These phones are only a year apart, and both of them remain incredibly powerful smartphones today.
That said, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are Apple's cheapest entry-level phones you can buy. Meanwhile, the iPhone 8 Plus remains firmly in the higher-end premium spectrum of smartphones.
The iPhone 7 Plus came out the same year as the Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S7, two phones that are considered ancient today. Yet the iPhone 7 is still going strong as a seriously fast smartphone.
The Dependable iPhone 7 Plus
- First into the ring is the venerable iPhone 7 Plus. One thing you should know about this phone is that for a year, no other phone was as fast or as smooth, or took better photos, than the iPhone 7 Plus.
In fact, even today most newer Androids still can't match the older champion in performance!
But first, a look at where this bold, beautiful Apple iPhone comes from.
Apple released the iPhone 7 Plus in September 2016. That's the same year that Samsung dealt with their exploding Galaxy Note 7s, and Google released its first-ever Pixel phone.
On the surface, the iPhone 7 Plus looked a lot like the previous year's iPhone 6s Plus. They both had the same screen size, and both fit in the hand roughly the same. But the iPhone 7 Plus looked a lot slicker.
Upgrade From The iPhone 6s
How do they compare? For starters, there were no ugly antenna bands on it. And secondly, there was a new dual-lens camera inside a sleek, modernist camera housing on the back. This was Apple's first dual-lens camera, and they pulled it off brilliantly.
Another thing that people instantly noticed was the home button. On the iPhone 7 Plus the mechanical home button was replaced by a solid sensor.
It doesn't move when you press it; instead, a "taptic" engine vibrates to let you know it signaled your touch. It's still kind of cool!
Then there's the controversial lack of a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The iPhone 7 is the device that started that whole trend.
Finally, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus came in a bunch of new colors, including the awesome "Piano Black," which was a shiny, glossy, slick black color only found on this model of phone.
Today, the iPhone 7 Plus still performs as well as any of the newer flagships. Because it operates with the newest iOS software, currently iOS 12 but going on to iOS 13 later this year, the phone remains a strong contender.
And let's be honest. It looks gorgeous.
Meet The iPhone 8 Plus
- If there's one contender for Champion of the Mid-Range Smartphones title, it's the iPhone 8 Plus.
Although Apple prices the 8 Plus as a premium smartphone (it's nearly the same price as the iPhone XS), in reality, its design is getting rather dated.
It still looks like an iPhone 6 from four years earlier. Albeit, it's a little slicker and more premium.
Apple introduced the iPhone 8 Plus to the world in September 2017, alongside the much more exciting iPhone X. The 8 and 8 Plus were met with yawns.
But that was unfair because the iPhone 8 Plus is a beast of a phone. In fact, in any iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus faceoff, the iPhone 8 Plus comes out on top, at least spec-wise.
It's packing the same 5.5-inch 1080p LCD display as the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus, but it gets 401 pixels-per-inch (ppi), compared to 326 ppi on the 6s. So the first thing you notice is that the iPhone 8 Plus has a beautiful, bright display.
Also, it has the same taptic home button as the iPhone 7 Plus, and no 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Finally, the iPhone 8 Plus has the exact same 12 mp dual-lens camera as the iPhone 7 Plus. On paper, at least, these phones are evenly matched.
So what sets them apart from one another? Actually, there's a lot that separates them.
iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus
By now you probably think that if both phones are the exact same, but the iPhone 7 Plus is a lot cheaper, then that's the phone to buy. You're not exactly wrong, but you're not right, either.
That's because when comparing the iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus, there are other things to look at.
Things like speed, quality of the user experience, and how long Apple will support them matter.
Round one: Hardware
Right off the bat, we see that the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus look different. The iPhone 7 Plus is a departure from the iPhone 6 and 6S. It features a full unibody metal frame, uninterrupted by antenna lines or ugly camera lenses.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 8 Plus harks back to the iPhone 6, minus the antenna lines and with a much more elegant camera housing.
For example, there's a stainless steel ring around the entire edge of the phone, rather than a unibody metallic case. Also, the iPhone 8 Plus has a glass back, like the best-selling iPhone 5 and 5S.
The iPhone 7 Plus looks space-age, while the iPhone 8 Plus looks extremely classy.
Another place where the iPhone 8 Plus differs from the 7 Plus is Bluetooth. The iPhone 8 Plus comes with new Bluetooth 5.0, compared to the 7 Plus' Bluetooth 4.2.
Otherwise, everything is the same. They even both have the same IP67 water-resistance!
This round is a tie because the winner comes down to aesthetic choice.
Round two: Display
Also, both phones have 3D Touch, where you can press hard on the screen to preview apps, or pop open photos, or whatever you want.
This round is a tie.
Round three: Cameras
Once again, these two phones are tied. That's because they both have the same camera.
Both phones rock a 12 MP dual-lens rear camera and a 7 MP front-facing "FaceTime" camera. Both cameras feature Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
This is a tie.
Round four: Internals
All of a sudden, the iPhone 8 Plus pulls a few punches on the iPhone 7 Plus with its beefier internals. Here's where we start to see the differences in these phones.
The iPhone 7 Plus comes with Apple's revolutionary A10 chip. This chip is a 2.34 GHz quad-core processor that was a beast in 2016.
Even today it's still a lightning-fast processor. It's what allows the iPhone 7 Plus to compete with newer flagships such as the Galaxy S9 and even the Pixel 3 XL!
Meanwhile, the iPhone 8 Plus packs an upgraded A11 chip. It's the same chip that powers the iPhone X.
While the A11 is the same 2.34 GHz quad-core architecture as the A10, it features 64-bit support and 3 GB of DDR4 RAM, and that gives it a 25-percent speed bump over the A10 chip.
The iPhone 8 Plus also comes with an M11 co-processor, which can pick up the slack when the main A11 chip gets overloaded. The end result is a phone that never seems to lag and is always snappy.
Round four easily goes to the iPhone 8 Plus.
Round five: Battery life
Right off the bat, the iPhone 8 Plus has an advantage over the iPhone 7 Plus. That's because the 8 Plus supports wireless charging. The iPhone 7 Plus does not.
But what good is wireless charging if the battery is no better?
Both phones pack an awesome battery, but in the iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus battle, the iPhone 7 Plus actually comes out on top. That's thanks to its massive 2,900 milli-amp per hour (mAh) battery, compared to the 8 Plus' smaller 2,600 mAh battery.
The iPhone 7 Plus lasts longer during the day, and so easily takes this round.
What About Prices?
After five rounds, we have a tie in the iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus battle. Both phones have the same hardware, same cameras, and the same displays.
And while the iPhone 8 Plus is a little faster, and features wireless charging, the iPhone 7 Plus holds a battery charge much better.
So perhaps it makes more sense to look at the prices. After all, if you're trying to choose between an iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus, pricing really makes all the difference.
And the iPhone 7 Plus is significantly cheaper than the iPhone 8 Plus.
In fact, Apple prices the iPhone 8 Plus as a premium smartphone. It's nearly the same price as the iPhone XS! On the other hand, the iPhone 7 Plus is extremely affordable. It's cheaper than many Android flagships, yet can still outperform them.
At the end of the day, the price is the deciding factor. And it's all iPhone 7 Plus.
How They Compare To Newer iPhones
If you're wondering how an iPhone 7 Plus compares to a newer iPhone, you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Thanks to the tight integration Apple has between software and hardware, the iPhone 7 Plus remains just as fluid and snappy as the iPhone XR or XS.
Of course, you'll miss out on things like Face ID and Apple's amazing gesture navigation. But at the end of the day, you're saving a ton of money.
Seriously, is gesture navigation really worth a down payment on a car? Because that's the price difference between the iPhone XS Max and the iPhone 7 Plus.
Otherwise, you get the same quality performance.
And The Winner Is...
Clearly, the iPhone 7 Plus is the winner of the great iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus prize fight.
It's as good in performance, design, and quality, yet much cheaper. And one thing we didn't mention is the fact that the iPhone 7 Plus is tougher.
Thanks to that all-metal casing, you can drop the iPhone 7 Plus and expect it to survive relatively well. Meanwhile, the 8 Plus has a glass back, and it's prone to shattering. Not good.
So if you're looking for a great iPhone that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg, pick up an iPhone 7 Plus. You won't regret it!
What's your favorite phone between the iPhone 7 Plus vs. iPhone 8 Plus? Let us know in the comments!