are louder and clearer offering one of the best audio packages around. Call quality too was stellar on the iPhone 8 models. I tested the phones on a Vodafone and Airtel SIM in Delhi NCR. 

iOS 11 brings so many cool new tricks like the new control centre, a better keyboard more feature rich apps, an enhanced Siri and a vastly faster safari. 

Like Yoda, these new iPhones may not seem like much and don't create a lot of buzz in terms of technology and innovations, but Apple has holistically enhanced the iPhone experience by a marked degree. It is only when you use this phone you will realise how good it is. 


slice Team!

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