There are a ton of great phones you can buy right now. But if you're intent on buying an iPhone, don't bother with the new iPhone 8 or the high-end iPhone X.
I've owned an iPhone 7 Plus for over a year, but I've tried the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and currently own the iPhone X.
I can easily say the iPhone 7 is hands down the best bang for your buck iPhone-wise — aside from the excellent but diminutive iPhone SE.
The first but most important reason you should consider the iPhone 7 is its price tag relative to the other new iPhones.
The iPhone 8 starts at R12 499.
The larger iPhone 8 Plus starts at R15 499.
The high-end iPhone X starts at R18 999.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 7 starts at R9 999— roughly half the price of the iPhone X. Don't get me wrong, all of these phones are still definitely "expensive," but the price of the iPhone 7 is much more reasonable than those of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
The iPhone 8 comes in three colours: silver, gold, and space gray.
The iPhone X comes in just two colours: black and white.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, meanwhile, come in five colours: jet black, matte black (the best colour), silver, gold, and rose gold
Apple added glass to the backs of the iPhone 8 and the X so those phones can support Qi wireless charging — but as a side effect, those glass backs made them more susceptible to smudges and fingerprints, as well as fall damage. With the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X, you'll need to worry about both the front and the back of the phone cracking if you drop it. Meanwhile, the iPhone 7 has the same aluminium unibody frame as the iPhone 6 line, which means you'll need to worry about only the phone's display cracking if you drop it. The metal backs on the iPhone 7 line are also more resistant to smudges and fingerprints compared with the glass backs of the iPhone 8 and the X.
The iPhone 8 and the X support the Qi wireless-charging standard and fast charging for the first time, but you'll need to buy Qi charging pads, which aren't exactly cheap, and another R300 to R880 ($25 to $75) worth of equipment if you want to try fast charging. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus use Apple's standard Lightning cable, and that works perfectly fine.
If you care at all about photography, the rear cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus, the 8 Plus, and the X are nearly identical. The smaller iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are also great shooters, but the larger Plus models include a second telephoto lens so you can zoom without losing image quality.
This is how Apple breaks down the camera specs of the iPhone 7 Plus, the 8 Plus, and the X. As you can see, all three camera systems are almost identical from a hardware perspective — the newer iPhone 8 and X have "slow sync" on the True Tone flash for better flash pictures, and the iPhone X has a slightly different aperture in the telephoto lens, but that's about it.
The only other difference here is that the iPhone X's rear camera has optical image stabilization for both wide-angle and telephoto lenses — this helps with sharper images and video, especially in low-light settings. The iPhone 7 Plus and the 8 Plus have OIS for only the wide-angle lens, not the telephoto lens. But again, this doesn't make much of a difference for the user experience; iPhone 7 owners won't feel as though they're missing anything.
The iPhone X's front-facing camera is complemented by an all-new TrueDepth camera system, which includes a set of sensors required to operate the new Face ID system to unlock the phone and make purchases via Apple Pay. But the front-facing cameras across the three iPhone models — 7, 8, and X — are almost identical.
Again, here are the specs from Apple's website:
Based on Apple's data, the iPhone 7 and the 8 — as well as their respective Plus models — all have nearly identical front-facing camera systems. The iPhone X has a more sophisticated front-facing-camera system overall, which also helps achieve some of those newer features like Face ID, "portrait lighting," and Animoji, but none of those exclusive features on the selfie camera is a must-have just yet.
No matter which iPhone you buy, you're getting Apple's first-class ecosystem, its security and updates, and its App Store, which has the best selection of apps. Since all of these iPhones run iOS 11, they all perform and behave very similarly. You'd be particularly hard-pressed to notice the differences between the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8.
If you're still having trouble seeing the differences among the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8, and the iPhone X, I highly recommend checking out Apple's iPhone comparison tool.
But if you need further convincing, consider this: The iPhone 8 is basically a slightly faster iPhone 7 with a glass back for wireless charging. Would you spend $150 for those changes, especially knowing the phone doesn't come with a wireless-charging pad?
Try everything and see for yourself, but know that I'm not convinced that wireless charging is worth investing in quite yet. Wait until charging systems are better, cheaper, and more ubiquitous — it'll be a much better market by this time next year, for instance.
And if you're holding out for the iPhone X, consider this: Some of the features on that phone are exciting, but are they worth paying nearly double the price of an iPhone 7? That is a question you'll need to answer for yourself.
Consider this as well: In about five months or so, we're going to be talking about an all-new iPhone, which should make the current iPhone X (and iPhone 8, for that matter) less expensive.
Simply put, there's no real reason to obsess over the latest phone when there's nothing wrong with the iPhone 7. It has an excellent design, a gorgeous screen, and great battery life. And at R9 999 to start, it's a steal.