<h4 style="display:none;" The other new iPhone —

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus review: The curious case of the time-traveling phone

The iPhone 8 is a great phone, but who is it for?

The iPhone 8 exists simultaneously in two time periods—an emerging future pervaded by innovative new apps incorporating augmented reality and machine learning and a past when LCD displays offered the best quality and the user’s relationship to the screen was less emphasized.

The A11 Bionic chip is a marvelous feat of engineering, offering industry-leading performance and powering the most accessible AR platform yet. But it’s tied to a display technology that the industry is finally ready to move on from and a design that didn’t even seem fresh when it was introduced three years ago.

And then there’s the price. The iPhone 8 starts at $699—$50 more than the iPhone 7 entry price last year. Yes, this device starts at 64GB of storage now instead of 32, but that price tag puts it just shy of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The 256GB iPhone 8 Plus is only $50 less than the entry-level 64GB iPhone X.

When weighed against other phones in its class, the iPhone 8 poses the question: “Which do consumers care more about—performance or the design and screen?” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that today, most consumers care a lot more about the design and the screen. Initially, that makes the iPhone 8 hard to recommend to many.

That’s the current problem with the iPhone 8. By several metrics, it’s a great handset—I’m just not sure for whom.

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